Belfast Telegraph

Hotel plans for Belfast Crumlin Road Courthouse site a step closer

By Ryan McAleer

Developers have been granted permission to transform Belfast's former Crumlin Road Courthouse into a new hotel.

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Belfast City Council's planning committee signed off on recommendation to grant both planning permission and listed building consent, including a new roof extension, for the historic building.

The old courthouse will become Liverpool-based developer Lawrence Kenwright's third hotel in the city.

The director of Signature Living is currently transforming the old Scottish Mutual Building, next to Belfast City Hall, into the new George Best Hotel.

Mr Kenwright is also pressing ahead with another hotel in the Cathedral Quarter, on the site of the former war memorial museum on Waring Street.

Meanwhile, planning officials at Belfast City Council have said that four major applications, including a bid for a major hotel, which were reviewed in the wake of a High Court ruling, should still go ahead.

The plans were re-examined after Mr Justice McCloskey found in May that the decision to approve a £55m office block beside an inner city housing district, was unlawful.

The judge said that planning officials had failed to take relevant considerations into account when they granted permission for a development up to 14 storeys high in the historic Markets area of Belfast.

The successful judicial review, mounted by residents of the Markets, centred around the legal status of the Belfast Metropolitan Plan (BMAP).

It found that a separate legal case connected to BMAP had resulted in the plan being left in draft form, with the older Belfast Urban Area Plan (BUAP) becoming the statutory plan.

It prompted city planning officials to reappraise four other major decisions.

They included a 250 bedroom hotel straddling Corporation Street and Tomb Street, an 11-storey apartment block in Little Patrick Street, a major residential development on Stockman's Way, and an application to demolish the Movie House cinema on Dublin Road, to make way for a new 12 storey office building, also known as Bankmore Square.

In four separate reports due to go before Belfast City Council's planning committee this evening, officials have recommended that their initial decision to approve be reaffirmed.

Belfast Telegraph