Shopfront race to the bottom

Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:22 pm

archipimp wrote:hey if eurocycles dont take that sign down i say we take it down for them if you know what i mean...maybe even start a campaign of terror against these offenders!!!?
Definitely archipimp. I'm with you on that!!



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Centra Wellington Quay is still giving trouble:


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The originally-approved and executed shopfront, early ‘]http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/4130/dscn1619qe4.jpg[/IMG]

Following unauthorised repainting, addition of shiny fascia and larger, internally-illuminated signage lettering, March ’06.



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Following a complaint to DCC, a planning enforcement notice to comply with the approved plans was served to them. To give an impression of compliance, they repainted the shopfront (a few shades lighter than the original), but left the new signage and fascia in place. And things have actually got worse since then; they’ve carried out new unauthorised developments: addition of a red digital display over the door and an internally-illuminated sign in the window, even though you can read down through the planning permission here and see strict conditions about additional signage on the shopfront or near the windows - Centra Wellington Quay Decision



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The nighttime effect, next to classical buildings, is pretty disastrous.



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Centra Wellington Quay also has an entrance onto Temple Bar Square. Here was the originally-approved frontage, which was designed to integrate into the area in a low-key manner.



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Too low-key obviously, because they’ve added a red digital display over the door here too and advertising boards on the ‘arty’ gates leftover from the previous tenant. These boards are on/off at the moment following additional complaints.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby TLM » Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:30 pm

Disgraceful ... keep up the good complaining work!
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:58 pm

Whatever about Centra, Spar, as crestfield said earlier, are by far the worst convenience store offenders. They are in an entire league of their own due to a combination of an aggressive expansion programme in the city centre, vile shopfront design and a Jim Mansfield-style attitude towards applying for planning permission.



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This plastic hanging box is their standard shop fascia sign, in use on most of their city-centre shops. It is an absolutely ridiculous looking thing and would never get planning permission through the normal channels. It flies in the face of basic shopfront design principles, including the shop signage provisions of DCC’s own Development Plan, which says: ”The signage relating to any commercial ground floor use should be contained within the fascia board of the shopfront. The lettering employed should either be painted on the fascia, or consist of individually mounted solid letters mounted on the fascia” (Section 15.32.4).

It is hard to believe that such a situation could have developed, but although this plastic fascia sign is in use on the vast majority of their shops all around town, not a single one of them has planning permission.

Spar’s website is very helpful, though not in a way it could have intended. The ‘Store Locator’ section gives the exact address of every Spar. You put the address into DCC’s Planning Search Page and invariably it turns out that there is no relevant planning permission for shopfronts/signage at the given address or planning permission/retention has been refused (but ignored).




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Nassau Street – no planning permission.




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Talbot Street - no planning permission.




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Thomas Street - no planning permission.




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Dorset Street - beside St. George’s Church - no planning permission.




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You’ll search in vain for an approved planning permission for Spar signage on Ellis Quay, beside the Calatrava bridge.




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Amid the discreetly-signed shops and cafes along Millennium Walk, Spar’s signage stands out like a cheap lurid decoration, and - surprise surprise - it has no planning permission. They sought permission for it in August 2005 and put it up before the decision was made. It was refused - see Condition 2 in thumbnail (above) - but they left it up anyway, and a year and a half later it's still in place despite planning enforcement complaints.




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Sometimes an illegally-opened Spar will trip itself up by making a subsequent planning application:

Metro newsagent on Lower Abbey Street turned into a Spar sometime in 2005, but didn’t bother applying for permission for the new shopfront and signage. Then in December that year it applied for additional off-licence use. The DCC planner was sharp, spotted that the shopfront was new and made this Additional Information request: "The shopfront and signage to the front of the shop appear to be new. The applicant shall provide details of the grant of planning permission for the new shopfront and projecting sign to the premises" (click View Documents here to get details). Spar shitted itself and hurriedly made a separate planning application for retention of the unauthorised shopfront & signage.

