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Belfast councillors defer decision on controversial £500m Tribeca development plan


An artist's impression of the proposed Tribeca city centre development

An artist's impression of the proposed Tribeca city centre development

An artist's impression of the proposed Tribeca city centre development

Belfast councillors have voted to defer a decision on planning permission for a controversial £500m development in the city centre.

Members of Belfast City Council's planning committee made the decision during a marathon meeting on Tuesday night.

The development, Tribeca Belfast, is an urban regeneration scheme on a 12-acre site located beside St Anne’s Cathedral bounded by Royal Avenue, Donegall Street, Lower Garfield Street and Rosemary Street.

Councillors had previously backed amendments to the plans at a meeting in January.

Deputy chair of the planning committee SDLP councillor Gary McKeown said that councillors had unanimously voted to defer the decision.

If a consensus was reached at the meeting on Tuesday evening the long running project could have been given the go-ahead.

Councillor McKeown said the decision was taken to defer a final decision so that councillors could receive more information around a number of key areas of the plan.

Among the issues raised were concerns around social housing provision in the area and a potential car pooling scheme.

The matter will be brought back before the committee at a later date for a final decision.

Acting Chair of the Save CQ (Cathedral Quarter) campaign Agustina Martire welcomed the council's move.

"Amongst the many outstanding issues with the Tribeca Belfast development - including heritage, public space and arts and culture - we are delighted that the planning committee members recognised the issues regarding housing," she said.

"The current development also proposes that vulnerable people from Choice Housing could potentially be moved away from the site.

"We generated over 130 objection letters to the current proposal in just two days.

"Now is the time for some real creative thinking and proper communication to find a resolution which all parties can support.”

The name of the project, taken from the Tribeca area in New York City, has also been criticised as not reflecting the area.

Developer Castlebrooke Investments have previously said the plan will accommodate an estimated 1,600 additional jobs on completion and contribute £213 million a year to the local economy.

It will create circa 60,000 sqm additional employment floorspace, and during construction, an average of 600 construction jobs per year will be created.

Cumulative income to local government over 20 years will be approximately £23 million.

Belfast Telegraph