Planning approval for 11 storey student accommodation scheme on site of well-known Belfast night spot

Filthy McNastys on Dublin Road is part of the Belfast-based Bachus hospitality group.

A developer has secured planning permission to build an 11 storey student accommodation scheme on the site of a well-known Belfast night venue.

FMN Properties Ltd is proposing 201 student units on the site of Filthy McNastys on the Dublin Road.

The plans centre on a block of buildings on the corner of Dublin Road and Ventry Street, which currently houses a bookmakers and two other Bachus Group venues: Ventry Social and Liquor XXX.

A separate planning application lodged in recent days by FMN Properties has proposed turning a former car garage across the road on Ventry Street into a new public house.

Both FMN and Bachus are ultimately owned by former Co Tyrone pharmacist Peter Dolan, who went on to become one of the north’s most prominent property developers before the 2008 collapse eventually resulted in bankruptcy.

Mr Dolan later built a new hospitality group which includes Sweet Afton, Rita’s, The Perch, The Points and Fiilthy McNastys.

But under his latest plans, one of the key locations for the Bachus Group would be demolished to make way for a £7 million high rise new student accommodation scheme.

The plans approved by Belfast City Council’s planning committee on Tuesday night, provide for 155 cluster bedroom and 46 studios over street level retail units.

A CGI produced in support of FMN Properties' application for a large student accommodation scheme on Belfast's Dublin Road.

It’s the latest major student residential project proposed for the area.

Maghera-based South Bank Square has launched a bid to build 610 student units on the site of Fanum House, next door to Filthy McNastys, while Queen’s University has entered the planning processing seeking permission for 469 units across the street on the former Movie House Cinema site.

A recently completed 269-unit Vita Student scheme is also just around the corner, while Dublin-based Elkstone is also nearing completion on a £20m student accommodation scheme at nearby Bradbury Place.

Meanwhile, Artemis Developments, owned by well-known business figure Barry Gilligan, is understood to be appealing a decision to refuse permission for 354 student units on the site at Glenalpin Street, located between Great Victoria Street and Sandy Row.

The report considered by the planning committee on Tuesday night referred to a presentation delivered by Queen’s University and Ulster University to the council’s city growth and regeneration committee one year ago on December 7 2022.

According to the report, the university representatives said student accommodation in both purpose built and in the private rental sector was at capacity.

They told the council that the city needed a further 6,000 rooms for students by 2028-30.

The minutes also recorded the claim that there was a growing demand for purpose built managed student accommodation over private rental sector accommodation and there was insufficient rooms in planning or being built to address this shortfall.

The same report produced by planning officials relayed a claim from FMN Properties’ planning agent, that Queen’s University is having to refuse accommodation to students who live within 40 miles of the campus, due to the shortage.

Ultimately, the application was approved, subject to a section 76 agreement, which typically requires developers to make some kind of financial contribution to the surrounding area or support skills development during construction.