A planning battle is brewing over the operation of an outdoor cafe in a repurposed shipping container at the site of Charlie Chawke’s Goat Grill pub in south Dublin.
During the pandemic, the Chawke hospitality group put in place an outdoor coffee kiosk called Box’d Coffee, signage and a series of ancillary elements providing outdoor entertainment for customers at the Goatstown venue, including a large TV screen.
However, the initiative has fallen foul of planners with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council serving two planning enforcement notices on the business. The second notice lists 10 separate items to be addressed.
The notices require a series of actions including the removal of structures on site and the reinstatement of grass surfaces within eight weeks. The council demanded the removal of was a trailer “which appears to be a mobile bar”.
Box’d Coffee commenced its operations in November 2020 and opens at 8am most days, serving coffee and snacks.
In response to the enforcement notices, Mr Chawke’s Charjon Investments Ltd has lodged plans with the council to regularise the situation and retain Box’d Coffee, the ancillary elements and signage for three years. Mr Chawke appears to be relying on Covid-19 planning legislation to secure this permission.
In a submission lodged with the application, Tom Phillips and Associates has requested that any council enforcement action be postponed until a decision on the planning application for retention has been made.
Mr Phillips stated that the Box’d Coffee outdoor cafe/kiosk first opened at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and “provides an open space meeting point for members of the public to gather and socialise in a safe and responsible manner”.
Mr Phillips noted that the Goat Grill was a long-established public house and restaurant, first licensed in 1792. He said Covid-19 was still a global problem, and many members of the public are still considered at high risk of serious infection “and the provision of amenities and services that can cater according to this reality remains critical”.
The submission stated that the success of Box’d Coffee has also resulted in increased employment opportunities and revenue generation at the Goat.
Mr Phillips told the council that a review of the relevant statutory documents — including Covid-related legislation “indicate that the operation of Box’d Coffee was consistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the local area”.
He noted that the council previously granted a three-year planning retention for Fired Up Pizza at the Goat site in October 2020.
A decision is due on the application in August.