Belfast Telegraph

Office block and new school science building in Belfast given green light

by Andrew Madden, Local Democracy Reporter

An office block and a school science building are among the latest developments that have been granted planning permission by Belfast City Council.

At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Planning Committee, the green light was given to demolish an existing teaching block in Belfast’s Campbell College to make way for a new 10-classroom science building.

Meanwhile, a new four-storey office building in the North City Business Centre has also been given the go ahead.

The new development will replace an existing two-storey office block on the site.

Five letters of support for the development were sent to planners from neighbouring sites, as well as one letter of objection regarding potential parking difficulties.

PUP Councillor Billy Hutchinson said he had visited the site many times and agreed that parking could be an issue, however the overall benefits of the development outweighed those concerns.

In regards the parking issue, Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee pointed out that Belfast is trying to get people to use public transport more frequently.

Elsewhere, a project that could see the demolition of the last Victorian-era building on Upper Queen Street has hit a speed bump.

Real estate firm Hegan and Company hope to demolish the three-storey terrace building currently on the site, which is located at the junction of 46-52 Upper Queen Street and 11a Wellington Street, to make way for a new seven-storey office building with a retail unit on the ground floor.

The building dates to around 1860 and is located within a Conservation Area. It is currently home to a café, a barbers, and a shop.

BCC planners recognised that demolishing the last Victorian-era building on the street was a concern, however they also noted that they had received no objections from their Historic Environment Division.

“The critical consideration in this case is the merits of the proposal against the contribution of the existing building to the character of the Conservation Area,” planners said in their report.

“Given the Conservation opinion that the contribution is limited to its age only, it is considered on balance, that the economic benefits and compliance with the majority of policies as discussed above outweigh the loss of this building. In terms of design, the proposal.”

Planners recommended granting approval for the development, however Sinn Fein Councillor Geraldine McAteer said it would be a good idea for the committee members to visit the site before making any final decision.

“It’s the last Victorian building on that street, from 1860, and I do think [the proposed development] could distract from the historical fabric of the area,” she said.

Other committee members agreed, and the matter was deferred to be considered at a later date.

Meanwhile, planning permission was granted for a new residential development of five townhouses and 13 apartments at Musgrave Park.

Plans were also submitted by the South Ulster Housing Association for the construction of 15 residential apartments on Eia Street, however planners recommended that the committee refuse the application, which they did.

Reasons for the refusal included that the project “represents overdevelopment of the site” and would also be “inappropriate and harmful to the character” of the area.

Local News Partnership

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