Grafton Street, Dublin

Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:19 am

Should approval be granted Dublin City Council anticipates that work will begin in January 2013 and will be completed in approximately 14 months.


Well surprise surprise, the Council have approved the works...

The 'conditions' make for bizarre reading, given the origins of the scheme.

The proposed development has been assessed and it is considered that it would be consistent with both the provisions included in the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-2017 and with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area subject to the following requirements which are intended to safeguard the architectural integrity of this important street;

1. The detailed design, and selection of materials, colours and location of the full range of street furniture including public lighting shall be agreed in writing with the Planning Department prior to the commencement of construction. Reason: In the interest of visual amenity and in order to protect and enhance the special architectural character of Grafton Street, a designated Architectural Conservation Area.
2. The development shall comply with the following requirements of the Roads and Traffic Division:- • The materials including colour and finishes to be used in the proposed new layout shall be agreed with Road Maintenance Division, City Architects and the Planning Department of Dublin City Council. • The developer shall ensure that pedestrian access is maintained at all times to the street. Reason: In the interest of orderly and sustainable development and in order to ensure that the selected materials are in keeping with the architectural character of Grafton street, a designated Architectural Conservation Area.
3. The development shall comply with the following requirements of the Drainage Division of Dublin City Council; • The Greater Dublin Regional Code of Practice for Drainage Works Version 6.0 (see www.dublincity.ie Forms and Downloads). Reason: In the interest of orderly and sustainable development.
4. Prior to commencement of development, a Project Monitoring Committee shall be set up which shall include representatives from the local business community and other local stakeholders. The purpose of this Committee will be to allow for the ongoing assessment of the project and impacts on the local environment, identification of problems arising and proposing measures to remedy and manage any identified shortcomings. As part of this process, an officer shall be appointed by Dublin City Council to liaise with local stakeholders, the contractors and project team. Reason: In the interests of protecting the economic, social and cultural interests of the street during the construction process and having regard to the need to identify and remedy any adverse impacts arising from the development.
5. A strategy for street art/busking on Grafton Street shall be developed in conjunction with the final detailed design of the paving scheme. Reason: In the interests of enhancing the character of Grafton Street as a major city centre destination.


As with the similar Palace Street scheme (ie an LAW applications) there is no Planner's Reports posted so it is unclear how the authority dealt with the various submissions made (20 in this instance).
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:22 am

Interestingly, the Council (via Sierra) are currently in the process of repaving Parnell Street (the western end), removing the brick and laying flags. No sign of a similar process to the above however. How come one requires planning permission while another doesnt. Seems strange.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby gintyc » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:55 pm

StephenC -- I was just about to ask the same question. Anybody have any idea?
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Lower Grafton Street

Postby urbanisto » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:02 pm

Lower Grafton Street, that section from Suffolk Street to College Green is fast becoming the city centre's latest Tat Parade. Despite being on of the city's most prestigious addresses - The Provost's House - and being an extension of the city's most important retail street, the quality of what you find on Lower Grafton Street is way below what should be expected from this key section of the civic spine.

Image

So its all not bad. There are some big names here...grand old Bernardo's (a shop that defies me as to how it survives), the nearest thing Dublin gets to an AppleStore, American Apparel and of course now the new Abercrombie & Fitch store packed full of emaciated torsos on College Green. The street has a great location, huge foot fall, buildings of great character and its located within an ACA and a Area of Special Planning Control, both of which are meant to provide the tools to create a high quality retail street.

So why then does the street also include a betting shop, two convenience stores and now....its very own charity shop!

Image
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:14 pm

The street 'benefits' from a section of pavement that just about caters for the hoards using it each day and that has stubbornly defined any efforts to widen and declutter it. The area is generally packed full of casual street sellers, chalk artists and leprechauns all looking for a slice of the action. There also the perma-parking provided by the taxi rank here. No one has yet thought to critically consider things like signage, bollards, the ugly cheap street lights c 1975, the rake of redundant phone boxes now used mainly for MacxDonalds advertising and the creep creep of a-frames and sandwich boards along the street.

Image

There seems to be very little aspiration about the street...the presentation of frontages lack little imagination and even the big guns on the street offer stores they wouldnt dare on the main street of other capital cities (compare Compulab and its Apple product with the temple to white that Apple operates from on Regent's Street in London).

