On a strategic level, improved connectivity to the city has made it easier for shoppers to access the retail areas. Such examples have been the Luas extensions, the ongoing Luas cross-city works and construction of new bridges such as the Rosie Hackett Bridge in conjunction with better pedestrian and cycle links.
On a localised basis, there has also been public realm improvement works along Grafton Street, consisting of re-paving and other enhancement works, in line with the Grafton Street Quarter Public Realm Plan which, in turn, fulfils the wider objectives of the Public Realm Strategy to improve connectivity and accessibility through the city centre area. This ties in with objectives relating to better linkages as set out in Chapter 4.
O’Connell Street and Grafton Street Areas of Special Planning Control (ASPC), remain pivotal in ensuring that only suitable uses are permitted in the heart of the city. Architectural Conservation Area (ACA) designations for these two areas, along with those for the Capel Street and Thomas Street environs, are progressing efforts to enhance and protect historic fabric in prime and secondary retail areas.
The designation in May 2014 of a 66 hectare area in Docklands as a strategic development zone (SDZ) will facilitate a new residential community within easy access of the city centre retail core. An SDZ has also been designated for the DIT campus in Grangegorman where a substantial student population will now be a stimulus for retail provision in the area. Both developments are important to reversing population decline and consequent retail shrinkage that has occurred over previous decades.
Emergent specialised retail and city market outlets, e.g. Cow’s Lane, Francis Street and Newmarket, have consolidated and the Victorian fruit and vegetable market building in Smithfield is undergoing refurbishment before re-opening to the public, proof that good quality produce retailed in a quality built environment is an attractive proposition for consumers.
As the economic recovery gathers pace, the comprehensive schemes for district centre level retail provision in areas like Ballymun, Ashtown/Pelletstown, Clongriffin and Coolock Northside are well positioned to benefit from this upturn due to residential settlement and improving consumer confidence.