Belfast Telegraph

Developers reapply to demolish a ‘quintessentially Belfast building’

Property developers have renewed their bid to demolish an historic Victorian building in Belfast city centre and replace it with a major retail and residential development.

Carlisle Property Developments originally applied to transform the Queen Street site into a nine-storey complex with 69 apartments, street level shops and basement parking facilities.

But a new application has reduced the height of the building to seven storeys with plans for 58 apartments.

The developer has re-applied to demolish the building, but has amended its plans to include the “careful dismantling of masonry door surround and corbelled base to corner turret above for inclusion in replacement building”.

The 19th century warehouse on the corner of Queen Street and College Street — which currently houses the Athletic Stores — was given a reprieve last January when the High Court forced planning chiefs to reconsider the application.

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) had challenged the decision, claiming Planning Service failed to consider the price of refurbishment on a building located within the Belfast City Centre Conservation Area.

UAHS research officer, Rita Harkin, said the society would lodge a fresh objection “in defence of this precious reminder of our rich industrial heritage”.

“This amended seven storey scheme will still result in the destruction of the 19th century linen warehouse. Such a substantial loss would clearly harm the character of the conservation area,” she said.

“Once lost, historical buildings which tell the story of our towns and cities cannot be replaced. We remain hopeful that the owner will realise the potential of this sturdy, quintessentially Belfast building.”

Belfast Telegraph