Thankfully the Book Value store closed earlier in the year and a smart refurbishment of the property it occupied 110 has just been unveiled.

Image

There is no occupier at present. Anyone know who might be interested. Carrolls maybe....or Ladbrooks?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:20 pm

The two convenience stores in the street show all the usual hallmarks of the trade, windows covered in transfers and the usual creep of signage. The Spar is actually a smart enough shop..its just these shops never seem to know when enough is enough.

Image

Image

The street can even boast its very own Physic! I wonder if they can predict if things will ever get any better...

Image
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:26 pm

The Grafton Street ASPC Scheme is here for all to read.
http://www.dublincity.ie/SiteCollectionDocuments/grafton_street_planning_control_scheme.pdf

One interesting item regarding uses:

(a) Notwithstanding the interpretation of “shop” by Article 5 (1) of the Planning and
Development Regulations 2001 to 2005 (or any regulations revoking or re-enacting these
regulations) the change of use of a shop or part of a shop to a premises trading as any of
the following will now constitute a material change of use and will require planning
permission: -
• Catalogue shop
• Cosmetics / beauty products
• Discount Shop / End of lines / Closing down/ Sales outlets
• Hairdressers
• Health Food Shops
• Launderette or dry cleaners
• Mobile Phone Shop and related goods
• Newsagents / convenience store
• Off-licences and Wine Shops
• Pharmacy
• Sex shop
• Souvenir Shop
• Stationary / Card Shops
• Supermarket
• Travel Agents


The Council planners probably never even conceived that a Charity Shop might set up here.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:35 pm

There are lots of things in the scheme of course, covering everything from use to shopfronts to signage etc. All very laudable of course but probably without any real interest in enforcing it in the current environment. Do Charity Shops pay rates?

At a recent event organised by Dublin City Architects to discuss creating the high quality work environments of the future in Dublin, some of the key points that arose were high quality and well maintained public realm, a vibrant and attractive street life, curating uses on streets to stimulate the right kind of mix and brand for the area, promoting design and innovation in shops and business etc. All something that I would hope to see on show on Grafton Street.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:56 pm

'Council seeks to enhance a stroll down Grafton St' Irish Times 27th Dec

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 86020.html

It was interesting to observe the crush of people at the top of Grafton Street on NYE for the fireworks over St Stephen's Green. It made me think how few spaces there are in the city for public congregation.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:20 am

For a fireworks display on NYE, O'Connell Bridge is a perfect public space if there were fireworks along the quays or over the river, and also around the Spire, which would exploit a landmark of the city.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Peter Fitz » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:26 pm

In future, holding off on the fireworks 'till midnight, might also be an idea. :wtf:
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:34 pm

Launch them from Iveagh Gardens and open the Green for watching them from.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby mcdanish » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:58 am

Anybody know when the proposed repaving is to start work?I was on Grafton street yesterday and its appalling.Why have they let it deteriorate to such a level.Also why they don't get on with pedestrianising the surrounding streets in a integrated way is beyond me. The area is bursting with new businesses and they are trying to flourish in poorly paved streets that don't encourage footfall. If these areas were nicely paved businesses would thrive and jobs would actually be created. It wouldn't cost a huge amount either.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby tomredwest » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:06 pm

the repaving will start in april after they upgrade water pipes
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:38 pm

mcdanish wrote:Anybody know when the proposed repaving is to start work?I was on Grafton street yesterday and its appalling.Why have they let it deteriorate to such a level.


I think the condition of the street is the whole reason for the project. Its true that it has gone on far too long but the proposal now is to repave the street in its entirety. Why it was allowed to get so bad is a good question however...but this is Dublin.

Also why they don't get on with pedestrianising the surrounding streets in a integrated way is beyond me. The area is bursting with new businesses and they are trying to flourish in poorly paved streets that don't encourage footfall. If these areas were nicely paved businesses would thrive and jobs would actually be created. It wouldn't cost a huge amount either.


It would cost a significant amount. However again the "plan" is an integrated vision for the area from Kildare Street to South Great Georges Street. Haven't seen the plan myself and I would hope that the Council would make more of this investment in the city centre and allow for reasonable comment on what it proposed.