The additional off-license use was granted permission. The unauthorised shopfront & signage was refused in June 2006 - see here: Spar Lower Abbey Street signage refusal - but remains in place seven months later, even though it is located within the O’Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area, which has its own Special Planning Control Scheme repressing uses such as convenience stores, and even its own specially published Shopfront Design Guidelines.




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After the long saga of its refurbishment, St. Mary’s Church/Keating’s pub came into its own last summer with crowds sitting out in the railed area and a good atmosphere. Then what happened? Of course … the picture just wouldn’t be complete … a Spar opens right opposite at 53 Mary Street - as always with no planning permission for its nasty red & white shopfront & signage.

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And they’re still opening – another on Dorset Street (below) towards the end of last year, where you turn down for O’Connell Street. No p.p.

Go away Spar. We don’t want any more of you. Dragging our streets down with your tasteless lurid shopfronts and purporting to reflect our lifestyles with your bad wine selection and polluted cuisine-de-muc breadrolls full of hydrogenated fat.
We have had enough.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:14 pm

Can a citizen be prosecuted for criminal damage if the damage is done to an illegal structure?:rolleyes:

Again, great work Devin. Stay on the bastards.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby alonso » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:25 pm

ctesiphon wrote:Can a citizen be prosecuted for criminal damage if the damage is done to an illegal structure?:rolleyes:
.


only if they're caught
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:57 am

Trojan work Devin – very impressive. It really has to be acknowledged the painful amount of repetitive, detailed work that goes into following up these unauthorised works. It is the mundane reality of monitoring development which goes unpaid, un-praised, and unacknowledged by the majority who don’t have the time or will to pursue the cause of good planning.

The sheer scale of the flagrant breaching of regulations by such an established, so-called ‘reputable’ firm like Spar is genuinely shocking. It’s astonishingly widespread, replicated over and over again at every location. Obviously it’s the franchise operators that are central in this, but it’s all still happening under the brand and image bombardment pursued by the parent organisation on a wider level. That new generic nameplate yoke apparently issued by Spar Ireland says it all: something that can be tacked onto virtually anything, in almost any environment. It has clearly originated from Head Office as a standardised unit to be rolled out across the city, and yet with such a wealth of experience in retail planning, one would really wonder as to how they think this in any way conforms to shopfront guidelines and what is deemed to be appropriate development. Hence one can only come to the conclusion that with such an expensive venture (design etc), from such an astute, savvy organisation, they had every intention to churn this rebranding out in the knowledge that DCC is either a soft touch, or in the (probably to be expected) hope that nobody would notice.


As with the above stores, Spar on Upper O’Connell Street (featured before) in the elegant Lynam’s Hotel building equally continues to flagrantly flout planning laws, in what is supposed to be the most rigorously controlled urban environment in the country. Having applied for permission to erect a “new internally lit polished steel fascia sign, new SPAR & Dublin Bus projecting signs & new lighting over front elevation”, they were rejected outright by DCC in early 2005. They comprehensively claimed:

“The proposed development by reason of the material and colour of the internally illuminated aluminium fascia panel, the material and projection of the 'SPAR' and 'BUS STOP' projecting signs and the application of corporate imaging would be inconsistent with the policies and objectives of the O'Connell Street Architectural Conservation Area designation, would be out of character with nos. 63-64 O' Connell Street protected structures and would be contrary to the implementation of good shop front design, as provided for within the Dublin City Council 'Shop front Design Guide' and the 'Shop Front Design Guidelines for the O'Connell Street Area'.”

From what I can gather, this exact sign regardless exists over the premises at present, though possibly without the illuminated element - perhaps the intention of the application was to alter this to that proposed. If the sign is anything go by, it’s no wonder DCC rejected this token attempt at subtlety with silver lettering (which is itself quite reasonable), given the crude metal facia backplate onto which it and a logo have been mounted.

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In any event, Spar simply hung a (prohibited) banner over the sign, and to this very day it still hangs there, within yards of the GPO.

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Why should it be up to the public to sort these things out on such a principal thoroughfare? It’s simply not on that nobody in DCC Planning appears to be monitoring the principal thoroughfares of the city, again probably due to unfortunate under-resourcing on a wider level.

