Council refuses ‘too big’ Ulster-Scots artwork as it would ‘clutter’ area

A north Belfast art installation celebrating Ulster-Scots culture has been refused by Belfast City Council as it would “clutter” the area due to its proposed size.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 8:40 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 9:56 am

At the recent monthly meeting of the council’s planning committee, elected representatives agreed to a council officer recommendation to refuse planning for an art installation involving five printed panels measuring 24.4 metres by 12.2 metres.

The installation was proposed for a gable wall on a house at Midland Close, close to York Street.

The application was by Small Steps of the North Belfast Orange Memorial Hall at Alexandra Park Avenue, and the agent was OGU Architects, of Flax Art Studios, Havelock House.

Belfast City Hall

The area is predominantly residential with the exception of an Ulster Bank located directly across from the site.

On the opposite side of York Street there are large commercial buildings, a car park and York Street train station.

One objection was received by the council regarding the application, from a neighbour of the house involved in the application, over a purported boundary wall agreement.

The proposal was part of an Ulster-Scots themed project, with the panels planned to incorporate photographs and text explaining important local Ulster-Scots connections.

These include the Mulholland’s of York Street Mill, Thomas Gallaher’s tobacco factory, motorbike pioneer Rex McCandless, whose business is on Limestone Road, and famous local artists John Luke and James Humbert Craig. 

A council report states: “The proposed panels are considered unacceptable as they do not respect amenity when assessed in the context of the general characteristics of the locality.

“The panels, if approved, given to their extent and position, would not result in good design as outlined, and would be out of place in this residential setting.

“The panels cumulatively would result in clutter when read together and with the existing poster panel located on the gable wall.

“This poster panel does not benefit from planning approval but has been present for more than 10 years and is immune from enforcement action.

“The scale, intrusive nature and cumulative effect of the proposed panels are considered unacceptable in this predominantly residential area.

“The proposal is considered to have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the residential area and, if approved, would result in clutter.

“The proposal is recommended for refusal.”