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DRAFT RATHMINES RETAIL STRATEGY APPENDIX 2A DRAFT RATHMINES LOCAL ACTION PLAN


Rathmines Retail Strategy

CONTENTS Pg Summary

3

1. Introduction

4

2. Policy Context

8

3. The ‘Health Check’ Assessment

12

4. Household Survey—Results and Analysis

21

5. Existing and Future Capacity

31

6. Establishing and Strengthening the Core Retail Area

38

7. A Vision for the Future

46

APPENDIX

i. Household Survey Report

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

SUMMARY John Spain Associates was commissioned by Dublin City Council to prepare this Retail Strategy as part of the preparation of a Local Action Plan for Rathmines. The Strategy provides a planning framework for the development of Rathmines as one of the city’s main retail centres. The Strategy is based on analysis of the current retailing environment in the town, and includes policies and proposals to improve the profile of Rathmines as a retail centre in line with its designation as a Prime Urban Centre in the current Dublin City Development Plan 2005—2011. The Strategy uses research and analysis from a number of sources including existing retail and planning policy; a household survey of consumer preferences in the retail catchment area of Rathmines undertaken as part of the strategy preparation; and quantitative and qualitative analysis of the current retail environment in the town. The Strategy proposes a series of measures and responses which can be taken to ensure that Rathmines develops to its full potential as a Category A District Centre in the overall retail hierarchy of Dublin City. The Strategy also seeks to provide a framework for stakeholders in the area to develop and improve the retail profile of the area and to ensure the continued viability and vitality of Rathmines as a shopping and leisure destination.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

INTRODUCTION The Retail Planning Guidelines for Planning Authorities, issued by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in January 2001, require Local Authorities to prepare retail strategies and policies for their areas and to incorporate these where appropriate into their development plans. This Retail Strategy has been prepared in tandem with the Rathmines Local Action Plan and forms an integral part of the Council’s overall vision for the development of Rathmines over the period of the Plan. The principle aim of the strategy is to ensure the development of a distinctive high quality retail sector in Rathmines which reinforces its role as a Prime Urban Centre (PUC). The strategy aims to better meet local shopping needs in a way that is efficient, equitable and sustainable as set down as a principle objective in the Retail Planning Guidelines.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

RATHMINES IN CONTEXT For many people, Rathmines represents the quintessential Victorian Dublin suburb. The urban quality and scale of ambition expressed in its streetscapes and public buildings provides the clearest expression for many of how a significant urban centre should look and feel. Rathmines retains its distinctive urban character to this day. However, despite a degree of investment and change over the past 20 years, the area has not benefited to the degree it should from the process of rejuvenation seen in other areas of the city. In particular, Rathmines has not fully realised its potential to develop into a significant commercial and retail centre within a modern and more diverse metropolitan area. While the commercial centre of the area, along Lower Rathmines Road, contains a range of shops and services, the choice, diversity and overall mix of retail remains limited and an impression exists that the retail environment in the town is somewhat dated and is failing to attract sufficient shoppers to the area. In particular, the street lacks many of the high end retailers which are increasingly found in successful retail centres. In order to realise its potential further, Rathmines has been identified as a Prime Urban Centre in the Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011, one of eight such centres in the metropolitan area. The Plan outlines that these centres have, or will have, by reason of their existing size, accessibility to public transport and/ or established urban form, the capacity to deliver on a range of requirements, including an increased density of development, a viable retail and commercial core, a comprehensive range of high quality community and social services, and a distinctive spatial identity with a high quality physical environment. In general, the development principles for such centres include:

• • •

Ensure the establishment of high density developments;

The creation of high quality mixed use urban districts; development should have regard to existing urban form, scale and character;

Encourage the development/redevelopment of under utilised sites.

The creation of a vibrant retail and commercial core with animated streetscapes; Encourage the provision of mixed use development ;

Rathmines also has a recognised regional role and is designated as a Level 3 town/district centre within the retail hierarchy set out in the Retail Planning Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area. While the Strategy indicates that town centres at this level should comprise groups of shops often containing at least one supermarket or superstore and a range of non-retail services, such as banks, building societies and restaurants as well as local facilities such as libraries, it is also recognised that Rathmines, given its unique physical and social attributes, has the potential to develop much further, if given the necessary encouragement and policy framework.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

POPULATION PROFILE The population profile for Rathmines and the retail catchment area contained in the Census of Population 2006 provides the following statistics:

Total Population: 47,702 Persons Total No. of Males: 22,724 Total No. of Females: 24,978

The principle socio-economic groups were found to be:

11% Age 65+

Unable to Work, 2% Others, 1% Retired, 11% Home Duties, 6%

31%

Age 35 64

42%

Age 20 34 5%

Age 15 19 Age 0 14

Student, 15%

11%

Working, 63%

Unemployed, 4%

Of those in employment, the social groups were found to be as follows: 20%

18%

The Census indicates a total population in the retail catchment area of 47,702 persons in 2006. The population is generally well balanced with a high number of people within the early working cohort (20—34 years) and a large number in the more established working cohort (35—64 years) reflecting a well settled, family-focused community.

7%

7%

32% 15%

A - Higher Managerial, Administrative, Professional B - Intermediate Managerial, Administrative, Professional C1 - Supervisory/ Clercial/ Junior Managers C2 - Skilled Manual Workers D - Sem i-skilled and Unskilled Workers

Broadly speaking, the area has a generally affluent population profile with a high degree of people in work and a relatively low level of unemployment. The upper socio-economic groups are well represented, indicating an educated and skilled workforce in the retail catchment area. From a retail perspective, this population profile is largely expected to result in above average levels of per capita expenditure in the area and higher disposable incomes. Greater levels of choice are likely to be expected and customers in this area will value quality and the range of products highly. The potential for niche stores and higher-end retailing is likely to be higher in this area.

E - State Pensioners

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STUDY APPROACH

The purpose of a retail strategy is to implement the objectives of the Retail Planning Guidelines. Dublin City Council has requested that this strategy considers in particular the following:

The approach taken in the formation of the retail strategy included the undertaking of baseline surveys and research. This comprised the following components:

•

Does the existing quantum and mix of shops currently available in Rathmines reflect the consumer spend and consumer choice of the population and its hinterland.

•

What are the barriers to, and opportunities for altering the existing range and mix of retail and service areas, to include for example more specialist uses and a more dynamic quality mix of retail/ commercial/ cultural uses, more appropriate to a Category 1 District centre, defined as a PUC.

•

What scale and diversity of retail and service provision is necessary to provide for the population catchment envisaged in the PUC/ Local Action Plan.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

THE PURPOSE OF THE RETAIL STRATEGY

Policy Analysis: National and local policy documents were reviewed in the context of the retail strategy with particular reference to the retail hierarchy and existing and emerging development plan policies. Household Consumer Surveys: Demographics Ireland was commissioned to undertake household surveys within the defined catchment area. The results of these surveys were used to define existing patterns of inflows and outflows of expenditure from the catchment area, obtain consumer views of the overall performance of Rathmines and aid in identifying a vision for the future development of the area. Community Mapping Report: the findings of the community workshops held in May 2008, were analysed and included in the overall study. Qualitative Survey: a qualitative health check survey was carried out in order to assess the current level of vitality and viability of the town. Opportunity sites for retail development and expansion were also identified.

The study will examine the potential development of Rathmines as a retail and service centre in respect of the following

Quantitative Analysis: population analysis, sourcing of expenditure data, expenditure analysis, turnover analysis and overall analysis was carried out.

i.

The identification of potential large scale mixed use and infill retail development sites.

ii.

The relationship between shopping in Rathmines and car parking provision

Vision for the Future: consideration of the development potential of Rathmines and the preparation of policies to promote the development of a distinctive retail identity for the area.

iii.

The departure of DIT and the potential impact on Rathmines as a student centre.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

POLICY CONTEXT In developing a retail strategy for Rathmines, consideration must be given to the national regional and local planning policies in place. This planning hierarchy both informs and directs retail planning policies at a local level.

RETAIL PLANNING STRATEGY FOR THE GREATER DUBLIN AREA 2008 The new Retail Planning Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area covers the period 2008 to 2016. The Strategy updates and reviews the previous Retail Planning Strategy prepared in 2001 to take into account the significant economic, demographic and policy changes in the Greater Dublin Area in the intervening period. The Strategy sets out a medium term vision to 2016 and assesses the current and proposed levels of retailing within the GDA and establishes future retail need across the seven local authority areas up to 2016.

Retail Hierarchy Rathmines is designated as a Level 3 town/district centre within the retail hierarchy set out in the Retail Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area. The Strategy outlines that the identification of town and/or district centres at Level 3, reflects the functions of the centres within this level of the hierarchy. In accordance with the approach adopted in the 2001 Retail Strategy, it is noted that it is at the discretion of each of the Local Authorities in their retail strategies to determine the designation of town and/or district centres based on sound sustainable planning principles.

Nature and Quantum of Floorspace Table 6.2 of the Strategy sets out the retail formats expected at each level of the GDA retail hierarchy. For Level 3 Town Centres, such as Rathmines, the range of retail floorspace expected is identified as including middle and lower order comparison shopping, superstore and supermarket. The Strategy highlights that town centres usually comprise groups of shops often containing at least one supermarket or superstore and a range of non-retail services, such as banks, building societies and restaurants as well as local facilities such as libraries. It is acknowledged that the level of floorspace existing in each centre varies considerably, even if the centres are at the same level of the hierarchy.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

Within this context it is important to note that DoEHLG Retail Planning Guidelines sets a guideline size of approximately 10,000sq.m. gross and up to 20,000 sq.m. gross where appropriate within the GDA. However, the Strategy outlines that for a certain limited number of district/sub county town centres within Level 3 of the hierarchy, located or proposed for areas of extensive and intense high density development providing for new towns/areas of over 10,000 population, the guidelines of a maximum of 20,000 sq.m. gross of retail provision can be extended by 10-15,000sq.m. of lettable floorspace to reflect the dense urban character of the development and the high population located within the a short walking distance of the centre – where the area is not already served by an existing centre.

Regeneration of Existing Centres The underpinning objective of the Retail Strategy is to promote the vitality and viability of existing centres in the GDA by:

Planning for the growth and development of existing centres;

Promoting and enhancing existing centres, by focusing development in such centres and encouraging a wide range of services in good environments which are accessible to all;

Integrating the provision of high quality retail with mixed use in towns and centres to create attractive, active places, and ;

Supporting the role of town centres as places to visit that have strong community and civic functions and roles to the surrounding population.

