03/08/2010

Historic City Building Back In Jeopardy

An ongoing battle between conservationists and property developers has entered a new stage with news that the developers have renewed their bid to demolish an historic Victorian building in downtown Belfast.

They want to demolish the historic Queen Street building in Belfast city centre and replace it with a major retail and residential development.

Carlisle Property Developments originally applied to transform the site into a nine-storey complex with 69 apartments, street level shops and basement parking facilities, but the application was rejected.

Now, it has reduced the height of the building to seven-storeys with plans for just 58 apartments.
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The developer still wants to demolish the building, but has amended its plans to include the 'careful dismantling of masonry door surround and corbelled base to corner turret above for inclusion in replacement building' in a bid to appease conservationists.

The 19th century warehouse on the corner of Queen Street and College Street, which currently houses Athletic Stores, was given reprieve in January when the High Court forced planning chiefs to reconsider the initially approved application.

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society is to again challenge the decision, claiming Planning Service failed to consider the price of refurbishment on a building located within the Belfast City Centre Conservation Area.

The former warehouse was constructed in 1911 and stands at the corner of Queen Street and College Street.

(BMcC/GK)

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