Planning Portal

Sam Foster Desinates Five Suburbs of Belfast As Conservation Areas

Published on Fri, 4 Aug 2000
Mr Sam Foster MLA, Minister for the Environment, today announced that five Edwardian suburbs in Belfast will become Conservation Areas.
The five areas are Malone, Somerton, Knockdene, King's Road and Cyprus Avenue. Significantly, this now means that properties in these areas of special architectural and historical character cannot be demolished without consent.
In announcing the Conservation Areas, during a visit to the Construction Employers Federation, Mr Foster said: "This is about protection of the Edwardian suburb of Belfast. I am doing this because I am concerned about the character of these areas and I recognise the concerns that local residents have expressed.
"From today the area of Malone from Wellington Park to Balmoral Avenue, will enjoy the protection offered by Conservation Area status. So too will Cyprus Avenue, Knockdene and King's Road in the east, and Somerton, in the north of the city.
"All these areas have the special architectural and historic character that justify Conservation Area status, and I am pleased to note that Belfast City Council and the Historic Buildings Council share that view.
"What this means is that consent will have to be obtained from my Department before a building can be pulled down. This does not mean a stop to development. Nor does it mean that I am setting my face against apartment development in the city. We need more homes and building new homes within the urban boundary is to be encouraged.
"But alongside this so called 'brownfield imperative' must sit an equally compelling planning objective of protecting Belfast's unique townscape from excesses in development that might destroy its character.
"What Conservation Area status does is strengthen the hand of the planners. It puts an onus on developers and their agents to deliver better design and higher quality. It means development proposals in these areas can and will be more rigorously tested in accordance with Conservation Area policies.
"The DOE has already launched Creating Places as a blueprint for quality new development. It is important that we also conserve special areas of historical and architectural character."
Mr Foster made his announcement on a visit to the Construction Employers Federation where he paid tribute to the Federation for co-sponsering a document entitled 'Improving the Quality of Housing Layouts in Northern Ireland.'

Notes to Editors

Mr Foster designated the five Conservation Areas after consultation with Belfast City Council and the Historic Buildings Council.
Maps indicating the boundaries of each of the Conservation Areas can be viewed at either of the following addresses:
Belfast Divisional Planning Office
Bedford House
16-22 Bedford Street
Belfast
BT2 7FD
Belfast City Council
City Hall
Donegall Square
Belfast
BT1 5GS
Copies of the maps can be obtained from the DOE's Divisional Planning Office above. People can also telephone 028 9025 2800 during normal office hours Monday to Friday.
Mr Foster will be available for media interview at 11.45am Friday 4 August at the Construction Employers Federation 143 Malone Road Belfast.
For further information please contact Philip Maguire, DOE Press Office Tel 028 9054 0013 e-mail philip.j.maguire@doeni.gov.uk
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