Plans for O’Connell St doughnut shop rejected

Attempts to preserve Dublin’s best-known shopping streets for high-end retail outlets are being reinforced with a recent decision by the planning authorities to reject plans for a doughnut shop on O’Connell St.

Plans for O’Connell St doughnut shop rejected

By Sean McCarthaigh

Attempts to preserve Dublin’s best-known shopping streets for high-end retail outlets are being reinforced with a recent decision by the planning authorities to reject plans for a doughnut shop on O’Connell St.

An Bord Pleanála has upheld the recent decision of Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission for the change of use of a building on the city’s main thoroughfare from retail to a bakery and coffee shop specialising in doughnuts.

It rejected an appeal by Donut C&B to locate a proposed new outlet in a former photography shop close to the Spire and junction with North Earl St.

An Bord Pleanála said the proposed change of use was for a building located in the city centre retail core and on a street designated a Category 1 shopping street under the Dublin City Development Plan.

It said allowing the opening of the Donut C&B outlet would be contrary to the primary objective of strengthening the retail character of the city’s main shopping streets.

“The proposed development would result in a disproportionate number of complementary uses at this location and would undermine the retail strategy for the city centre,” said the board.

Donut C&B argued that the bakery, which is an important element of its business, was a retail use.

“It is a high-quality, boutique coffee shop and bakery like confectionery/boulangerie-type outlets commonplace in premier shopping streets in European cities,” said the company.

It said the outlet would sell a range of confectionery and pastries “and not just donuts” as well as providing a rest area for shoppers.

The company said there was a lack of cafés in the north inner city and a new outlet would encourage footfall in the area.

It received support for its proposed business from Premier Business Centres and Dublin Town which claimed a traditional bakery would add “to the theatre of the area”.

An inspector with An Bord Pleanála, Suzanne Kehely, disputed Donut C&B’s claim that its design was “contemporary architecture of exceptional design quality which is in harmony with the conservation area”.

Ms Kehely said O’Connell St had been “particularly blighted by food-related uses associated with takeaway foods and contributing to littering and also the visual clutter of prominent signage and illumination”.

She claimed the provision for only nine seats and an extensive counter in the outlet would amount to a takeaway premises.

In September, An Bord Pleanála also refused retention permission for the Grafton St branch of Chopped, a chain of gourmet salad bars, for similar reasons.

The board said approving the use of the building for a Chopped outlet would detract from the retail character of a Category 1 street and would result in an undesirable precedent for the further non-retail development of Grafton St.

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