Belfast Telegraph

Botanic Avenue plans won't include converting bar into apartments

Upper Crescent in south Belfast
Upper Crescent in south Belfast
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Botanic Avenue in south Belfast is to see two major redevelopment projects take off after both were given planning permission.

A third planning application, however, to turn The Playwright Bar, formerly The Fly, on Lower Crescent into apartments has been refused.

In nearby Upper Crescent, a plan to turn numbers 14 to 16 into new apartments is now progressing.

Upper Crescent off Botanic Avenue became a sought-after address for the professional and business classes after parts of it were completed in 1848.

It's believed to be the city's only curved terrace and is lauded as an example of neo-classical Regency-style architecture.

Over the last few decades numbers 14 to 16 have been derelict and the terrace as a whole has many vacant buildings, apart from housing the headquarters of listed company Kainos plc.

Now, however, Neil McCann of Property Development NI has been given planning permission by Belfast City Council for 18 apartments on the site.

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The terrace was once occupied by Belfast's wealthiest people after they began moving their families out of city centre homes and into the suburbs.

The crescent was built by timber and shipping merchant Robert Corry, who himself lived there in what was known for some time as Corry's Crescent.

Meanwhile, a project on Botanic Avenue to turn the former Botanic Lodge guesthouse into apartments now has the green light.

Co Tyrone-based Rapsand Ltd lodged an application to build 14 apartments, alongside two retail units, with at least one of those earmarked as a cafe.

Liam McAuley, associate director at planning agents GVA NI, said: "The developer is excited that planning consent has now been granted and he is now able to finally move matters forward.

"Marketing of the scheme will commence early in the new year and I look forward to discussing the opportunity with occupiers in the near future."

However, 1 Oak Leisure Ltd, which owns The Playwright Bar and Time Nightclub, has been refused permission to turn its premises at 5-6 Lower Crescent into nine apartments.

Refusing planning, Belfast City Council said the proposal was contrary to policy as it did not "preserve or enhance the character, architectural and historic interest of the building".

Among other factors, it said the development did not preserve the character of the conservation area in which it's located.

Belfast Telegraph