As part of the 1st phase...which is Grafton Street (it having the most pressing need - see your point above), the recent temporary changes on Clarendon Street are meant to facilitate greater pedestrian traffic on that street owning to the works on Grafton Street.

You should read back the thread....lots of good information and comment on the project.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:40 pm

StephenC wrote:Thankfully the Book Value store closed earlier in the year and a smart refurbishment of the property it occupied 110 has just been unveiled.

Image

There is no occupier at present. Anyone know who might be interested. Carrolls maybe....or Ladbrooks?


The Dublin Trading Company it seems... a smarter version of Carrolls.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:37 pm

The Grafton Street & Environs Area of Special Planning Control is up for review and renewal. A draft is expected to be published tomorrow and comments are invited for the next 8 weeks.

Among the measures expected is a tightening of rules around discount stores, charity shops, fast food outlets, supermarkets, etc

The existing scheme can be viewed here http://www.dublincity.ie/Planning/Other ... hemes.aspx
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:26 pm

Jez, Grafton Street is a bit of a state at the moment.

Don't expect and smart camouflaging the sites as the streetworks take place. The preliminary works are already causing a mess. However some of the buildings on the street, particularly the southern end, are in bits.

Meanwhile, nearby on South Anne Street there is that rarest of Dublin's sights....a building site! The former Creation Arcade has been demolished pending its redevelopment.

But Dublin City Council...seriously, get the finger out! (he says to yawning area planner off on his break).
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Mon May 06, 2013 7:38 pm

An interesting post on planning policy for Grafton Street from Ireland After NAMA:

I have commented on Grafton Street before (here and here), while also discussing Schemes of Special Planning Control (SSPC) and Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs) (here). In light of the current draft for the renewal of the Grafton Street SSPC, there are, I feel, a number of elements that need to be discussed about the relationship between land-use, social space, and heritage in Grafton Street, which are, to a certain extent, reflective of wider dynamics in Dublin more generally. The revision of the Grafton Street SSPC provides the opportunity to redress the bias towards elite notions of heritage and instead celebrate the role of contemporary social life in the street.

The current draft of the Grafton Street SSPC opens with the following vision: “To reinvigorate Grafton Street as the South City’s most dynamic retail experience underpinned by a wide range of mainstream, independent and specialist retail and service outlets that attract both Dubliners and visitors to shop, sit and stroll, whilst re-establishing the area’s rich historic charm and urban character.” The language of such documents tells a very interesting story. There is an explicit perspective within the Scheme of Special Planning Control that the area of Grafton Street has somehow lost some form of character that needs to be re-established or reinvigorated. How this is to be achieved is perceived to require a set of processes that promotes certain forms of land-use over and above others.

In drawing on an imaginary of some unspecified ideal time, the document naturalises the connection between elements such as prestigious forms of consumption and architectural conservation: “A number of uses on Grafton Street are of special significance through their long association with the street. Businesses such as Brown Thomas, Weir and Sons and Bewley’s Cafe are now an essential part of the street's character and continue in the tradition of providing prestigious products and fine service in high quality surroundings.” When taken at face-value, such language might seem innocuous, and it is difficult to dispute the relative importance of such establishments to the commercial core of Dublin. However, when looked at in more detail, I would argue that in privileging the connection between what are deemed as prestigious land-uses with notions of ‘character’, the SSPC presents an elitist ideal of what the street should be, and, by connection, whether it is intended or not, who Grafton Street is for.

This is not a desire to argue for the retention or promotion of poor signage and shop fronts (however they may be defined), but to seek to expand the remit of what is valued beyond the supposed virtues of exclusive high-end retail and a loosely defined notion of what the street is imagined to once have been. From a broader perspective, it can be argued that in light of the evolution of Dublin over the last number of decades, Grafton Street - and Dublin city centre more generally - has to distinguish itself to compete with the out-of-town centres. Yet, there is also a need to at least try to imagine or think through what the social life of the street might actually look like if the vision of the SSPC, as it currently stands, is achieved. Would it still be a container of a rich variety of social life that it is today? Would it be the street of buskers and flower sellers? Would it still be the street on which younger age-groups gather outside McDonald’s?