Similarly regarding Londis across the road – their ghastly ‘temporary sign’ will farcically be two years old in May, even in spite of featuring in a national newspaper, and being present throughout all of the planning for the 1916 Commemoration where it formed a delightful backdrop to the brass band. Again why should it be up to us to point out brazen indiscipline like this?

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And on a related topic, there’s absolutely no excuse for genuine ‘temporary’ signs to be as garish as the above. These too should be severely clamped down on – the same regarding banners. If you can’t erect a basic unobstrusive sign for a couple of weeks, you don’t erect anything.

It’s very easy for us all to sit in our armchairs and chatter about these matters, so if you feel suitably riled by the sharp practice of Spar stores across the capital, write to them. Head Office is:

Spar Ireland Limited
Greenhills Road
Walkinstown
Dublin 12
Ireland

Or alternatively e-mail. As “being at the heart of communities across Ireland”, they’re sure to take your comments graciously on board. They do after all “want to hear from you” so fill in their form on their website where "a member of staff will contact you shortly".

http://www.spar.ie/site/contact-us.cfm?pageId=824§ionId=25&level=1


For once, a non-planning related point you raised at the end Devin is that that infuriates me most about these convenience stores. Every one in the city, no matter where, you’re greeted with the same mind-numbing glowing walls of refrigerated units of mineral water and soft drinks, ranks of cheap chocolate and crisps with absolutely no selection right across the city, the obligatory rack of stodgy salt, saturated fat and sugar laden pastries and white breads, the roar of an air curtain trying to curtail the bucketloads of artificially heated air belching out through the permanent gaping hole in the streetscape, and all dazzlingly lit with the subtlety of an arc lamp on steroids. Do take the Convenience Store Test for yourself: simply try sourcing a bar of plain chocolate in a branded convenience store anywhere in Dublin City - preferably not a slab of Bournville - and see how far you get.

It is so depressing to observe what has become of our former newsagents, and the impact it is having on our streets, even after dark. Yes, the modern streamlined interior design approach of the ‘flagship’ stores is a welcome improvement on what we have had, however they are in the extreme minority. It is laughable that Spar's timber-fronted Merrion Row store is depicted as if the norm on their website. Indeed their blurb in a media pack about the outlet is quite hilarious - clearly they deem only a 500m radius of Government Buildings to be of architectural merit in the city:

"despite planning limitations, [the building] offers passers-by a great view of the store and particularly its coffee, smoothie and sandwich offerings. The gold signage – a limitation of planning – works for the location far better than the traditional livery might. In such a mature area of the City, so close to government buildings and other areas of architectural interest, bright neon signage would set the wrong tone for the store anyway. Since there are very few parking spaces nearby on one of the busiest streets in the capital, the number of customers in cars attracted by the familiar SPAR livery would also be limited – negating the need for it.

So they openly admit what we already knew: 1) their signage is tawdry and tacky, and 2) is used for maximum impact on the streetscape.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby TLM » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:05 pm

Some great work there on drawing attention to this scourge ... I'll certainly fire an email off to Spar.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:08 am

Cheers TLM.


GrahamH wrote:Spar on Upper O’Connell Street ... in the elegant Lynam’s Hotel building ... continues to flagrantly flout planning laws ... Having applied for permission to erect a “new internally lit polished steel fascia sign, new SPAR & Dublin Bus projecting signs & new lighting over front elevation”, they were rejected outright by DCC in early 2005 ... [and] simply hung a banner over the sign, and to this very day it still hangs there, within yards of the GPO.
Yep, that’s it! It’s all a game. They won’t tone it down ‘til Londis across the road tones it down.




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The stainless steel lettering - existing behind the banner in the Upper O’Connell Street example - is their default signage, used in locations where they won’t dare try the plastic box. Here it is used on Mayor Street in the docklands – in this case because they had to tow the line with the DDDA’s schemes & guidelines for the new buildings. As you say Graham, it’s a reasonable design.

This was the design to be used on Nos. 51 to 53 Patrick Street, beside the Cathedral, but not before a bit of messing around:




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So, here we are, planning application 4223/05 - approved October 2005 - indicating "stainless steel back lit lettering" to the three protected structures beside the Cathedral, with signs corresponding to the original building plot widths. So was this what was put up? You must be joking ...





