Thursday, 24th August 2017
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If you build it, they will come

Anytime there is a radical reimagining of a part of Waterford's city streetscape there seems to be a lot of people who will come out against it just for the sake of it without really giving it a chance. It has happened with nearly all of the city centre areas that have undergone pedestrianisation and now it looks like it is going to happen to the new Apple Market area that has just undergone a huge transformation.

Taking a walk around the new Apple Market is a completely different experience than it was just a number of months ago. There is a huge canopy over the pedestrian area and the space just seems way bigger than it used to. Now all of the bars in the area can have large outdoors spaces and it is expected that the Apple Market will be used for large outdoor's events such as showing sporting fixtures on huge screens as well as musical events. Already these have taken place and while it will take a while for the Apple Market to get up and running it does at the moment seem like an ideal place for communal civic experiences.

Negative comments might seem like an easy route for many but you have to give things time to settle and develop before you write them off.

The same happened with John Robert's Square which was a similarly huge development at the time it was undertaken. Many people had qualms about various aspects of the development but now it is a great communal amenity and really makes the city centre area. The ability to sit out in the sun or under the trees in the fresh air is a great experience, just watching the world go by or taking a breather from your shopping.

Whereas the Apple Market is surrounded by bars John Robert's Square is surrounded by coffee shops and while there are many things that also make them different from each other they share in common the fact of giving people an outdoor space that is different from anywhere else in the city.

One aspect of the Apple Market area of the city that hasn't been cleared up is why the New Street Gardens still remain closed. A great amenity when they were first opened it is a pity that have been closed for so long without any solid reason given. Again, when it comes to outdoors spaces it still isn't clear what plans there for the Wallace Plaza on the Quays. They seem to just sit there doing nothing with seemingly few plans for them. It highlights the fact that all of the outdoors areas in Waterford need proper planning and management, regular acts in the summer such as they have in John Robert's Square and as they might seem to have in the Apple Market going forward.

You will never ever get 100% of people onside when it comes to new public developments in the city but given time and good experiences the new Apple Market will become just as loved as other places in the city.

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