The street has and will evolve in response to the dynamics of wider social and market changes. Yet, there also seems to be a need to actually think through what the social dynamics of such streets are beyond the conception of notions of character and heritage-value as being directly connected to upmarket land-uses alone. Celebrating those social dynamics of the present and recent past which serve to define the everyday life of Grafton Street rather than decrying some loosely defined imaginary of what has supposedly been lost would be a start to such.

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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby soulsearcher » Fri May 10, 2013 4:48 pm

Interesting observations. My reaction to this SPC or whatever it's called would be to say so what? A vision that is based on generic and woolly platitudes such as this will go as far as any other in the past, ie nowhere. Train planners to draw. Get people who live and work in the city centre to contribute to the debate with planners, investors and decision makers. Then a vision could emerge that will get people talking about their city with useful and exciting ideas encouraging us all to get out more.

I also think architects of all creeds - especially many of those on this forum - should worry less about adhering to pre-conceived notions of 'good' shop front design and signage and care more about how a collection of buildings and activities on a street can collectively help to foster spontaneity, diversity and of course vibrancy.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Sat May 11, 2013 1:21 pm

Without being facetious... what difference would it make here if the planners could draw or not? I'm just curious about your thinking.

There was a project similar to what you describe called Designing Dublin which looked at the public's impressions of the whole area and how it should develop. This in turn was developed into a masterplan for the Grafton Quarter - although we have yet to see this plan from Dublin City Council. The works to refurbish the pavements of Grafton Street, and some secondary projects such as Clarendon Street and Fade Street public realm works, stemmed from this masterplan, although in the absence of the masterplan (or the final Designing Dublin report) its hard to judge how effectively they met the overall vision.

The SPC is specifically designed to affect use on the street and to maintain the street's position as a high-end retail street. It all sounds like a good idea on paper but I agree in practice it is more problematic. Firstly, the Council are not particular adept at managing these areas in an holistic manner and generally only pay lip-service to the SPC. Most planners in the Council haven't a clue how to make the lofty ambitions of the SPC and its sister ACA policy a reality. The street should have a town centre manager. It should have a team of knowledgeable professionals managing the area an responding imaginatively to the various challenges that it faces and the in particular the whole revolution of retail streets that is underway at present. Sadly many of the people in the City Council who could affect change on the street are 'lifers' who have been around for decades and are at this stage devoid of motivation and good ideas, as well as hamstrung by the inertia of the Council.

In an ideal world, where an important economic entity like Grafton Street was being proactively managed and promoted and curated then you wouldn't need to adopt SPCs. Clever management and the Market would ensure that the mix of retail and other uses on the street remained in tune with consumer needs and demands and that the image of the street was enhanced and improved, including the important issue of quality and standards of buildings, shopfront design, interiors, public realm etc.

Sadly, as we know we are a million miles away from that world. Perhaps it is 'elitest' as suggested in the piece above to try and reserve this street for one type of shopping. But there are plenty of streets in the city where a variety of uses and shops operate. But the reality is that this street is an important economic engine for the city centre and it must compete with the likes of Dundrum SC, Liffey Valley etc. It has to attract and bring people into the city centre. People will not take the Luas in on a Saturday to browse charity shops and mobile phone advertisement shops. They want a high quality shopping environment and a mix of shops, place to eat and sights to see. Its a package they are after and that's why in my view Grafton Street should be managed as a package or an 'experience' if you will. Quality architecture, good design, the impression that the place they area visiting is cared for and respected - all these are essential to the success of the street. If it is elitist to want to preserve quality architecture on Grafton Street as a backdrop to its economic activities then tell me why shoppers don't flock to Mayor Square on the weekend - with its bland modern boxes. Or why all those shop units in Smithfield remain vacant.

HOWEVER, I do think that in this city at this time, the whole concept of SPCs is just a dead duck. When basic planning permitting is being ignored, where the Council is abjectly failing to enforce its own development plan standards, where senior managers in the Council will ignore a wealthy building owner gutting an historically significant building on the street and allow the developer carte blanche to disney-fy the building and ignore best conservation practice and planning law surrounding ACAs and built heritage, then I agree - writing all this guff and adopting it as an SPC and Council policy is pointless.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby GrahamH » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:07 am

20/6/2013

Well the Grafton Street works are now officially underway, with the first of the smart new construction panels going up this afternoon. They appear to be durable plywood sheets with a printed, wipeable finish, slotted into slick brushed steel uprights.

