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Belfast City Council approves two student housing schemes


The former Athletic Stores building on Queen Street in Belfast

The former Athletic Stores building on Queen Street in Belfast

The former Athletic Stores building on Queen Street in Belfast

Two new student housing schemes in Belfast been granted planning approval at a Belfast City Council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Around 700 rooms will be added to the city's burgeoning developments as part of both schemes.

Two buildings in the city centre were put forward for approval by Belfast City Council planners, including the 317-bedroom Swanston Hall on the corner of Queen Street.

The Victorian Athletic Stores building on Queen Street is being transformed into a new student development by Welsh firm Watkin Jones and Holywood's Lacuna Developments.

The Athletic Stores scheme will involve retaining the building's facade while demolishing and rebuilding behind it.

Meanwhile, a second building initially put forward for refusal, also get the go-ahead. It's a 380-bedroom development at Little Patrick Street, run by English firm UniCiti.

UniCiti partner Paul Wilkinson said: "Belfast is a great city and this is a further step in the normalisation of its city centre.

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"Even following recent approvals - including our project at York Street - Belfast is still lagging far behind (in student accommodation)."

A number of social housing developments were also given the go ahead. 

These included two applications by Clanmil Developments, at Colehill Gardens in Castlereagh and Gainsborough Drive in north Belfast, and two by Apex Housing Association, at Cliftonpark Avenue and Halliday’s Road, both in the north of the city.  An application for a 50 unit apartment complex in Little Patrick Street was also approved.