Belfast Telegraph

Kwik-Fit outlet to close after £12m apartment complex on Lisburn Road gets go-ahead

Shutting: Kwik-Fit on Lisburn Road
Shutting: Kwik-Fit on Lisburn Road

By Caitriona McBride

A £12m apartment development on Belfast's Lisburn Road is set to get the green light - but will also force the closure of garage and tyre fitter Kwik Fit.

Officials at Belfast City Council have recommended approval for plans for the development at 721-739 Lisburn Road, which includes 81 apartments.

But a spokesman for Kwik Fit said: "Sadly for us, and our loyal customers, the new development would mean we have to close this centre after 27 years.

"We will continue to serve our city customers from the Kwik Fit centres in Ormeau Road, Yorkgate and Upper Newtownards Road and are increasing the size of the Kwik Fit Mobile fleet covering the area.

"We are also looking at other potential sites for new centres in order to meet the needs of Belfast motorists."

The buildings run from 721-739 on the Lisburn Road and are home to a number of other well-established businesses as well as Kwik Fit.

The other businesses include designer boutique Max Mara, health food cafe Tony & Jen's and financial advisers Marlborough Place. It is not clear whether the other businesses will remain as part of the development. But no-one at the businesses wished to comment on their future plans yesterday.

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The proposal from Galgorm Properties is for mixed use commercial and residential development with 81 apartments, six shops looking out onto Lisburn Road, communal courtyards, a gym and car parking.

The residential part of the scheme includes a mix of one bed, two bed and three bed apartments, with the larger family three bed apartments accounting for over 11% of the overall provision.

In their recommendation, Belfast City Council planners said that the scheme "reflects the pattern of development in this area with retail uses at ground level along the Lisburn Road frontage and residential above". It added: "This high quality mixed use scheme, accompanied with public realm improvements along the Lisburn Road frontage will bring about something of a planning gain on a site occupied by a car wash and a two storey block of minimal architectural quality."

The proposal is designed by Like Architects on behalf of Galgorm Properties. Michael Martin, director of Like Architects, previously spoke to the Belfast Telegraph about their involvement with the project.

He said: "Like Architects are pleased to have worked as part of the development team for this high quality residential scheme on the Lisburn Road.

"This will deliver much needed homes on one of Belfast's main arterial routes as well as retail units on the ground floor."

He said the companies had also carried out an extensive consultation with people living in the area before submitting the plans.

The developer said it's estimated that 50 jobs will be created during construction.

No objections or third party representations were received.

It states the site is located on a main arterial route from the city centre and is "poorly defined in terms of land use and built form, with a large area of hard standing and commercial/industrial units set back from the road".

"The mix of retail, leisure and residential uses will add to the diversity of the area and create a quality built form on a site which is poorly defined architecturally."

The proposed development was considered "on balance, acceptable".

Belfast Telegraph