Image


Image


Image


Image

One imagines they may not look quite this crisp by November 2014 when works are due to finish, but hopefully they'll hold up well as they move phase by phase along the street. The text is typically vague about the type of street furniture we're getting (though it's not exactly rocket science to work out). It's remarkable how this aspect of the project has been kept such a secret; officials nearly fall over themselves in haste to leave the room every time it comes up.

I'm itching to get at the panels with a red pen - typos galore. Proofer required on JobBridge please.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:19 pm

"Grafton Street's a wonderland, with magic in the air..."

To be fair to Dublin City Council, they have at last taken the need to communicate these types of projects to the wider public, seriously. The panels, social media and even a glossy video (with Voiceover Girl) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SI50E_d1L4 all help to sell the scheme.

I welcome seeing the work start. It cant come soon enough in my view. Wandering the streets of Dublin last weekend it really struck me that the two streets that have decline most in the recession have been the two main shopping streets - Henry Street and Grafton Street. Streets like Aungier, Thomas, Moore, Talbot are where they were at the start of the turndown. The area from SG George's Street to Grafton Street has positively bloomed in recent years. But with the fall off in retailing and the scrabble to get a rate paying business (any rate paying business) into the prime shopping streets, there has been a marked deterioration in quality. Plastic shopfronts, overload of signage, vacancy, lower end uses (yeah you heard me PC brigade, lower end uses like charity shops, newsagents, fast food and the like) have increased significantly. Add in unhelpful practices such as blanking out windows (ONE anyone?), big brash floodlighting, stickers, posters and a-frame galore, and it all adds up to a rather sad and sorry sight on Grafton Street and Henry/Mary Street are not far behind on.

Has anyone seem the elusive GRAFTON QTR MASTERPLAN yet?

It remains a shame about the street lamps disappearing and like you Graham, I wait with baited breath to see their replacement. Will they disappoint as O'Connell Street did back in 2003?
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:22 pm

And NAMA have also opened up their purses on the street

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sect ... -1.1433439

As the report notes there are a number of amalgamation schemes with permission in the vicinity.
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Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

Postby urbanisto » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:02 pm

Suddenly, there is a huge desire among charities to set up shop on Grafton Street

Charities have been given a reprieve by Dublin City Councillors who have voted not to ban their shops from opening on Grafton Street.
Councillors were last night asked to consider the introduction of planning controls which would prohibit certain types of retail outlet from opening on the city’s main shopping street on the grounds they “would detract from the character of the street”.
Charity shops were proposed for inclusion on the list of shops which would not in future be granted planning permission. The list also covers sex shops, off-licences, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, euro stores and bookmakers, among others considered unsuitable for the street.
In his report to councillors, acting assistant city manager Jim Keogan said charity shops were recommended for exclusion from the street due to concern about the growth of “lower end retail”. Charity shops were welcome in “all parts of the city, with the exclusion of Grafton Street” he said.
“It is considered that this use would not promote higher order comparison retailing or contribute to Grafton Street’s status as the premier city centre shopping street.”
‘Outdated attitude’
Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick said the ban displayed an outdated attitude to charity shops and that as long as they comply with the planning standards being required of other retailers on Grafton Street they should not be subjected to negative discrimination.
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn had supported the ban and said Grafton Street had become “somewhat of an eyesore” .
Independent councillor Pat Dunne said stating that Grafton Street should be an exclusive street “only for people with money in their pockets” was an insult to ordinary people and people working for charities.
Labour’s Dermot Lacey said he didn’t believe “any planning justification for the exclusion of charity shops has been made”.
Fine Gael’s Paddy McCartan said the council should be encouraging high wealth visitors into Grafton Street. “I don’t see how you can compare shops like Weirs and Brown Thomas and others like that with charity shops.”
Ruairi McGinley (FG) agreed there was a need for a “top end” street to be protected.
However, a group of Fine Gael councillors put forward the proposal that charity shops should be allowed to apply for planning permission and the planning department be allowed to decide whether the particular shop was appropriate.
A joint Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin motion calling for charity shops to be removed from the list of prohibited outlets was passed by 29 to 16 votes and the rest of the planning control scheme was approved.
Fundraising Ireland and the Irish Charity Shops Association had asked the council not to go ahead with the ban.
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