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  • Partial Use of Shop as Coffee Shop Is Not Development

    The development is described as the partial change of use of the ground floor of an existing shop (in a protected structure) to use as a coffee shop. The shop currently operates as an off-licence and the proposal is to retail different products and to use a portion of the ground floor as a coffee shop. Certain works would be required to facilitate the development.

    The ground floor consists of a retail area of 18.3m2. The coffee sales area would occupy an area of 2.1 m2 within the existing retail unit.

    The Council concluded that the coffee shop element was unrelated to and would not be subsidiary to the primary retail use and that planning permission is required.

    The Inspector noted that the Board has adjudicated on a number of similar cases (RL 3023, RL 2941, RL 2940 and RL 2516), which are relevant in the consideration of the current proposal. Each of these cases involved either the partial use of an existing retail area for use as a coffee shop/coffee sales area (RL 3023 and RL 2941) or the change of use of the entire floor area (PL2940 and RL 2516). In each of these cases the Board concluded that a ‘coffee shop’ constituted use as a ‘shop’ as defined in article 5 and did not constitute a material change of use and was not ‘development’.

    It is also worth noting two cases where the Board reached a different conclusion (RL 2221 and RL 2939). The former related to the change of use of a shop unit within an existing shopping centre to use a restaurant and the latter related to the change of use from retail clothing use to coffee shop/bistro restaurant. In these cases the entire unit was converted to a restaurant with seating.

    The Inspector concluded that it will operate as a small coffee sales area, subsidiary to the main retail area. There is no provision for tables/ chairs seating etc which would facilitate its use as a restaurant and for the consumption of food and beverages on the premises. As such the minor change of use was exempted development.

    An Board Pleanala agreed with the Inspector noting that
    (a) the proposal involves works to the interior of a Protected Structure which is development within the meaning of section 3 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000,
    (b) the said works being works which would not materially affect the character of the structure or any element of the structure which contributes to its special architectural interests are exempted development within the meaning of section 57 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, as amended,
    (c) the existing use of the premises for the retail sale of goods and for the display of goods for sale, is a shop as defined under Article 5(1) of Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 as amended by article 3 of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2005 and the partial use of the premises (2.1 square metres) as a coffee shop comes within the scope of the definition of ‘shop’ and therefore does not constitute a material change of use from use as a shop.

    An Bord Pleanala therefore concluded that internal works to a protected structure is development and is exempted development, and the partial change of use of a shop to use as a coffee shop at ground floor level is not development, at number 4 Quay Street, Galway, a Protected Structure.

    Published on June 12, 2015 By:David Mulcahy · Filed under: Exempted Development;
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