Belfast Telegraph

Proposal for ex-police station on Belfast's Ormeau Road in hands of planners

By Ryan McAleer

A bid to convert a former police station in south Belfast into modern apartment blocks has reached planners.

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The proposal for the vacant Ballynafeigh PSNI base is one of two landmark projects on the Ormeau Road along with the conversion of the old Holy Rosary Church into a 21-bed hotel and pizza restaurant.

The former police station, which closed in 2011, had an asking price of £900,000.

It was bought by Co Tyrone property developer Padraig Drayne in 2016. His company Knockburn Ltd has formally submitted plans for two buildings made up of 59 apartments on the Ormeau Road site.

The proposal also includes three ground floor units set up for a cafe, restaurant or retail unit and communal courtyard and landscaping.

The development will also cater for basement car parking. It's understood that up to 74 spaces will be provided.

Parking has become an increasingly contentious issue in the area.

Meanwhile, an active proposal down the street to convert the former Holy Rosary Church into a 21-bed hotel and restaurant has met with opposition locally.

The application was submitted by Fratelli (Belfast) Ltd in December. The company is run by the same people behind the Galgorm Resort and Spa outside Ballymena.

South Belfast Green Party MLA Clare Bailey, who is one of the objectors, said: "We were contacted by a lot of residents when they heard about the hotel development. There was no parking provision on the site, that caused major concern."

But a spokesman for Fratelli (Ormeau Road) Limited said: "As part of our development plans, we're already working on a parking proposal which we hope will relieve any concerns."

The MLA has praised the developers behind the former Ballynafeigh police station, stating that extensive consultation had taken place.

"They were very open and very engaging. They turned up at meetings we held with residents, listened to the concerns and answered questions," she said.

"It has been an example of good practice in engaging with the community.

"I have seen the plans and they have really taken into account they are building in an existing community, so I think it's going to be a nice development."

The Green Party MLA has expressed some regret that the plan does not include an allocation for social housing.

She also raised questions over whether the parking space at the site would be rented by a separate company.

"We put it to them to see if they could guarantee whether the parking spot is allocated to the apartment," she added.

From Donaghmore in Co Tyrone, Padraig Drayne has been involved in a series of major projects on both sides of the border.

Belfast Telegraph