Capel Street & The City Markets
Capel Street is one of the city's oldest commercial streets. This study sets out a vision for the street and the adjoining City Markets Area. The study was prepared in 2010 for local businesses and Dublin City Business Association.
Capel Street & The City Markets Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Prepared by Dublin Civic Trust for the businesses of Capel Street and Dublin City Business Association Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Dublin Civic Trust is an independent charitable organisation that works to recognise and protect the cityâ€™s architectural heritage. Dublin Civic Trust 4 Castle Street Dublin 2 Tel: (01) 475 6911 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.dublincivictrust.ie 2 Contents Executive Summary 4 1. Introduction 6 2. Overview of Existing Dublin City Council Plans and Planning Policy for the Area 16 3. Retail Mix and Shop Uses on Capel Street 21 4. Quality of the Street 28 5. Accessibility and Connectivity 39 6. Creating a City Markets Area 53 7. Summary 63 This study was commissioned in May 2010 by the Capel Street Business Association and Dublin City Business Association. The study was compiled and written by Dublin Civic Trust. Written, Photographed and Mapped by: Stephen Coyne MIPI Additional Text and Photography: Graham Hickey and Geraldine Walsh, CEO Project Coordination: Geraldine Walsh Edited by: Graham Hickey ÂŠ DUBLIN CIVIC TRUST 2010 3 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Executive Summary The study area of this report is defined by Capel Street, which was laid out in the 17th century and is today flanked by 18th and 19th merchant townhouses and shops. It is one of the best known commercial streets in the city centre, home to the City Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market of 1892 and the historic remnants of St. Maryâ€™s Abbey and the Debtorâ€™s Prison. The area is also bounded by the institutions of Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street and the Kings Inns and Law Library, which, combined, feed a large footfall into the commercial life of surrounding streets. The observations and policies in this document are derived from consultation with Mr Patrick Lenehan of Capel Street Business Association, Dublin City Business Association, and Mr Joe Crosbie, Dublin City Council, Manager of the City Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, all of whom recognise the enormous possibilities for the area and wish to participate in managing its future development. The conclusions and recommendations derived from this report can be summarised as follows: Create a gastronomic centre and Food Quarter for the city built around a revitalised City Markets with a substantial retail business, blending locally produced produce with ethnic stalls. Plan the transition of the Fruit and Vegetable Market from one of wholesale to retail, moving towards the model of the English Market in Cork, encouraging new associate businesses to form in the surrounding streets. Develop Capel Street as a destination for niche and specialised shopping. Many of the existing individual shop units are ideally suited to this purpose. Emphasise the quality of the street and its architecture. Encourage the improvement of the quality of the shop fronts on Capel Street and on surrounding streets where they have been inappropriately designed or badly maintained. Devise a programme of improvements to the facades of buildings on Capel Street, including repair and replacement of correct fenestration, brick cleaning and the removal of redundant signage, all of which would greatly enhance the appearance of the street. Interpret the architectural and historical background of the area and make it more accessible to the public. Arrange displays of aspects of its history. Promote the qualities of Capel Street as an Architectural Conservation Area, creating an increase in public awareness, interest and involvement in the street, with more people shopping in the area and enjoying its diversity. Revisit and implement Dublin City Councilâ€™s planning policies and designations for the area, and designate Capel Street an Area of Special Planning Control. 4 Executive Summary Maximise on the close institutional links in the quarter, such as between its educational, legal and cultural establishments, to support the area as a distinctive city quarter offering diversity for shopping and an exciting cafĂŠ society. Enhance connectivity between the various city centre areas identified in this report to form a distinctive city district of the North West City Centre. Develop a new Luas stop to the south of the Market Hall, to be called City Markets, which would greatly improve the connectivity of the area to the wider city. Widen the footpaths, reducing the number of parking spaces and undertake tree planting along the pavement of Capel Street. Aspire to create an attractive environment similar to Exchequer Street. Explore the potential to pedestrianise a key east-west route from Mary Street to the City Markets and on to Smithfield. Continue to add to the range of facilities in the area, providing improved quality of life for the existing residential population and increasing the desirability of the area as a place to live in. The Capel Street and City Markets area bears testimony to the development of Dublin: to its monastic past, its legal and administrative traditions, its building typologies, but most especially to its commercial evolution. Today, the area retains this strong mercantile tradition with enormous potential to further develop as a thriving city centre district. September 2010 5 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 1 Introduction Capel Street & The City Markets was commissioned by the Capel Street Business Association and Dublin City Business Association to offer an independent analysis of the streetâ€™s existing condition and future potential. The aim of the study is to put forward a vision for how the street and the adjoining Markets area might develop over the coming years as a distinctive commercial quarter of the city, with a different yet complementary character to the traditional retail areas such as Henry Street and Grafton Street. The analysis in this study is intended to be objective, with suggested initiatives which can be undertaken to improve and enhance the quality of Capel Street. The study is intended to provoke discussion among the business community on the street and to provide a template for a renewed partnership between the local businesses and local residents and other key stakeholders such as Dublin City Council and relevant government bodies. View south along Capel Street towards the great 18th century portico and copper dome of City Hall. 6 1: Introduction Purpose of the Study This study has been prepared to address a number of issues: In spite of a period of dramatic commercial expansion in the city centre between 1998 and 2008, followed more recently by a challenging economic downturn, Capel Street has benefitted only marginally during this time, and now finds itself without a clear vision of its place in the cityâ€™s retail hierarchy. The street has traditionally been associated with a number of trades and specialist retailers such as hardware, furniture and tailoring. These trades, while still important to the street, are now less prevalent, and in many cases face significant competition from retail parks and shopping centres outside of the city centre, as well as changing tastes and consumer trends. There is a realisation that the street now needs to refresh itself and to offer a different range of attractions, businesses and uses in order to retain its vitality and market share and to encourage increased footfall. Capel Street is the most significant commercial street in the north west of the city centre and is at the heart of a wider area encompassing the City Markets, Smithfield, the legal quarter centred on the Four Courts, Blackhall Place and Kings Inns, and Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street. While these are all assets of great potential and economic value to the north west city centre, they fail to integrate successfully with one another or to tap into the wider residential areas which surround them. A renewed Capel Street and environs could provide a catalyst for the further regeneration of the north west quarters of the city centre and become a thriving hub for this wider community. There is a growing sense that Capel Street and the City Markets can develop together as a distinctive and high quality retail district complemented by cafĂŠs, restaurants, food businesses and specialist uses. Capel Street has a considerable built heritage and its own particular charm and character, however the street is often overlooked and undervalued by the wider city. The street contains many fine 18th and 19th century buildings which together form a remarkably intact and cohesive urban streetscape. The street is now designated an Architectural Conservation Area, and this designation brings with it certain responsibilities and challenges for the businesses of the street, but also offers a wealth of opportunities. It is considered that the benefits of the ACA designation have not been sufficiently explained to key stakeholders on the street and that a clear connection has still to be made between protecting and enhancing the architectural quality of Capel Street and more fully realising its economic potential. The street has seen a considerable influx of ethnic traders and restaurants in recent times, reflecting the increased diversity of the city centreâ€™s population over the last decade. While these new traders have brought interest and flavour to the street, a greater effort is required to integrate these businesses more successfully into a high quality vision for Capel Street and its environs. These new businesses are a great opportunity for the street and should form an integral part of its future direction. 7 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Key Stakeholders on the Street A number of important stakeholders are identified on the street and in its immediate environs: The Ratepayers and Community of Capel Street: With over 150 shops and premises, Capel Street is an important element in the commercial life of the city. Businesses range from general stores to speciality shops; restaurants, cafés and bars; banks, financial institutions and offices; and casual street traders. The street also includes educational and community uses and has been successful in recent years in reintroducing a resident population through schemes such as Living Over the Shop and the development of modern apartments in the area. The regeneration of Ormond Square with its central park and playground has enhanced the quality of life in surrounding streets. Dublin City Business Association: The Dublin City Business Association is the professional retail federation of Dublin City and represents many of the business interests along Capel Street. Dublin City Council: The Council is the democratically elected body which governs the city and is the principal provider of services such as roads maintenance, public lighting, waste disposal, cleansing, business services, planning and development, and recreation and culture. Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street: The DIT college at Bolton Street and Linenhall is home to a large number of students of architecture, mechanical and civil engineering, environmental planning and construction skills, from apprentice to postgraduate levels and as such is the most significant educational institution in the area. The nearby Kings Inns also includes a significant legal student body as the centre of professional legal education in Ireland The City Markets: The wholesale markets of Mary’s Lane are operated by Dublin City Council and serve many of the food and restaurant businesses of the city as well as the street traders of Moore Street. The market represents a major commercial anchor for the area. Other stakeholders include the Office of Public Works which manages a number of historic sites in the area including St. Mary’s Abbey and the former Debtors’ Prison, the Courts Service which manages legal buildings including the Four Courts and the former Green Street Courthouse, and the Railway Procurement Agency which manages Luas. 8 1: Introduction Defining the Study Area Capel Street is one of Dublin’s best known commercial streets and has been a centre of commercial life in the city since the 18th century. The street runs from its junction with the quays at Grattan Bridge northwards to Bolton Street and is characterised by straight and regular terraces of four and five storey brick and stuccoed buildings, most of which have commercial shops at ground floor. These terraces are interspersed with other fine buildings such as public houses and grander commercial properties. In recent years, a number of newer developments have appeared, particularly at the street’s junction with Abbey Street Upper and Mary’s Abbey. Capel Street was originally laid out for residential use in the 17th century and formed part of an extension of the medieval city on the north side of the river, developed by Sir Humphrey Jervis, a property developer who built his estate on the lands of the former St Mary’s Abbey. In 1676, Jervis built a new bridge across the river, called Essex Bridge, thereby establishing Capel Street as one of the principal thoroughfares between the north and south sides of the city. Capel Street quickly became one of the city’s most fashionable addresses, lined with free-standing mansions with gardens and courtyards - many gable-fronted to the street in the ’Dutch Billy’ tradition. However, during the 18th century these were gradually replaced or refaced with the two-bay brick facades and buildings we see today, and the street increasingly became a focus for commercial activity. By 1800 commerce had won over domestic use, and the street had developed in to the form much as we find it today. It has retained most of its 19th century footprint, with the exception of the area east of Capel Street where the City Vegetable Wholesale Market and Fish Market were built in the 1890s. Capel Street and its environs as shown in the 1847 Ordnance Survey map of Dublin. The study area is outlined in blue. 9 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District In architectural terms, Capel Street remains one of the most intact commercial streets in Dublin, despite changes in other parts of the city. This is perhaps its greatest strength, offering residents, shoppers and visitors to the street a high quality urban environment while providing the basis for the street to develop its own distinctive brand and identity within the retail hierarchy of the city. The history and architectural quality of the thoroughfare have been well documented and Dublin Civic Trust have been to the fore in promoting the merits of Capel Street. In 1996 the Trust undertook an in-depth inventory of the properties along the street, which included details of the many notable interiors and historic features found behind the street’s modest facades. Sadly, many of these important and attractive interiors have been lost or altered in the intervening years, though thankfully much of the exterior historic fabric of the street remains. In 2001, the Trust published a study of Capel Street documenting its built heritage and proposing practical solutions to some of the issues faced by property owners on the street. The publication, Capel Street: A Study of the Past, A Vision for the Future, is intended to be read in conjunction with this study and can inform the owners and occupiers of premises on the street of the varied and interesting buildings of quality which they occupy. The publication is available from Dublin Civic Trust. Also of relevance to Capel Street is the recent publication by Dublin Civic Trust, commissioned by DCBA, Defining Dublin’s Historic Core: Realising the Potential of the City Centre and its Georgian Squares for Citizens, Visitors and Business. This sets out a vision for the city centre as a quality urban environment that embraces the historic epicentre of the city. The publication Capel Street D1: A Study of the Past, A Vision for the Future (2001) celebrates the history of the street and its buildings and is available from Dublin Civic Trust. 10 Defining Dublin’s Historic Core was published in 2010 and is can be viewed on Dublin Civic Trust's website at www.dublincivictrust.ie. 1: Introduction Capel Street in a Wider Urban Cluster Capel Street is often viewed as forming the ‘edge’ of the main commercial area of the north city. The street’s location at the apex of the long retail spine from Talbot Street through to Henry Street and Mary Street, the city’s principal retail streets, reinforces this perception. However, its situation in fact allows it to act as a bridge between the traditional heart of the north city centre and lesser known areas such as City Markets, with its atmospheric network of streets and lanes, many cobbled, which radiate out from the impressive 19th century Market Hall; and Smithfield with its wide cobbled public space and striking new developments. Tucked in behind is found the quiet haven of Green Street Park bounded by an 18th century prison and a handsome gothic church. These areas were identified in the 1990s as centres for rejuvenation in the city, and experienced a significant degree of investment and regeneration stimulated first under the HARP initiative of the late 1990s and early 2000s, and more latterly by the development of Luas, which travels through and connects these areas. Encompassing these and other areas, a series of distinctive quarters which had developed over centuries have been fragmented in recent years, in spite of efforts to consolidate them. Further analysis should be undertaken to give insight into how these clusters are complementary to each other and interdependent, and together form a cohesive economic and social unit. 1. A Legal and Education area stretching from the Four Courts on the quays north to the Kings Inns at the top of Henrietta Street, encompassing the Dublin Institute of Technology at Bolton Street and Linenhall. This area is a centre for the legal profession with many offices accommodating solicitors and barristers, while Church Street is home to the Law Library and other associated buildings including the Incorporated Law Society. Legal Residential DIT Museums/ Heuston Station/ Phoenix Park Smithfield/ Amenity Legal Capel Street Markets Distinctive clusters of the north west city centre - the critical catchment area of Capel Street 11 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 2. An Amenity/Social district centred on Smithfield square with its cinema, bars and restaurants, a planned music venue, and the Old Jameson Distillery and Museum. 3. A Residential area centred around Stoneybatter, Manor Street and Church Street, including many of the more recent apartment developments along the quays. 4. The Museum cluster at Heuston and Kilmainham, including the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks and IMMA at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. This area also encompasses the main approach to the Phoenix Park, perhaps the cityâ€™s most valuable open space, and a range of important buildings such as the new Criminal Courts and Heuston Station.. In fact, when one considers that Capel Street and the City Markets together form a commercial hub for this wide area of the north west city centre, Capel Streetâ€™s value and potential can be more fully realised. Itâ€™s greatest opportunity, therefore, exists in the street fully exploiting its position as the gateway to the north west city: a high quality retail and commercial street drawing shoppers and visitors from other parts of the city to a revitalised City Markets district and onwards to Smithfield and beyond. A strategic plan is needed in order to permit the strengthening and retention of the existing social, cultural and economic infrastructure. Smithfield Square could develop as a centre for entertainment and nightlife. 12 1: Introduction Capel Street: A Cultural Destination? The Capel Street and City Markets area offers a surprising number of cultural attractions and places of interest which can be capitalised on to further enhance the area’s appeal. Its proximity to Temple Bar and the Old City area around Christ Church Cathedral means it should be capable of tapping into the considerable numbers of tourists and visitors which concentrate around these venues each day throughout the year. It should be possible to develop a tourist route, encouraging visitors to the north of the city to experience the early morning hustle and bustle of the City Markets, to visit the medieval curiosities of St. Michan’s Church, St. Mary’s Abbey Chapter House and Debtors’ Prison and enjoy the Georgian splendour of Henrietta Street and Dominick Street. The City Markets have the potential to be fully exploited to create a gastronomic centre for the city, blending traditional produce with ethnic stalls and offering a daily attraction for food lovers. Proximity to the Market could in turn attract restaurateurs, cookery schools and co-operatives. Capel Street should be able to draw shoppers from Henry Street and further afield with a highly distinctive and quirky mix of shops and boutiques, interspersed with the more specialist shops for which the street remains known. A vibrant café culture and active street life will offer visitors the incentive to linger and to explore, and spur on a greater use of the smaller green spaces in the area such as the newly renovated pocket parks at Halston Green and Chancery Park. To achieve this, an integrated conservation approach is necessary, based on full attention to existing plans and infrastructural coordination, with rigorous implementation and monitoring. Attraction Green Space Luas Stop Suggested Luas Stop Potential Tourist Route 13 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Undiscovered Dublin: The Markets Area Few Dubliners have much reason to visit the area west of Capel Street, however this atmospheric district represents a largely undervalued and undiscovered part of the city. The Markets area stretches from the quays to North King Street and includes historic churches, the former Green Street Courthouse and the Debtors’ Prison, one of the city’s oldest convents at George’s Hill, together with a wealth of architectural curiosities, winding cobble-lain streets and lanes and small intimate public spaces and parks. Aerial view of the Markets Area showing main points of interest and through routes (Source: Google Earth). Luas 2 1 City Markets 1 3 2 Former Fish Markets 4 3 Ormond Square 4 Meetinghouse Lane and St. Mary’s Abbey Chapter House 14 1: Introduction The area is dominated by the Fruit & Vegetable Wholesale Market and the many wholesale businesses which operate around the Market Hall. While a number of large warehouses have developed over the years, most businesses still operate from smaller and older commercial premises, and it is not difficult to imagine the potential of these buildings to be adapted to other uses. The most significant issue for the area is the high level of traffic on its narrow streets, particularly generated by the large HGVs which deliver produce throughout the morning. The areaâ€™s streets and lanes are often unable to cope with this daily influx and the frenetic activity of market deliveries and associated activities. Pedestrian life is largely absent, despite the potential attractiveness of streets and the quality and appealing scale of many buildings. The various streets and lanes often offer tantalising glimpses to the surrounding areas. 