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The 2005 Dublin City Development Plan provides the statutory land use planning and policy framework for the city. The Plan sets out a new spatial strategy to steer future growth in both the inner and outer city areas founded on the following three principles:

The Expansion and Consolidation of the City Centre: the continued renewal and regeneration of the city core in an eastward and westward direction.

Prime Urban Centres: expanding and developing key urban centres.

Framework Development Areas: developing and regenerating key strategic areas which are located in the Inner and Outer City.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

DUBLIN CITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2005 - 2011

Rathmines is identified as one of eight Prime Urban Centre (PUC) designated under the Development Plan. These areas all have the District Centre Land Use Objective Z4: “To provide for and improve mixed services facilities”. In addition, and consequent to its status as a PUC, Rathmines is designated as a Category A District Centre in the City retail hierarchy.

Figure 2.1: Extract from Dublin City Development Plan 2005—2011 Image courtesy of Dublin City Council

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PUCs are differentiated from other district centres by virtue of their increased potential to provide a range of services and focal points for the community. For Rathmines, the designation reflects the importance of the locality within the larger context of the city and the potential for the area to become a thriving vibrant centre for services, employment and leisure for the local community. This is reflected in Section 14.4.4 of the City Development Plan as follows:

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Prime Urban Centres

“Dublin City Council have identified and designated a number of Prime Urban Centres. These are centres that have, or will have in the future, the capacity, by reason of their existing size, accessibility to the public transport and/or established urban form, to deliver on a range of requirements, the most important of which are:

An increased density of development,

A viable retail and commercial core,

A comprehensive range of high quality community and social services,

A distinctive spatial identity with a high quality physical environment.

By virtue of their existing size, established urban form and public transport linkages it is envisaged that PUC’s have the potential to deliver, with some increased density of development, an improved and viable retail/commercial core. General stated development principles for such centres include:

Ensure the establishment of high density developments

The creation of a vibrant retail and commercial core with animated streetscapes

Encourage the provision of mixed use development

The creation of high quality mixed use urban districts; development should have regard to existing urban form, scale and character

Encourage the development/redevelopment of under utilised sites.“

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

THE ‘HEALTH CHECK’ ASSESSMENT QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS A health check assessment is an integral part of a retail strategy: analysing the strengths and weaknesses of a town centre. Annex II of the Retail Planning Guidelines sets out the matters that should be taken into account when determining the vitality and viability of town centres. It is based on a qualitative analysis of factors such as the range and quality of activities in a centre, the mix of uses, the accessibility of the centre to people living in the area, and the general amenity, appearance and safety of the area. Indicators of a healthy town centre include a low level of vacancy, a high pedestrian footfall and a pleasant and inviting public realm which is well maintained. This assessment for Rathmines was carried out within the main retail core, which is based along Upper and Lower Rathmines Road, and which also comprises a number of secondary streets and lanes extending from Rathmines Road and encompasses a number of backlands sites. Consideration was also given to the smaller neighbourhood centres within its catchment area, including Terenure, Ranelagh, Rathgar and Harold’s Cross. The Retail Planning Guidelines provide a comprehensive checklist of information to be included in a health check assessment. It is stated in the guidelines that a healthy town centre, that is one which is both vital and viable, balances a number of qualities including;

Attractions

Accessibility

Amenity

Action

These underpin a town centre and comprise the range and diversity of shopping and other activities which draw in customers and visitors.

Successful centres need to be both accessible to the surrounding catchment area via a good road network and public transport facilities, and to encompass good local linkages between car parks, public transport stops and the various attractions within the centres.

A healthy town centre should be a pleasant place to be in. It should be attractive in terms of environmental quality and urban design; it should be safe and have a distinctive identity and image.

To function effectively as a viable commercial centre, things need to happen. Development and improvement projects should be implemented efficiently; there should be regular and effective cleaning and maintenance and there should be coordinated town centre management initiatives to promote the continued improvement of the centre.

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Present day Rathmines still largely reflects the Victorian township that developed in the nineteenth century as a civic centre to serve an affluent residential hinterland. The principal street, Upper and Lower Rathmines Road, remains the focus for the area today and is the centre of most of the activities and attractions of the area. The secondary streets radiating from Rathmines Road, have a lesser commercial function and are generally in residential use. However a number of these streets have the ability to provide for additional town centre uses as Rathmines develops, in line with its function as a Prime Urban Centre.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Attractions

Rathmines is notable for its many high quality civic buildings, such as the town hall and library, which reflect its previous role and affluence, and continue to lend the street a distinctly urban air. These buildings are important and attractive elements in the streetscape and attractors of higher order uses and functions which will become increasingly valuable as Rathmines changes and develops into the future. Whereas the area traditionally developed as a middle class suburb dominated by large family homes, the role of the area has increasingly changed in the last few decades and the area now reflects a broader social makeup. Rathmines is most notably associated with a large student community, reflecting both the presence of educational establishments in the area and its proximity to the city centre and the larger institutes and universities based there. Recent years have also seen the growth of immigrant communities in the area, as with other areas of the city. These groups have been attracted to the area by the affordable housing which has been developed through the subdivision and conversion of the large period houses in the area since the 1930s. This largely temporary and transient population has for many years given Rathmines its reputation as the city’s ‘flatland’ and in many ways has had a resultant effect on the range of uses in the Rathmines. The process of subdivision of these former townhouses has in many instances diminished their general appearance and complicated measures to maintain the overall upkeep and coherence of the streetscape along Rathmines Road. While recent years have seen a return to the traditional use of period houses in the area to single family homes, this has not generally happened along Rathmines Road, and the challenge of retaining and upgrading historic properties along the street remains significant. In view of this, Dublin City Council has prepared guidelines for the protection of historic streetscapes along Lower Rathmines Road with practical measures for property owners to repair and restore their properties. These guidelines should prove valuable in developing the area over the period of the Local Action Plan. Despite its role as an established town centre and its proximity to Dublin city centre, the retail offer is generally undeveloped and tends disproportionately towards lower order uses. There is a distinct lack of higher order comparison retailers such as national and international multiples and niche boutiques, while the street is notable for the presence of a larger than desirable number of lower order retail and service operators including fast food outlets, charity shops, internet cafes and other commercial uses which would generally detract from the street’s primary role as a retail centre. The range and quality of associated services is also limited.

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Notwithstanding the above, many of the established retailers on the street continue to trade well and the street offers great potential to develop into a distinctive and attractive retail destination. However, attracting higher order comparison operators such as fashion multiples to Rathmines is hindered by the general lack of suitably sized units allowing for modern retail formats and the general perception which the street has among potential tenants and the wider public of a dated and somewhat unfashionable shopping area.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

There are very few of the fashion retailers or specialty shops which might reflect a youthful and vibrant community or an affluent city neighbourhood, and the retail profile generally no longer reflects Rathmines traditional role and function as an urban centre.

Rathmines also lacks a number of important attractions. The street is lacking in galleries, craft shops or niche fashion stores and there is a general absence of cultural spaces in the centre. A new three-screen cinema at Swan Centre has recently been approved and the old cinema, the Stella, has closed, with the site currently being considered for mixed use development. There are also no particular references to the area’s large multicultural community, bar the presence of ethnic foodstores and takeaways. Other attractions in the town remain under-developed. While the area has a number of amenity areas and leisure uses, these suffer from a lack of connectivity and in many cases have limited access to the general public or are in private ownership. The redevelopment of the swimming pool site and the associated new public spaces will provide significant leisure and community facilities in Rathmines.

Accessibility Lower Rathmines Road forms the primary arterial route from Dublin City Centre to the southern inner suburbs of Rathgar, Terenure and Milltown. As such these areas would be seen as a natural catchment for retailers and service providers in Rathmines and the accessibility of Rathmines from these areas is an important consideration for its future growth and development. The area is well connected by numerous bus routes to both the city centre and surrounding areas. A number of these routes are cross city routes which increase Rathmines’ accessibility to the wider city. The bus network will continue to offer the greatest potential for directing larger numbers of people to Rathmines from surrounding areas and should be further supported with provision of high quality facilities and improved and up-to-date information. The Luas Green Line station at Ranelagh is a 10 minute walk away and offers Rathmines access to a high quality public transport corridor. Connectivity between Rathmines and Ranelagh, which is itself an attractive urban village centre, has traditionally been strong and these two areas will continue to have a symbiotic relationship. This should be further strengthened by highlighting key pedestrian and cycling routes between the two centres supported by features such as directional signage.

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The focus on Lower Rathmines Road as a traffic artery and the resulting high level of traffic using the street has created an environment that is less sympathetic to other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. However, a positive example of recent works that rebalance the use of the street in favour of pedestrians is the improvements to the public domain along Lower Rathmines Road. The development of a civic space as part of the redevelopment of the swimming pool site will significantly improve the pedestrian environment and provide for a strong focus for the town centre. Enhancement of the pedestrian environment should be promoted, including traffic calming, crossing facilities, improvement of the quality of street paving and directional signage.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Developing Rathmines’ relationship to its surrounding area will be the key consideration in promoting the town as a Prime Urban Centre and is an important factor in its future success. Presently Lower Rathmines Road is viewed as much as a through-route than a destination thoroughfare. Changing this perception is important.

Amenity Public perception of Rathmines as a place to shop, enjoy and relax in is coloured by a number of factors, not least the environmental quality and amenity of the area. In particular, considerations such as perceptions of security and safety, the quality of the physical environment and public realm, the presence of litter and graffiti, and the quality of elements such as shopfronts, signage, landscaping and open space are all important elements in promoting the general attractiveness of the shopping area. Despite numerous 20th century interventions, Rathmines Road remains an essentially Victorian commercial street with a number of fine public buildings and an attractive human scale. The quality of buildings along Upper and Lower Rathmines Road ranges from high quality well preserved period buildings to more recent interventions, many of which are unremarkable or of low quality. However, significant alterations to Rathmines’ late Georgian and Victorian buildings to accommodate modern commercial uses have been inconsistent and in some cases ill-considered. Along many parts of the street, the piecemeal development of former front gardens for shops and offices, which may well have been seen as an efficient and logical solution to the need for more retail space along the street in previous times, has left a large number of small and generally poor quality units unsuited to modern retail needs. These developments have also served to disconnect the original properties from the street and encouraged the development of an incoherent and broken streetscape. Many of these Victorian properties have also suffered from inappropriate subdivision into multiple units, often of a very poor quality, and the degradation of their historic fabric with uPVC windows and other inappropriate alterations. The visual appearance of the street is further eroded by clutter such as excessive and poor quality signage and advertising and by poorly designed shopfronts. Dilapidated shopfronts in particular provide a negative image of Rathmines.

