Belfast Telegraph

Campaigners against Cathedral Quarter development to put their case to councillors

What Royal Exchange could look like when completed
What Royal Exchange could look like when completed
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Campaigners against Belfast's £400m Royal Exchange development are to put their case across to councillors ahead of a crunch decision next week.

#SaveCQ will take part in a pre-determination hearing in front of Belfast City Council's planning committee on Tuesday.

The group has said the 12-acre retail, office and residential development will damage the character of the historic Cathedral Quarter in the city centre.

Chairperson Rebekah McCabe said: "Whether or not to grant a pre-determination hearing is at the discretion of the committee, and in this case, it deemed that the significance of the proposed development and the number of objectors - over 4,000 to date - were sufficient grounds to approve the hearing."

She said it was only the second time a pre-determination hearing had been granted since 2015.

Ms McCabe said the campaign group's specialists had launched "an extremely robust case, based on material planning considerations, to argue against granting planning permission for the proposal in its current form".

"We welcome the opportunity, along with colleagues from Ulster Architectural Heritage, to present our evidence to the planning committee before it formally considers this phase of the redevelopment proposal on Thursday."

A spokesman for Castlebrooke Investments, the company which is behind the plans, said it "welcomes the opportunity to participate in the pre-determination hearing before Belfast City Council planning committee next week".

"The Phase 1B proposal on the former North Street car park site, is the second phase of a regeneration scheme that will deliver nearly 6,500 jobs, approximately 275 residential apartments and a GVA of £374m per annum."

Belfast Telegraph