What do c-stores, off-licences, fast food outlets, bookmakers and mobile phone shops have in common?

According to Dublin City Council, they're spoiling the "smart and stylish" ambience of the capital's premier shopping strip, Grafton Street, and in future will be banned. Instead, the council wants to attract the likes of fashion stores, beauty salons and art galleries.

"We're trying to ensure Grafton Street remains special," said senior planner Mary Conway. "While there's a demand for c-stores, they should not be on the city's premier street."

The dictat has provoked a generally hostile reaction. A spokesman for a Spar that has been eight years on the street accused the council of elitism. "If the council wants to improve the ambience it could start by repairing the footpaths and by doing something about the crippling rents."

Londis said: "We are very proud that our brand image on Grafton Street fits very well, in an aesthetically pleasing way."