Historic Belfast hospital buildings may be transformed into new homes
The old Edwardian buildings of Belvoir Park Hospital in south Belfast are set for a new lease of life as homes.
A development of Edwardian-inspired houses built on the wider site in 2015 sparked such excitement that prospective buyers queued from 6am on the morning of their release for the chance to buy one.
A developer has now secured permission to restore and convert some of the original buildings into homes.
The oldest sections of the hospital date back to 1906, when it was primarily used to treat fever. It later became a cancer treatment centre, until it was eventually closed in 2006.
Planning permission has been granted for site clearance and decontamination works, including the demolition non-listed buildings such as former nurses' homes and ancillary structures.
The new application submitted by Belfast-based Urban Dynamics requests a variance of conditions for the plans to convert the six historic Edwardian hospital buildings, five of which are Grade B2 listed.
The executive summary of the planning application states that "one of the fundamental principles of the Belvoir Park redevelopment is that phases of new build should be accompanied by phases of restoration, in order that the restoration of the buildings is secured".
One letter of objection raising a concern for the survival of the historic buildings, has been submitted so far.
Planners have recommended approval for the scheme.
This is on condition that none of the residential units in any phase are occupied until the works to restore the listed and retained buildings within that phase have been completed in accordance with the plans previously approved, and written confirmation has been obtained by the council.
The reason given for this was to ensure that the listed and other retained buildings are restored.
However, full permission will not be granted until the scheme has been approved by the council's planning committee.
The committee is set to consider the application next Tuesday.
The site has a long history and was the one-time residence of Lord Dungannon, the Bishop of Down and the Batt family. The last private tenant was Sir James Johnston, the Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1917-18.
Belvoir Park Hospital, which opened in 1906, was originally known as Purdysburn Fever Hospital and later Montgomery House, before being renamed in the 1960s. Throughout its lifespan, the hospital was the main regional centre for oncology, offering radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.
In 1983, the hospital was the first in the province to take delivery of a CT scanner. Its Gerard Lynch Centre held many cancer support groups for patients and their families.
It closed in March 2006 following the opening of a new cancer centre at Belfast City Hospital and was reportedly sold by the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust to private developers for £4.4million.
The site went on the market in April 2013, and in June 2014 it emerged a sale had been agreed.
It was bought by the Neptune Group, a residential and mixed-use property development and investment company.