Belfast Telegraph

Decision to demolish Victorian building in Belfast city centre reversed

By Alan Erwin

A decision to approve demolition of a building situated in a designated conservation area of Belfast city centre is to be quashed, a High Court judge has ordered.

The outcome was reached in a challenge by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society (UAHS) to the proposed redevelopment at the junction of Upper Queen Street and Wellington Street.

Proceedings were issued against Belfast City Council after its planning committee gave the go-ahead for demolition earlier this year.

It was accepted there had been a failure to bring relevant policy on architectural and built heritage to the committee's attention during the decision making process.

Confirming the result of the case, Mr Justice McCloskey said: "The legal effect of this quashing order is the council will be obliged to undertake a reconsideration in accordance with the decision of the court and make a fresh decision in due course."

Plans were submitted for an office block development on the site where a number of traders have operated.

Due to its location within a conservation area, the existing building has enhanced legal protection.

Part of the property is understood to date back to around 1860.

With the building believed to represent the last of its era in that part of the city centre, the UAHS brought the case in a bid to stop demolition and ensure its preservation.

A lawyer representing the Society said it sought to argue planners were not adequately informed of policies dealing with demolition in a conservation area, leaving their decision vulnerable to challenge.

Outside court Nicholas Quinn, of O'Muirigh Solicitors, added: "My client is overjoyed at the outcome of the proceedings.

"In future it hopes that both council planners and developers alike will give more thorough consideration to the preservation of buildings in Belfast which are within a conservation area." ends

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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