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The condition of the public domain along Rathmines Road has substantially improved in recent times as a result of significant investment made by Dublin City Council to improve paving, street lighting and street furniture along the street. Pavements are now generous, with a co-ordinated approach to street lighting and furniture. The paving scheme presently extends as far as the junction with Rathgar Road and its expansion to Rathmines Road Upper and the immediate section of Rathgar Road and to certain secondary streets and lanes is recommended. Efforts should be made to retain insofar as is practical this uncluttered and co-ordinated approach to the public domain.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Adapting the existing floorspace along the street to meet modern commercial needs presents significant challenges, and will require a concerted effort between the planning authority and landowners.

Action Activity is a key measure of the health of town centre and is a factor of both the uses of that centre and its attractiveness as a destination. Rathmines Road is a busy and active street, with a distinctly urban feel more akin to areas of the city centre than a suburb. Activity on the street is not only restricted to the daytime but the area remains vibrant at night, mainly due to its large student population. This night-time activity is reflected by the number of cafes, bars and takeaway restaurants along the street. As a result pedestrian flows within the town centre are generally strong throughout the day and this would suggest an excellent basis for future development of the street and wider area as a Prime Urban Centre. However, activity brings with it a range of challenges such as street maintenance and cleansing and the need to efficiently and effectively accommodate large numbers of pedestrians. As with any shopping area, pro active and engaged management of the public domain is required in order to fully realise the potential of the area and promote its continued improvement.

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Rathmines accommodates a diverse range of uses which enhance its role as a town centre within the city’s retail hierarchy. The area includes a wide variety of pubs, restaurants and cafes, and it is considered that the town is generally well catered for in terms of the quantum of retail and service floorspace present. Notwithstanding this, given its designation as a PUC, it is considered that there remains further potential to expand the quantum of retail floorspace in Rathmines in the future. The immediate focus for improving Rathmines’ appeal as a retail destination is to enhance the quality of existing floorspace and attract a more varied and specialised range of retailers to the town.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

DIVERSITY OF USES

The town could certainly cater for further uses, particularly high quality cultural amenities which would serve to broaden the general appeal of the area and further enrich the social infrastructure of the town. It is noted that the development of a new three screen cinema at the Swan Shopping Centre has recently been approved, while new leisure and community facilities are currently under construction on the site of the old swimming pool.

MULTIPLE REPRESENTATIONS There is considerable scope for the profile of retail representation within Rathmines to be increased and strengthened. The convenience sector is primarily dominated by national/international multiples including Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Aldi and is complemented by small scale butchers, grocers and local supermarkets. The comparison sector currently includes a limited number of high street brands and it is considered that there is considerable scope to expand and strengthen this sector in the town. In particular, there is a noticeably lack of fashion multiples in the town centre, which is generally due to a lack of adequate floorplates. A process of consolidation of smaller units and the development of well sized anchor units at key opportunity sites would serve to address this shortfall.

MALL DEVELOPMENTS The main mall development within Rathmines is the two storey Swan Shopping Centre which occupies a large site at the north-eastern portion of the junction of Rathmines Road Lower (to the west) and Castlewood Avenue (to the south). The centre is anchored by Dunnes Stores and includes a wide number of retailers and services. Existing car parking facilities are provided at basement level with existing vehicular access via Rathmines Road Lower and Castlewood Avenue.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

The centre has a number of strengths not least its varied tenant mix and the presence of a large multiple anchor store. Many of the units within the centre are well established and synonymous with Swan Centre and Rathmines. The centre also benefits greatly from brand recognition and is generally regarded as the most important shopping destination in Rathmines. However, the centre is also considered to be somewhat dated and is in need of refurbishment and reinvention. The new three-screen cinema within the centre should serve to stimulate a wider regeneration of this development.

SUITABILITY OF EXISTING FLOORSPACE Overall, there exists a vital need to improve the quality of the commercial centre of Rathmines. This can be achieved through the rejuvenation of the existing units and the establishment of a more diverse and specialist range of shops. A variety of commercial units is required; the type, number and distribution of which should reflect the needs of the community. It is considered that there is an overrepresentation of lower end uses such as charity shops, fast food outlets and internet cafes within the commercial core which detract from the primary retail function of this area. Higher order uses such as fashion outlets, book stores, and specialty shops have not been as successful in establishing themselves in Rathmines and this is somewhat a reflection on the size and quality of the floorspace provided as well as the generally dated profile of the centre. A future area of concern arises in relation to the integration of larger national and international units into the core retail area. In general, these units require a large surface area to accommodate larger retailing units and this can place pressure on the fine urban grain of the village centre. In this regard, it is noted that a number of significant opportunity sites exist in Rathmines which can accommodate development which include the larger retail formats required of multiples. The convenience sector in Rathmines is primarily dominated by national/international multiples including Tesco, Dunnes Store and Aldi and is complemented by small scale butchers, grocers and local supermarkets, particularly in the smaller village centres of Ranelagh and Terenure. There is considerable scope to raise the profile of retail representation within Rathmines. Measures are required to encourage the existing multiples to update and improve their presence, while a range of smaller, high quality convenience uses should be actively encouraged in the area.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

Table 3.1: Estimates of floorspace requirements of certain retail formats

Retail Format

Approximate Floorspace Requirements GFA

Large Supermarket/ Foodstores e.g Tesco, Superquinn, Dunnes Stores

2.500 sq.m. to 4,000 sq.m.

Smaller ‘High Street’ format foodstores e.g. Marks & Spencer ‘Simply Food’, Tesco ‘Express’,

800 sq.m.

Discount Foodstore e.g. Aldi, Lidl

to 1,800 sq.m.

High Street Fashion Anchor e.g, H&M, Zara, River Island

1,300 sq.m to 2,500 sq.m.

Small Branded Convenience Store e.g. Centra, Spar, Londis

to 400 sq.m.

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Ranelagh

Harold’s Cross Harold’s Cross lacks the traditional centre found in other areas such as Ranelagh and Terenure and consequently has a more limited retail offer. The area is less attractive and not as well maintained as Ranelagh or Terenure and is characterised by a degree of dereliction and some incompatible land uses. Nevertheless, attractions such as Harold Cross Stadium and the area’s traditional role as a ‘flatland’ provide the village with a distinctive role within the overall urban framework of this part of the city. While the improving retail offer of nearby Kimmage and Crumlin will continue to draw some customers from this area, it is envisaged that residents will for the most part continue to travel to Rathmines for much of their shopping needs.

Terenure Terenure is classified as a Category B district centre within the city’s retail hierarchy. These centres are classified as existing or proposed centres with large floor areas of retail use. It is noted in the Development Plan that there are opportunities for expansion and improved access to the centres and the centres act as a local community/employment focal point. Terenure has a wide variety of businesses and services based around the traditional centre of the village at the junction of Templeogue Road, which is also a primary entry route into the city centre, and Terenure Road. The retail offer in the village ranges from specialty food stores to fashion retailers, antique shops and local services. However, the village has a somewhat limited convenience retail offer which indicates that a significant amount of local people travel to other centres for the main weekly shopping needs. Rathmines, given its proximity, should be seen as the natural destination for these shoppers.

Ranelagh is designated as a Category C district centre within the Dublin City Council retail hierarchy. These areas are classified as being smaller than district centres serving areas of limited population. They are larger than neighbourhood centres in terms of the range of activities they provide and generally serve a local population.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

OTHER CENTRES WITHIN THE CATCHMENT AREA

Ranelagh still retains its village-like atmosphere, with many small, traditional shops and business operating alongside newer arrivals to the area; most locating along Ranelagh Road, and especially around the recently improved Triangle, which marks the centre of the village. The retail profile of Ranelagh is diverse with a wide range of shops and services and a particularly high concentration of high quality eateries and cafes, which have sparked a renaissance for the village and the surrounding area as an upmarket shopping and leisure area. The quality of the retail offer in the village has improved considerably in recent years with the opening of a number of convenience operators as well as higher order boutiques and specialty stores. The village offers a good example of the quality of retailing and services which Rathmines should seek to achieve, albeit on a much larger scale.

Rathgar Rathgar, although smaller in scale than Ranelagh, is also designated as Category C District Centre within the City Council’s retail hierarchy. The village shares much of the Victorian character of Rathmines and Ranelagh and has traditionally been viewed as a more upmarket area of family homes. Rathgar too, retains its village charm with a small parade of local shops and services such as a bakery, a delicatessen, a butcher, a bike shop and a quality wine shop all within a few metres of the main crossroads. The retail offer, while of good quality, is limited and generally only serves local need. Whereas, until recently, the area had none of the larger convenience or comparison outlets which would generally be found in Rathmines, a new Superquinn store is due to open shortly in the village, which will enhance the range of local convenience shopping.

20


Rathmines Retail Strategy

HOUSEHOLD SURVEY - RESULTS AND ANALYSIS The household survey was undertaken in order to establish the existing shopping patterns within the catchment area for different retailing types including clothing footwear and food. A full copy of the household survey report is attached as Appendix 1 of the Retail Strategy.

Methodology The survey was carried out by Demographics Ireland, an established independent survey company. It was carried out by telephone on a sample of households from the catchment area in October 2008. In total 400 people were interviewed. A breakdown of the percentage of people interviewed from each area within the catchment area is set out in the chart below. The overall objective of the household survey is to provide an insight into the shopping patterns of the resident population of the catchment area. A summary of some of the key results is provided below.

Classification The survey obtained personal information regarding the gender, age and home address of each of the respondents. Comprehensive tables are attached as an appendix to the retail strategy which show the responses by respondents resident in each of the areas together with tabulation of responses by persons in each demographic profile.

Terenure 18%

Survey Questions

Harolds Cross 10%

The household survey primarily contained questions relating to where respondents carry out their main food shopping, top up shopping and footwear and clothing shopping.

Rathmines 32%

Ranelagh 27%

Rathgar 13%

21


Comparison Shopping In terms of shopping for clothes and footwear, respondents were asked which town, shopping centre, retail location or shop they normally visited for these purchases. 55% of the respondents from the catchment area outlined that they do their main clothing and footwear shopping within the City Centre with an additional 17% travelling to Dundrum. Almost 80% of the respondents leave the catchment area to carry out their comparison shopping.

“Where do you do most of your shopping for non-food goods such as clothing and footwear?�

Rathmines Retail Strategy

SECTION 1- SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES AND FOOTWEAR

55% Dublin City Centre

55%

18% Rathmines 17% Dundrum Town Centre

18%

17% 1% Rathmines Lif fey Valley S.C. Ashleaf Centre Other

1%

1%

City Centre Tallaght Crumlin

7% 1%

1%

1%

Dundrum Terenure Rathfranham

The results shown above are also noteworthy when the amount of leakage from each of the individual centres in the catchment area is examined in closer detail. These figures outline how the City Centre exerts a substantial influence and acts as the main centre for food and clothes shopping within each of the centres in the catchment area. The influence of Dundrum is not so uniform throughout the catchment area with 24% of the respondents from Terenure travelling to this centre for their comparison shopping but only 10% of respondents from Rathgar and Harolds Cross travelling to this location.

