A group of traders from Moore Street in Dublin claim their livelihoods will be severely impacted and “effectively destroyed” by a major proposed development of the former Carlton cinema site on O’Connell Street.
The Moore Street Traders have called on the developer of the project, Dublin Central GP – a subsidiary of the UK-based Hammerson group – to meet their responsibility “to come to an equitable solution” with them.
They warned the developer could face 30 years of protests and legal actions if a solution cannot be found.
The call was made as part of an objection by the group against an application by Dublin Central GP for retention permission for an off-street car park on Moore Lane for a temporary period of four years and 11 months.
The group claims that permitting a temporary car park on a site between Moore Street and O’Connell Street will cause conflict with construction traffic on the other development sites in the area.
They claim the proposed developments will disrupt the natural flow of custom to their long-established trading pitches which rely on footfall along Moore Street.
“When business is slow the traders will call out their prices or best choice of the day. This will be impossible with the noise of heavy vehicles and construction work,” said a consultant to the group, William Doran.
He said the bulk of customers of traders on Moore Street would go elsewhere during construction work on the development as they tended to avoid “challenging and uncomfortable streetscapes.”
Mr Doran said the traders would be required to move from their traditional pitches for the duration of construction work.
He claimed the suggestion that they could move the location of their pitches along Moore Street during the construction was “unworkable nonsense.”
The group of traders claim the application for planning permission for the car park, which has 100 spaces, was “at odds” with the developer’s other plans.
They also pointed out that some businesses in the area had still not recovered the level of trade they enjoyed before construction work began on the Luas Cross City extension.
“The reality here is that O’Connell Street Upper will become a no-go area for citizens and shoppers for a very long time,” said Mr Doran.
“It will be a dirty, dusty, noisy, dangerous and intimidating space for many years,” he added.
The traders claim “the sensible solution” would be to close impacted parts of O’Connell Street and Moore Street during construction of the development with all affected businesses being paid compensation.
Mr Doran said the proposal might seem “drastic” but he believed it was “a practical and elegant solution.”
He said it was likely the developer would spend the next 30 years dealing with protests and court actions unless a solution was found.
In a separate objection, Labour councillor, Declan Meenagh, said the city already had enough car parks.
Mr Meenagh pointed out that an objective of the city development plan was to reduce the number of car parking spaces and to encourage use of public transport.
Dublin Central GP said the use of the car park was “an interim measure only” and would support retail activity in the city centre by providing convenient, short-term parking near Henry Street.
“The temporary car park supports traders on Moore Street,” it added.
Dublin Central GP is currently involved in legal proceedings against Dublin City Council over a vote by councillors in November to designate six buildings as protected structures.
The buildings, which are associated with events of the Easter Rising in 1916, are due for part or whole demolition under the plans for a major redevelopment of a large site centred on the former Carlton cinema on O’Connell Street.
Planning permission for the project was granted in three separate decisions by the council last year but they are subject to appeals to An Bord Pleanála.