8 6 5 Halston Green 5 St. Michanâ€™s Catholic Church 6 Green Street Courthouse 7 Cuckoo Lane 8 7 Maryâ€™s Lane Capel Street Mary Street 15 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 2 Overview of Existing Dublin City Council Plans and Planning Policy for the Area There are a number of Dublin City Council planning policies and objectives in place for Capel Street and its environs which are intended to guide the development of the area as a retail district of the city. These include: Dublin City Development Plan 2005—2011 Draft Dublin City Development Plan 2011—2017 Capel Street Architectural Conservation Area Dublin City Centre: Developing the Retail Core (2005) City Markets Framework Plan (2005) Dublin City Development Plan 2005—2011 The City Development Plan is the primary and statutory planning and policy document of the City Council. A Plan is made every six years by the elected members of the Council and the current plan will expire in March 2011. A review process for the current Plan is now well advanced and a Draft City Development Plan for the period 2011—2017 has been made prior to the final adoption of a new Plan by the Council early in 2011. The Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011 contains the following policies and objectives which relate to Capel Street and its environs. Zoning – The entire street is zoned Z5 “To consolidate and facilitate the development of the central area, and to identify reinforce and strengthen and protect its civic design character and dignity”. The primary purpose of this use zone is to sustain life within the centre of the city through intensive mixed-use development. The Council’s strategy is “to provide a dynamic mix of uses, which interact with each other, create a sense of community and which sustains the vitality of the inner city both by day and night”. Zoning dictates the types of uses which can be developed in a particular area. Conservation Area and the Record of Protected Structure (RPS) – The northern portion of Capel Street, from Little Britain Street and Parnell Street to Bolton Street, is designated a 'Conservation Area'. While this is a non-statutory designation it does have some effect in guiding the types of developments and uses which can take place in the area. In addition there are 53 structures on Capel Street which are on Dublin City Council's Record of Protected Structures. This represents almost 30 per cent of the building stock on Capel Street. These structures are outlined in the zoning map included in the City Development Plan. 16 2: Overview of Existing Dublin City Council Plans and Planning Policy for the Area Key Historic Street – Section 10.3.1 of the Plan identifies Capel Street as a 'key historic street', having varied origins and characteristics, but distinguished by a vibrant mix of retail uses at ground floor and a mix of residential uses and specialist functions on upper floors. Dublin City Council recognises the importance of this route and will seek the retention, repair, conservation and enhancement of historic buildings on the street. Category 1 Principal Shopping Street – Capel Street, south of Parnell Street/Little Britain Street junction is located within the Central Shopping Area and is a Category 1, Principal Shopping Street. In this category the introduction of “non-retail frontages” is contrary to the provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan. Draft Dublin City Development Plan 2011—2017 The new Draft City Development Plan refines Dublin City Council’s policy in relation to Capel Street somewhat. Most significantly, the new Draft Plan re-designates the street as a Category 2 Principal Shopping Street. This re-designation reflects the existing reality on the street where a range of non-retail uses are found including public houses, restaurants and offices. The changed designation will mean that complementary non-retail uses such as cafés and restaurants, which are deemed to contribute to the overall vibrancy and mixed use environment of the street, will be considered favourably by the Council. The principal use on the street should remain retail. The Draft Plan also elaborates on the concept of market streets in the city and includes Capel Street as a market street alongside other important routes such as Thomas Street, Meath Street and Francis Street and the Aungier, Wexford and Camden Street axis. The Draft Plan states that it is the intention that a number of enhancement strategies will be prepared for market streets over the life of the Plan to underpin their regeneration. This Plan offers an opening to the business community on the street to advance a strategy for Capel Street and its environs in partnership with Dublin City Council. 17 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Capel Street Architectural Conservation Area An Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) is a statutory designation designed to protect an area or streetscape of particular importance or character. An area (or streetscape) is considered for designation where it can be demonstrated that it is of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest or value or where an area contributes to the overall appreciation of Protected Structures. All property owners within an ACA must apply for planning permission for any changes to the exterior of a building that materially alters its character. This includes replacing windows and doors, shop fronts and brick repair etc. Capel Street was considered appropriate to be designated as an ACA for a number of reasons: Architectural: The street’s form and layout are considered to offer a strong sense of enclosure and uniformity, reinforced by the vista to the south framed by City Hall on Cork Hill. The street remains one of the most intact commercial streets in Dublin. Most building plots remain unaltered from the middle of the 19th century with the majority of being two bays wide. Building types range from small early Georgian brick houses to tall narrow late 18th and early 19th century buildings, some with ornate Victorian facades. Historical: Capel Street is of special interest historically because the street was the primary thoroughfare between the north and south sides of Dublin city until the construction of O'Connell Bridge in 1794. As such, Capel Street became one of the fashionable addresses in the late seventeenth century and throughout 18th century Dublin. Aerial view of Capel Street showing the extent of the ACA outlined in red. It is the overall policy of Dublin City Council to protect and conserve the character and setting of the ACA, and the ACA document outlines a range of policies and initiatives for the street. The ACA is a recent designation for Capel Street, and as such it is too early to assess its effectiveness in encouraging conservation of built heritage and the improved presentation of buildings and shop fronts. While the ACA places obligations on the owners and occupiers of buildings along the thoroughfare, it is important to state that the designation also provides significant impetus to the traders and residents on Capel Street to enhance the quality of their buildings and the street in general, and to create a more attractive shopping and residential district. This is especially relevant in the context of the ACA’s enlightened policy to discourage the amalgamation of shop units and the development of ’big box’ retail outlets. 18 2: Overview of Existing Dublin City Council Plans and Planning Policy for the Area Dublin City Centre: Developing the Retail Core This strategy for the commercial core of the city was prepared by Dublin City Council in 2007. The document is intended to assist the Council and the cityâ€™s business community in developing Dublin city centre as a world class shopping destination. While much of the focus of the document is given to the main retail streets such as Henry Street/Mary Street on the north side, and Grafton Street and its environs to the south of the River Liffey, the strategy is largely intended to lift and develop the entire central shopping district, including Capel Street. The strategy states: â€œIn the context of a renewed and expanded city centre, Dublin City Council recognises that this is an opportune time for Dublin to address these challenges and to reposition itself as a world class shopping destination, supported and nourished by a rich diversity of leisure and cultural uses. In order to achieve this goal, the City Centre will have to offer more to the visitor to compete effectively with both home grown and overseas competition. It will have to build on its existing retail offer to provide greater choice and diversity, including mainstream, specialist and alternative shopping experiences, as well as a wide range of complementary uses.â€? The Strategy provides analysis of the measures needed to promote the city centre as a place to shop, including accessibility and mobility within the city centre, new development opportunities, areas which require action from the business community such as shop fronts and improved retail mix, and public domain projects which would enhance and improve the quality of the area. City Markets Framework Plan 2005 The City Markets area is located to the west of Capel Street and includes the Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Markets, the former Fish Market and the surrounding network of streets and lanes, most of which are currently occupied by wholesale businesses attached to the market. The Framework Plan area also includes Capel Street. The Framework Plan, published by Dublin City Council in 2005, is intended to provide for the development of this area as a world class retail food market surrounded by a range of new retail and commercial opportunities, apartments and cultural and community facilities. The Framework Plan envisages a restored Market Hall given over to retailers on the lines of the famous English Market in Cork. The Market Hall would be set at the centre of a new urban space enclosed on all sides by new development on the site of existing warehouses and the former Fish Market. In 2007 a concept of the proposed development was agreed between the Council (see over) and its preferred bidder for the site, Markets Consortium Limited. The rather grandiose plans for the Markets have since fallen victim to the economic downturn and it is unlikely the scheme will ever develop along the lines envisaged under the Framework Plan. However, the development of the Market Hall towards retail business and the regeneration of the surrounding area remain objectives of the Council and the Framework Plan remains a useful tool for guiding future development applications in the area. 19 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District An image of the proposed development around the City Markets published in 2007. The proposals failed to materialise due to the changing economic circumstances. Conclusion Whereas a significant number of plans and strategies exist for Capel Street and its environs, their implementation and effectiveness has been limited to date. The grand vision of the City Markets Framework Plan is unlikely to be realised and, given the dramatic changes which the proposed development would have wrought on the area, the plans were likely to have proved highly contentious. With the current difficulties facing the economy, the large-scale reinvention of the Markets area as envisaged in 2005 is unachievable. However, the area retains enormous potential and it is possible, even in more straightened times, with some imaginative thinking and with targeted measures and investment, to develop a retail market space which would significantly enhance the profile of Capel Street and the City Markets among Dubliners as a high quality commercial hub. It is important to remember that the buildings, street patterns and marketplaces that remain here form a major contribution to the urban identity of the area. Many of these buildings are recognisable as hosting significant public functions while others exude more modest appeal. By contrast, recent mono-functional buildings which now dominate the area contribute little architectural, social or cultural value to their surroundings. It is essential that the existing scale, grain and character of the area be taken into consideration in assessing new development proposals. 20 3: Retail Mix and Shop Uses on Capel Street 3 Retail Mix and Shop Uses on Capel Street The profile of Capel Street has changed significantly in recent years. The traditional view of the thoroughfare as being primarily a retail street in now less prevalent. The street includes an increasing number of services, restaurants and pubs together with a degree of office use. Furthermore, the relative success of the Living Over the Shop (LOTS) scheme has given the street a new resident population and returned the upper floors of many buildings to use. For the most part, Capel Street retains a healthy vibrancy, with enormous potential to further develop the shops and services it hosts. And just as traditional businesses decline or change to meet consumer trends, new uses are attracted to the street in a cycle of change. It is for the business community on Capel Street to embrace and manage this process of change. The challenge for Capel Street is to develop a niche for itself within the overall retail offer of the city. Certainly the street cannot compete with Henry Street or Grafton Street as a principal shopping street. These streets are more centrally located, contain much larger shop sizes and hence attract a greater number of international multiples and brand retailers. They can offer an altogether different and more concentrated shopping experience, which in turn attracts higher footfall. Rather, Capel Streetâ€™s potential lies in providing a more intimate shopping experience: in creating an attractive mix of smaller specialist shops and boutiques, complemented by cafes, quality restaurants and services. The smaller shop sizes found on the street are ideally suited to boutiques and specialist stores, and the streetâ€™s architectural quality and the charm and character of its streetscape could easily be more readily exploited to attract more of these types of shops. Henry Streetâ€™s pedestrian environment and purpose-built commercial buildings make for a successful retail street, however the street also lacks much of the intimacy and the diversity of uses found on Capel Street. 