400 City Centre Rathmines

Dundrum

Rathmines

Harolds Cross

Ranelagh

Rathgar

Terenure

130

40

110

50

70

220

70

18

63

31

38

55%

54%

45%

57%

62%

54%

72

27

10

22

8

5

18%

21%

25%

20%

16%

7%

68 17%

21 16%

4 10%

21 19%

5 10%

17 24%

Table 4.1: Trends to Competing Centres by Area

22


Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction of the comparison retail sector of Rathmines. Of the 18% of respondents who do their main clothing and footwear shopping in Rathmines, 67% of the respondents outlined that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with this sector. 19% of the respondents indicated that comparison shopping facilities were average.

“Are you satisfied with the clothing and footwear shops in Rathmines?”

24% of the respondents highlighted that they were generally dissatisfied. This principle reason for people not being satisfied with the comparison offer within the catchment area related to “poor range of goods” with 94% of respondents providing this criticism. The remaining 6% of the respondents all indicated that “parking problems” were their main reason for dissatisfaction.

64% Satisfied

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Satisfaction with Comparison Offer

24% Dissatisfied

Main reasons for choice of centre for clothing and footwear shopping: Respondents were also asked to identify their main reasons for choice of centre when shopping for clothes and footwear. Having a good selection of goods for comparison and selection heads the list with convenience choice in the ranking table. 40% of respondents outlined that their main reason related to “wide range of goods/products” with 34% of respondents referring to its “proximity to home/convenience”. Rathmines is faulted as lacking good shops and having a poor selection of clothing and footwear outlets. The main results of this are shown on the table below. The respondents were asked to identify what percentage of their spend on clothing and footwear they would spend in Rathmines over a year. Less than 5% of respondents would spend a significant amount in Rathmines. 87% of the respondents outlined that they would spend less than 20% of their overall spend on clothes and footwear in Rathmines. 9% outlined that they would spend from 20-40%, 3% highlighted that they would spend from 40 to 60% with the remaining 2% indicating that they would spend over 60% in Rathmines.

Reason Wide range of goods/products

Number 159

% 40

Close to home/convenient

135

34

Good quality goods/products

27

7

Good prices/value for money

23

6

Ease of parking

20

5

Close to work

12

3

Good public transport

11

3

Close to other shops

6

2

Other

7

2

Wide range of goods

Close to home /convenient

Good quality goods

Good prices/value f or money

Ease of parking

Close to w ork

Good public transport

Close to other shops

Other

23


The respondents were asked to define which store and location they normally use for their main food and grocery shopping. The results of this section of the survey are shown below. The results of the survey outline that in total 62% of the respondents carry out their main food and grocery shopping within the catchment area. 56% of this figure outlined Rathmines as their main destination. Dunnes Stores in the Swan Shopping Centre was highlighted as the most popular destination for food and grocery shopping with 36% of respondents carrying out their main food and grocery shopping within the store. This figure of 36% represents a substantial amount of the local market share, given that the next most popular centre is the Superquinn Kimmage with 14% of the market share and the Tesco Store on Lower Rathmines Road with 10%. The results of the survey indicate a leakage figure of 38% from the catchment area. The most frequently visited store outside of the catchment area was noted as the Superquinn in Kimmage with 14% of respondents indicating that they carried out their main food and grocery shopping at this location. The survey results highlights how the stores used depend on the area of residence. The results illustrate that almost 75% of persons living in Rathmines use the local stores (18% shopping in Tesco and 48% in Dunnes) whereas persons in Harold’s Cross and Terenure would use the Superquinn store in Kimmage. Notwithstanding this, it is noteworthy that over 9% of the respondents living in the immediate area of Rathmines travel to the Superquinn in Kimmage for their main food and grocery shopping. There are limited major outlets in Rathgar or Ranelagh and a high percentage of shoppers from these areas, up to 40%, use the Dunnes Stores outlet in the Swan Centre.

Store Dunnes Rathmines Superquinn- Kimmage Tesco Rathmines Aldi Rathmines Superquinn Ranelagh Tesco Rathfarnham Dunnes-Ashleaf Mortons-Ranelagh Tesco-Dundrum Tesco Merrion Local Convenience Store Tesco-Nutgrove Tesco -Baggot Street Dunnes - Stephens Green Supervalu-Churchtown Tesco-Crumlin Aldi-Nutgrove Superquinn-Ballinteer Superquinn-Blackrock Donnybrook Fair Centra Ranelagh Supervalu-Templeogue Tesco-Stillorgan Other

Number 144 54 41 25 17 15 15 13 11 6 6 5 5 5 5 4 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 16

% 36 14 10 6 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 4

Rathmines Retail Strategy

SECTION 2 – FOOD AND GROCERY SHOPPING

24


Rathmines Retail Strategy

Satisfaction with Convenience Offer Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction of the convenience offer of Rathmines. In response to this question 12% of the respondents outlined that they were very satisfied, 61% were satisfied, 12% indicated that shopping facilities were average. 15% of the respondents outlined that they were not satisfied or very dissatisfied with the convenience offer of Rathmines. The principle reason for people indicating that they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied related to the “poor range of goods” with 63% of respondents providing this response. Other reasons for dissatisfaction included poor shopping environment, parking problems etc.

3%

6% 5%

6%

5% 11%

64%

Poor range of goods Poor access roads/infrastructure Too Expensive

Dunnes Stores - Rathmines Superquinn—Kimmage Tesco - Rathmines

Aldi—Rathmines Superquinn - Ranelagh Tesco—Rathfarnham Dunnes Stores—Ashleaf Centre Morton’s—Ranelagh Tesco - Dundrum

Poor shopping environment Parking Problems Other

Rathmines

Harolds Cross

Ranelagh

Rathgar

Terenure

400 144

130 62

40 11

110 44

50 20

70 1

36%

47.7%

27.5%

40%

40%

10%

55

12

15

2

9

17

13.8%

9.2%

37.5%

1.8%

18%

24.3%

40 10% 25 6.3% 17 4.3% 15 3.8% 15 3.8% 13 3.3% 11 2.8%

23 17.7% 8 6.2% 3 2.3% 2 1.5% 0 0 3 2.3% 3 2.3%

1 2.5% 2 5% 1 2.5% 1 2.5% 2 5% 0 0 1 2.5%

8 7.3% 11 10% 12 10.9% 1 0.9% 0 0 10 9.1% 2 1.8%

4 8% 3 6% 1 2% 1 2% 1 2% 0 0 1 2%

4 5.7% 1 1.4% 0 0 10 14.3% 12 17.1% 0 0 4 5.7%

Table 4.2: Trends to Competing Convenience Retailers by Area

25


Respondents were asked to identify their main reasons for shopping at the locations where they do their main food/grocery shopping. The results of this are shown in the table below. 59% of respondents outlined that their main reason for choosing their main food/grocery shopping location related to its “proximity to home/convenience”. Other main reasons included “value for money” (13%), “quality of goods/ products” (10%), “range of goods” (8%) and “ease of parking” (7%).

“What is the main reason why you choose to do your household shopping at the store you have indicated?”

Responses to this question show that although there is a level of dissatisfaction with the grocery shopping experience in Rathmines, for these goods convenience is the primary factor. The reasons given are noted as being independent of the demographics; however, there are different responses in the areas of residence. In particular, residents in Ranelagh and Harold’s Cross rate “Value for Money” highly whereas parking is important to Terenure respondents.

59% Convenience 13% Value for Money 10% Quality of Products

1%

Reason Close to home/convenient

Number 239

% 60%

Good prices/value for money

52

13%

Good quality goods/products

38

9%

Wide range of goods/products

32

8%

Ease of parking

28

7%

Close to work

4

1%

Other

4

1%

Good public transport

4

1%

8%

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Main reasons for choice of centre for grocery/food shopping

1%

1%

7%

9% 60%

13%

Close to home /convenient

Good prices/value for money

Good quality goods

Wide range of goods

Ease of parking

Close to work

Other

Good public transport

26


Rathmines Retail Strategy

Top Up Food and Grocery Shopping Respondents were asked where they would normally do their top-up food and grocery shopping. Most respondents (38%) use their local convenience store for top-up food and grocery shopping. Of the stores listed Dunnes Stores in the Swan Shopping Centre was listed as one of the most popular location (14%) followed by Morton’s (12%) and the Centre Store at the Diamond, Ranelagh (8%).

11%

14% 11%

38% 7% 4% 2% 2% 3% 4%

4%

Dunnes Rathmines

Mortons Ranelagh

Centra Ranelagh

Superquinn Kimmage

Superquinn Ranelagh

Tesco Rathmines

Aldi Rathmines

Tesco Rathfarnham

Supervalue Churchtown

Local Convenience Store

Other

27


Rathmines Retail Strategy

SECTION 3: RATHMINES AS A SHOPPING FACILITY

The final section of the questionnaire aims to attain opinions on the overall quality of Rathmines as a shopping facility.

Opinion of Rathmines The respondents were asked to outline their overall opinion of Rathmines. Over 60% of the responses to this question were positive, with its liveliness (22%) and its accessibility “easy to get to” (22%) being high on the list of attributes. The lack of quality in the shops and the range of outlets ranks high on the list of criticisms of the centre (15%).

Changes and improvements needed in Rathmines The respondents were asked to identify what improvements they felt were needed in Rathmines. Better parking facilities (16%), better variety of shops (16%), more specialised stores (12%) and more clothes shops (9%) were top of the list of improvements needed. 19% of the respondents outlined that they were happy with the centre as it is. Residents of Rathmines outline the need for more clothes shops (13.8%) and need for better supermarkets (13%) as the main area for improvements within the centre.

Opinion Lively Easy to get to Poor quality and range of shops Congested Run Down Historic/Strong Heritage Attractive Safe Quiet Unpleasant Difficult to get to Unsafe Bad Parking No Reply

% 22% 22% 15% 10% 8% 6% 5% 5% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1%

“What changes or improvements would encourage you to visit or shop in Rathmines more often?”

16% Better Parking 16% Better variety of shops 12% More specialised shops 9% More clothes shops

28


Rathmines Retail Strategy

Shopping Habits A substantial percentage of persons combine shopping trips with other town centre activities (46%). Visits to banks and other community facilities (library) are listed as frequent (43% banks, community facilities 34%).

Restaurant and other Attractions 75% of the respondents outlined that Rathmines is well served by cafes and restaurants. The survey results also indicated that Rathmines would benefit from a cinema and a market.