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What’s needed here is a nice bit of “temporary” eyecatching signage to get ourselves up and running, eh? That stainless steel stuff just wouldn’t make a sufficient announcement! (even though there is no provision in the Planning Acts for temporary signage).




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So finally, 8 months later, stainless steel lettering was installed. But instead of one Spar sign in the centre and subsidiary signs to each side as indicated in the plans, they’ve lobbed two (larger) Spar signs evenly across the three buildings, destroying the plot rhythm.

DCC Planning Enforcement are batting these complaints back. They said what was put up here was acceptable, close enough the plans. They refuse to acknowledge the concept of respecting plot subdivisions.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Morlan » Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:17 am

Fair play for posting all this, Devin. It's an absolute discrace, but I'm more angry at DCC than Spar. DCC wouldn't give a toss if it wasn't for people complaining about it :mad:
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:39 am

Yeah, true. It's ultimately DCC rather than Spar - despicable as they are - that are to blame for this. They have let it get utterly out of hand. The fine words of Dev Plans, Special Planning Control Schemes, Area Plans and other documents ring hollow. It’s time to take control, DCC.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby StephenC » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:53 pm

Yes I agree Devin..... well done all round. I know An Taisce have already made a case to the Planning Enforcment unit and received some good press and it is easy to see your point! Convenience stores are surely the new scourge of the city.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:28 am

Signage is just another occupancy cost; ISME went nuts about the minimum wage and told us that jobs would be decimated in small business as these costs could never be assumed.

Signage is a once off cost that if properly regulated will improve; a freind manages a victorian terrace high street property with 22 different shopfronts with 12 different dimesions it is grotesque and the landlord will have to spend about 100,000 in contributions towards new shopfronts to have the balance of the terrace restored. This was avoidable had a predessor been more careful in granting consent or inspecting what was being errected without consent, this has affected rental levels at the scheme and investment value as a result.

Any news on Eurocycles?

I think I will be looking at a new bicycle soon
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby jackwade » Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:11 am

Any news on Eurocycles?


Its still there today in all its ugliness. Sirocco ( kebab place on Fownes St) hasn't changed either.:mad:
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:39 am

That Sirocco shopfront is horrendous and must be getting close to retention at this stage as it went in in late 2004.

http://www3.westminster.gov.uk/spgs/publications/Shopfronts,%20blinds%20and%20signs.pdf

The above guide has a lot of relevance to Central Dublin
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby archipimp » Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:26 am

well eurocycles is still there ruining a whole street... and i get a feeling they keep replacing it with a slightly bigger version every week or so just to keep the shock value(as if it needed help to do that)!
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:22 pm

Meant to put this up:


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Spar pays €950,000 for rival lease
Ciarán Hancock

The operators of Spar's flagship convenience store on Merrion Row in Dublin, paid €950,000 in December to buy out the lease on a rival Centra store next door.

The lease was held by Enda Martyn, an experienced retailer, who runs three other Centra shops in Dublin and one in Limerick.

This highly-unusual move by BWG, which operates the Spar and Mace franchises here and is one of the State's biggest grocery wholesalers, has effectively reduced competition on the bustling street, which is close to St Stephen's Green and Government Buildings.

The Centra chain is operated and supplied by Musgrave, a large Cork-based rival of BWG.

It is understood Mr Martyn's shop experienced a €10,000 a week fall in its sales after the Spar shop opened in January 2006.

The Centra store, which was close to the Huguenot cemetery, was long and narrow, offering little opportunity for Mr Martyn to develop a significant rival food and coffee offering. It closed in December with staff offered transfers to other Centra stores.

It is understood the deal was brokered by John Clohisey, who, along with Leo Crawford and John O'Donnell, acquired BWG for €390 million last October. The lease on the Centra shop is expected to be offered for non-retail purposes. Spar is not expected to expand its Merrion Row outlet.

Spar's shop covers 3,000 sq ft and was formerly an Irish Ferries office. It opened in January 2006 as part of a €4 million pilot scheme of a new store format at three outlets in Ireland that offered an enhanced food service.

