Planning Portal

Victoria Square Retail Development To Get Planning Permission

Published on Tue, 15 Apr 2003
Angela Smith MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, today issued a notice of opinion to grant planning approval for the Victoria Square retail development in Belfast City Centre.
Angela Smith said: "In my opinion it is appropriate to approve this major city centre retail-led planning application on behalf of Multi Development Corporation. The application also includes offices, leisure, catering, residential and civic/cultural activities with ancillary servicing facilities and underground parking.
"In reaching my decision, I have taken into consideration the Regional Development Strategy, the Belfast Urban Area Plan and relevant Planning Policy Statements on retailing and conservation. I have also considered the various representations made in respect of the proposal."

Notes to Editors

  1. The proposal is for a retail-led comprehensive mixed-use scheme including offices, leisure, catering, residential and civic and cultural activities supported by associated servicing facilities and underground car parking.
  2. The application was submitted on 25 June 2001 and designated as one of major importance under Article 31 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991 on 20 August 2001 as the proposal would, if permitted, involve a substantial departure from the development plan for the area, and, affect the whole of a neighbourhood.
  3. DOE has issued a Notice of Opinion to approve the proposal with appropriate conditions. The applicant has 28 days in which to accept the Notice of Opinion.
  4. The DOE is also currently considering other major retail applications in the city centre although a formal opinion on these has not yet been formulated. These applications will be determined as the consultation process on each is completed.
  5. The other city centre applications under consideration are:
    • Westfields Shopping Towns – extension to Castlecourt – the DOE is at an advanced stage in its consultation process on this application.
    • Brunswick Ltd - Retail, offices, car parking and residential use at lands bounded by Royal Avenue, Lower Garfield Street, and North Street, and between North Street and Donegall Street, Belfast.

      The latter application was received on 25 February 2003 and follows an earlier application for Dunloe Ewart for major retail development at Cathedral Way, which the Department understands will now be withdrawn. The application which is accompanied by an Environmental Statement is at an early stage of consideration.
  6. Key policy documents relevant to the consideration of the applications are:
    • Shaping our Future - Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland 2025
    • Belfast Urban Area Plan 2001
    • Planning Policy Statement 5 – Retailing and Town Centres
    • Planning Policy Statement 6 – Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage.
  7. DSD adopted a comprehensive development scheme for the Victoria Square area in January 2003, following public inquiry.
  8. For further information please contact Philip Maguire DOE Press Office,
    tel 028 9054 0013 mobile 07713 652815 or
    e-mail philip.j.maguire@doeni.gov.uk
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