Appeals Board approves pop-up restaurant in shipping containers

The Wahaca restaurant in London's Southbank which is constructed from containers.

A local businessman has won an appeal to An Bord Pleanála to allow a new pop up restaurant be built in shipping containers in a vacant city centre site.

The appeals board overturned a City Council refusal for the new business, which will be similar to those in the Southbank Centre in London.

Last February, Daragh Mullin sought permission for a period of three years for the shipping containers at Number 19 Forster Street – a vacant site since the demolition of the building in 2012 on safety grounds.

The Council said that while the use of the site as a restaurant would be acceptable in principle, the use of shipping containers would “perpetuate the under-utilisation” of the site and the hap in the city centre, describing it as a “poor quality structure” and would contravene the City Development Plan.

It was also noted that there is a proliferation of cafés and restaurants in the area.

Mr Mullin, who operates Carroll’s bar and the Crust Bucket on Dominick Street, expressed frustration with the planning process in his appeal to An Bord Pleanála, pointing out that in initial planning meetings with the City Council, there were no objections raised.

The appeal went on to note that the site is part of the ‘Odeon’ portfolio owned by the Comer and McHale families, which will be developed into the new Eyre Square East Quarter.

“First and foremost, it is of critical importance to point out that the subject site forms part of a wider urban landholding which has undergone significant site assembly over the last decade.

“It is envisaged that this quarter of the city, known as Eyre Square East, will be the subject of significant urban regeneration and redevelopment in the future.”

The Board said there was “no clear and substantive understanding” from the Council’s refusal on how the City Development Plan would be contravened.

It was also noted that a temporary pop up restaurant would not impede the proposed redevelopment of the eastern side of Eyre Square. The Board did not accept that there is a proliferation of cafés, restaurants and take-away businesses.

They added that with quality materials and finishes, there would be an enhancement to the streetscape and that there was no significant potential for concern that a precedent would be set.

The Appeals Board approved the plans for a period of three years, and ordered that the full details of finishes and colours “which shall be in a mute shade” be agreed with the City Council, and that the take-away cannot be operated separately to the restaurant.

Drawings with the planning application indicates the name is ‘Vochos’, the nickname for the Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico.

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