Belfast Telegraph

Belfast planners to reject 19-storey apartments block bid

Huge blow for developers as council likely to pull plug on schemes

By John Mulgrew

Proposals to build a 19-storey apartment block and student accommodation in Belfast are expected to be refused planning permission.

The apartment block, which was earmarked for the Sailortown area, is up for refusal when the council's planning committee meets next week.

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".

They also said there was a lack of information to show that the "amenity of existing and prospective residents would not be adversely affected due to noise, odours and activities associated with non-residential uses".

Had it been granted permission, the building would have included 112 apartments, two restaurants on the first floor, a residents' gym on the second floor and a roof garden and car parking spaces.

A 271-bed student accommodation project in the heart of Belfast's Golden Mile is also expected to be refused permission. Members of the planning committee visited the area last week after the application was deferred in October.

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

The nearby listed structures include Bradbury Buildings, Crescent Arts Centre, the Moravian Church, the Crescent Church and a former Methodist Church.

However, a major 774-bedroom student development by Olympian Homes is expected to be given the green light.

It will be located at Nelson Street in the city centre, close to the new Ulster University campus, and would be the largest student development of its kind in the city.

Around 3,000 student rooms have already been given the green light right across Belfast, with many of those in and around the York Street area, close to Ulster University.

A total of 7,500 rooms are at various different stages of development.

Erskine House, a new mixed-use office development, is also due to be approved.

Plans are now under way to turn a city centre car park and 1980s building into the 100,000 sq ft mixed-use development.

Orby Investment, which is headed by David and Andrew Calvert, wants permission to knock down the building at Chichester Street and construct the new eight-storey office development in its place.

Planners said the mixed-use retail and office proposal "in a highly accessible city centre location is considered acceptable" and could accommodate around 1000 workers.

Belfast Telegraph