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Derelict Belfast church could be transformed into 31 homes

By Margaret Canning

A church in north Belfast could be converted into 31 homes, it has been revealed.

A planning application has been filed to seek permission to convert the Church of the Resurrection on the Antrim Road, close to Cave Hill, into three apartments.

Applicant Alskea Contracts, which now owns the site, also plans to build 28 homes in the grounds of the building.

The Dungannon-based firm is seeking the green light for eight detached houses, 14 semis and six apartments - as well as three apartments within the church.

The nineteenth century building went on the market for £1.35m in February last year, and is understood to have sold for slightly more than the asking price.

The third Marquis of Donegall built the church as a memorial to his son, Frederick Richard, the Earl of Belfast, with the work being completed in 1869.

Ownership of the chapel was transferred to the Church of Ireland in 1938, before it was sold by a private owner last year.

Estate agent Shane Maguire of Simon Brien Residential, which handled the sale, said: "The church is a listed building and a unique location for a housing development.

"What the owner is proposing to do is in keeping with the area and in a traditional style."

No one from Alskea Contracts was available for comment.

Its plans are the latest project involving a church conversion in Belfast. Earlier this month, Tullymore House Ltd announced it had bought the former Holy Rosary Church on the Ormeau Road and wanted it to turn it into a branch of restaurant Fratelli's.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon also has plans to convert a former Methodist church on University Road into a bar.

A church on the Lisburn Road, close to Ulsterville Avenue, is now the headquarters of the business of interior designer Kris Turnbull, and also home to high-end restaurant Saphyre.

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