herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Takeaways, adult shops and arcades face O'Connell Street ban in new plans

Clerys clock

CHIPPERS, adult shops and arcades may be banned from opening on O'Connell Street in future.

Dublin City Council is to consider a new plan for future development of the street -including the former Clerys department store.

Clerys closed last June after the company, OCS Operations Ltd, which had been running the shop, was placed into liquidation, resulting in the loss of over 400 jobs.

The draft scheme of special planning control which also includes Henry Street, North Earl Street and Middle Abbey Street, as well as Westmoreland Street and D'Olier Street, is designed to protect the area's architectural, cultural, civic and historic character.

However, it will also encourage future 'appropriate' development.

The scheme discourages "less appropriate uses" of premises and gives extra planning powers to protect existing shops of "special significance".

Certain types of shops, including amusement arcades, bookmakers, fast-food outlets, mobile-phone shops or "adult entertainment" shops, will not be given permission under the scheme.

However, the council doesn't have the power to close shops already in existence, but rather prevents further outlets from opening.

Additional planning permission will be required for any change to "existing important historic stores" - incuding Clerys department store, the Gresham Hotel and Easons.

"It is an objective of the scheme of special planning control to protect such uses that contribute significantly to the special character of the area," the plan outlines, according to a report in the Irish Times.

However, it references permission to change retail format and layout of important historic stores, in line with changing consumer demand.

"In the event of any such proposals being submitted, the primary objective will be to attract uses and formats that will contribute to the development of a strong and competitive retail sector on O'Connell Street and the restoration of the street as the principal civic thoroughfare of the city and a major shopping destination," the report says.

Consultation

Natrium, which previously said it wants to turn the Clerys building into a "mixed use destination", hasn't lodged any planning application to the council.

In June, city councillors voted to stop Clerys being used for offices or a hotel, but such a restriction can be enforced only if it is in compliance with planning policies.

The scheme will be available for public consultation and submissions for eight weeks. The final plan must be approved by city councillors before it comes into force.

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