Planners back next phase of £500m Belfast Tribeca development
The latest phase of the controversial £500m Belfast Tribeca redevelopment has been recommended for approval at a meeting of Belfast City Council's planning committee.
The recommendation comes despite 443 objections to the revised scheme and just five letters of support.
Councillors on the committee will get to vote on the application on Tuesday. Castlebrooke Developments submitted its amendments to the outline planning application for the scheme, which encompasses large areas of Donegall Street and North Street, in September.
The biggest change to the original proposal is a 27-storey building on the corner of Rosemary Street and North Street, which would be cut to 10 storeys under the new scheme.
Plans for a major retail store were dramatically downsized, with a controversial proposal for an underground car park at Writer's Square also dropped. Castlebrooke also committed to bringing back North Street Arcade in a new format.
Full permission was granted in March for phase 1B. However, the latest application is for phases 1C, 2 and 3 of the development. But it does overlap with phase 1B as it relates to proposals for 30-34 North Street.
Agustina Martire, acting chair of the Save CQ conservation campaign, which has objected to Castlebrooke's plans, said she was "very disappointed but not surprised" about the recommendation for approval of the latest phase. "We know in December several councillors were very concerned about many of the aspects we have highlighted, especially the type of housing, amount of demolition and no space for arts and culture," she added.
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"It will be interesting to see what kind of discussion happens in council when this is taken for approval or rejection. This is not the end. It's important to highlight that Castlebrooke haven't done much or gone forward yet with bits of the project that have been approved for at least 18 months. It's yet to be seen what will actually happen."
Belfast Chamber has supported the latest application following the adjustments made to the original scheme.
In a letter Simon Hamilton, chief executive of Belfast Chamber, said: "Belfast Chamber welcomes the considerable number of new jobs the scheme will generate through its construction phase, which we understand to be 600 per year, and the 1,600 net new permanent jobs created upon completion.
"We also welcome the rates contribution the development will make to Belfast City Council, and we particularly welcome the provision of 28,692 sq m of residential development, which will make a considerable contribution towards the Council's and our own aim of increasing city centre living.
"Overall, this is an area of the city that is in great need of investment and regeneration."
In January last year Belfast City Council agreed to oppose plans to name the development Tribeca. The council said "we're not New York, we're Belfast", in reference to Tribeca as a short form for 'Triangle Beside the Cathedral', a fashionable part of Manhattan. In the conclusion of the development management officer's report for this application, it is noted that the proposals are of "significant strategic importance" to Belfast. It says the scheme will "help deliver a key site for the city, supporting the vitality and viability of the city centre, revitalising and regenerating the area, supporting job creation and the economy".
It also says that the amended application's approach to sustainable travel, including a significant reduction in parking provision, is to be welcomed.