It includes an Insomnia coffee shop, the Treehouse juice and smoothie bar and a substantial food-to-go counter, offering hot and cold meals. It also has a seating area and a large off-licence.

The Spar shop is thought to require turnover each week of about €110,000 to break even. Removing Centra from the street has given it the opportunity to enhance its own sales.

In a statement, Centra said Mr Martyn had "traded successfully" at Merrion Row for three years.

"Spar had, for six months, continually offered to buy the leasehold of Centra, Merrion Row, from Enda Martyn. Enda has accepted a generous offer for the leasehold."

This move calls into question the viability of some convenience stores, with some areas seeming to be close to saturation in some areas.

On Monday, Centra said its sales in 2006 increased by 17 per cent to €1.2 billion. It opened 47 new stores at a cost of €51 million and spent €24 million revamping 64 others.

Donal Horgan, Centra's managing director, said the group plans to open 37 additional shops in 2007.

© 2007 The Irish Times, March 3, 2007




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The Centra shopfront that was bought out by Spar had no planning permission anyway - there's a surprise. Look at the way a crude new fascia had been slapped on with no design coordination with the existing historic shopfront detailing. They applied for retention for this after it was put up and it was refused - Ref. 3153/03. Imagine - a convenience store shopfront refused retention in November 2003 remains in place until it is bought out 4 years later by another convenience store chain with an even higher disregard for planning. What a sham!
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Daragh » Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:21 am

''This move calls into question the viability of some convenience stores, with some areas seeming to be close to saturation in some areas.''

Well you don't say! I'm so surprised, and I have to say a little disappointed, that this type of thing hasn't happened earlier and more often. As I always say here, I just can't get over the number of convenience stores in the city. How thay all manange to survive when the market seems to be so over saturated is beyond me, but as they're all still open, they must be getting by. Hopefully, with increased costs and rent etc. more stores will begin to feel the pinch and start to close down. Let's hope some of those convenience stores are the ones in and around Grafton Street!
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:04 am

Just an example of the reliance on the processed rubbish these places sell, I frequented no less than four of these 'convenience' stores today before I could find an edible banana: Londis on Upper O'Connell Street finally came up trumps, perhaps unsurprisingly also one of the few stores that actually has planning permission.

Because they all stock the same stuff and are even operated by the same people, far from increasing competition, many of these convenience stores are actually curtailing both choice and value. There's simply no range in fruit, in confectionary or in fresh breads and cakes. Of course these are only 'convenience' stores, but the problem is that they appear to be pushing out independent operators who could potentially offer greater variety and better value. The market has become so saturated that they're now opening up on both sides of the same street, evident on Talbot Street, O'Connell Street and even College Green where there's two Londis stores directly facing each other.

An improved policy hereonin would be to try as far as possible to consolidate this market, by encouraging larger stores that can accommodate better ranges and store fit-outs, and looking unfavourably upon the smaller ones that breed like rabbits across the city, especially on main thoroughfares. They're probably perceived as the 'lifeblood' of a healthy city in some planning quarters, but they're not if they offer no choice or value for city residents; the proliferation of new apartment developments has after all been one of the principal drivers of their expansion.

How do other European cities deal with catering for local and passing trade, and convenience stores in general?
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:15 pm

This is it; where elsewhere an artisan deli opens, in Dublin a Spar opens. They say people get the cities they want, so maybe we have to look at ourselves. What do all these nasty convenience stores say about us?

Convenience stores/newsagents don't seem to exist as such on the continent. They're a UK & Irish thing. Or if there is a newsagent it will be only that - newspapers and magazines. In Spain they have little tobacco & news shops.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby KerryBog2 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:55 pm

Devin wrote:Convenience stores/newsagents don't seem to exist as such on the continent. They're a UK & Irish thing. Or if there is a newsagent it will be only that - newspapers and magazines. In Spain they have little tobacco & news shops.


