Belfast Telegraph

Movie studios project spanner in works as Titanic Quarter Ltd in last minute objection to rival’s film stage proposal

By John Mulgrew

Titanic Quarter Ltd has thrown an 11th hour spanner in the works of plans to develop a £19m film studios complex.

Belfast Harbour's plans for the new North Foreshore Film Studios were expected to be approved by Belfast City Council's planning committee last night.

But councillors heard that a last minute objection had been received from rival developers Titanic Quarter Ltd, a large-scale tenant of the Harbour estate.

Titanic Quarter is already home to Titanic Studios, while Titanic Quarter Ltd has planning permission for new studios.

Belfast Harbour has commenced High Court proceedings against Titanic Quarter Ltd in a dispute about a "master agreement" for development schemes.

Land in the area is owned by Belfast Harbour Commissioners and leased to Titanic Quarter Ltd for development projects under the master agreement. The dispute has emerged over the interpretation of that contract.

A letter of objection was received on Monday from Titanic Quarter Ltd, the planning committee heard. It also heard that last minute neighbour notifications were carried out by planners earlier this month, and it subsequently made contact with local businesses.

They included Titanic Quarter.

The planning application was voted on nine to one in favour, with Ulster Unionist Chris McGimpsey the only councillor against.

But the application is now on hold as councillors decide if the new objection has any substance.

If that's the case, planners can return the application to the committee.

Chairman Matt Garrett said if any new or additional objections were raised, the committee "may have to come back" to decide on the plans.

The North Foreshore Film Studios proposed by Belfast Harbour will cover around seven acres on the soon-to-be redeveloped 340-acre former landfill site.

It will feature a 66,000sq ft film studio and sound stage, a 23,000sq ft workshop and 32,000sq ft production space.

It will face competition from already established TV and film studios in Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph