Starbucks brews up changes to keep store
The Starbucks franchise holder in Ireland has applied for fresh approval for a café at a Dublin retail park, in an effort to avert a further refusal from An Bord Pleanála which blocked it last year.
The franchise holder, through a company called Tanrat, now intends make the coffee shop at Airside in Swords inaccessible directly from the public footpath outside the premises.
Instead, it will only be accessible from within the Smyths toy store that it adjoins.
The Irish Starbucks franchise holder, Entertainment Enterprises, is controlled by brothers Ciaran and Colm Butler, who also control Tanrat.
A number of Starbucks outlets have been opened around the country in the past without proper planning approval.
The row over the Starbucks outlet at Airside in Swords has been rumbling on for more than two years.
Tanrat had previously insisted that the new Starbucks didn't require planning permission because it was still a "shop" and had not deviated from the space's original use.
But An Bord Pleanála determined in 2016 that the Starbucks premises was clearly a café and was not an exempted development.
In February 2017, Fingal County Council refused permission for retention of the Starbucks outlet.
Tanrat appealed that decision to An Bord Pleanála, but that appeal was rejected in September last year.
An Bord Pleanála ruled that the site at which the Airside Starbucks is located is zoned for retail warehousing.
The use of that space as a restaurant or café is only permitted where it is contained within and ancillary to a retail warehousing unit, it noted.
"The coffee shop by reason of its physical separation, lack of sufficient connectivity, separate opening hours, independent external signage and direct access onto the public domain cannot be considered to comply with the foregoing requirements," An Bord Pleanála said at the time.
Now Tanrat has sought to secure permission for retention of the Starbucks outlet by amending its accessibility and hours of operation.
"The development will consist of: permission for amendments to the coffee shop unit to allow for additional internal links between the coffee shop unit and the existing Smyths Toys store through internal screening and sliding doors, as well as closure of existing independent access to coffee shop, removing direct external access," the application from Tanrat states.