Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Harbour won't stand in way of 'sensible developments' by Titanic Quarter, says boss David Dobbin

By John Mulgrew

The head of Belfast Harbour Commissioners has said there is "no bad blood" between the organisation and Titanic Quarter, following claims his group posed the biggest obstacle towards its future development.

Titanic Island Ltd - the firm behind Titanic Quarter which includes the tourist exhibition Titanic Belfast as well as flats and offices - said in its company report that "difficulties advancing new projects with the agreement of Belfast Harbour" were dragging its progress down.

But Belfast Harbour chairman Dr David Dobbin told the Belfast Telegraph it doesn't "want to stand in the way of sensible developments" and that its "door is always open".

And he said the ball is now in Titanic Quarter's court to "spell out" what the concerns were, adding there is "no bad blood" between both organisations.

"We don't want to stand in the way of any sensible developments. If there are viable proposals, our door is open," he said.

"We have recently done a deal with Titanic Quarter and the Titanic Foundation to get the hotel project up and running at the drawing offices.

"If they have any proposals for us that are viable and sensible, we are not going to stand in the way of any development. I can't comment on what their concerns are. If they have concerns they need to spell out what they are."

Titanic Island's report shows a pre-tax loss of £68,000 - compared to a loss of £38m in 2013.

The report gives voice to a once unspoken rivalry between the two enterprises, as the trust port celebrated the grand opening of the offices of US law firm Baker & McKenzie at Belfast Harbour's City Quays block, yesterday morning.

David Dobbin - who is also chief executive of United Dairy Farmers - said: "We are not standing in the way, there's no desire from Belfast Harbour to hold back development.

"But they don't have to be the enemy, or prevent development on either side of the river. I think the ball is in their court."

Belfast Telegraph