Multi-million pound Belfast regeneration project receives planning approval

The proposed Building Blocks development in the Smithfield area of Belfast city centre has been granted planning permission
Gareth McKeown

A MULTI-million pound Belfast regeneration project is among the schemes given the planning green light this week.

The major mixed-use development, located between Gresham Street and Winetavern Street in the Smithfield area was approved at Tuesday evening's meeting of Belfast City Council planning committee. It is now subject to a final consideration by the Department for Infrastructure.

The 260,000 sq ft 'Building Blocks' scheme is set to create up to 1,500 jobs and a further 650 during construction, due to begin next year.

The development, which covers a one and a quarter acre car park site, includes provision for first class office space as well as new units for independent businesses and retailers.

The plans also include the refurbishment of the listed former butcher’s building on the corner of Gresham Street and North Street, as well as new pedestrian access into Gresham Street and Winetavern Street

The development, being brought forward by Bywater Properties and Ashmour Developments, will comprise four main buildings and will be anchored by a 170,000 sq ft, international standard eight-storey office block.

Patrick O’Gorman, principal of Bywater Properties said they are looking forward to bringing the ambitious plans to fruition.

“We are excited to start work on the site and breathe new life into this once thriving part of Belfast. We believe Smithfield can be vibrant and successful once again," he said.

A 251-bedroom student housing development at a vacant site located over the railway line between Botanic Avenue and University Road was also approved at Tuesday's meeting.

The £18 million scheme from Botanic Link Ltd comprises 219 cluster beds and 32 studio flats, along with communal facilities and a retail/café unit on Botanic Avenue.

It is being spearheaded by Anthony Best, managing director of Lacuna Developments, alongside Andrew Creighton, a director at William Ewart Properties, the owners of the site.

At the same committee meeting planning permission was granted for an extension to the Victorian Templemore Baths to include a new 25 swimming pool, spectator gallery, changing rooms, spa expanded gym, interpretative facility and car parking.


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