“What other attractions do you consider that Rathmines needs?

Specialist Shops Rathmines is not seen as having sufficient specialist shops; most respondents consider that there would be good trading condition for the shops in the area.

73% Cinema 15% Market

Rathmines as a Retail Location

7% Swimming Pool

Respondents were asked to comment on what was the biggest asset for Rathmines as a retail location. 63% of respondents outlined that the convenience of the centre was its main asset. Although 21% of the respondents consider the range of shops to be adequate, when asked what Rathmines lacks, over 50% of the respondents considered that there is a shortage of shops in the area. When asked what the town lacks, the range of comments was wide , including better parking (6%) and the need for more specialised stores (5%), but these comments reinforced the opinion that Rathmines needs a better shopping experience, improvements in parking facilities and an overall improvement in the appearance and infrastructure.

Other 11%

Ease of Transport 5%

Range of shops 21% Convenience 63%

29


It is clear from the results that although the majority of persons living in the catchment area use Rathmines stores for their food purchases less than 20% use shops in the area when purchasing clothing and footwear. Almost 90% would spend under a fifth of their clothing and footwear purchases in the catchment. There are many criticisms of the clothing and footwear shops in the area – in particular the lack of range and quality. The Rathmines area is seen as lacking in adequate parking facilities and facilities such as a swimming pool and cinema. Residents feel that small specialist stores for food and other goods would be viable in the area.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

OVERALL CONCLUSIONS

KEY FINDINGS

62% of respondents in the catchment area use Rathmines stores for their weekly household shopping needs.

Residents would also generally use their local convenience store for daily top-up needs.

There is considered to be good potential for smaller specialist shops for food and other goods in Rathmines.

Less than 20% of people in the catchment area would shop for clothes or footwear in Rathmines.

Dublin City Centre remains the largest draw for shoppers for clothing and footwear, with Dundrum Town Centre also proving attractive to shoppers from the area.

Respondents generally found the poor range and quality of stores in Rathmines to be the biggest criticism of the area.

There is a general perception that Rathmines is rather rundown and neglected. Many respondents noted the need for new attractions in the centre such as a cinema, a regular market and improved leisure and cultural facilities.

30


Rathmines Retail Strategy

EXISTING AND FUTURE CAPACITY QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT This section provides an assessment of the likely capacity in quantitative terms for additional retail floorspace in Rathmines. In the strategy, we cover the period from 2008-2014 and 2014 to 2020. In respect of looking beyond 2014, this enables a longer term look at retail planning and potential in the catchment area which is consistent with the Regional Planning Guidelines. The base year for the purposes of the study is 2006. It should be noted that a quantitative assessment of this nature can only act as a broad brush indicator of the likely quantum of floorspace that should to be achieved in an area over a given period. It involves making forecasts for future population expenditure, turnover and other factors and as such the study is based on a number of assumptions and therefore can only provide a broad indication of anticipated capacity. Nonetheless, the quantitative section can give a useful overview of the position. Furthermore, it should be noted that the figures set out in this section are not intended to be prescriptive thresholds. Rather they are the minimum floorspace targets that need to be achieved in order to ensure that the retail function of Rathmines continues to be reinforced and strengthened.

The Approach The approach taken is a step by step capacity assessment including the following steps: 1.

Estimate the population at base and design year.

2.

Estimate of expenditure per capita on convenience, comparison and bulky household goods at the base year and the design year.

3.

Estimate of total available expenditure in the base year and design year for residents within the Rathmines catchment.

4.

Estimate the likely increase in expenditure available for provision of additional floorspace, making allowances for existing planning permissions and increased efficiency of existing retail floorspace.

5.

Estimate the likely average turnover if new floorspace in convenience and comparison goods.

6.

Estimate the capacity for additional floorspace in Rathmines.

31


Rathmines Retail Strategy

DEFINITION OF THE CATCHMENT AREA Given the proximity of Rathmines to the City Centre and other designated Prime Urban Centres such as Crumlin, a localised catchment area has been identified for the purposes of this assessment. The following areas are included in the catchment. Rathmines dominates the retail hierarchy in the catchment area, being defined within the Dublin City Retail hierarchy as a Category A District Centre and a Prime Urban Centre.

Table 5.1: Population of Catchment Area Source Census of Population, CSO

Ward

Population 2002

Population 2006

% growth

Rathmines West A

4,749

5,080

7

Rathmines West B

3,526

3,275

-7.1

Rathmines West C

2,675

2,633

-1.6

Rathmines West D

3,275

3,231

-1.3

Rathmines West E

3,569

3,273

-8.3

Rathmines West F

2,929

2,849

-2.9

Kimmage C

3,013

2,898

-3.8

Terenure A

3,494

3,357

-3.9

Terenure B

3,445

3,293

-4.4

Terenure C

1,773

1,780

0.4

Terenure D

872

807

-7.4

Rathfarnham

4,446

4,847

9

Rathmines East A

4,541

4,241

-6.6

Rathmines East D

2,962

2,738

-7.6

Rathmines East C

3,695

3,400

-8

Total Population

48,964

47,702

-2.6

32


The population of the defined catchment area was 48,964 in 2002. This fell to 47,702 in 2006, representing a decrease in population of approximately 2.58%. In accordance with these trends and having regard to the redevelopment opportunity sites within Rathmines, Dublin City Council has defined a low growth population scenario of 0.57% per annum up to 2020. For the purposes of the Retail Assessment a high growth scenario of 1.5% growth per annum from 2008 to 2020 is assumed. Table 5.2 below sets out population projections for the catchment area for both high and low growth scenarios.

EXPENDITURE PER CAPITA The Retail Planning Guidelines Study examines three principal sources of data on retail planning expenditure in Ireland. These are the Annual Services Inquiry, the National Income and Expenditure Accounts and the Household Budget Survey. The survey concludes that the most reliable data source for established baseline expenditure is the Annual Services Inquiry. The most recent Annual Service Inquiry is the 2005 Annual Services Inquiry which was published in 2007. This source is therefore used for the purposes of this capacity assessment.

Table 5.2: Population Projections

Year

Low Growth

High Growth

2006

47,702

47,702

2008

48,247

49,144

2014

49,921

53,736

2020

51,653

58,757

Rathmines Retail Strategy

POPULATION

Some adjustments to the data set out in Table 5.1 of the Services Inquiry are also necessary in order to ensure that goods are correctly categorised between comparison and convenience. Firstly, it is estimated that approximately 10% of retail sales in non specialised stores is in department stores and other comparison goods. The remaining 90% is categorised as convenience sales. This is in line with the conclusions of the Tym/Blackwell study commissioned as part of the Retail Planning Guidelines for Planning Authorities. Secondly, the Retail Planning Guidelines Study provides that the category “other retailing in specialised stores� should be taken as comparison expenditure, with the exception of a small element of forecourt sales. We have made an allowance for this. We have also utilised the 10% adjustment for department stores and comparison goods. For the purposes of this study expenditure on pharmaceutical goods and medical articles have been omitted from the comparison expenditure estimate as many medical or pharmaceutical products that would not constitute either convenience or comparison goods by normal definition.

33


Rathmines Retail Strategy

EXPENDITURE ESTIMATES Based on the 2005 Annual Service Inquiry and the Consumer Price Index, we have estimated that the total expenditure per capita in 2005 on convenience goods was €3,375 and €2,926 on comparison goods. For convenience goods we have assumed a growth rate of 1.1% per annum which amounts to a total of €3,724 in 2014 and €3,977 in 2020. The figure for comparison goods expenditure is also projected forward to 2014 and 2020. A growth rate of 4.8% per annum is assumed for comparison goods expenditure which amounts to a total of €4,462 in 2014 and 2020. These growth rate figures are consistent with those included within the Retail Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.

TOTAL AVAILABLE EXPENDITURE The total available expenditure is set out in Tables 5.4 and 5.5 below. This is calculated by multiplying the population by the expenditure per capita for each category for each year. In 2008 we estimate the total available for convenience expenditure is between €168m (low growth scenario) and €171m (high growth scenario) and between €162m (low growth scenario) and €165m (high growth scenario) for comparison goods. By 2014 comparison expenditure will exceed convenience by a significant margin. We estimate there will be between €222m and €240m of comparison expenditure in the catchment area compared to between €186m and €200m convenience expenditure. By 2020, the total available convenience expenditure is between €205m ( low growth) and €234 (high growth) and between €305 and €347 for comparison expenditure.

Table 5.3: Expenditure per Capita

Table 5.4: Available Expenditure - Low Growth Scenario

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2005

€3,375

€2,926

2008

€168,267,690

€162,491,878

€330,759,568

2008

€3,488

€3,368

2014

€185,916,685

€222,746,072

€408,662,757

2014

€3,724

€4,462

2020

€205,416,820

€305,343,340

€510,760,159

2020

€3,977

€5,911

Source: 2005 Annual Services Inquiry & Retail Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2008

Table 5.5: Available Expenditure - High Growth Scenario

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2008

€171,394,119

€165,510,992

€336,905,111

2014

€200,123,967

€239,767,763

€439,891,730

2020

€233,669,641

€347,339,953

€581,009,594

34


Rathmines Retail Strategy

ADJUSTMENTS TO AVAILABLE EXPENDITURE

Some adjustments are also required to the capacity figures outlined in Tables 5.4 and 5.5 above to take into account the levels of existing leakage of expenditure from the catchment area to the city centre. The city centre exerts a strong draw for higher order comparison goods shopping and special shopping trips. While Rathmines should be self sufficient in terms of convenience provision, it is evident that having regard to the proximity of Rathmines to the City Centre and Dundrum Town Centre, a substantial amount of comparison goods expenditure will be spent in the City and Dundrum. It is necessary to adjust total available expenditure to account for outflows of expenditure from the catchment area. The Household Survey prepared by Demographics Ireland indicates a 38% leakage on all convenience goods expenditure from the catchment area and a figure of 80% for comparison goods. This high proportion of leakage, particularly on convenience goods, results in unnecessary high usage of road infrastructure for shopping trips. The existing level of leakage may also point to an underdevelopment of the retail sector in the catchment area in terms of quality, diversity and choice offered. While, it is acknowledged that these leakage figures may be accounted by the fact that in many instances the leakage figure is overestimated as it often represents an expression of preferences rather than actual levels of net expenditure outflow, it is clear that further steps need to be taken to reduce the leakage in retail turnover particularly in the convenience sector. The aim of the retail strategy is to make the catchment area more self sustaining in terms of convenience retail provision. In this context it is assumed that the existing levels of leakage will reduce over the period of the strategy as a result of further retail development coming on stream and for the purposes of forecasting we have assumed that the net outflow figures are estimated to fall to 20% by 2014 and 15% by 2020. It is also envisaged that the existing figure of 80% leakage on comparison good will fall to 70% by 2014 and to 60%by 2020. In order to achieve this reduction in the level of leakage on comparison goods expenditure it is assumed that the main claw-back of expenditure will be from Dundrum. The key assumptions regarding future trends of outflow of expenditure are set out in Table 5.6 .

