Belfast Telegraph

£55m office block in Belfast given go-ahead despite fears

By John Mulgrew

Plans for a new £55m office building in Belfast have been given the green light.

The Lanyon Central development - which would sit beside Central Station in Belfast - was passed by the city's planning committee last night.

It is due to be made up of four buildings - 14-storey and 10-storey office blocks, along with two smaller structures.

Property developer Paddy Kearney is planning to develop a series of huge office buildings across the city over the next few years in order to help meet a severe shortage of top-end office space in Belfast.

A decision on whether to approve the series of buildings had previously been deferred and also received opposition from local residents.

Those living around the area fear the development will overshadow the existing houses.

Kilmona, the firm behind the scheme, said the investment was worth £55m and could create as many as 350 construction jobs over a two-year period. It added that the buildings would be able to hold 2,500 workers once completed. The project is also one of the largest office developments proposed for the city in more than a decade.

It will feature retail units, car parking at lower ground floor level with an external plaza and landscaping.

The new buildings will sit on an empty brownfield site beside Central Station.

But the major development received several objections from residents, as well as from Sinn Fein MLA and Finance Minister Mairtin O Muilleoir.

In a letter to planners, he said: "I believe that the planned development would totally dominate the residential properties in the immediate area."

Alliance MLA for South Belfast Paula Bradshaw also said she supported a campaign by residents in the Markets area of the city to stop the building.

Elsewhere in the city, Paddy Kearney has applied for planning permission to build another new office development.

His company is planning to knock down Scottish Amicable House at Donegall Square South, beside his hotel Ten Square, and build a nine-storey office development.

He had originally applied for permission to use the building as an extension to the hotel, asking to add 66 bedrooms.

The firm said it had not withdrawn that application, and instead is adding "options at this site".

A spokesman had told the Belfast Telegraph the application "is a response to the pent-up office demand" in the city.

Belfast Telegraph