News

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Grafton Street businesses express concern: Dust, loud noise and overflowing litter bins

By Clodagh Sheehy

Published 25/06/2014|10:32

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20 Jun 2014; General view of pavement works on Grafton Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Grafton Street has not been repaved since the 1980s. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Overflowing litter bins combined with dust and loud noise from stone-cutting are an immediate concern for businesses on Grafton Street.

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Most see the rest of the disruption as a kind of necessary evil which will be worthwhile in the longer term.

However, others, like Guy Hancock from the Cigar Emporium, say the street is “an absolute mess”.

“Grafton Street should be the equivalent of Bond Street in London, Oak Street in Chicago or Park Avenue in New York.

Iconic

“It is an iconic street that everyone should be proud of.

“Instead it is a street where we pay crazy rents and it does not even have nice plants.”

Mr Hancock says in years gone by the street had smaller, individual shops which contributed to the character of the street but these have been replaced by large department stores.

 “Right now it might as well be any street in England – any dirty street in England,” he said.

He is completely unhappy that the new paving is “porous and pulling in the dirt” and says on a wet day the new paving “looks absolutely miserable”.

When the paving work started last year “we were really excited and enthused but straight away it looked worse”, he told the Herald.

When the paving outside his door was being done “it didn’t really affect trade that much but when it was finished it looked horrendous”.

However, Graeme McQueen of Dublin Chamber of Commerce says that most traders are happy the work is running to schedule and likely to

finish in late September or early October.

He consulted with Chamber members in recent days and says people take the view that since the street has not been repaved since the 1980s, the work is necessary and will be worth it in the long-run.

Consulted

Businesses did flag the immediate problem of the overflowing bins along with the noise and dust.

“When the work started Dublin City Council took away many of the bins. They brought in empty blue oil cans but the traders didn’t like them,” he said.

“In the last few weeks with the good weather there has been a huge increase in takeaway food and litter generally so the traders want the City Council to empty the bins more often.”

He conceded that “while the street does look very dirty at the moment the flip side is that tourists, who had an impression of Ireland over the last five or six years as being in recession are now seeing regenerations and new investment”.

There had been an influx of new retailers and there were now only

one or two vacant premises on the street.

 “This time last year it was a street of closures and examinerships whereas now there are signs of life and confidence even though its still a very tough business environment,” he said.

Mr McQueen noted that the City Council was looking at other options to keep down the dust and noise emanating from the paving work.

“One of the difficulties is that if they were to put up solid panels around the work area, these would need to be supported against the wind on the inside and would take up so much space it would be necessary to close the entire street,” he said.

csheehy@herald.ie

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