21 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District At present the breakdown of uses on Capel Street is as follows: Demolished/ Vacant Site, 7 Vacant Unit, 29 Shop, 51 Restaurant/ Public House, 18 Office, 12 Service, 10 One of the more noticeable features here is the extent of vacancy on the street; an issue which has recently become more pronounced owing to the general decline in retail activity in the city over the past two years. It is a matter which the street must proactively address, given that prolonged levels of vacancy create problems of poor maintenance of buildings and even dereliction, which in turn foster an impression of blighted, unattractive and unwelcoming streetscapes in the minds of shoppers and visitors. The business community on the street must address the issue of vacant units with vigour and imagination. Currently, vacant units offer an opportunity to attract new uses and businesses to Capel Street and are an important element in the reinvention of the retail offer of the street. For example, these vacant units could be offered to indigenous designers, craftspeople or even fashion students from National College of Art & Design to create a highly distinctive home-grown retail offer. Owners could also consider the experience of Exchequer Street which has successfully attracted a large number of international brands which find the smaller store sizes on offer more suited to their business models. Capel Street can use the lower rents it offers and the more flexible shops sizes to develop a niche market for itself, attracting discerning shoppers in search of a more individual offer than that provided by the larger brands and multiples on Henry Street. Some of the more notable international brands which operate from the smaller shop units on Exchequer Street, and could easily establish on Capel Street. 22 3: Retail Mix and Shop Uses on Capel Street Certainly, there is considerable scope to reinvent the retail offer of the street. When one considers the range of existing shop types, a clearer picture emerges of a retailing environment failing to realise its full potential. Adult Store, 2 Betting, 3 Other, 13 Charity, 6 Fashion, 2 Jewellery, 2 Food/General Store, 6 Furniture/ Homewares, 8 Healthcare, 3 Music Shop, 3 Hardware, 3 Capel Street has traditionally been associated with furniture and hardware stores and these remain a large component of the retail offer and a number have sought to create a more upmarket image for their stores. Higher order retailers, such as fashion boutiques, shoe shops, jewellers and lifestyle stores currently have only a limited presence on Capel Street, while less attractive uses such as betting shops and charity stores feature quite strongly. This is not to say that betting shops and charity stores do not have a legitimate role to play on a street; however these businesses tend not to attract the larger numbers of daily shoppers and visitors and resultant higher spends required to benefit the wider business community on the street. Higher order uses, on the other hand, are an important attractor of higher spending visitors, and, with the right conditions, these shoppers are also likely to avail of cafés, restaurants and other services on the street. While it is clear that Capel Street cannot compete with the principal shopping streets or major department stores such as Arnotts or Clerys, it should be possible for the street to attract a sizeable number of niche brands together with a more eclectic mix of indigenous clothiers, crafts and accessories. Achieving this changed profile will require a range of actions on the part of the business community and other stakeholders: Owners must create the right appearance for their shop with good quality shop fronts and well maintained upper floors. A commitment should be made to actively seek out suitable tenants which fit the profile of the street. The profile of traders should reflect the demand of local requirements as identified in the surrounding cluster of areas. Businesses and Dublin City Council should work collectively to create an attractive and enticing ambience on Capel Street, with a high quality public domain, a reduction in traffic, improved litter management and street cleansing, and collective marketing initiatives. 23 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District The negative impact of a brashly coloured and detailed shop front on an historic street like Capel Street, such as the shop on the left above, stands in marked contrast to the beautifully restored McNeill’s on the right, where an original frontage has been retained, repaired and immaculately presented. ‘Undesirable’ Uses Concern has been raised about a growing presence of undesirable uses on such as adult stores and so-called ‘head shops’. At present two adult stores are currently in business on the street, with a third on nearby Mary Street, while a head shop which operated from 164 Capel Street was destroyed by fire in early 2010. It should be entirely possible for Dublin City Council to control the presence of adult shops or head shops on Capel Street through normal planning measures given the street’s status as an ACA and its current designation as a Category 1 Principal Shopping Street. Certainly, any new stores seeking to open will require planning permission and the Council should refuse permission based on these two designations. A further option is to designate the street and its environs as an Area of Special Planning Control. This device gives the Council additional powers to control uses within the street and if properly enforced, would allow it to prohibit certain uses. The SPC scheme can also be an effective tool in controlling the quality of shop fronts and the proliferation of signage etc to buildings and so could be a welcome measure as the street seeks to create a better quality shopping environment. Areas of Special Planning Control are currently in place on O’Connell Street and Grafton Street and are directly related to their ACA designations. It is unclear why such a critical planning tool was not considered for Capel Street at the time of its designation as an Architectural Conservation Area in January 2009. This can still be done by the planning authority. 24 3: Retail Mix and Shop Uses on Capel Street Exchequer Street - A Comparison Exchequer Street offers an interesting model for how Capel Street could develop. Like Capel Street, it forms an offshoot of a main shopping street - in this instance Grafton Street - and is largely dependent on that street for its footfall. The street has a similar scale and quality to Capel Street with an appealing red brick character; in this case Victorian, where Capel Street comprises mainly Georgian buildings. While retail use predominates, the street also includes an attractive mix of quality pubs, restaurants and cafĂŠs, and for the most part Exchequer Street is as busy in the evening and at night as it is during the day. Retailing and services on Exchequer Street is of a high quality. There is a noticeably greater number of higher order uses such as fashion boutiques, shoe shops and lifestyle stores than on other secondary streets, while it has only one betting shop and no charity shops. Restaurants and cafĂŠs are generally of a quality standard while opportunities for street displays are maximised. Most strikingly, good traffic management has reduced congestion and there is very limited on-street parking. Capel Street could develop along similar lines with encouragement on the part of the planning authority. 25 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Creating Quality Draws All modern shopping centres operate on the basis of one or more high profile flagship uses or â€˜anchorâ€™ tenants supporting a range of much smaller shops and services. Likewise, every successful shopping street requires a flagship store. However, currently Capel Street lacks such uses, but there is significant potential in a number of properties on the street and in its environs to be developed to be key attractors of footfall to the area. City Fruit & Vegetable Wholesale Markets The 19th century Market Hall is one of the great untapped assets of this part of the city. Largely given over to wholesale business, the market is currently underutilised and rarely experienced by most Dubliners. The development of a daily retail food market and emporium in this building would greatly raise the profile of the area. 133 Capel Street This wonderful space midway along Capel Street appears to lie idle but could easily be put to any number of active uses. The long covered arcade could house a variety of markets, from food and drink, to books, jewellery and crafts. Other uses could include a quirky restaurant or a wine emporium. 114-116 Capel Street (Omans) This highly prominent commercial building with its grandiose stuccoed frontage is currently for letting. The premises would make an excellent attraction for the upper end of the street were it to be developed as a Fallon & Byrne-style coffee house, food hall and restaurant. The upper floors could even be put to cultural use as a dance studios or gallery, or serve as a continuation of the ground floor function. 26 3: Retail Mix and Shop Uses on Capel Street Managing the Street The most successful shopping environments are those which are actively managed in a holistic way. The structure of retailing in Ireland is similar to the UK and USA with the continuous decline of independent retailers and a relatively large and growing proportion of the market in the hands of multiples, and a dispersal away from town and city centres to suburban shopping centres. The Retail Planning Guidelines in Ireland followed by those for the Dublin Region, whilst giving lip service to urban centres and urban renewal, in reality have created a US and UK model of dispersal. This has resulted in standardisation in the diversity and selection of shops, leaving consumers with less choice. This means that consumers can no longer do their everyday shopping within easy distance of home. Indeed, most suburban shopping is car dependent, leaving people who are less mobile such as the elderly, the disabled and those on low incomes at a disadvantage and with a poorer quality of life. It is important to preserve and grow the finely interwoven retail configuration of independent retailers in the Capel Street/Markets Area and thus guarantee the vitality of the west side of Dublin 1. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. Retailing is an important source of employment. It is estimated that the Capel Street/Markets area employs over 2000 persons, catering for the needs of residents, tourists and visitors. The area needs to be branded and become a ‘Destination’. The experience on the street needs to be reoriented in favour of the pedestrian. Less vehicle movement, more pedestrian space, better quality public domain and more imaginative management of the public space are critical and essential for success. Property owners and tenants must take responsibility for the management of the public space in a holistic way and not just rely on Dublin City Council or central government. The appearance of the street, encompassing rooflines, upper floor facades, shop fronts, and the pavement are all elements which if neglected will undermine the quality of the street and impair the shopper’s enjoyment of the area. Capel Street Business Association is a voluntary commercial sector organisation with roots in the local business and residential community. As such, it is best placed to lead the renewal of the Capel Street/Markets Area. It is recommended that Dublin City Council establish a multi-disciplinary team (including Dublin Civic Trust, architects, local area management, local market managers, etc.) to work with local ratepayers, (Capel Street Business Association, Dublin City Business Association), local residents, (Combined Residents Association) and their advisers, to establish and deliver The Markets Area Project as a job creation exercise, sweating underused assets as a project for the benefit of Dublin City Centre and civic society. Initiatives by this team could include: Designing a distinctive ‘look’ for the street and area Widening footpaths and managing traffic Greening Capel Street and de-cluttering of municipal signage Collectively marketing the area Targeting tenants to occupy vacant units Establishing creative and business alliances with bodies such as Dublin City Business Association, Dublin City Council, nearby colleges and universities, Dublin Tourism, OPW and Dublin Civic Trust, RGDATA and others Shared initiatives to improve the quality of the street such as cleaning of brickwork, painting of buildings, street planting, the provision of benches and other street furniture etc 27 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 4 Quality of the Street Presentation of Shop Fronts and Buildings A successful business depends to a great extent on how it presents itself to the public. In turn, the success of a street depends on a harmonious relationship between its shop fronts and their buildings, as the appearance, form and authenticity of retail frontages injects vitality and interest into the shopping experience. The importance of attention to detail with doors, windows, ironmongery and materials used is essential when replacing or refurbishing. The encroachment of the standardised high street shop front and poorly designed reproduction fronts, which are often out of proportion to the facade of a building with oversized facia boards and brash corporate colours, reduces the overall character and quality of a street. Examples of good quality shop fronts around Dublin city centre. 28 4: Quality of the Street Despite a number of improvements in recent times, Capel Street still suffers from poor presentation of many of its shop fronts and buildings. In spite of the many quality shop fronts of the commercial street of the 19th century that were lost in a wave of change in the 20th century, a number still survive and are a major asset to the thoroughfare. Otherwise, many retailers have installed shop fronts with little consideration for the choice of materials or design, which are out of harmony with the context of neighbouring shops. A good many shop fronts are tatty and dated and suffer from the use of materials such as plastic and aluminium which have aged poorly. Newer shop fronts have been finished with featureless stone frontages which often ignore the red brick idiom of the street. In addition, a profusion of projecting signage further clutters the streetscape and degrades the visual appearance of buildings. A selection of shop fronts on Capel Street which have sought to use stone frontages rather than traditional timber fronts. The importance of detailing and using good quality materials is essential to the success of shop fronts. A good quality frontage, as with the interior of a shop, is a showcase for a business and defines the shopperâ€™s perception of the premises. A good quality shop frontage will always add value to a business. 29 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District While there are no hard and fast rules to good shop front design, a number of agencies and Dublin City Council documents provide advice and recommendations. The 2003 Shop Front Design Guidelines published by Dublin City Council sets out the principles of good design in a clear and accessible manner and retailers are now encouraged to consult the Guidelines when making up their plans. Shop Front Design Guidelines 2003, freely available from Dublin City Council Good shop front design carefully considers five principal elements: design, materials, colour, signage and security. A good design can be spoiled by poor choice of materials and colour, while a non-descript design can be lifted by the right choice. Aggressive or brash colours are often used to highlight a premises among its neighbours, but often have the effect of degrading the quality of the whole streetscape. A carefully selected muted palette is often more successful than a range of gaudy paints. Brash corporate signage and gaudy colours visibly degrade the quality of the streetscape. A palette of more muted and complementary tones would serve to enrich and enhance the street. 30 4: Quality of the Street Signage is an essential component of a modern retail street, however there is an increasing tendency in the city centre to apply excessive signage to shops, to the detriment of the wider streetscape. The installation of deep fascia panels also has the effect of covering architectural detail and blurring the division of floors. Deep fascia boards distort the solid proportions of the terraces of Capel Street, while ‘temporary’ ‘tack-on’ signage and stickers in the shop window create an ugly, low quality appearance. The more limited application of signage and muted shop fronts creates an altogether more harmonious streetscape, seen here in London. 31 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Many shops on Capel Street continue to use ugly metal roller shutters on their premises, although there has been a gradual replacement of these elements in recent years. These shutters only serve to deaden the street, particularly at night-time, and are unnecessary given other solutions which can be employed to secure premises. Dead street frontage reinforced by metal shutters on currently vacant premises. This beautifully presented shopfront on PC Hooftstraat in Amsterdam, employing contemporary materials, with understated signage exudes quality. The clipped decorative shrub to the front further reinforces the building ownerâ€™s commitment to the public realm. 32 4: Quality of the Street The presentation of the upper floors of buildings is as important as the view at shop front level. The majority of the buildings on Capel Street are constructed of red brick with graceful Georgian proportions, while many have interesting detailing around windows or at parapet level dating from the 19th century. There are a number of particularly interesting and quirky window designs along the street. The variety and quality of the architecture of Capel Street is recognised by its designation as an ACA and serves to create a distinctive and appealing streetscape. While significant efforts have been made in recent years to improve the appearance of buildings on the street, a renewed vigour is required to address a number a prominent buildings and vacant sites to lift and enhance the streetâ€™s overall appearance and ambience. Nealons pub provides an excellent example of a well presented building on Capel Street. One of the more prominent Victorian buildings on the street, Nealons celebrates the quality of its architecture with a restrained use of colour, high quality fittings, attention to detail and minimal signage. McQuillanâ€™s is one of the stalwarts of Capel Street and one of its most visually prominent buildings with its wide stuccoed frontage. Originally two separate buildings that were later unified with a coat of render, the premises features amongst the oldest sash windows on Capel Street, with some dating to the late 18th century. Original fabric such as this, as can be found along the length of the thoroughfare, is an irreplaceable legacy of quality design, craftsmanship and historic material, and requires careful conservation. The handsome sandstone shop front of Louis Copeland & Sons is the legacy of once prestigious retail banking on the street, however the quality of the frontage has been maintained into the modern day. Well designed window frames, a subtle use of colour, and restrained signage and lighting make for an elegant statement on the thoroughfare. This is the standard to which all of Capel Street should aspire. 33 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Above: Inappropriate and visually degrading uPVC windows in an historic property on Capel Street Below: Beautifully restored and presented Georgian sash windows at No. 55 Capel Street 34 Above: Similar brick-faced Victorian properties on Capel Street before and after restoration Below: Well presented premises at No. 108 with handsome signage and restrained awnings 35 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Presentation of the Public Domain The public domain comprises elements such as paving, street furniture, lighting, planting and decorative features. A high quality and well maintained public domain is integral to the shopping experience and a well presented street should be a source of pride to the business and residential community of Capel Street. While for many years the public domain of Capel Street suffered from poor quality materials, badly maintained paving and a lack of design aesthetic, recently the southern section of the street has been repaved and smart new street furniture installed. However, the northern end has yet to be resolved. The difference in quality between both sections is quite obvious. It is unclear when the works to the northern section will take place. Clockwise: A section of new paving on Capel Street complete with streetlamps and other furniture. The bollards are probably an unnecessary feature on the street but for some reason seem to be viewed as an essential requirement on all city centre streets. The new paving has an attractive warm tone and complements the architecture of the street very well. However, the new paving ceases just beyond the junction with Mary Street (circled) and the quality of the remaining section of the street is quite poor. The common problem of unsupervised street works, resulting in the loss of historic kerb stones and the inevitable patches of tarmac, are all too evident at various points along the northern section of the street. 36 4: Quality of the Street While the quality of materials employed on the newly paved sections is good, the attempt to redefine the space has had limited success. The street layout continues to maintain a high level of on-street parking at the expense of wider pavements, with small build-outs facilitating streetlamps, bins and other items. The effect in places can be quite visually chaotic, particularly during loading times, when large vehicles jostle for space with pedestrians and shoppers. The general narrowness of pavements limits the space afforded to pedestrians who are the main users of the street, and reduces the potential to have outdoor displays in front of shops or to create an outdoor cafĂŠ culture along the street. It is clear that where wider pavements have been provided, street-life follows; particularly at spots which have a sunny position, as seen above. Rebalancing the street layout of Capel Street in favour of the pedestrian should be relatively easy to achieve by removing sections of the existing street parking from either one or both sides of the street and extending the pavements. As noted previously, Capel Street and its environs are well served by both private and publicallyowned car parks and by on-street parking on secondary streets such as Wolfe Tone Street and Little Britain Street. The benefits gained to the street from increased pedestrian space will far outweigh the loss of parking spaces. In order to allay the concerns of businesses who might place higher value on customer parking (e.g. furniture shops, hardware shops), a time limit system could be applied to the remaining parking places, ensuring a turnover of spaces. Street Clutter Streets make up nearly eighty per cent of public space in our urban areas. As a result, they often become cluttered by all kinds of objects that are unnecessary, badly designed or poorly located, and which lack any coordination. The result is streets with physical and visual obstructions that make them feel degraded and uncared for. It has been proven that excessive use of traffic signage and other street furniture has a negative impact on the success of a street. Capel Street, as with many streets in Dublin, suffers from a profusion of clutter, particularly at its northern end. It is essential than an audit be conducted of the Capel Street area to minimise the visual intrusion of street furniture, and to maximise the good design quality of recent public realm improvement works at the lower end of the street. Proper coordination should take place between relevant departments within Dublin City Council, service providers and utility companies to maintain a clutter-free thoroughfare. 