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Green light for office and retail project in Belfast city centre

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The historic five-storey Bank Buildings in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

The historic five-storey Bank Buildings in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

The historic five-storey Bank Buildings in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

A new £60million office and mixed-use development close to Bank Buildings in Belfast city centre has been given the go-ahead.

Under the terms of the ambitious scheme, Norwich Union House, which occupies part of Castle Street and Fountain Street, will be redeveloped.

The plan was brought forward by ES NUH Ltd, a development company associated with Co Tyrone construction business McAleer and Rushe.

The new project will sit just behind Bank Buildings, home to Primark.

The store was destroyed in a huge fire in August 2018.

The subsequent closure of much of that area of the city centre led to a massive drop in trade and footfall.

The new scheme would see Norwich Union House knocked down and replaced with a 231,000 sq ft development that would include office space, retail, restaurants, cafes and bars.

The building was awarded permission by Belfast City Council.

A previous scheme also included a hotel.

"The application originally proposed a hotel as part of the redevelopment proposals. However, this element has been removed from the scheme and replaced by additional office accommodation," planning documents read.

"Re-consultation has been carried out on the amended description."

When recommending the scheme for approval, planners said that "having regard to the development plan and relevant material considerations, it is considered that the proposal is acceptable".

Meanwhile, there are fresh plans for a 10-storey serviced apartment development on the Dublin Road.

Like Architects has been appointed by John Smyth's Estates to design 85 apartments and a restaurant.

Belfast Telegraph