Re: Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

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Anonymous
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Also this, from yestrday’s Times:

New rules to control shop types on Grafton Street
Olivia Kelly

New planning regulations to prevent “inappropriate” shops such as fast food outlets, mobile phone shops, discount outlets and sex shops opening on Dublin’s Grafton Street will be put out to public consultation today.

The special planning control guidelines would stop particular enterprises from setting up in Grafton Street without planning permission and would make others “not permissible” on the city’s premier shopping street.

The rules follow the designation of Grafton Street as an architectural conservation area last July. The designation served to protect the appearance of the street by specifying shopfront design and the material used in the maintenance of old buildings and in new developments.

The new planning regulations bring the protection of the street a step further by controlling the type of shops permitted.

Under existing regulations, the owner of a building could change its use from a clothes shop to a newsagents without reference to the council. However once the regulations are passed, this will no longer be allowed.

The council wants to discourage “non-fashion or fashion-related uses” and will require pharmacies, souvenir shops, card shops, health food shops and cosmetic/ beauty retailers to apply for planning permission.

However it has designated other shops as being “non-permissible” as they would “detract from the character of the street”. Included in a list of 14 banned businesses are bookmakers, amusement arcades, fast-food restaurants, estate agents, mobile phone shops, convenience shops, sex shops and travel agents.

In its consultation document, the council has given examples of the types of businesses it considers “essential” to the street’s character. These include Brown Thomas department store, Weir and Sons jewellers and Bewley’s Cafe. These businesses are “major magnets” for the street, the council says, and it is a specific aim of the planning regulations to protect them.

The council also hopes to maximise the use of buildings by suggesting specific uses for upper floors including restaurants, tailors, hairdressers and beauticians. It also hopes that residential units will be included in vacant upper floors.

While the council cannot evict any existing undesirable retailers from the street, it hopes that they will gradually disappear as the quality of new businesses improves.

© The Irish Times – January 10, 2007

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