Listed Belfast building to get £4.5m revamp despite opposition
The £4.5m redevelopment of a listed building in Belfast will go ahead - despite it being recommended for refusal by planning officers.
The planning committee of Belfast City Council has given the thumbs-up for the revamp of Wilton House in College Square North.
It's to be turned into eight apartments, while a new five-storey building will have 15 dwellings.
It's believed to be the first time councillors have overturned a recommendation by planning officers since the local elections earlier this year.
Wilton House is the former headquarters of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID).
The project has been proposed by Wilton Group - a partnership between Daniel Jackson, of high-end property developers Cornerstone, and Ciaran Toman, of property company Informed Percent.
Planning officers had said not enough information had been given about how the historic fabric of the building will be maintained.
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Councillors have given it their approval but with conditions, expected to involve the preservation of heritage features in the listed building, and a travel plan including a contribution towards Belfast Bikes.
A spokesman for Turley - planning agent for developer Wilton Group - said: "Members sought approval on the basis that the applicant had made sufficient amendments to the scheme, assessing that on balance the proposal would secure a viable residential development, in the city centre, within the constraints of bringing a listed building on the "at risk" register back into use."
Councillors have also backed a £7m, 10-storey mixed use development on Dublin Road.
The building from John Smyth's Estates would have a restaurant on the ground and mezzanine floors and 71 apartments.
The site is occupied by Kitch Restaurant. A second building next door, which would also have to make way for the development, is a former restaurant, now vacant.
And a development of 15 apartments at the former Maple Leaf Club in east Belfast also got the go-ahead.
The 15 apartments at the club's former site on Park Avenue will be for social housing.
Another 15-unit development of homes at 28 to 52 Gardiner Street was given the green light.