Massive south Belfast office block approved

A massive office building close to Belfast city centre has received planning approval, the developers have announced.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 9:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 10:03 pm
An artist's impression of the new building
An artist's impression of the new building

One Bankmore Square, to be located where the Dublin Road Movie House cinema now stands, is billed by as the “largest single office building in Northern Ireland”.

It is to be developed by the Richland Group.

A PR video has been produced showing what the 12-floor building will look like – CLICK HERE TO SEE IT.

The property marketing firm Savills said on Tuesday night that permission had been granted by Belfast City Council.

It said: “In addition, as part of the overall offering, there is potential for the scheme to include a Movie House Cinema.”

In a prepared statement, planning consultant Clyde Shanks said: “The committee has pleasingly endorsed the quality of the planning application submission which was informed by a very well managed pre-application discussion process which had a strong focus and highly committed input from senior officers in the council.

“It demonstrates that major planning applications can be determined with priority and speed where considerable effort to address all the relevant issues is put in by the applicant and his team and that in turn is reciprocated by a highly-responsive council planning team.

“The whole engagement process for such a major proposal has been very positive indeed.”

In January it was announced that there would be a consultation into the scheme the following month, before planning permission was sought from Belfast City Council in March.

It went before the council planning committee on Tuesday.

Eight letters of objection had been received to the development.

Prior to the meeting, planning officials had recommended that the application be allowed to proceed.

At time the firm announced approval for the project, the meeting was still going on.

After it finished, Alliance councillor David Armitage, who sits on the committee, said: “Those behind this development have worked with the local community, even changing their initial plans to fit in better, and also closely with the council.

“The development will see welcome investment and jobs in the local area, which was reflected by it passing unanimously in the council.”

The council later said that the committee had also approved planning permission to turn the listed Scottish Mutual Building, on the corner of Donegall Square South and Bedford Street, into a boutique hotel, as well as agreeing to the conversion of Sinclair House, in Royal Avenue, from office accommodation to 30 student apartments.

These were also approved on Tuesday night.

In a separate report, the committee also heard that the Planning Service was operating within the statutory target of 30 weeks for processing major planning applications from validation to issuing a decision.