Developer Kearney to appeal Belfast City Council's rejection of Markets office complex

An artist's impression of Kilmona's proposed office block development.

DEVELOPER Paddy Kearney has launched an appeal to the decision by Belfast City Council's planning committee to refuse permission for a controversial high rise office development next to the Markets area.

Kilmona Property’s efforts to develop four office blocks next to Lanyon Place train station was originally granted planning permission by the council back in in June 2017.

But a campaign led by nearby residents opposed to the scale of the development, succeeded in a High Court bid to quash that decision in May 2018.

At its tallest, the office complex reaches 14 storeys, with a second block reaching 10 storeys.

Belfast City Council’s planning committee considered a renewed bid for the project in November 2020, with ten councillors this time backing a motion to reject permission, against the recommendation of officials.

It followed 856 objections lodged in respect of the fresh bid, including opposition letters from MLAs Paula Bradshaw, Christopher Stalford, and Clare Bailey.

Sinn Féin Councillor Matt Garrett, who introduced the motion, claimed the project remained “completely incompatible with the character of the residential neighbourhood of the Market”.

The official decision notice to refuse planning permission was eventually issued to Kilmona Property in January 2021.

The 280,000 sq ft of grade A office space proposed by Kilmona would make it one of the city’s largest office developments.

Now the council has been notified of Mr Kearney’s intention to take the case to the independent Planning Appeals Commission (PAC), in the hope of overturning the committee decision.

Once issued, PAC decisions are final and cannot be amended.

However the decisions can be challenged on a point of law by applying to the High Court for a judicial review.

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