Council addresses Serious Public Safety issues at Blackrock Baths
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has this week moved to address serious public safety issues associated with the structures and diving platform at Blackrock Baths.
Following a recent inspection by senior Council staff, it emerged that the structures have suffered from extensive weather damage and from the ravages of the sea, making the structures and adjoining land dangerous for members of the public. It has also been confirmed that the concrete has been seriously affected by the wind and wave action. The pool structure is beyond repair and the seating and changing block, which is constructed of structural steel clad in concrete, is in danger of collapse. The guard rails to the upper seating area have rusted away and the steps are exposed. The diving platform is seriously corroded and detached from the Pool base.
The inspection also noted that extensive graffiti and rubbish were present in the building, which suggested it is subject to regular unauthorised access. It was also confirmed that it is not feasible to secure the structures so as to prevent unauthorised access.
Constructing Structural and Civil Engineers were subsequently engaged by the Council to carry out a more detailed inspection of the Baths. Their inspection confirmed the Council’s assessment and recommendations.
In light of the Consultant's report County Architect Andree Dargan, who has delegated responsibility for dangerous buildings/structures under the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1964 (as amended) has determined that the structures on the Baths site constitute ‘dangerous structures’ within the meaning of the Act and that “measures must be taken to remove the danger that exists.”
The County Architect has now advised that “The Council is now proceeding to make arrangements to carry out the necessary demolition work, including the removal of the diving platform. The elements of the structures and Pool/sea wall that are not considered to be dangerous will be retained.”
The Council is conscious of the special designations that attach to the area between the Baths and Merrion Gates, which will have to be crossed to access the site and remove debris. Without prejudice to the Council’s legal obligations and powers under the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1964 (as amended), environmental consultants have been engaged to advise the Council regarding any potential environmental issues and to liase with other statutory agencies.
This work is proceeding while the Council appoints a competent contractor, agrees a works method statement and informs other relevant parties (e.g. Iarnród Eireann, the site owners and local Councillors). Pending the demolition work the Blackrock Baths site will be subject to on-site security, with immediate effect.
In relation to the future of the site County Manager Owen Keegan says that
“As part of the preparation of the Blackrock Local Area Plan, outline proposals are being prepared to make improvements to the seafront, including access at this location, having due regard to Specific Local Objective 9 (Map 2) in the County Development Plan. Subject to consultation with the site owners, consideration will be given to what can be done with the remainder of the baths structure and a report will be brought to Councillors in due course.”