Not really in agreement, Devin. The small convenience stores did exist in their hundreds but they were killed by “progress” in the shape of high rents, unwillingness by the younger generation to work the long hours for such little money and the expansion of the hypermarche in the outer suburbs. In France, the failure of French wholesaler Felix Potin in the 1990’s killed off hundreds of small local shops particularly around Paris.

Remaining in France, government intervention, licensing and support from strong trade unions has not helped the small shops in city centres. Shop opening hours, or permission to hold a sale is regulated, (the soldes du janvier) and there is a very strict licensing scheme for the Tabacs (they also sell stamps), paper kiosks, etc. Don’t forget that Virgin’s Richard Branson nearly went to jail for Sunday trading and there also was a big law case involving Louis Vuitton for the same. Buying the baguette on the way home is still possible in most areas but when you finish work at 7 (as most French managers do) it is much ore attractive to do the shopping in one visit to a hypermarche at the weekend.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby Devin » Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:24 pm

I'm sure they have suffered alright, but seem to be still making efforts to protect the local shops. Viva la baguette! Piece here:


DEFENDING AGAINST 'LA LONDONISATION'

Other European countries are protecting their shops from the predatory claws of the multi national brands, writes Deirdre McQuillan , Fashion Editor.


Around where I stay in Paris during fashion week, I am surrounded by cafes, restaurants and small shops selling everything from kitchenware and lingerie to jewellery, cakes, clothes and antiques. Small independent retail and artisanal outlets are part of the attraction and pleasure of the French capital, along with great butchers, vegetable, fruit and cheese shops, not to speak of florists and bakeries at nearly every turn. It's a standard of life that French city centres are accustomed to and its vibrancy and survival are down to French planning laws.

In l973 the Royer Act was passed to protect small shops, improve the quality of urban life and prevent "inordinate growth of new forms of distribution that squeeze out small entrepreneurs". Its Commission for Commercial Urbanisation evaluates each planning application on merit and is entrusted to ensure a good balance of all forms of commerce. There are regulations on direct selling, discount selling and advertising and on the encouragement of artisan trading. Its chambers of commerce are far more powerful and have greater responsibilities for trading than their Irish equivalents.

In other parts of Europe it's the same. In Rome, another shopping haven, landmark shops are protected from the predatory claws of multinational brands and franchises by an alliance called the Association of Rome's Historic Shops, which makes shopping and strolling for the visitor such a treat. The association promotes "and defends the values" of shops that have existed for over a hundred years and are considered to be institutions by Romans. Many are still in the ownership of the same families and are cherished emblems of the traditions and culture of the city.

Though Italy under Berlusconi welcomed globalisation, Rome has still managed to resist Starbucks (which has nearly 500 outlets in the UK) and when an intended McDonalds site was announced near the Spanish Steps, it prompted a massive demonstration that propelled the fledgling slow food movement into the fast lane. The McDonalds did eventually open, but the golden arches were noticeable only for being uncharacteristically discreet.

According to a 2001 report, most OECD countries have special regulations that apply to retail premises, over and above regular urban planning regulations. Only five countries, of which Ireland is one, do not have special measures. Dublin City Council, however, is in the process of putting special planning controls in place to micromanage the balance of retail uses in designated city-centre areas.

Copenhagen was transformed from a declining urban centre into the thriving and reinvigorated city it is today thanks to the work of the visionary architect Jan Gehl. "If you asked people 20 years ago why they went to central Copenhagen they would have said it was to shop," he says. "But if you ask them today, they would say because they want to go to town." Note the difference. To walk down Stroget, the Danish equivalent of Grafton Street, is to encounter appealing diversity and local character, small shops alongside specialist Danish department stores with plenty of places to sit and linger. Gehl formulated 12 steps, including places to sit, as central to city management strategies. In Barcelona, Las Ramblas is another successful public place at the heart of that city's revival.

However, the picture in the UK, as in Ireland, is quite different. So-called retail-led development like urban malls or big chain store shopping has resulted in places which, according to Anna Minton in a recent article in the Guardian, are privatised enclaves "that look the same, are cut off from local people and the local environment and are characterised instead by a fake, theme park atmosphere". She reports that there is a growing body of evidence that the replacement of independently owned shops isolates people and increases depression. "Having a thriving public life in cities does not depend on the types of shops, but on the approach to the place as a whole," she argues.

