A redevelopment plan which would make use of idle land at the Belvoir Park Hospital site by providing around 300 residential homes has been welcomed by local councillors.
A concept plan to redevelop the site of the hospital, which has been closed since March 2006, was presented to councillors by representatives of the Department of Health and the Belfast Trust at last week’s Castlereagh Borough Council meeting.
Under the proposals shown at the council presentation, there will be 30 dwellings per-hectare of land used for residential housing, while listed buildings and woodland are to be protected and some old non-listed buildings will be replaced.
John Weir from Drivers Jonas Property, working on behalf of the Department of Health, said at the meeting: “There will be 300 units including a good number of listed buildings.”
Architect Dawson Stelfox said the listed buildings, the protected trees and the original archeological monument will be protected in the redevelopment plan, which is to be submitted to the Planning Service next month.
While the redevelopment will be put on the market and made available to buy by private developers, councillors hope at least a portion of the land could be used for social housing which could benefit nearby Belvoir and Milltown housing estates.
Councillor Jimmy Spratt said it was a “very exciting” development for Castlereagh and south Belfast.
“I am pleased to see how the listed buildings will be incorporated into the modern site, and I want to emphasise the woodland will need to be treated sensitively,” he said. Castlereagh Councillor Sara Duncan said after the council meeting that a development would prevent the site from laying idle and attracting vandalism, and that she would welcome it providing the housing is not too dense and other issues such as parking are addressed.
“I would be in favour of the development — especially if there was social housing,” Councillor Duncan added.
And Councillor Rosaleen Hughes said if the redevelopment included social housing it would be “a great help” to nearby Belvoir, Milltown and Newtownbreda as there are “a lot of people waiting for housing”.
A Northern Ireland Housing Executive spokesman said it has previously indicated its interest in using part of the site.