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KFC tycoon's company building luxury homes in Belfast

By John Mulgrew

A company which counts KFC tycoon Michael Herbert as a director is building three major luxury housing developments, it can be revealed.

Kirk Bryson & Co Ltd — which includes the Belfast multi-millionaire as a director — is planning to turn a vacant site in the popular Upper Newtownards Road area of east Belfast into a 53-home development called Rose Park.

It is also developing Parklands, an apartment development based at Knocknagoney in Belfast. It will feature 104 apartments, including 18 one-bedroom flats along with 83 two-bedrooms and three with three-bedrooms.

The Rose Park housing development close to the Stormont estate will include 53 homes, consisting of a mixture of four-bedroom detached, four and three-bedroom semi-detached and townhouses, along with two-bedroom apartments.

It’s understood the Rose Park site was sold for more than £2m.

Stephen Blaney of Coogan and Co Architects, which is designing both the schemes, told the Belfast Telegraph: “The proposals for these two new residential developments represent a significant investment in the east Belfast area, and will regenerate two brownfield sites that have been vacant for some time.

“The apartments at Parklands will appeal to a growing generation of young professionals living in our city, while Rose Park will offer beautiful family homes in a part of Belfast that is in high demand.

“We had very good support for both proposals during the consultative stage and hope that the planning process will be swift.”

Further fresh plans show Kirk Bryson & Co Ltd is proposing a 19-home development at a former Lidl store site on the outskirts of the north of the city on the Antrim Road.

Michael Herbert — whose company holds Europe’s largest KFC franchise — is probably best known for the Lesley buildings, a collection of residential, commercial and office schemes named after his wife.

Aside from his fast-food franchise, Mr Herbert also deals in commercial property.

That includes Bangor retail park Bloomfield Shopping Centre, which was formerly owned by one of Mr Herbert's companies.

It's not his first foray into housing developments, but the new schemes are some of the largest that he has been involved with.

The new Rose Park housing scheme aims "to create a high-quality residential development", according to a design statement.

The proposed homes are being designed in an "arts and crafts architectural style" with finishes in "keeping with the character of the area and are set within a well-designed landscape scheme of native tree planting and hedgerows".

Just last week, one industry body warned that a lack of houses coming onto the market is the biggest challenge facing the sector in Northern Ireland.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) survey said buyer interest in homes was strong, but the number of houses coming onto the market was falling.

Meanwhile, the latest official Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin shows there was a fall in the number of properties built here.

Between July and September 2016, building control recorded 1,973 home starts. That's down by 1.8% on the same quarter in 2015.

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