The French call the trend for a metropolis overrun by mobile-phone shops and fast food restaurants "la Londonisation" and have introduced regulations banning half of the 70,000 shops in Paris from ever becoming owned by such operations. The use of certain shops is safeguarded, so that a boulangerie remains a foodshop and a bookshop or greengrocer can't be another multiple chain outlet. As other European capitals arrest a trend now proliferating around this country, the message is clear: don't hollow out the heart of your city and keep it vibrant, otherwise watch its demise.

© 2006 The Irish Times - August 12, 2006

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/newsfeatures/2006/0812/1155291279765.html
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby alonso » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:55 pm

I reckon Dublin is the only city in Europe where at 5 am it's not a disaster if you run out of smokes, milk, newspapers, waifos, coca cola, bogroll, deodorant, dog food, crisps, hair gel, porn, toothpaste and fairy liquid, coz you're guaranteed there's a spar/mace/centra/garage looming around the next corner with it's numbing glow soaking the pavement in front of you...

While I'm not advocating allowing retail in the city to die a la Londonisation or "Tallaghtfornication" (c) the proliferation of vomit-worthy muck into our old streets has gone beyond saturation
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby manifesta » Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:53 pm

Death to the old order, to local character, to the bourgeois boulangerie. Bravely we shall usher in the new generation of crap, of poets praising the mucky neon street glow of Spars and Centras. When the poets die, we will cast the wrecking ball upon their houses and name bridges after them. Bravely, boldly, let the vitrolite glow. Death, death to planning and reason!

Give me convenience or give me death!
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:14 pm

Isn't this a thread about shopfronts?

Convenience stores in Dublin are streets ahead of what you find in the UK in terms of product offering; it is a very successful formula and has done much to prevent the total Tesco-isation of the retail market in Ireland.

The problem in many ways is that the market is too successful and with two dominant chains (Musgraves & BWG) the market has become too aggressive. With the objective at times almost seeming to be removing the others market share as opposed to developing a sustainable market and profitable revenue streams through superior location strategy.

My major gripe with these retailers is that they are so busy trying to get one over on each other at times that they have lost sight of the wider marketplace. They have stopped to look at lower profile city centre sites where rental costs are a fraction of prime pitch rents as is the norm in major cities and that like mobile phone operators they are looking at signage opportunities more as billboard opportunities as part of their wider retail strategy as opposed to the occupancy costs vs net revenue as stand alone ventures.

Get the signage in order and there is little to complain about other than some of the prices individual units charge for the most generic of products which often gives a very wide selection to pay top prices upon.
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Re: Shopfront race to the bottom

Postby PVC King » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:10 pm

Poster ban on 3 Dublin streets
From:ireland.com
Tuesday, 3rd April, 2007


Posters advertising rallies or political meetings are to be banned from three Dublin streets under new regulations adopted by the city council last night.

Under the rules the posters will be banned from O'Connell Street, Grafton Street and Henry Street.

Election posters are subject to different rules.

The council also adopted new planning regulations to prevent the proliferation of fast-food outlets, estate agent offices and other named businesses on Grafton Street.

In the future, planning permission will be required for newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets, off-licences and pharmacies. Some businesses, including phone shops and fast-food outlets, are be deemed "not permissible".

Under the previous scheme, shop owners could change the use of all or part of their premises without reference to the council.


DCC need some proper PR yesterday.

Here they have introduced one of the most progressive reforms in zoning yet and head the press release 'posters banned' less than a week after granting a foreign firm a concession arrangement worth multi millions for nothing.

I think someone at a very high level in DCC needs to come down into the street and listen to a few Dublin 8 types to get a sense of how these moves are being portrayed by the public. I automatically thought of a particular aran sweater clad shell to sea campaigner tearing his hair out about this when I read the piece on RTE lastnight instead of some order finally being granted to the main shopping precincts.

The only use I don't get in this are estate agents which generally tend to be located in well sub-prime locations with DNG probably paying the highest rent for their trinity St office in the City in terms of retail rent.
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