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February 9, 2011

An Taisce accuses council of ‘reckless neglect’ of city centre

logo_antaisceAn Taisce is very concerned about the seriously deteriorating condition of certain streets in Dublin 2, owing to an absence of effective Planning Enforcement action in relation to shopfront planning permissions and unauthorised shopfronts, signage and use. The main thoroughfares immediately south of the Liffey – Westmoreland Street, Dame Street, Parliament Street and the south Quays – are becoming a black spot of lower-order shops and fast-food restaurants with cheap, garish shopfronts and signage.

The national heritage trust has lodged a complaint with the council which it said was guilty of “reckless neglect” of the city centre by not taking action against unauthorised shopfronts and signage, and in some cases allowing businesses to operate for years without planning permission.

The increasing problem of poor quality shopfronts is city-wide, but is most pronounced in these streets because of their major civic and architectural importance, and because they comprise the most visible areas of the city to visitors, right on the tourism nodes of Trinity College, Dublin Castle and Temple Bar. The current neglect of this area by the City Council is reckless because the capital is the ‘economic driver’ of the state and so its condition has knock-on effects for the whole country. A poor quality city core will hinder investment and job creation, and tourism revenue.

The Council has granted permission for too many fast-food take-aways in the area in contradiction of its development-plan policies to ensure a balanced mix of uses on city streets and prevent an over-concentration of this use. The recession is creating a big increase in closure and vacancy rates, and a proliferation of discount shops. In this environment, increased vigilance is needed to uphold standards and prevent major deterioration in streets. Instead, there seems to be no planning enforcement in operation at all.

Download the full submission to Dublin City Council

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