Table 5.7: Total Available Expenditure Allowing Outflows of Expenditure and Increase in Turnover of Existing Floorspace - Low Growth Scenario

Table 5.6: Key Assumptions Regarding Outflow of Expenditure

Year

Convenience

Comparison

2008

38%

80%

2014

20%

70%

2020

15%

60%

Table 5.8: Total Available Expenditure Allowing Outflows of Expenditure and Increase in Turnover of Existing Floorspace - High Growth Scenario

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Total

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2008

€104,325,968

€32,498,376

€136,824,343

2008

€106,264,354

€33,102,198

€139,366,552

2014

€148,733,348

€66,823,822

€215,557,170

2014

€160,099,174

€71,930,329

€232,029,503

2020

€174,604,297

€122,137,336

€296,741,633

2020

€198,619,195

€138,935,981

€337,555,176

35


Rathmines Retail Strategy

EXISTING RETAIL FLOORSPACE IN CATCHMENT AREA The existing retail floorspace within the catchment area is estimated having regard to the Retail Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area. Appendix 6b of the Strategy outlines that there is approximately 4,797 sq.m. net of convenience floorspace within Rathmines and 4,587 sq.m. net of comparison floorspace. The catchment area also extends to include an area of Terenure, Ranelagh, Rathgar and Harolds Cross. The Strategy outlines that there is approximately 617 sq.m. net convenience floorspace and 1,048 sq.m. net comparison floorspace in the catchment area. The existing retail floorspace within the catchment area is outlined in Table 5.8 below.

TURNOVER OF EXISTING FLOORSPACE It is possible to derive the existing average turnover rate per square metre of existing floor space by dividing the total available expenditure in 2008 by the floor space in each category. The Retail Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area sets out benchmark figures for turnover of convenience and comparison floorspace per sq.m. in 2007. The Strategy outlines an average sales density of €4,000 per sq.m. for comparison goods and €8,000 for convenience goods. We have applied an average turnover per sq.m. for all floorspace in the catchment area for 2006 for convenience goods of €10,000 per sq.m. and €3,500 for comparison goods. These figures have been adjusted to grow at a rate of 1% per annum to allow for efficiency gains by retailers. These figures reflect the average turnover levels retailers will require to sustain a healthy level of activity. They do not count in the high levels of overtrading that have existed in many areas in recent years. These figures show the average turnover per square metre of existing floorspace in the catchment area. They disguise significant differences in turnover for different shops. In general, multiple branches of national and international multiple shops are located within purpose built shopping centres or other prime locations. Prime town centre shop units will have substantially higher turnover per square metre than shops which are less well located or situated in older inefficient premises and are operated as independents. In particular, it is likely that smaller units and units such as those within the catchment area have substantially lower turnover per square metre than these averages whilst the largest supermarket operators have substantially higher turnover rates per square metre. In order to calculate the quantity of future retail floorspace required for the catchment area, the existing provision of retail floorspace set out in Table 5.10 should be subtracted from the totals outlined in Tables 5.7 and 5.8. Based on these floorspace figures, Table 5.11 outlines the additional floorspace capacity for convenience and comparison floorspace in the catchment area.

Table 5.9: Existing Retail Floorspace within the Catchment Area

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2008

7,212 sq.m.

8,752 sq.m.

15,964 sq.m.

Table 5.10: Turnover of Existing Floorspace

Year

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2008

€58,272,960

€35,358,080

€93,631,040

2014

€61,857,921

€37,533,314

€99,391,236

2020

€65,663,430

€39,842,370

€105,505,799

Table 5.11: Remaining Capacity

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2014 Low

€86,875,427

€29,290,507

€116,165,934

2014 High

€898,241,252

€34,307,015

€132,638,267

2020 Low

€108,940,867

€82,294,966

€191,235,833

2020 High

€132,955,765

€99,093,612

€232,049,376

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

FLOORSPACE CAPACITY In order to calculate the requirements for additional retail floorspace within the catchment area the turnover per sq.m. of future retail floorspace should be divided by the capacity figures outlined in Table 5.11. Table A1.4 of the Retail Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area sets out forecast sales densities for future retail floorspace. This outlines a figure of €12,000 per sq.m. for convenience floorspace and €7,000 per sq.m. for comparison floorspace in 2007 prices. However, a lower turnover figure per sq.m. for future retail floorspace in Rathmines is assumed having regard to its proximity to the City Centre and the fact that units within the catchment area are likely to have a lower turnover per sq.m. than the averages for the GDA. Therefore, a figure of €11,500 per sq.m. is assumed for future convenience retail floorspace within the catchment area and an average turnover of €4,000 is assumed for future comparison goods floorspace in 2008. These figures have been adjusted to grow at a rate of 1% per annum up to 2020 to allow for efficiency gains by retailers. It can be seen from Table 5.13 that the capacity for additional convenience floor space by 2014 ranges from approximately 6,753 sq. metres to 7,636 sq. metres and for comparison goods between 3,903 sq.m. and 4,583 sq.m. By 2020, there is an additional capacity of 7,977 sq.m. to 9,735 sq.m. for convenience goods and between 10,330 sq.m. and 12,439 sq.m. for comparison goods. These figures are based on a localised catchment area for Rathmines and conservative growth rates. The floorspace capacity figures outlined in Table 5.13 above should not be considered as upper limits, merely as indicative of the scale of new floorspace required to meet the needs of existing and future population and expenditure in the town. Additional new floorspace may be proposed and this could replace some existing outdated or poorly located retail floorspace. These figures should be seen as minimum rather than maximums. The key consideration is the location of new floorspace. The quantum only becomes a critical consideration where new convenience and comparison floorspace is proposed outside of the defined retail core of the town and the issue of likely impact on the town centre as a whole arises. The compact nature of Rathmines is one of its positive attributes. It is important that the town maintains its compact nature to ensure that shoppers do not have to make several trips in their vehicles to reach shops that are considered beyond walking distance. Expansion should therefore focus on existing derelict and underutilised sites within the retail core of the town.

Table 5.12: Turnover of future floorspace

Year

Convenience

Comparison

2014

€12,866

€7,505

2020

€13,657

€7,967

Source: Retail Planning Strategy for Greater Dublin Area 2008 Assumption: 1% growth per annum

Table 5.13: Additional Floorspace Capacity

Convenience

Comparison

Total

2014 Low

5,786 sq.m.

7,926 sq.m.

13,712 sq.m.

2014 High

6,717 sq.m.

9,128 sq.m.

15,846 sq.m.

2020 Low

7,077 sq.m.

12,511 sq.m.

19,588 sq.m.

2020 High

8,930 sq.m.

15,307 sq.m.

24,237 sq.m.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

ESTABLISHING AND STRENGTHENING THE CORE RETAIL AREA DEFINING THE CORE RETAIL AREA The core retail area of Rathmines is identified in Figure 6.1 below. In determining the core area, the following aspects were considered:

The overriding objectives of the retail strategy to maintain and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres.

The existing character and retail profile of Rathmines.

The location of core development opportunity sites.

Core retail areas are normally characterised by a mix of factors including prime retail units, low vacancies, a predominance of multiples and well established family run stores, fewer non-retail uses and high levels of pedestrian foot fall. In this regard the commercial core of Rathmines has traditionally concentrated along Lower Rathmines Road commencing at its junction with Military Road and extending southwards along Upper Rathmines Road to the site presently occupied by Tesco. It is envisaged that this area will remain as the primary core retail area of the town. However, while the role of the commercial sector of Rathmines is predominately to serve those within its environs, the town should also seek to appeal to the broader catchment of the surrounding community and to develop a distinctive retail profile within the overall Dublin City hierarchy.

_____ Primary Retail Core ________ Secondary Retail Core

Figure 6.1: Core Retail Area of Rathmines Image courtesy of Dublin City Council

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Ensure a vital and viable centre;

Encourage regeneration of areas with scope for improvement;

Increase the environmental attractiveness of the centre;

Achieve the quantum and quality of retail formats necessary to minimise unnecessary convenience outflow of expenditure;

Meet the criteria for sustainable development.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

With this in mind, the main focus of the development strategy for Rathmines will be to encourage and facilitate the diversification of the centre’s retail profile. This can be done by identifying areas suitable for targeted investment in order to provide for a greater range of retail formats within the area. Retail development should be directed into the town centre in order to:

It is envisaged therefore that as Rathmines develops over the life time of the retail strategy, the core retail area will expand to the immediately adjacent areas and encompass the series of smaller side streets which radiate from Lower Rathmines Road and which are currently underused. It is particularly important that linkages between the primary core retail area and this new secondary core retail area are fully exploited and maximised. In this context a number of significant development opportunity sites have been identified within the core area which will act as the focus for the future growth and expansion of the core retail area over the lifetime of the strategy. These key opportunity sites are discussed in this section.

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Investment is a key measure of confidence in an area. As such the redevelopment of the Rathmines Swimming Pool site by Dublin City Council represents a significant investment in the area and provides an important opportunity to redefine the heart of Rathmines. This site is currently being developed to include a major new development providing much-needed leisure facilities for Rathmines. The development features a new civic space fronting onto Lower Rathmines Road and a leisure centre with a swimming pool, gymnasium, aerobics studios and sports hall. There will also be 46 apartments, a childcare building, an underground car park and a new park area to the rear of the site.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

There have recently been a number of planning applications for the development of a cinema within the Swan Shopping Centre on Lower Rathmines Road. The most recent proposal, which is currently subject to appeal to An Bord Pleanรกla, comprises of the development of a 3 screen cinema with a total 571 seats on the second and third floors to create a three-storey building over part of the existing shopping centre. Access to the cinema will be via the entrance to the Swan Shopping Centre at Lower Rathmines Road. If permitted this development, could act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the Shopping Centre. The cinema would also significantly improve the cultural facilities within the town which has been without a cinema since the closure of the former Stella. The former Stella Cinema itself was synonymous with Rathmines but is now closed and this site represents a prime development opportunity in the primary core retail area. This site is currently subject to a planning application for the development of a mixed use development. The proposal, which is subject to a request for further information from Dublin City Council, incorporates a mix of residential, retail and leisure facilities.