37 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District With an increase in the width of pavements, measures can also be made to â€˜greenâ€™ Capel Street. A number of simple measures could be employed including planting street trees (as illustrated in the image below), installing planters or floral displays, or simply encouraging businesses to place a pair of clipped box hedges or bay trees at the entrance to their shops. In the UK or on the Continent, where the concept of managed shopping streets is more common, such measures are often done by a management group on behalf of the businesses, employing a common design to pots and planters. This approach is highly effective and reinforces the idea of a retail district or street. A view of a street in Leuven of similar scale and character to Capel Street. The difference in ambience is palpable. The double width pavement provides for a calmer and more comfortable pedestrian environment and encourages the passerby to linger. The use of sculptural planting ,in this instance clipped Hornbeam trees, adds richness and interest to the street. Hornbeams are already found on Dublinâ€™s streets, although never used to this gracious effect. 38 5: Accessibility and Connectivity 5 Accessibility and Connectivity The economic potential of a street is greatly influenced by its reachability. Accessibility has always been a key consideration for Capel Street: historically it developed as a key route from the north city to the south and it retains this function to the present day. There are three elements to consider when discussing accessibility: Private traffic Public transport Pedestrians Striking a balance between these various elements is essential to promoting greater use of the street. If private traffic unduly dominates, then pedestrian activity suffers. However, the full pedestrianisation of a street can sometimes have a deadening effect, particularly at evening times when many shops and businesses are closed. Also, a lack of accessibility to an area by public transport or by bicycle removes the option of people taking more sustainable modes of transport to get to and from an area. Private Traffic Capel Street is heavily trafficked, with cars and lorries funnelled down the street from Parnell Street and from the Markets area. During the day the levels of traffic can become oppressive, stifling pedestrian enjoyment of the street. The dominance of the car is compounded by the presence of a high level of on-street parking on both sides of the street. Pavements are unduly narrow as a result, reducing the space afforded to pedestrians. 39 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District In contrast to Capel Street, the calmness and general absence of traffic and parking on Exchequer Street is noticeable with the result that activity on the pavement is allowed to flourish and the street offers an altogether more comfortable and attractive experience for the shopper. 40 5: Accessibility and Connectivity P P P P Map showing the main traffic flows into Capel Street. The street allows for one way traffic only. There is obvious scope to remove traffic inflows at two locations - from Mary Street and from Maryâ€™s Lane - thereby giving greater priority to pedestrians coming to the street from Henry Street (which is pedestrianised) and going to the Markets area. In addition, reducing the amount of onstreet car parking along Capel Street would significantly lessen the hostile atmosphere created by so many cars. Given the location of a number of large car parks in the area, the extent of on street parking on Capel Street seems unnecessary. 41 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Public Transport Capel Street is surprisingly poorly served by public transport. A bus corridor runs along the quays at the southern end of the street but hardly acknowledges Capel Street or its environs. To the north, Parnell Street and Bolton Street have little or no bus services. Luas is the most visible means of public transport in the area, however both the existing Luas stops at Four Courts and Jervis are some distance away from Capel Street. The Jervis stop brings visitors straight into the main retail district, and the dour streetscape of Upper Abbey Street offers little incentive to wander back up to Capel Street and the City Markets. This stop is now at maximum capacity and a new stop between Four Courts and Jervis is necessary. A new Luas stop at City Markets would provide a welcome boost for the district, greatly raising its profile and increasing footfall to the area. A stop could be created relatively easily and at minimal cost at the southern end of the Market Hall. This would also reduce the congestion at the Jervis Luas stop by spreading patrons over a wider area, allowing them to alight earlier at Capel Street. Map showing the Luas Red line running through the area and a suggested new stop serving Capel Street and City Markets. The map also shows the three main pedestrian points along Capel Street: the entrance to the street from Grattan Bridge/The Quays (1), the junction of Capel Street and Mary Street/Maryâ€™s Lane (2) and the space at the north of the street at Parnell Street and Ryders Row (3). 42 5: Accessibility and Connectivity Pedestrian Experience 1. Grattan Bridge/The Quays The pedestrian route from Grattan Bridge to Capel Street is both difficult to access due to the unfavourable sequencing of traffic signals, hostile traffic and the lack of directional information. First impressions of Capel Street are poor due to the lack of significance given to the prominent corner building at No. 1, a structure famously portrayed in the 1790s James Malton sketch of the former Essex Bridge and Quays. The building has been in poor condition for a number of years, with a degraded faรงade and fenestration and a dilapidated and vacant shop unit at ground floor. It is know that the interiors also require urgent attention. This property should herald the entrance to Capel Street, inviting pedestrians to a high quality shopping experience. Instead, the effect of the poor condition of this key building, which retains much of its original character including distinctive fenestration, fails to engage the passer-by and mark its prime position at the beginning of the street. Despite recent efforts by its owner to gradually repair the building, works required are substantial. As a landmark building in the city, Dublin City Council must actively engage with the owner to enforce a full restoration of the building using available grants and incentives. The shop unit should be refurbished and finished to a high standard and a quality tenant sought. This is essential for the image of Capel Street. 43 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District The space at the junction of Capel Street and Upper Ormond Quay is poorly resolved. Despite two recent initiatives, one to install a dublinbikes station and the second to repave the footpath and signal crossing to Grattan Bridge, both works have been undertaken in isolation from each other with no bigger thinking applied as to how this space could and should function. Signal boxes and utilities have been left in place, compromising the sense of the space. Notwithstanding the quality of the stone, the paving is limited to a small area and is incoherent and marred by coloured tactile slabs and myriad shores and manhole covers. Unnecessary parking spaces are left in place, where a rebalancing of space could have been achieved. The full extent of the area, as illustrated by the arrow above, should have been paved in a matching fashion, integrating the dublinbikes station and including planting with appropriate trees, seating and street information to create a much softer appearance. The opportunity to facilitate cafĂŠ life along this wide and sunny stretch of pavement is unrealised. 44 5: Accessibility and Connectivity 2. Capel Street - Mary Street - Mary’s Lane Junction The junction of Capel Street, Mary Street and Mary’s Lane is the pivotal space on Capel Street: the heart of the street. It is a centre of activity and forms the main link between the retail area of Henry Street/Mary Street to the east and the Markets area a short distance to the west. The junction is a busy intersection, generally dominated by traffic, where pedestrians are corralled and controlled. In order to fully assess this space, it is worthwhile considering the experience of the pedestrian as they walk from pedestrianised Henry Street/Mary Street to the junction with Capel Street and onward to the Markets. The following images illustrate this experience. 1. Junction Mary Street and Jervis Street 3 2 1 1. The changed surface treatment here breaks the continuity from Henry Street. The signal crossing, road markings and traffic signage all reinforce the dominance of the car at this crossing point. The priority for this area of the city should be shared streets, which, while not excluding cars, restrict and slow traffic sufficiently to allow greater pedestrian activity and enjoyment of the urban experience. 2. Entirely unnecessary bollards and clutter reduce the sense of space afforded to pedestrians. Outdoor seating at The Church Bar is hemmed in behind railings. Connection to the public space at Wolfe Tone Square is limited. The overall sense is of control rather than comfort. 3. Vacant units and poorly maintained premises signal a deteriorating streetscape and lack of attraction. The quality of shop fronts along this section of Mary Street is generally poor. The sunny aspect of these units make them ideal for café or restaurant use with outdoor seating. 45 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 2. Mary Street from junction with Wolfe Tone Street 2 3 1 1. Recent public domain improvements have proven a wasted opportunity to radically redefine this section of Mary Street by fully pedestrianising the space. This is particularly unfortunate because pedestrians largely predominate here, while the limited traffic which uses this street could easily be redirected. On-street parking has been unnecessarily retained, creating an unduly narrow pavement along the southern side, and also requiring a row of signage poles and parking meters. The new street lighting, though over scaled, does serve to reinforce a sense of continuity from Henry Street. 2. Poor quality upper floors of buildings and rather tatty shop fronts along the south side of the street create a run-down feel despite the general attractiveness and comfortable scale of the terrace. A programme of improvements such as the repair and painting of windows, cleaning of facades and the removal of redundant signage and street lighting would have an enormous impact. 3. The north side of the street presents some mixed impressions to the pedestrian. Once again, oversized projecting signage and gaudy fascias jostle for the attention of the shopper, where a restrained vista would actually create a greater sense of calm and quality and draw the visitor further down the street. On a positive note, a number of shop owners have taken advantage of the wider pavement on this side of the street to display their wares outside, creating interest and variety. It is important that the quality of these displays should remain foremost, given that these displays essentially â€˜showcaseâ€™ a business and the street at large. The outdoor seating provided at the cafĂŠ further along the street is also a welcome initiative. 46 5: Accessibility and Connectivity 3. Junction Mary Street and Capel Street 2 3 1 1. This junction is the centre of activity on Capel Street and has the greatest concentration of pedestrian activity. The closure of Mary Street and Mary’s Lane to traffic and the creation of a shared street surface, which maintains traffic flows along Capel Street, would offer a much more effective solution to this space and would remove the need for the confusing signal crossing with its signal box and associated road signage. With reduced inflows onto the Capel Street, a single lane for traffic becomes entirely manageable, allowing for greater stretches of double paving along either side of the street, replacing existing car parking bays. 2. The AIB premises is one of the least attractive buildings on Capel Street, yet it unfortunately terminates the view to Capel Street from Henry Street. The dead frontage of this building to both Capel Street and Mary’s Lane should be addressed. In the longer term, imaginative proposals to remodel the building should be considered. 