Kenwright resolves planning spat with City Council over long delayed George Best Hotel

Work could resume at The George Best Hotel if councillors approve the recommendation of planning officials
Ryan McAleer

LIVERPOOL developer Lawrence Kenwright looks to have finally resolved his planning issues with Belfast City Council over his long-delayed George Best Hotel.

Officials at the local authority have recommended that Signature Living can go ahead with the project, three years after he acquired the former Scottish Mutual Building.

The 83-bed hotel was originally due to open in the summer of 2018, but has been hit by delays, prompting the Liverpool developer to publicly criticise Belfast City Council.

In a report set to be considered by councillors on Thursday, officials have said that despite objections from the Department for the Environment's Historic Environment Division, the hotelier should be given consent to develop the listed building.

HED's concerns largely surround the use of dry lining and the conservation of original features in the building.

A series of conditions have been attached to the recommendation, with the council's director of planning and building control be given the authority to finalise the wording of conditions and resolve an outstanding consultation with DfI Roads.

The George Best Hotel was to be the first of three Signature Living hotels in Belfast. Last year the company pulled the plug on the other two, placing the former Crumlin Road Courthouse and a building on Waring Street on the market.

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