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Rathmines has the potential to expand and strengthen its retail provision in line with its role as a Prime Urban Centre and Town Centre within the retail hierarchy of the Dublin City Development Plan 2005—2011. Rathmines town centre should be a high quality, vibrant place with strong visual and pedestrian linkages to the surrounding residential areas and amenities, together with a wider mix of town centre uses which encourage street activity and contribute to an animated pedestrian environment. The area contains a number of key sites which provide an opportunity to create a high quality urban environment with a level of retail provision which is appropriate to a town centre. A number of these significant sites are likely to come forward for development in the near future and the development of these sites presents a unique opportunity to diversify the profile of existing retail uses in Rathmines and substantially enhance the town’s image as retail centre. Central to the creation of new units, is their integration into the existing built environment, requiring an understanding of context and appropriateness. The ability of key sites to act as ‘attractions’, enticing pedestrians to other areas of the town centre should also be carefully considered.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

KEY DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY SITES

A number of potential development sites are examined below. These reflect many of the key sites identified in the process of making the Local Action Plan, which create opportunities for creating an improved retail environment and attracting new trade to Rathmines, alongside improvements to streetscapes and the public realm. Connectivity and permeability should be emphasised, particularly for larger sites. A balance in the scale of new retail proposed is also required to more accurately reflect the diverse nature of a town centre.

Figure 6.2: Development Opportunity Sites Image courtesy of Dublin City Council

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

The Swan Centre: The Swan Shopping Centre occupies a large site at the north-eastern portion of the junction of Rathmines Road Lower (to the west) and Castlewood Avenue (to the south). The Swan centre is a two story shopping centre which is bounded by Rathmines Road Lower, Castlewood Lane and Castlewood Avenue and is located in an area designated as Z4 in which the objective is: - “To provide for and improve mixed services facilities�. The first floor of the shopping centre is occupied by a restaurant; while the other units include a medical surgery, tanning shop and a number of vacant units. Existing car parking facilities are provided at basement level with existing vehicular access via Rathmines Road Lower and Castlewood Avenue. The existing centre is currently dated and does not adequately serve the needs of modern retailing formats. The centre makes a limited contribution to the streetscape of Rathmines, in terms of animation or vibrancy, but rather is an inward looking retail development based around internal malls. This inherent weakness of the Centre, which results in generally poorly-sized units crammed into a modest area, fronting onto poorly-lit internal malls, means there is a poor articulation of spaces and functions within the Centre, and a poor relationship with the main street and the retail core. The Centre has virtually no active frontage; moreover, such frontage which does occur at the peripheries of the Centre (and not necessarily a part of the Centre), including the prominent corner element at the junction of Rathmines Road Lower and Castlewood Avenue, is poorly animated, deriving from the functional use of these units.

Gulistan depot site

Swan Shopping Centre

Notwithstanding this, the Centre does have a number of strengths not least its varied tenant mix and the presence of a large multiple anchor store. Many of the units within the Centre are well established and synonymous with Swan Centre and Rathmines. The Centre also benefits greatly from brand recognition and is generally regarded as the most important shopping destination in Rathmines. The Centre also occupies an important link between the main retail core of Rathmines and adjoining undeveloped lands.

Gulistan Site & former Fire Station: The Gulistan site occupies a large off-street site to the rear of the Town Hall within the heart of Rathmines. Currently, the only public access to the area is through a restricted pedestrian route from Gulistan Terrace to the lane by the side of the Town Hall, the only vehicle route being from Gulistan Terrace. It is considered that this area could be further strengthened and extended in order to facilitate the organic expansion of the town centre. The site represents a key location within the urban fabric of Rathmines. This site in particular has the potential to accommodate large-scale development without having an undue impact on the historical character of the town core. The former Fire Station could open out onto the wider site, increasing permeability and access to the site from Rathmines Road Lower. If these lands are redeveloped, a mall-type development should be avoided and a defined street network should be created to enhance the centre of Rathmines and build on its urban qualities.

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Nos. 133—149 Lower Rathmines Road

Former Blackberry Fair Site: There have been a number of development proposals for the site, which occupies the backspace of five Georgian houses. The weekend market which formerly operated on this site was one of the more interesting features along Rathmines Road, and while it is considered that there is considerable merit in retaining and developing a market as an important attraction for Rathmines, restoring the market to this site would require an enhancement in the quality of the buildings and market area itself including measures to formalise stalls and activities within the market. It should be noted that commercial or cultural uses on the site are also constrained by its zoning objective—Z2: “to protect and/or improve the amenities of residential conservation areas”.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

A commercial redevelopment which seeks to create a retailing environment focused around streets and public spaces would serve to define Rathmines as a town centre more appropriately than a single shopping centre or enclosed-type development. The key aim to the redevelopment of these lands should be to enhance linkages and ensure permeability between Lower Rathmines Road and the area.

Nos. 159—161 Lower Rathmines Road

Nos 133 - 149 Lower Rathmines Road (incorporating DIT Building): The development of the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus at Grangegorman will see the consolidation of DIT facilities around the city to a new site on the north side of the city. The departure of DIT from Rathmines, offers the opportunity to redevelop this substantial and prominent site, which DIT currently occupies, together with a number of smaller adjoining shop units, into a significant mixed use development. The site’s location along the northern side of the new civic plaza and park currently under construction gives it further importance and offers the potential for a development which would redefine the heart of Rathmines and become the focal point of the village. It is envisaged that this site has the potential to accommodate a significant retail element providing a valuable ‘anchor’ for smaller retailers along the street.

Nos 159 and 161 Lower Rathmines Road: The Herman & White premises on Rathmines Road comprises two period properties along the street with a significant yard and warehouse unit to the rear. The property is centrally located in the emerging ‘heart’ of Rathmines which is being facilitated by the redevelopment of the adjoining swimming pool site. The site offers potential for a mixed use development with a significant retail or commercial element. Proposals for the site were recently advanced following a Dublin City Council design competition for the site. An application for a mixed use scheme including residential, retail and commercial uses was recently granted permission by An Bord Pleanála.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

Wynnefield Road: The street holds significant potential to develop as a secondary area serving the main retail core along Rathmines Road. The street comprises an attractive parade of redbrick properties currently occupied by a series of low intensity retail and service uses. A light industrial premises is located along the southern side of the street with potential for redevelopment with the possibility of creating linkages to the premises along Rathgar Road. The street also provides an important link to St. Louis’ Schools to the west. It is suggested that the street should take advantage of its low traffic levels and sunny aspect to accommodate uses such as eateries, specialist food shops and or small fashion boutiques.

Tesco - Upper Rathmines Road: The Tesco Store on Upper Rathmines Road represents an older outdated retail format which offers significant potential for improvement, perhaps considering adjoining properties. Redevelopment of the Tesco site should provide for mixed uses, enhanced retail floorspace, increases in height and improvements to the streetscape along Upper Rathmines Road

Wynnefield Road

Tesco Site

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The challenge for Rathmines over the period of the retail strategy will be to adapt to meet the requirements of a changing retail environment. The current retail profile of Rathmines is dated and does not adequately address the needs of its catchment area. In particular Rathmines will be required to expand its existing retail offer to reflect its status as a District Centre and Prime Urban Centre. The area has the capacity to accommodate larger store formats while still protecting and enhancing its traditional retailing function.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

CONCLUSION

A number of areas have been identified which have the capacity to accommodate additional development within the core retail area. The Gulistan site in particular has the potential to develop as a retail anchor for the primary retail core of Rathmines. The development of these lands and the redevelopment of the adjoining Swan Shopping Centre would provide for an organic extension to the primary retail core, with the capacity to accommodate larger store formats. Within the traditional town centre, the priority should be to protect and develop a unique shopping destination, complemented by restaurants, cafes and new cultural uses. Further investment in the public domain is required to provide an improved pedestrian environment and encourage permeability through the whole area. Improvements to shopfronts and signage are also required to enhance the overall appearance and quality of the streetscape.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

A VISION FOR THE FUTURE Retailing is generally recognised as being one of the more volatile of urban land uses, given that tastes and consumer demands change regularly and new shops open while others close down on a continual basis. In this regard, good management, adaptability, innovation and investment are key factors in determining the long term success of any one area as a retail centre. Whereas purpose-built shopping developments rely on proactive management and continual investment in updating their retail profile in order to retain customers, so too should more traditional town centres such as Rathmines.

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The analysis contained in this assessment demonstrates that while Rathmines offers great potential to develop into a distinctive, high quality retail centre, serving a well established and generally affluent catchment area, the town suffers from a dated and limited retail profile and a general lack of targeted investment. While Rathmines is not generally underserved in terms of the quantum of retail floorspace in the core retail area, it suffers from a prevalence of smaller, poor quality units generally unsuited to modern retail formats. This is consequently reflected in the choice and range of commercial premises, with a distinct lack of higher order comparison retailing such as national and international multiples and niche boutiques, while the street is notable for the presence of a larger than desirable number of charity shops, internet cafes and other commercial uses which would generally detract from the street’s primary role as a retail centre

Rathmines Retail Strategy

OVERALL OBJECTIVES FOR RATHMINES

There exists a vital need to regenerate the “tired� commercial centre of Rathmines. This could be achieved through the rejuvenation of existing units and the establishment of more diverse and specialist shops. A wide range of commercial units is required; the type number and distribution of which should reflect the needs of the community. Rathmines is identified as a prime urban centre and a significant district centre in retail terms within the Dublin City area. In order to fully realise its potential within these designations the area should seek to significantly expand and develop its retail profile over the period of the Local Action Plan. The Rathmines of the future should support a vibrant and diverse retail scene not only along Lower Rathmines Road but in adjacent areas which have been identified as key opportunity sites. The town should seek to attract higher order uses such as fashion retailers and specialty shops to stimulate a general upgrading its retail offer. While more everyday uses along the street are desirable, a balance needs to be achieved in providing for the general needs of the local catchment area and in attracting new customers to Rathmines by positioning the town as a retail destination.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

GETTING THERE – KEY POLICIES FOR PROMOTING RETAIL IN RATHMINES

Strengthening core retail area of Rathmines The commercial core of Rathmines has traditionally concentrated along Lower Rathmines Road with small retail outlets dispersed throughout the greater Rathmines area. This strategy proposes to designate a primary core retail area along Lower Rathmines Road commencing at its junction with Military Road and extending southwards along Upper Rathmines Road to the site presently occupied by the Tesco supermarket. Development management policies should seek to support retail as the predominant land use in this area. Where possible, key opportunity sites in this area should be required to include a significant level of retail floorspace, particularly at ground floor level. It is important that a general consolidation of floorspace within this area be encouraged, with the amalgamation of smaller units promoted to provide for the larger retail formats and higher order anchor stores vital to the future success of the street. This may require clear design guidelines from the City Council for the many ad hoc retail units which have developed over time along the street. Furthermore an expansion of the existing core retail area is desirable and should be provided for through the development of key adjacent sites, in particular the former City Council Cleansing Depot and Fire Station, which represents a significant development opportunity site for the area. This area is highly suited to the development of a mixed use quarter based around a series of distinctly urban streets and spaces which reflect the existing fine urban grain of Rathmines. Where new developments are considered, the Council should seek to ensure that the development contributes towards the improvement of the town centre in terms of urban design, and facilitate the regeneration of sites and vacant premises.