3. There is a lack of directional signage and information at this important junction. A map and fingerpost unit should be erected as part of the ‘wayfinder signage’ currently being erected by Dublin City Council around the city. The signage should highlight the Markets, the walking route to Smithfield and the Collins Barracks Museum and some of the more important attractions in the area such as St. Michan’s Church and St. Mary’s Abbey Chapter House. This is an ideal opportunity to encourage passers-by to explore the area. 47 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 4. Mary’s Lane 3 2 1 1. This section of Mary’s Lane should be pedestrianised, removing an unnecessary traffic route onto Capel Street and creating an attractive new link to a revitalised City Markets. The street should be treated in the same materials as Mary Street to maintain a consistent character from Henry Street to the Market Hall. The space could be softened with planters and new lighting. While the street does not benefit from direct sunlight, the potential for outdoor use on warm summer days still exists. 2. Once again, poor quality upper floors of buildings, shop fronts and shuttered premises need to be addressed, however with significantly increased footfall this street is likely to attract new businesses to these premises and stimulate some much needed investment. 3. One of the more problematic aspects to Mary’s Lane is the wall of dead frontage created by the AIB building and the wholesalers premises further along the street. The wholesalers building is likely to come forward for development in the future and the opportunity will arise to create a much more sympathetic streetscape. In the short term, cleaning, street art and planting would help to lift this unattractive frontage. 48 5: Accessibility and Connectivity 5. Maryâ€™s Lane 3 2 3 1 1. A modest investment by Dublin City Council in the public domain around the Market Hall would greatly improve the experience of the pedestrian and serve to integrate the Markets into the existing commercial area to the east. A defined public space is needed with street planting, attractive lighting and street furniture and a sculptural focal point to create a quality space. What better site for a relocated Molly Malone statue! 2. The 19th century Market Hall is a little known gem which is lost to the wider city. The building was restored to a high standard in 2000 but requires some maintenance and cleaning, and is at present unhygienic for food retailing. The Market Hall and an adjoining site known as the Daisy Market hold enormous potential to develop into a retail food market, operating on a daily basis. The Markets are the single greatest asset to the Capel Street area and could provide the big attraction which the district needs. 3. Surrounding a rejuvenated Market Hall and its public space could be a range of specialist food retailers, cafĂŠs, restaurants, flower sellers with attractive displays onto the street, community uses, workshops and craft shops. The less hostile atmosphere created by improved pedestrian space would encourage the nearby school at Georgeâ€™s Hill to interact more with its street. Greater street life and a more diverse range of commercial activities would stimulate a residential renaissance for the area, spurring former warehouse buildings around Halston Street to transform into good quality apartments and lofts. 49 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 1. Capel Streetâ€”Parnell Streetâ€”Ryders Row This is probably the most challenging part of Capel Street and its environs to address given the number of derelict sites on this stretch of the street and particularly the blighted and destroyed streetscape of Ryders Row and Parnell Street. The focus for this area is the Dublin Institute of Technology faculty, which is located on Bolton Street but which also uses the Zhivago building, seen to the right in the first image below. Despite the presence of such a sizeable student body, Capel Street hardly benefits. What should be a hive of student activity with bars, cafes and bookshops, is instead a relentlessly dull and dispiriting traffic route. Action is required to address the large number of vacant sites and at risk buildings which are grouped around the junction of Capel Street, Parnell Street and Ryders Row. Shamefully, much of this site has lain derelict during all the years of the property boom. It is important that a concerted effort is made to develop the site. However, any new buildings to be constructed must be sensitive to the existing scale and grain of these streets. A series of smaller, carefully designed buildings are more appropriate to this location, integrating the fabric of older structures. 50 5: Accessibility and Connectivity A completely different “vibe” pervades this section of street in Brussels with casual seating, quality uses and an attractive public domain (not forgetting sunny weather!). The contrast with the forlorn junction of Capel Street—Ryders Row with its substantial student population (top) is quite stark. 51 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Footfall onto Capel Street Despite its length and prominence, Capel Street has a more complicated connection to the surrounding area than would at first glance appear to be the case. In fact, the street has three distinct sections, each attracting footfall from different areas. These three sections each require different approaches to further their development. The south of the street to Upper Abbey Street in effect forms an extension of Temple Bar and Parliament Street, and the bars and restaurants of this section attract much of their busy night time activity from the area south of the river. The centre of the street is the part that attracts pedestrians coming from Henry Street and is the area most likely to benefit from a higher concentration of quality shops. This section also has the most potential to synergise with the Markets area. The northern part of the street is mainly the haunt of students of DIT and pedestrians from Parnell Street (such as cinema goers) and Dorset Street. In spite of this, there is little evidence of pedestrian or business life of any kind along this stretch, never mind the large footfall one would expect surrounding such major draws to the area. This part of Capel Street would significantly benefit from a high quality attraction such as a coffee house or food hall. The potential to develop as a location for artisansâ€™ and architectsâ€™ studios should also be considered given the proximity to DIT. Markets Old City / Cathedral Qtr S t r eet LIFFEY Capel RIVER Dublin Cas- Temple Bar Map showing the three distinctive areas of Capel Street 52 DIT/ Kings Inn Henry Street Parnell Street 6: Creating a City Markets Area 6 Creating a City Markets Area “ The great potential of urban markets should be recognised and supported. The current review of the Casual Trading Bye-Laws should provide the opportunity to explore and develop the employment potential from casual trading. There is also a need to review the Casual Trading Act 1995. Dublin City Council in consultation with the stakeholders should develop a policy to realise the potential of the restaurant/ deli sector in the city. Moreover, consideration should be given to the development of a food tourism strategy by the relevant stakeholders within the food/tourism sectors. Extract from Report of The Lord Mayor’s Commission on Employment, June 2010 Food markets have seen huge growth in the city in recent years, maintaining an historic link to the food produce of the countryside in the heart of the city. While the Moore Street Market is a long established feature of Dublin life, newer markets have sprung up around the city. The farmers’ market in Temple Bar is now a regular fixture, while a food market and co-operative operates at Newmarket and a regular market has recently begun at Point Village. Seasonal markets also take place at George’s Dock and along the campshires in Docklands. However, with the exception of Moore Street Market, most of these markets operate only at weekends. Unlike most European cities, and indeed unlike Cork or Belfast, Dublin does not have a regular daily food market, and this is in spite of the presence of two purpose-built and highly attractive market halls in the city - the former Iveagh Markets on Francis Street (now closed) and the underused City Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market on Mary’s Lane. The Fruit & Vegetable Market has remained largely untapped as a potential attractor of footfall and employment opportunity to this area of the city. The Market Hall and much of the surrounding streets are given over to wholesalers and for most Dubliners this area of the city centre remains largely unknown and offers little reason to visit. However, the potential of the Markets area is palpable. The City Markets Framework Plan published by Dublin City Council in 2005 envisaged the Market Hall developing as a destination of high quality retail surrounded by public spaces and new residential, cultural and commercial development. The changed economic circumstances of the city places the delivery of this grand vision in doubt. However, it was never guaranteed that the ‘top down’ approach set out in the Framework Plan would have succeeded in developing the potential of the Market while retaining the undoubted charm and atmosphere which this part of the city holds. Much of the proposed development was likely to have proven contentious, while the process of developing the entire quarter would have taken a considerable amount of time. 53 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District A view of the proposed redeveloped Market Hall proposed under the City Markets Framework Plan 2005 Nevertheless, the concept of developing the Fruit & Vegetable Markets as a daily retail market remains an excellent idea and is given added impetus by the recent Lord Mayorâ€™s Commission on Employment Report which highlights the value and potential of urban markets and the wider economic initiative of developing a food tourism strategy for the city. What better outcome for Capel Street and the Markets area than to target this sector and to develop a cluster of markets and food related businesses in the area as a major attraction and economic resource for the city. The Framework Plan envisaged that the existing wholesale businesses in the area would transfer to more suitable and accessible sites on the edge of the city and that the Market Hall would be refurbished to provide a retail centre similar to the Cork English Market. However, while it would greatly benefit the area for some of the larger warehouse wholesalers to relocate, thereby relieving the narrow streets around the Market Hall of many HGVs and delivery lorries, the switch to a retail market need not totally remove the wholesale function, which after all provides significant employment for the area. In fact, many of the smaller wholesale operators are ideally placed to develop a retail business in the Market Hall as an additional source of income. A gradual process of giving over space in the Market Hall to retail markets should be pursued while adjoining vacant sites and premises should be earmarked for specialist food uses. The growing ethnic community on Capel Street should also be engaged to attract specialist foods and a more diverse choice in the Markets, resulting in additional employment. The creation of a cluster of gastronomic enterprises in this area centred around the daily Market and complemented by restaurants, cafĂŠs and craft shops would greatly increase footfall which will directly benefit businesses on Capel Street. This has the potential to transform the economic and civic life of the street and its environs. The following are some suggested initiatives to realise this goal. 54 6: Creating a City Markets Area 1. Develop a Daily Market for Dublin City The introduction of retail markets to the Market Hall would create a daily urban market for Dublin on a par with Cork English Market. The Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market should be rebranded ‘City Markets’. A business plan should be devised by the City Markets Management to set aside a portion of existing floor space in the Market Hall for retail use, including fruit and vegetables, specialty foods and sundries. The plan should consider the management of traders, health and safety issues and the utilisation of redundant areas in the Market Hall. It should envisage a gradual replacement of wholesale activity with retailing over a defined period, while also seeking to incorporate other produce such as meat and fish when facilities are upgraded. A broad diversity of produce sellers should be sought to establish stalls in the Market Hall, including a substantial offering of ethnic foodstuffs and produce. A programme of works should be devised to refurbish and upgrade the Market Hall and its setting. The adjoining Daisy Market site should be refurbished. This offers potential for existing flower wholesalers in the Market Hall to relocate to a new flower market at this location. A marketing strategy for City Markets should be devised and implemented. Bord Bia and Fáilte Ireland should be consulted to help in the development of a food tourism strategy centred on the City Markets and its environs in line with the recommendations of The Lord Mayor’s Commission on Employment Report. Late evening opening of the Market should be considered. 