Fingal Council takes case against Swords Starbucks

It comes after the revelation that the premises had no planning permission.

Fingal Council takes case against Swords Starbucks

Starbucks in Temple Bar. | Image:

An Bord Pleanála has found that a Starbucks in north Dublin has been operating with no planning permission.

It brings the total number of premises subjected to investigations by local authorities around the country to eight.

The report found that the multinational coffee chain's branch in Airside Retail Park in Swords, Co. Dublin lacks the necessary proper planning permission.

The case concerned the change of use of part of a Smyths toy shop to use as a coffee shop. Starbucks argued their premises remained a “shop” under planning laws but An Bord Pleanála found the premises was more akin to a café or restaurant.

The alterations to the unit involved seating, a service counter, coffee machines and customer toilets. The planning board inspector said she was of the opinion that the change of use from a toy shop to use as a coffee shop by Starbucks was a material change of use which would have required planning permission.

On Friday morning a spokeswoman for the council said: “Fingal County Council became aware of the change of use of a unit at Airside Retail Park, Swords, from retail to that of a coffee shop/restaurant.

“As clarification was required as to whether this constituted an unauthorised change of use, a ruling was requested by the council from an Bord Pleanála, under Section 5 of the Planning Acts, on the planning status of this development.

“A decision has recently been issued by an Bord Pleanála to the effect that this particular change of use is, in fact, unauthorised and requires planning permission.”

She added: “As a consequence of this decision, Fingal County Council shall initiate enforcement proceedings with regard to this unauthorised use.”

In March, three Starbucks venues were found to be operating without having the appropriate planning permission in Cork. In September, the multinational conglomerate opened its first store in Waterford - without planning permission.

The country's first drive-through Starbucks is due to open in January 2017 in Belfast.