Titanic Quarter exhibition centre in race against time to get approval
Developers of a new exhibition centre in the Titanic Quarter remain "fully confident" it will get the green light before September when its first events are due to take place.
The Titanic Exhibition Centre was put forward for approval to Belfast City Council's planning committee for a three-year period.
But at an earlier meeting this month, the matter was deferred when some issues were raised.
Now, a special planning committee has been convened for later this month, with those behind the centre hoping it finally gets the go ahead.
The proposed decision comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed some of the city's biggest and most lucrative trade shows are set to move from their former King's Hall home to the new temporary conference centre.
The big annual shows - many of which draw more than 10,000 visitors - are due to relocate from the historic south Belfast site to the exhibition centre.
It's now racing to get approval before its first booked events kick off in September.
And it's now set to go before the planning committee on June 29, before a sitting of the full council later this month.
A spokesperson for Titanic Quarter Ltd said: "Given that there is no venue in Belfast currently capable of handling large exhibitions, it is our belief that the proposed Titanic Exhibition Centre (TEC) will be a major boost to the city's economy, helping retain existing exhibitions and attract ones previously not held in Northern Ireland.
"Although the planning application was recommended by planners to the council's planning committee for approval on June 16, the decision was deferred and we anticipate that it will come before a further planning committee meeting on June 29.
"We are pleased to note that Belfast City Council recognise the importance of investments such as the TEC to the city. Titanic Quarter remains fully confident that the TEC will be operational well in advance of its first scheduled exhibitions this autumn."
A planning report from Belfast City Council said it "recommended that the application is approved subject to conditions".
But while Transport NI has been consulted on the traffic changes arising from thousands of people descending on the temporary centre, "a final response has yet to be provided", according to the report.
During an initial planning committee meeting last week, a number of objections were raised over the building of the new centre.
They were thought to relate to traffic concerns in the area.
Exhibition centre faces race against time to get approval