IKEA Dublin gets planning permission

Given that I’m trying to get a new house in order, here’s a topic close to my heart right now — massive IKEA store approved for Dublin:

An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for the construction of a massive IKEA outlet in the Ballymun area of Dublin. Legal restrictions on the size of retail developments had already been changed to allow the Swedish furniture giant to build a 30,000 square foot shop in the area. However, several objections were received from the National Roads Authority, Green Party TD Eamon Ryan and a number of businesses which said they would be adversely affected by a huge increase in traffic on the M50 motorway. An Bord Pleanála has now decided to grant permission for the project, subject to 30 conditions aimed at preventing traffic congestion, protecting the visual amenity of the area and promoting sustainable development.

This is long overdue, and something Ireland’s been crying out for — the price and quality of furniture here is dire. I’m glad to see it.

The details are up on An Bord Pleanala’s site, including the Board’s conditions. For ease of reading, I’ve converted it to HTML using OpenOffice.

This one strikes me as potentially annoying:

A schedule of parking charges shall be applied to car park users (other than coaches and buses which shall not be charged for parking during opening hours) […]

At least two months prior to the opening of the proposed development for trading, an initial schedule of charges shall be agreed in writing with the planning authority. Where the daily peak hour two-way traffic flows as measured by the automatic traffic counters do not comply with the thresholds set above, the schedule of parking charges shall be varied as directed by the planning authority until compliance is achieved, save that breaches or non-compliances of a very minor or trivial nature or arising from exceptional circumstances may be disregarded at the discretion of the planning authority.

Reason: To minimise traffic impacts and avoid serious traffic congestion.

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  1. Posted June 13, 2007 at 18:57 | Permalink

    I’m all for encouraging use of public transport, but insisting on this for a home improvement store is just silly. Imagine struggling with flat-pack furniture on Dublin Bus…

  2. Posted June 13, 2007 at 19:10 | Permalink

    I don’t have to imagine it. I’ve done it! Argos out in Blanchardstown, followed by the 39 bus back to Stoneybatter with a batch of flat-pack canvas shelves — no fun :(

    I think their idea is to encourage home deliveries instead, but it’s definitely still silly.

  3. ben
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 19:18 | Permalink

    Wait, “the price and quality of furniture here is dire”? That’s not right. There’s stuff of the highest quality available in Ireland, although, yes, the price is often dire.

    With IKEA, you will get plenty of very cheap furniture, but it’s mostly awful particle-board crap. A panacea it is not.

  4. Posted June 13, 2007 at 19:32 | Permalink

    Ben: fair enough. At the high end, you can get good stuff, and certainly a lot better than what you’d get at IKEA. But you can’t kit out an entire house with top of the range antiques or quality design unless you’re made of money — and at the lower end, what’s available in Ireland is pretty near in quality (or worse) than the IKEA stuff. At the same time, it’s twice to three times the price…

    What I’d expect to happen will be that, once IKEA gets going here, the places that are currently offering crap at insane prices will be forced to come up with some saner prices in response. Fingers crossed!

  5. ben
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 20:01 | Permalink

    Ah, yes, I think it’s certainly true that IKEA will put competitive pressure on the likes of Des Kelly.

    I’m not completely disillusioned with IKEA, I got some good stuff there, but most of the particle-board stuff is horrible, incredibly heavy, and once it’s damaged in any way, that’s it — you can’t even drill through it.

    These days I make my own furniture out of dog hair.

  6. Posted June 13, 2007 at 21:45 | Permalink

    BTW: check out this Economist article about the structure of Ikea – for tax purposes, they’re registered as an architectural charity… :-)

  7. Posted June 14, 2007 at 21:10 | Permalink

    So Ballymun is to become a glorified carpark, and those of living close to the M50 are going to have to deal with twice the traffic congestion and the resulting increase in respiratory problems.

    Im all for cheap funiture – but does it have to come from 30,000sq ft mega-stores? Surely they couldve opened 2 or 3 smaller stores in different locations in the city instead?

  8. Posted June 15, 2007 at 12:52 | Permalink

    hi droid!

    I’d hardly say Ballymun will be a glorified carpark — the plans call for its own on-site car parking, separate from any existing parking that’s already there. It certainly sounds like this was one of the main worries driving those planning conditions.

    Also, I’ve heard this idea that it’ll massively increase traffic on the M50 — you’re not the only person to suggest it ;). To be honest, I don’t agree. IMO, if someone will be driving to IKEA, they’re interested in buying a piece of furniture, not just to wander around a massive, cold, packed warehouse for 2 hours for the good of their health. In that case, I’d imagine they’d probably have been driving to another furniture shop anyway! I’d hazard a guess that maybe 66% of the trips to IKEA would have been a drive to Blanch, or to Liffey Valley, or Airside, or even Navan, or… you get the idea.

    I get what you mean about multiple smaller stores. I guess IKEA have their formula though…

    As it stands, the planning conditions are pretty stringent. It may be IKEA will give up on the idea of a Dublin store — in which case we’ll all wind up driving to Belfast instead, massively increasing the emissions caused…. :(

  9. Posted June 15, 2007 at 13:12 | Permalink

    Hi Justin!

    I dunno. Ive lived next to Ballymun for nearly 20 years, and despite the positives of the re-development project, there are plenty of negatives as well. They’ve replaced monolithic living spaces with monolithic hotels and private apartment blocks, and are now in the process of destroying any of the remaining green space (after Santry woods and popintree park bit the dust), point being that the redevelopment is all physical – with little or no social aspect to the planning – one of the main issues is that Ballymun is bisected by an extremely busy main road (not a high street), and I think any increase in traffic (and there will definitely be some) will not be a positive thing.

    As for Ikeas formula – if they are so desperate to get into the Irish market – whay couldnt they be challenged to change that formula? If theyre willing to make other concessions, then they may have been willing to split their store in two – they seem pretty desperate to gain access to this market after all… but I guess we dont have Politicians willing to challenge big business or consumerism.

    When it comes to air quality – Im not talking about the carbon emissions in general, but pollution around the M50. I saw a diagram last year (in the village i think) of the air quality around the M50, there was a huge cloud of pollution around residential areas of Ballymun and Finglas, and there was also a corresponding rise in childhood Asthma and related illnesses in those areas.

    All in all, I dont think the creeping Walmartisation of Ireland is a good thing. I believe it will have an overall negative effect on communities (in this case a working class community), whilst allowing the marginally better off (like ourselves) access to cheaper goods.

  10. Mac
    Posted September 10, 2007 at 22:27 | Permalink

    Potentially annoying. I would say the thing which annoying the most! Paying for parking to reduce traffic is the most stupid thing I ever seen. I haven’t seen it anywhere else! This is not the right way. People will be going there anyway! Road infrastructure and drivers skills – that’s the point. And I am not talking about toll plaza to reduce traffic!

  11. Posted December 11, 2007 at 17:06 | Permalink

    I am a bit late on this one – but it came up again today as the Belfast one opens.