Planning permission has been granted to convert a prominent store in Eyre Square into a café and restaurant.
Better Value Unlimited Company sought approval to convert the former Dunnes Stores Paul Costello Living store at 40 Eyre Square to a café.
This development would consist of a ground floor café/restaurant with ancillary takeaway, with office and storage space on the first floor.
Galway City Council granted planning permission for the new restaurant & café with a total of 12 conditions attached.
Condition two of that approval stipulated that the premises shall no be used as a takeaway “in any form”, in the interest of protecting the “special character and the integrity” of the Eyre Square Architectural Conservation Area.
Better Value Unlimited said that “we seek planning permission for a sit down café/restaurant. However, should a future tenant opt to provide a takeaway service to supplement their primary business use we think this should be permitted provided it’s subsidiary to the property’s main use.”
It was argued that many cafés and restaurants in the city already offer takeaway and home delivery services without creating a problem with litter, noise, or anti-social behaviour.
The change from retail usage to a café and restaurant was sought because “the vacant property is too small to meet the retailing requirements of modern retail operators,” the developer said in response to a request for further information from the city council.
“The property is too small to provide adequate retail sales space in addition to providing back of house storage, bin storage, general office space and staff welfare accommodation.”
The developer also stated that “City Centres are no longer places solely to carry out comparison-shopping but are being seen more as leisure experiences based around activities that cannot take place online such as eating out.”
It was also argued that the hospitality sector is an important source of employment, and critical to making the city centre attractive to locals and visitors alike.