City parking rules relaxed to help shops

Cormac Murphy

DUBLIN city's parking standards are to be reformed to allow the zone compete with out-of-town centres such as Dundrum and Blanchardstown.

The availability of parking was identified in a new report as a critical issue when it comes to deciding where to shop.

Construction group Chartered Land told the council that, in order to maintain the city centre "at the top of the retail hierarchy", adequate provision for motorists was necessary.

In the council report, it said supermarket customers in particular require accessible car parking.

Retail giants Tesco, Aldi and Lidl also highlighted the need to ensure drivers are properly catered for when new developments are built.

"Car parking is seen as a competitive advantage and parking standards as an important factor influencing the location of retail development," the local authority noted.

"The retailers view is that the car parking standards are restrictive," it added.

The council has now proposed a more flexible approach.

It wants to remove the rule of one car space per 400 sqm of retail space in favour of a case-by-case assessment.

The change would affect city areas, referred to as Zone 1.

The council said, while parking need not be provided for smaller stores, it may be possible if the supermarket is part of a wider scheme.

Car parking in Zone 1 for supermarkets would be at the discretion of the local authority, it recommended.

For Zone 2 and 3, the council has retained the current rule of one space per 100 sqm and 30 sqm, respectively.

However, in relation to Zone 2, a flexible approach has been suggested "whereby additional car parking may be permitted".

One example might be where a transport assessment demonstrates the "proposed level of car parking will not adversely impact on the road network".

Among the issues taken into account when a deviation from the standard is considered would be the civic importance of the scheme and the accessibility of the surrounding area.

The report is to be discussed by the transport and traffic special policy committee this week in advance of the expected adoption of the measures.