Council defers decision on new multi-million pound Belfast office block

BEFORE AND AFTER...The current site and proposed new office block in Belfast. A decision on the development has been deferred by councillors for a site visit.
Gareth McKeown

COUNCIL planners have deferred a decision to approve a new multi-million pound office development in Belfast city centre.

Members of the Belfast City Council planning committee agreed on Tuesday evening to delay a decision on the proposed seven-storey office block at the junction of Upper Queen Street and Wellington Street until a site visit takes place. On the night members of the committee expressed some concern over the loss of the last Victorian building in the local vicinity and now wish to satisfy themselves there is no merit in retaining it.

The application had initially been recommended for approval at Tuesday's meeting. A council report prepared for members stated: "It is considered on balance, that the economic benefits and compliance with the majority of policies as discussed in the report outweigh the loss of this building."

The proposed office development, being brought forward by English company Hegan and Company Ltd ,will see the demolition of the existing three storey building, which comprises retail units and a restaurant, to pave the way for a new seven-storey office block. The plans comprise 14,000 sq ft of office space on the upper floors on top of a retail unit on the ground floor.

The existing building dates back to approximately 1860 and is located within a conservation area, but no objections have been been received from any consultees including TNI Roads, Environmental Health, DEARA, and Historic Environment Division.

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