55 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 56 On-street flower market in Antwerp, Belgium All weather open air market covered by lightweight canopy, Antwerp, Belgium 57 On-street grain selling Antwerp, Belgium Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Active street market, Bologna, Italy On-street fish market, Bologna, Italy 58 Fresh fruit stalls, Bologna, Italy Live fowl market, Antwerp, Belgium 59 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 2. An Attractive Public Domain As illustrated on Page 48, the public domain around the Markets Hall is visually unappealing. While the area is a hive of activity for much of the morning, the lorries and forklifts which service the building and the surrounding warehouses create a hostile experience for the pedestrian and largely dissuade people from entering the area. The streets around the Market Hall also suffer from littering and waste left over from deliveries and wholesaler activity. Pavements, road surfaces and street lighting are all of poor quality and a modest investment by Dublin City Council in the public realm around the Market Hall would greatly benefit the area. Using similar materials to those employed on Capel Street would also serve to integrate the Markets into the existing commercial areas of the north city centre. The pedestrianisation of the route from Mary Street, through Mary’s Lane to the Market Hall should be pursued. Paving materials, street lighting and furniture should make design reference to those used on Capel Street. Dublin City Council Parks Department should be engaged on the greening of the markets area. The area in front of the Market Hall should be redesigned to allow for greater pedestrian space and to allow outdoors cafés and street stalls to operate. A focal point for this area such be considered, perhaps reflecting the character of the area. Suggestions include relocating the ‘Molly Malone’ statue here or installing a water feature. Dublin City Council’s Shop Front Guidelines should be enforced within the Markets area. The change of use of premises to retail shops, cafés, restaurants should be encouraged. A litter management plan should be prepared for the area. 60 6: Creating a City Markets Area 3 Improved Traffic Management and Accessibility Traffic appears to be somewhat chaotic and poorly managed within the Markets area. The profusion of warehouses and wholesalers in the area, many with quite sizeable premises, means that HGVs and large lorries are a constant feature, particularly in the morning. It is not clear how traffic is managed around the environs of Market Hall and most streets, despite their narrowness, are open to all forms of traffic. City Markets is also poorly served by public transport and remains largely unknown as a destination within the city. A traffic management plan should be prepared for the Markets area and Capel Street which seeks to reduce and redirect traffic flows to allow for the creation of a more pedestrian friendly environment along Mary’s Lane. A gradual relocation of the larger wholesale business to a city edge location should allow for the removal of HGVs and large lorries from the area. Forklift drivers should be engaged to ensure they are mindful of increased pedestrian activity. Forklift routes should be devised to reduce conflict with pedestrians on that part of Mary’s Lane leading to the front of the Market Hall. A general upgrade of pavements should be pursued, using good quality materials, increasing widths where possible and incorporating trees and street furniture. A new Luas stop should be developed to the south of Market Hall called ‘City Markets’. A dublinbikes station should be installed on Mary’s Lane. Wayfinder signage should be installed at key locations directing people to City Markets and to other points of interest in the area. 61 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District 4. Promoting the City Markets Area Attraction Green Space Luas Stop Suggested Luas Stop Potential Tourist Route The Markets area and Capel Street have a rich but largely unrecognised network of cultural sites and amenities. Some suggestions include: Dublin City Councilâ€™s Heritage Office should devise a heritage strategy for the Markets area in consultation with OPW, the Courts Service, and the community and businesses in the area. The strategy should consider creating a heritage trail, installing historic plaques and signage, the opening and advertising of sites and monuments in the area, greater use of open spaces and parks, and organising an annual Festival of Food. A tourist information point should be considered during the summer months â€” the redundant kiosks removed from Grattan Bridge could be put to good use here. A tourism strategy should also encourage visitors to venture further afield to Henrietta Street, Smithfield and the Museums area around Heuston station. A value entry ticket for sites and attractions in the district could be devised, also offering discounts at local businesses. The Markets community should devise a series of fairs throughout the year, for example seasonal plants and flowers, a book fair, fashion and crafts, Christmas Markets on the cleared site of the Fish Market, a pet farm and children's day to add diversity to the retail offer. 62 7: Summary 7 Summary A view of the attractive Cork English Market - an example of a successful daily city market 63 Capel Street & The City Markets: Improving the Public Face of an Historic City Centre District Summary of Issues to be Addressed Capel Street has a good range of well established shops and services, many of which are synonymous with the street. However, the street’s retail offer is failing to attract a sufficient number of higher spending shoppers on a regular basis. The street’s profile is tired and dated. Almost twenty-five per cent of premises on Capel Street lie vacant while the street also has a number of highly prominent sites which require development. The street’s level of vacancy must be tackled in a coordinated manner by the business community. These vacant units are an opportunity to attract new uses and different shop types to Capel Street. A number of uses on the street are considered unwelcome. The street also suffers from the poor presentation of many of the premises. Shop Front Design Guidelines are not being adhered to, or planning controls being enforced, and as a result the perception of the street among shoppers as a high quality retail street is lessened. Capel Street is a designated Architectural Conservation Area, yet owners and occupiers on the street make very little effort to celebrate the architectural quality of the street - in spite of the quality of the streetscape being the single biggest asset it has. Traffic is overly dominant on Capel Street. Cars are funnelled into the thoroughfare from Parnell Street, Mary Street and the Markets Area. A large part of the street is given over to on street parking. As a result, space for the pedestrian (and shopper) is reduced. The effect can often be to create a hostile environment which reduces the desire to linger, browse and shop. There are very limited opportunities for café life on Capel Street owing to the narrowness of pavements and the absence of any meaningful public space. The street fails to capitalise on its potential to be a café and restaurant hub close to Henry Street and the primary retail area. Recent improvements to the public realm have failed to rebalance space sufficiently in favour of the pedestrian, who is, after all, the main user of the street. Improvement works have yet to be started on the northern section of the street. Capel Street is failing to draw shoppers and visitors in sufficient numbers from the more comfortable pedestrian environment of Henry Street. A high quality public realm is critical for this to take effect. There is potential to ‘soften’ the streetscape with measures such as tree planting, planter boxes, miniature trees and box hedges outside shops. Capel Street lies at the threshold of the City Markets Area, yet this part of the city remains largely unknown to many Dubliners. The revival of the Markets area has the potential to act as a catalyst for the rebirth of Capel Street and its environs. The existing urban patterns, comprising legal, educational, amenity, residential and cultural quarters, should be developed upon and revitalised, and linked in a coherent and meaningful way to create an economic and social critical mass. This is critical to the long term success of Capel Street as a thriving retail destination. 64 7: Summary Summary of Actions Which Could be Taken The business community on Capel Street should seek to manage the street as a single retail district. The businesses, within a defined area, should develop a shared vision for the street, prescribe a series of improvements to improve its quality, actively target tenants and uses for vacant premises and actively discourage non-compatible uses on the street. There should be a greater focus on attracting higher order uses to Capel Street such as fashion boutiques, shoe shops, lifestyle and other specialist stores. These uses are currently poorly represented on the street, yet are key attractors of higher footfall and higher spending shoppers. Capel Street should focus on creating a high quality shopping environment complemented by services, cafés and restaurants. The street should look to other examples in the city such as Exchequer Street which has successfully positioned itself as an off-shoot of Grafton Street with a distinctive high quality shopping environment which attracts smaller niche stores and businesses. The presentation of buildings along the street is a key concern of all businesses on Capel Street, and a collective approach should be taken to improving the quality of facades, shop fronts and the public domain. Dublin City Council’s Shop Front Design Guidelines should be consulted and enforced and active measures should be taken to refurbish buildings and improve the visual attractiveness of shops and premises. Further public domain works are suggested. The reduction of on-street parking on both sides of Capel Street, the removal of traffic inflows from Mary Street and Mary’s Lane onto Capel Street, the creation of a pedestrian–focused space at the key junction in the centre of the street and the introduction of street trees are recommended. The repaving of the northern portion of the street should be pursued as a matter of urgency. The route from Mary Street to the Markets should be pedestrianised to encourage shoppers from Henry Street to the area. Street planting, improved lighting, restrained use of street furniture, new ‘wayfinder’ signage and other features should be installed. A number of quality, specialised uses along Capel Street should be pursued to create key attractions to the area. A new Luas stop should be constructed to the south of the Market Hall called ‘City Markets’ to provide improved public transport for the area. The City Markets should be progressively developed as a daily retail food market for the city and should seek to become the primary destination for food shoppers in the city centre and from surrounding residential areas. Other food related businesses should be actively encouraged around the Market Hall. A heritage and tourism strategy should be developed for the Markets area to promote key cultural attractions, to maximise the potential for food tourism and to encourage greater numbers of visitors to experience the Markets and key sites. 65