DUNNES STORES is in a bitter dispute with neighbouring traders on Dublin’s Drury Street over plans to convert two long standing shops into a goods entrance and an ESB sub-station. The traders have warned Dublin City Council that, if Dunnes gets permission to redevelop the listed buildings, it will set a precedent for major structural changes in the Victorian shopping enclave.
The two shops at the centre of the dispute, 35 and 36, adjoin the underground car-park in Drury Street and are at the centre of a plan by Dunnes to extend its supermarket from South Great George’s Street back to Drury St. They also want to put Dunnes Stores signs on Drury Street, Exchequer Street and South Great George’s Street.
The first response from the city planners suggests that they will have none of it. They have reminded Dunnes that Drury Street is within the south city retail quarter where shops at ground floor level “create more lively, dynamic and successful places”. The removal of the shops and their replacement with a goods entrance and ESB sub-station “is contrary to this policy” and the planners recommend that Dunnes examine alternative locations.
The council also noted that the enlargement of the supermarket suggested that it would operate more as a trolley, than a basket, shopping outlet and inquired as to where trolleys would be stored and how shoppers using trolleys could access nearby car-parks.
“The difference is we’re Irish” is the Dunnes boast in radio ads. Does that give them the right to destroy a lovely shopping street?