Belfast Telegraph

Plan for new homes around historic Belfast church scaled down

By Margaret Canning

A building firm has downsized plans to build houses and apartments at an historic former church in Belfast.

Alskea Developments in Dungannon sought planning permission from Belfast City Council for 31 homes in or around the derelict Chapel of the Resurrection on Antrim Road.

It wanted to construct eight detached houses, 14 semis and six apartments in the grounds, as well as three apartments within the chapel walls.

Now the firm has changed its plans.

It wants to build three townhouses, six detached and 16 semi-detached homes, as well as restoring the external fabric of the listed building.

But a new application makes no mention of renovations to the inside of the chapel.

The third Marquis of Donegall built it as a memorial to his son Frederick Richard, the Earl of Belfast.

Frederick died while travelling through Europe in 1853 at the age of 25. The chapel was finished in 1869.

Ownership of the building was transferred to the Church of Ireland in 1938 and regular Sunday services continued there until 1965.

However, it fell into disuse and became a target for vandals.

In 1982 bodies of members of the Donegall family, which had been laid to rest in the vault, were disturbed.

The chapel was then deconsecrated before it was bought by a private developer, who sold it on to another building firm.

It was finally bought by Alskea Developments last year. No one from the company was available for comment yesterday.

Residents of the area, and North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds, had filed objections to the original plans.

Mr Dodds told planning authorities at Belfast City Council that he was concerned on behalf of residents about whether access to the development through an existing laneway at Innisfayle Park would cause problems for homeowners.

One resident described it as a "cuckoo-egg-in-the-nest" development which would dominate the surrounding environment. He argued the company had not given a full picture of its plans as it had failed to provide 3-D views of the proposed scheme.

"This is a multi-million pound development, in an area of townscape character, housing a significant listed building, which is in full view of one of the most visual, natural beauty attractions in the city - namely Belfast Castle and the Cave Hill grounds, and yet no 3-D views are provided," the resident said.

Belfast Telegraph