Business body seeks to gentrify district by ban on sex shops, tattooists and tanning salons
Sex shops should be banned and fast-food shops, convenience shops and lap-dancing clubs should be phased out of the South William Street area, according to a report by the Dublin City Business Association.
The report also calls for all on-street parking in the South William Street area to be removed and says the National Asset Management Agency should ensure that the buildings it owns in the area do not become neglected and derelict.
“Adult shops are an undesirable use in such a high-end retail area,” says the report, which was also published by the Dublin Civic Trust and lays out a plan for how the South William Street area should be developed to make it more enticing for high-end shoppers and tourists.
Sex shops should be banned within 500m of a place of worship or educational institution, the report says. “This measure is based on one introduced in New York City by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and successfully dealt with this particular land use issue,” the report says.
Tattoo shops, tanning salons, casinos, discount shops, phone shops and bookmakers should also not be allowed in the area, which should be more focused on drawing in specialised food shops, art galleries and cafes and restaurants, the report says.
It also warns against allowing too many pubs in the area, adding that, “a Temple Bar cluster of pubs or ‘super-pubs’ should be prevented at all costs”.
“We want to see less take-away fast food. There will always be a place for fast food but it should not be dominant or allowed to take over,” said Tom Coffey, chief executive of the Dublin City Business Association, at the publication of the report yesterday. He said while current fast-food shops and convenience shops, prevalent on Grafton Street, would not be driven out, if the shops became vacant they should be replaced by high-end retailers.
“We want this area to specialise for the top end of the market. We don’t want a mass market area,” he added.
There is a “creeping dereliction” in buildings in the area owned by State institutions, including Nama, which owns about 80 buildings in the area, Mr Coffey said.
“There is a perception Nama are only interested in maximising a return to the State . . . but they also have a social responsibility to take into account the social dimension,” said Dick Gleeson, city planner at Dublin city Council.
“What we want to do is have landlords engaging to make things better,” said Mr Coffey.
He said he was confident Dublin City Council would implement the plan which he said should take seven years to complete. It also envisages widening footpaths in the area and removing bike stands where they are causing problems for pedestrians.
The report uses examples of London’s Covent Garden and Copenhagen’s Kompagnistræde on how the area might develop. It does not recommend turning more streets in the area into pedestrianised zones. While there will be no on-street parking under the plan, there will be access for cars to multistorey car parks. It also warns about pop-up shops in vacant premises being used by companies for advertising purposes.
RECOMMENDATIONS WHAT'S WANTED
* Boutique and specialist shops should be encouraged.
* Adult shops, fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, discount shops, tattoo parlours, tanning salons, casinos, lap-dancing clubs, phone shops and bookmakers should not be allowed.
* More statues and works of art should be added to the area, drawing on the interest the Phil Lynott statute on Harry Street has attracted.
* Appropriate spaces should be designated for street entertainers.
* There should be tighter restriction on access by delivery vans. The area should only be open to vans before 10am with delivery of specific vans (for example carrying fresh produce for restaurants) allowed between 2-3pm. Outside of these times deliveries should be made using special cargo bikes.
* A network of bicycle parking bays should be set up but these should not be in areas of high pedestrian footfall. Bike stands and new supplementary stands on poles should be removed in areas where there is a lot of congestion.