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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Ban traders to reduce Grafton Street 'clutter', major landlord urged

Grafton Street. Stock Image
Grafton Street. Stock Image

Street traders should be banned from operating along most parts of Dublin's Grafton Street and confined to an area around St Stephen's Green to reduce "street clutter", according to a major international property investment firm.

HECF Grafton, which is part of the international real estate firm Hines, asked Dublin City Council to introduce such measures earlier this summer as part of a new policy for the development of the Grafton Street area.

The company expressed concern that stallholders detracted from the retail experience and impacted on the visibility and permeability of streets in the area, particularly at junctions with Grafton Street.

"The location of pitches for on-street trading can restrict the flow of pedestrians and visibility for shoppers at key locations and affect retail vitality on these streets if not carefully considered," consultants acting for HECF Grafton said.

It also called for signage used by street traders to be "rationalised".

HECF Grafton is one of the largest landlords in the Grafton Street area and owns a number of properties on the street, including buildings which house Claire's Accessories, Fields jewellers and Hickey's pharmacy.

Draft

It also owns the Chatham and King mixed-used building on South King Street currently occupied by Zara, H&M and Warehouse and the Creation Arcade on Duke Street which includes a Nespresso outlet.

In a submission to the council on a draft scheme of Special Planning Control for Grafton Street and Environs in August, HECF Grafton said it welcomed the plan's vision of reinvigorating the area as "the city's most dynamic retail experience".

"The flow of pedestrians and visibility of shop fronts are key elements of the public realm management and it is important to protect and improve the legibility and permeability of the streets to ensure its continued vitality," said HECF Grafton.

The Luxembourg-registered company added: "Currently street trading is inhibiting the flow of pedestrians in this core retail area as patrons of the street traders have to stop in the street to view the stalls."

HECF Grafton claimed the situation could be improved by operating a centralised location for casual trading such as an area near the St Stephen's Green end of Grafton Street, and called for a review of casual trading bye-laws.

"A centralised and focused assembly of street traders would provide for a meaningful market area-type experience for casual trading, which would reduce street clutter, especially at important junctions with secondary retail streets," the company said.

It claimed there was an urgent need to upgrade the public realm of secondary streets off Grafton Street. While it acknowledged the upgrade of paving on Grafton Street had been successful, it claimed the public realm in other areas was "of low quality".

The council did not adopt HECF's recommendations in its special planning control scheme which was approved in early September. It also ignored suggested changes made by Eir and Ulster Bank.

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