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Belfast's biggest student rooms development approved for Nelson Street

Published 15/11/2016

An artist’s impression of the new 774-bedroom development at Nelson Street
An artist’s impression of the new 774-bedroom development at Nelson Street

Belfast's largest ever student accommodation development has been given the go ahead.

The massive 774-bedroom building by Olympian Homes at Nelson Street will bring the number of rooms given the green light in the area close to the new Ulster University campus to more than 2,700.

Simon Murray-Twin, chief executive of Olympian Homes, told Belfast City Council's planning committee that the city is "under provided" in terms of student accommodation.

But a 271-bedroom student building in the heart of the city's Golden Mile was turned down by the committee.

It was turned down for a number of reasons including the height and scale of the development.

Representing Rojem, the firm behind it, solicitor Dawson McConkey of Carson McDowell said there was a "clear need" for student buildings and that some £20m of funding is already in place for the scheme.

He said his client "can't understand why it is being turned down" and said the company would look elsewhere in the UK to develop student accommodation.

A planner representing the company said the refusal proposal was "fundamentally flawed".

Members of the planning committee visited the area earlier this month after the application was deferred in October.

Planners previously said the development could "adversely impact on the character and appearance" of buildings, including listed properties, and recommended the scheme be refused permission.

The recommendation for refusal was put forward by TUV councillor Jolene Bunting.

Around 7,000 student rooms are at various different stages of development across Belfast.

Meanwhile, an application to build a 19-storey apartment block in Belfast was pulled from the agenda on Monday night.

The apartment block, which was earmarked for the Sailortown area, had been recommended for refusal.

Plans for the scheme included redeveloping the currently empty Rotterdam Bar and Pat's Bar, on Pilot Street and Princes Dock Street respectively, which are both for sale.

Planners citied a range of problems with the two proposed developments.

Among these was a lack of information in demonstrating a "satisfactory methodology in the identification and mitigation of the unacceptable risks posed by contamination of the site".

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