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Anger over 'ring of steel' at Chinese Consulate in Belfast

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A new metal fence has been erected around the Chinese Consulate on the Malone Road, Belfast

A new metal fence has been erected around the Chinese Consulate on the Malone Road, Belfast

A new metal fence has been erected around the Chinese Consulate on the Malone Road, Belfast

A metal fence erected at the Chinese Consulate in south Belfast which has been branded an "eyesore" has been "raised with the British Foreign Office".

Belfast City Council is understood to have contacted officials in the Foreign Office about the 'ring of steel' which appeared around the Malone Road building in recent weeks.

Officials took the step after it was built without planning permission, the Irish News has reported.

Residents are said to be "furious" about the fence being erected in a conservation area.

Belfast City Council said it understands the wall, which replaced a hedge, is "temporary".

But concerns have been raised that the consulate may seek to ignore planning rules by claiming diplomatic immunity.

The consulate had submitted a plan in May last year to build an almost 10-feet-high boundary wall, but it was later withdrawn.

The council has now launched a planning enforcement investigation.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph did not receive a response for comment from the consulate, however, in a previous statement it said authorities here and the Government had been "notified" of the works.

The Chinese Consulate is based at MacNeice House, which dates from 1889.

Belfast Telegraph