Northern Ireland

Malone Park: Demolitions and rebuilds on 'Belfast’s Millionaires Row' despite objections

Lisburn Road Application Artists Impression
Lisburn Road Application Artists Impression Lisburn Road Application Artists Impression

Three demolitions and replacement dwellings have been approved at one of Belfast’s most exclusive streets, despite local objections and doubts from council officers.

At the recent Belfast City Council Planning Committee meeting, elected representatives approved two planning applications by one family at Malone Park, which is seen by many as Belfast’s Millionaire’s Row. Both applications are on sites situated within the Malone Park Conservation Area. 

The applicants, Andrea McGarrity and Kevin McGarrity, both of 1d Malone Park, South Belfast BT9, received approvals to firstly to demolish their own dwelling at 1d, to erect a new detached dwelling there with associated siteworks, and also to demolish two existing houses around the corner at 450 and 448 Lisburn Road for the erection of two new dwellings. Both works are on either side of the historic Malone Park gate lodge.

Council officers recommended approval to elected representatives for the Malone Park demolition and replacement but recommended refusal for the nearby Lisburn Road application.

The council received four letters of objection to 1d Malone Park including a representation on behalf of Malone Park Residents Association. Three letters of support were also received. There were no objections to the application from any statutory partners.

The objection letters cited the potential impact on the listed gate lodge 1a Malone Park, that the new building would be “overbearing” and there would be loss of light to 1b and 1c Malone Park.

Objectors alleged there was no landscaping plan for the application, said it was of an “inappropriate scale,”  said it would result in cramming, and had an “inappropriate footprint for the site.” They also showed concerns about the car parking to the front of the dwelling.

The council report states: “The dwelling on site is a rather plain and modest construction when compared to the neighbouring dwellings which employ many architectural features that give them a significant presence.”

It adds: “The proposed replacement dwelling complies with the Malone Park conservation guide as the proposed building coverage would be 1.09 times that of the original dwelling and is within the 1.5 limit.

“Whilst the proposed dwelling would take up much of the plot and landscaping would not be dominant, this is similarly true of the existing dwelling on the site. Overall, it is considered that the proposal would enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.

“It is considered that an appropriate quality landscaping scheme has been submitted which includes retention of the existing landscape features. The council’s Tree and Landscaping Officer has reviewed the proposal and is content. It is considered that the landscaping scheme presented will ensure that landscaping will remain a dominant feature and will enhance the character and appearance of Malone Park conservation area.

“The existing dwelling is considered to make no material contribution to the conservation area. Its scale and design is out of character with the surrounding properties that gives the Malone Park its distinct character. Its retention would not be desirable.

“The proposed dwelling is of a scale, form, design and materials that are more appropriate to the conservation area. The conservation officer is content that the proposal is an enhancement over the existing building.”

However the same council planning team had grave concerns about the adjacent application at 450 and 448 Lisburn Road, and recommended refusal for it.

The council report states: “The proposal would result in the unacceptable demolition of two semi-detached dwellings that make a material contribution to the character and appearance of the area.

“It is considered that the proposed replacement dwellings would have a harmful impact on the conservation area by reason of their excessive plot coverage, scale, height and alignment. The proposed dwellings would harm the setting of the adjacent listed building, 1a Malone Park.” 

The Stormont Department for Communities Historic Environment Division, NI Water and the council conservation officer all objected to the Lisburn Road proposal.

The council received three letters of objection – two letters from a planning consulting representing neighbours and from a residents’ association, and an objection from the owner of 4 Malone Park.

A total of 18 letters of support were received from 10 individuals, the occupants of 1A, 2, 5,16, 21, 38, 41, 43 and 49 Malone Park. Seven letters were submitted on behalf of the nearby Kings Bridge Private Hospital and one letter from 1A Malone Park Central.

The objections raised issues concerning the impact on the listed gate lodge building and the conservation area, concerns about scale, height and massing, issues of dominance, and lack of amenity. Objectors also said the applicant should rather consider refurbishment over demolition and rebuilding.

The representations in support said the proposal was complementary to Malone Park, was a “betterment and beneficial to the area” and added the current buildings were an “eyesore.”

While elected representatives at the Planning Committee unanimously agreed the recommended Malone Park plan, there was disagreement over the adjacent Lisburn Road application. On a vote 14 councillors supported the application, from Sinn Féin, the DUP, and the UUP, against four who objected, from the Green Party and Alliance.

Pics from council website, permitted use for all

Captions by Michael Kenwood

1 Malone Park house for demolition

2 Malone Park new plan

3 Malone Park and Lisburn Road new plan, artists impression

4 Lisburn Road application artists impression

5 Lisburn Road site now