Action as Starbucks opens in Limerick 'without proper permission'

Enforcement proceedings issued against operator of branch

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

Action as Starbucks opens in Limerick 'without proper permission'

The Thomas Street Starbucks branch has applied for planning retention

A BRANCH of Starbucks in Limerick city has opened without proper planning permission.

Enforcement proceedings have been issued against the company which operates a branch of the coffee shop chain at the Thomas Street centre, which opened 12 months ago.

Limerick City and County Council wrote to Dublin firm Tornup Ltd expressing concern the development is “unauthorised” and is in breach of planning regulations.

It is understood council planners are of the view the company does not have adequate planning permission in place.

Since the letter was issued, the firm has applied for retention planning permission for the use of the coffee shop and signage at the corner of Catherine Street and Thomas Street.

Council planners, it is understood, wrote to company management informing them if matters are not rectified, court proceedings may be instigated.

In its application for retention, Tornup Ltd pointed out that permission for a coffee shop in the same area was sought and granted previously, with the application lodged in 2002.

It also pointed out that the restaurant and local shop uses are permitted under the local zoning.

“It is therefore respectfully submitted that [these] use classes are comparable to such a use and therefore establish that a coffee shop use such as that proposed to be retained under the current application is acceptable,” the application states.

“The use of a coffee shop is compliant with the zoning designation as it adds to the vibrancy of the area and complements the mixed-use city centre environment, helping to provide for a more integrated shopping and leisure experience for visitors.”

Fianna Fail councillor Jerry O’Dea, who sits on the economic committee said he is “very disappointed” this has happened.

“There are many businesses around the city which have gone to great lengths to ensure they comply with all the planning laws. The same rules should apply to everybody,” he said, “The whole idea a coffee shop can open without proper planning permission is ludicrous.”

The HSE has also expressed concern over the number of toilets available to both staff and customers in the glass-plated building.

In a submission, its environmental health service directorate says it is not satisfied with the application for retention permission.

They say this is because there is “no staff toilet provided for food workers and the one disabled toilet shown on the plan does not adequately service the number of customers which may be present in the coffee shop at any one time.”

One toilet is recommended for every 25 customers using a cafe.

Neither the council or Starbucks wished to comment when contacted by the Limerick Leader.