Creating a retail environment that focuses on streets and spaces Rathmines is characterised by a highly attractive urban setting with a good sense of scale and many fine public buildings. Recent investment in the public domain has substantially improved the pedestrian environment along Lower Rathmines Road. The creation of a civic space in front of the new Rathmines Leisure Centre will provide a focal point for the town and further define its centre. This new square should be reinforced through the promotion of active street frontages around the space.

“The City Council should seek to protect and enhance the vitality and viability of core retail area as the main shopping and leisure district in Rathmines.”

“The City Council should pursue the development of key opportunity sites within the core retail area.”

“The City Council should prepare design guidelines to provide for the amalgamation and upgrading of existing retail units in the core retail area.”

“The City Council should seek to provide pedestrian environment in Rathmines that is both safe and vibrant.”

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

The development of the commercial centre to encompass the smaller side streets which radiate from Lower Rathmines Road should be encouraged. These streets and lanes provide opportunities for strong connectivity with some of the key opportunity sites highlighted in the Local Action Plan as well as generally facilitating improvements to the pedestrian environment of Rathmines. These streets provide an opportunity to reinforce the character and scale of Rathmines and to create a distinctive and relaxed shopping environment in the town, which will be important in developing a unique profile for the area. These secondary streets are also particularly suited to accommodating many of the smaller units required for everyday commercial uses and services and would also suit complementary uses such as cafes, eateries and bars, which would benefit from a more relaxed pedestrian pace.

Diversifying the retail offer Speciality shopping areas create a strong sense of character and place, attracting customers from a much wider catchment and bolstering the tourism sector. Rathmines with its fine Victorian architecture is uniquely suited in many ways to develop a speciality or niche profile. Equally, attracting the more mainstream offer provided by international and national multiples would serve to enhance Rathmines’ image as a destination shopping area. These two formats are not mutually exclusive and each would serve to complement the other in creating a highly distinctive retail image for Rathmines. Whereas multiple operators require larger store formats and a prominent street presence, specialty operators are often ideally suited to the smaller, traditionally scaled units which currently characterise much of Lower Rathmines Road. Every effort should be made to encourage diversity in the retail offer of Rathmines. Practical measures are required to achieve this. The planning framework needs to be flexible enough to allow for the expansion or creation of bigger retail spaces to accommodate the demands of multiples. An emphasis on developing high quality units and concrete measures to improve the visual appearance of Rathmines are also important. It is important that the retail function of the town should in turn support and be supported by other uses, such as restaurants, bars, cultural amenities, and community services to provide for the overall development of Rathmines as a viable and self supporting prime urban centre.

“The City Council should encourage a greater diversity and choice of retailing in Rathmines.”

“The City Council should encourage the development a level of convenience and comparison retailing in Rathmines appropriate to its designation as a Prime Urban Centre .”

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Expanding the customer base for retailing in Rathmines will be a key factor in protecting and strengthening its role as a retail centre and in improving and increasing the quality of retailing in the town. The Household Survey contained within this Strategy contains some notable indications of the preferences of residents in the catchment area and points to a number of ways in which Rathmines can be improved to better meet the demands of the community. Dublin City Council planning policy already notes that Prime Urban Centres, such as Rathmines, have by virtue of their existing size, established urban form and public transport linkages the potential to deliver an improved and viable retail/commercial core. Delivering higher density developments in the centre of Rathmines and encouraging mixed use development at key opportunity sites which include residential development will provide for the consolidation of the urban core of Rathmines and allow for an increase in new residents in the area. These new residents will in turn support local shops and services, particularly where these are within easy walking distance, and contribute towards the development of a sustainable community in the area.

Rathmines Retail Strategy

Strengthening the customer base

However, Rathmines must also endeavour to attract shoppers from outside its traditional catchment area and build its profile as a shopping destination. Successfully marketing Rathmines should be a key focus for the business community in the area: promoting the distinctive retail offer and shopping experience which the town can offer. In this regard, highlighting Rathmines’ links to surrounding areas is important: its walkability from the city centre and from Ranelagh and Harold’s Cross, and its location on a strategic route from the southern suburbs to the city centre. Measures to further promote the accessibility of the Rathmines town centre are required. Rathmines already benefits from a large number of through bus routes, while Luas is located a short walking distance away at Ranelagh. Important commercial streets in the city centre, such as Camden Street and Grafton Street are also readily accessible. Publicising the transport links which serve Rathmines will allow for greater recognition of its accessibility to the wider city. Measures should also be considered to improve parking in the centre, while traffic management will help to encourage a more sympathetic pedestrian environment along Lower Rathmines Road. Particular consideration should also be given to the needs of the elderly and disabled/mobility impaired people in the context of the overall accessibility of the area.

Managing the town centre Overall, Rathmines is considered an urban town centre with considerable potential and with significant opportunities for commercial expansion. Lower Rathmines Road already possesses many important qualities including its fine architecture, its human scale, an active and lively social scene and a well established retail and services sector. Rathmines should continue to build on these attributes in order to develop into an attractive and unique shopping environment.

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

Flexibility for Commercial Terraces in the Town Centre Measures to encourage an overall improvement in the quality of retail units in the town centre are considered important in order to deliver a more diverse and modern retail environment. In this regard, many of the small retail units which have developed in former front gardens along Lower Rathmines Road are considered to be good candidates for redevelopment. However, it is noted that in many cases these retail units will have lost their relationship to the houses and buildings to the rear over time. Careful consideration is required as how best to upgrade these premises while facilitating access to the rear and protecting the overall character of the original buildings, many of which are protected structures.

Planning Control Scheme The City Council may consider that the introduction of a Planning Control Scheme in Rathmines may help to implement many of the policies of the Local Action Plan and serve to provide a clear planning framework for the further development of the area.

Public Domain Improvement Works The recent improvements to the public domain along Lower Rathmines Road are welcome and have sought to rebalance the use of the street in favour of pedestrians. These improvements should be continued to encompass adjoining streets and provide for a unified and high quality streetscape for the town centre. The development of a new civic space as part of the redevelopment of the swimming pool site will significantly improve the pedestrian environment and provide for a strong focus for the town centre. This should be complemented by active uses and regular community events to promote vitality in the centre. Further attention should be paid to key pedestrian crossing points at Castlewood Avenue and the junction between Lower and Upper Rathmines Road and Rathgar Road to provide a greater balance between vehicles and pedestrians and to promote further accessibility within the retail centre.

“The City Council should continue to enhance and improve the public domain of the town centre of Rathmines.”

Shop Front Design Guidelines Design guidelines for shop frontages and upper floors of buildings should be prepared and advice given to property owners and retailers on urban design. This should include the promotion of a range of high quality styles, materials and finishes which contribute to aesthetically pleasing streetscape. Careful consideration of signage is required to protect signature buildings along the street and to reduce visual clutter. The retention of existing traditional shop fronts and timber sash windows in upper floors should be encouraged.

“The City Council should seek to implement the Council’s Design Guidelines for Shopfronts to improve the quality and presentation of shops in the core retail area.” 51


Rathmines Retail Strategy

Business Improvements District Schemes A feasibility study regarding the development of a town centre management initiative for Rathmines involving local business owners should be considered. This may include the setting up of a town centre management committee or a local ‘BID’ or Business Improvement District. BID schemes originated in Canada in 1971 and are now in operation in many cities and towns throughout the world. It is estimated that there are now more than 400 BID type schemes in operation in Canada and USA. European countries are also becoming involved in these schemes, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland and Portugal and the UK. Research on the operation of such schemes in the US identified that they have significant positive impacts on the economic vitality and viability of cities and towns. BIDS provide a whole new impetus for businesses to work with their respective local authorities and local residents, allowing for innovation and acumen to benefit everyone in an area. Recently a BID scheme has been put in place in Dublin City Centre and this will provide a template for schemes in other Prime Urban Centres. The Local Government Act 2006 provides a statutory basis for the establishment of Business Improvement District Schemes within the functional areas of local authorities. In a Business Improvements District Scheme, a group of businesses are empowered, where a majority of those businesses agree, to raise a special contribution from all the businesses in the defined area to pay for the carrying out of complementary local services and improvements, within that defined area. The boundary of, and the range of local improvements to be carried out in the defined area of, a Business Improvements District Scheme are set out in a detailed business plan which is developed by the business community in association with the local authority. It is anticipated that it will be entirely a matter for the business community to develop a BID and to decide on the level and type of works, services or projects that are desirable and the type of financial investment they will make. However, once the business community has determined that it wants a BID and achieves a positive plebiscite of all businesses in an area, the BID will be mandatory on all businesses in the BID. The ethos of BIDS is that it would provide services in an area that would add to, and not substitute for, those services already provided by the local authority. The BIDS approach will provide the opportunity to lever in private sector funding for the improvements and their subsequent management in addition to sources of local authority funding.

Financing Arrangements for Local Improvements The City Council might consider the possibility of developing supplementary development contribution schemes for specific works which enable town centre management and environmental improvements which specifically enhance the vitality and quality of the centre of Rathmines.

“The City Council should consider measures to encourage and promote the involvement of the business community in developing Rathmines.”

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Rathmines Retail Strategy

SUMMARY OF KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

The City Council should seek to protect and enhance the vitality and viability of core retail area as the main shopping and leisure district in Rathmines.

The City Council should pursue the development of key opportunity sites within the core retail area.

The City Council should prepare design guidelines to provide for the amalgamation and upgrading of existing retail units in the core retail area.

The City Council should encourage a greater diversity and choice of retailing in Rathmines.

The City Council should encourage the development a level of convenience and comparison retailing in Rathmines appropriate to its designation as a Prime Urban Centre .

The City Council should continue to enhance and improve the public domain of the town centre of Rathmines.

The City Council should seek to implement the Council’s Design Guidelines for Shopfronts to improve the quality and presentation of shops in the core retail area.

The City Council should consider measures to encourage and promote the involvement of the business community in developing Rathmines.

53


Rathmines Retail Strategy 2009  

This retail strategy was undertaken by John Spain Associates to form an appendix to the Rathmines Local Action Plan, adopted by Dublin City...

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