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Belfast's sewers can't cope with Tribeca, says heritage group

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An artist’s impression of the proposed Tribeca city centre development

An artist’s impression of the proposed Tribeca city centre development

An artist’s impression of the proposed Tribeca city centre development

An architectural conservation group has expressed concern over whether Belfast's sewerage and mains water supply will cope if the City Council gives the green light to the latest phase of the controversial £500m Tribeca development.

Councillors on the planning committee are due to vote on whether to approve the application at a meeting later today.

Last September, London-based Castlebrooke Developments submitted amendments to the outline planning application for the scheme, which encompasses large areas of Donegall Street and North Street.

Full permission was granted last 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.

Ulster Architectural Heritage (UAH) has previously expressed concerns over whether the "overloaded" water infrastructure in Belfast city centre is capable of handling the development.

In a strongly worded statement, UAH said yesterday: "If planning committee councillors are prepared to ignore fundamentals, what do they care about the impact of this development on Belfast's built heritage?"

Castlebrooke was invited by Belfast City Council to a property fair in Cannes last year to present their plans to investors.

"Did BCC or Castlebrooke advise potential investors that the development had no planning approval and no realistic provision of sewage or mains water connections in, at the very least, the medium term, with NI Water needing at least £1bn for Belfast water and sewage infrastructure alone, never mind the long term disruption associated with the necessary works?" the heritage charity added.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said that members of the planning committee will consider the UAH application at the meeting.

NI Water said it has been working with all the relevant bodies and agencies to progress the planning application on the proposed development and has provided the necessary information for Belfast City Council to consider.

A spokesperson added: "NI Water met with Belfast city planners in December 2019 where it was agreed that NI Water would have no objection to this outline planning application receiving approval, and that a planning condition would be attached, regarding an approved sewerage solution.

"This development site currently discharges into the existing combined sewerage network which discharges both foul and storm flows to Belfast Wastewater Treatment Works; a storm outfall sewer will result in significantly reduced flows discharging to Belfast WWTW.

"NI Water will attend a meeting on January 30 to progress this application."

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