Decision on first phase of £100m Belfast health hub deferred for a month

A decision on the first phase of the King's Hall Health and Wellbeing Park has been deferred for a month by Belfast City Council planning committee
Gareth McKeown

THE first phase of a planned £100 million Belfast health hub has been delayed after a decision on the planning application was deferred by the council.

The proposed King's Hall Health and Wellbeing Park, which could create up to 500 jobs, had been expected to receive the green light at Tuesday evening's planning committee, but instead it will be revisited next month following a site visit from the committee.

Speaking after the decision, developer Benmore's chief executive, David Burrows voiced his frustration.

“Whilst we understand that the committee must feel fully informed before making such significant decisions on development proposals, we are naturally disappointed by the decision taken by Belfast City Council Planning Committee to defer the application," he said.

"However, we welcome the opportunity to work with the Council's planning department and elected representatives to provide any additional information and the clarity required to enable a positive planning outcome and support the existing recommendation to approve.”

"We will continue to work to progress this application with Belfast City Council officers and the Planning Committee to support the delivery of this vital health led project, and regenerate this historic site in a manner that reinvigorates NHS services," Mr Burrows added.

The proposed south Belfast development includes a next generation GP care facility combining on-site diagnostics including X-ray, ultrasound and near patient care for up to 30,000 patients.

As part of the initial planning application, the listed King's Hall building is set to be restored and refurbished, with a two-storey side extension added for the site's primary health centre. The non-listed 29 Balmoral Avenue and all other non-listed buildings, including the showgrounds and stables are due to be demolished.

The 16-acre site is set to deliver much-needed options for elderly living, with plans announced last year including a nursing home to be run by Abbeyfield, more than 30 independent living one- and two-bedroom apartments, bespoke homes for the over-55s as well as retail space, a hotel and a gym facility accessible to residents.

A multi-storey car park to cope with large volumes of traffic is also set to be built close to one of the former show-rings associated with the Balmoral Agricultural show.

Meanwhile it was agreed at Tuesday's planning committee meeting that three historical shipping buoys located at Belfast's Cathedral Gardens are to be moved to the Titanic Quarter.

The buoys have been on display as public works of art beside St Anne's Cathedral and the Ulster University campus since the 1980s, but now the council will relocate them to Titanic Quarter to form part of the envisaged ‘Maritime Mile'.

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