Lack of wastewater infrastructure halts £23m aparthotel project next to Windsor Park

A digitally rendered impression of the proposed aparthotel development on Apollo Road.
Ryan McAleer

A BID to construct a £23 million aparthotel next to Windsor Park has been recommended for refusal by officials in Belfast City Council due to a lack of wastewater treatment infrastructure.

The 87-bedroom project on Apollo Road is one of two south Belfast aparthotels proposed by developer Paddy Kearney’s Kilmona Group.

Mr Kearney’s Loughview Leisure Group includes the Ten Square hotel in Belfast city centre. It’s understood the group intends for the new aparthotels to carry the Ten Square brand.

Centred on the Adelaide Business Centre, next to the Hovis factory, the application also provides for 26 serviced apartments, 14 business studios and 10 live/work studios.

A bid for a second smaller 25-bedroom aparthotel alongside the M1 at Musgrave Park Industrial Estate is still being considered. That bid also provides for 88 apartments at the business park.

The recommendation to refuse the first project follows concerns from NI Water, which has stated that the waste water pumping station (WWPS) in the area has insufficient capacity to serve the proposed development.

According to a report prepared by city council officials for a meeting of the local authority’s planning committee today (Tuesday), the pumping station at nearby Glenmachan Street is currently operating above its design capacity.

NI Water has previously said it needs £2.5bn to hold off a wastewater crisis in infrastructure, claiming 99 treatment works are bursting at the seams. It has said Belfast alone may need up to £1bn to support future building development.

It’s understood that agents for the Kilmona Group had raised a potential solution to the lack of sewerage infrastructure via email on May 8 2020, and later asked for the application to be removed from the agenda of Tuesday’s planning committee.

However, planners appeared unimpressed: “This is very late in the day as the issue of a lack of capacity at the Glenmachan Street WWPS was highlighted in the NI Water response dated July 2019 and even earlier by NI Water in a pre-development enquiry response to the applicant in November 2018.

“It is the view of officers that there is insufficient information to demonstrate that the proposed treatment plant represents either a suitable or feasible solution.”

The latest set of company accounts filed by the Kilmona Group revealed a pre-tax loss of just under £5m last year. Income from the group’s hospitality interests was up by almost £4m to £11.6m for the year ending June 2019, but it posted a loss before tax of £464,146.

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