Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
Strategic Plan Framework: Offices Policies and Proposals
Within Belfast City Centre an Office Area is designated within which major office development will be located. Belfast City Centre lies at the heart of the Regional Strategic Transportation Network and the designation of the main Office Area will facilitate the creation of new employment opportunities in highly accessible locations. In addition it will reinforce the role of Belfast City Centre as the primary location for future office development in Northern Ireland. In 2001, 86% of office floorspace in the Plan Area was located within Belfast City Council Area and 59% within Belfast City Centre.
Office development is promoted through the designation of Lisburn City Centre and the Town Centres of Bangor, Carrickfergus, Ballyclare, Carryduff and Holywood as main locations for expanding service employment within their respective Districts.City and town centres lie at the heart of local transport networks, including public transport. Promotion of office development within these areas will support sustainable development, assist urban renaissance and provide jobs in local areas, which are accessible to all sections of the community.
In the Town Centres of Ballyclare, Carryduff and Holywood office development willbe expected to be appropriate in size and in balance with other functions of the town centre.
The concentration of offices in city and town centres will help maintain their viability and vitality.
Details of the city and town centre designations and of the Belfast City Centre Main Office Area are contained in the relevant District Proposals.
Office development of up to a maximum of 400 sq m gross floorspace will be acceptable within Belfast City Centre outside the City Centre Main Office Area. This will facilitate expansion of the small office sector whose users prefer or need to be located close to major private or public sector offices.
A city or town centre location is not always a prime requirement for certain office users, in particular small scale firms serving local needs. The development of offices of up to a maximum of 400 sq m gross floorspace within the designated commercial nodes on the Arterial Routes and the designated local centres (Dundonald, Dunmurry, Glengormley) will facilitate such users.
The designated Arterial Routes in Belfast are the key access routes into the City Centre. Traditionally they have provided local retail, service, community and employment facilities for their local areas. The designated commercial nodes on the Arterial Routes represent established foci of local community and commercial life.
Small scale office development will facilitate the provision of local services in
locations which support established commercial centres and serve the local population, while protecting the primacy of Belfast City Centre.
The commercial nodes are designated at the following locations:
- York Road / Limestone Road Junction
- Antrim Road / Limestone Road Junction
- Antrim Road / Crumlin Road Junction (Carlisle Circus)
- Crumlin Road / Oldpark Road / Agnes Street Junction
- Crumlin Road / Woodvale Road Junction
- Shankill Road / Lanark Way Junction
- Shankill Road / Agnes Street / Northumberland Street Junction
- Falls Road / Springfield Road Junction
- Falls Road / Glen Road Junction
- Woodstock Road / Beersbridge Road Junction
- Albertbridge Road / Castlereagh Street Junction
- Castlereagh Road / Castlereagh Street / Beersbridge Road Junction
- Albertbridge Road / Newtownards Road / Holywood Road / Upper
- Newtownards Road Junction
- Holywood Road / Belmont Road Junction
- Upper Newtownards Road/Sandown Road Junction
The majority of Arterial Routes have been identified in BMTP as Quality Bus Corridors, and will benefit from improvement in the quality of bus service, providing enhanced access for local communities to local services.
Office development up to a maximum of 400 sq m gross floorspace will be permitted within the designated local centres of Dundonald, Dunmurry and Glengormley. These centres will benefit from further investment to sustain their roles in providing services to local communities.
Control of the size and scale of office development at these locations will ensure that development is compatible to the character of the area and that the role of the Belfast City Centre as the primary location for office development is maintained. Offices of up to 400 sq m gross floorspace will facilitate the changing requirements of office occupiers, assist in urban regeneration and provide a range of local employment opportunities.
Details of the designations are contained in the relevant District Proposals.
In order to ensure that the traditional function of local shopping areas on the designated Arterial Routes is maintained and enhanced, the Department will permit office development of up to a maximum of 200 sq m gross floorspace within the designated shopping/commercial areas along these routes into Belfast City Centre. Such small-scale office development will facilitate the provision of employment opportunities in accessible locations without detriment to the City Centre.
Acceptable office uses will be limited to those falling within Use Class 2 of the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 1989. These include services which are appropriate in a shopping area including financial and professional services. This will enable small office users such as estate agents or insurance services who have traditionally played an important role in local neighbourhood shopping areas to continue to be accommodated in individual units. Control of the scale and type of office development within the designated areas will ensure that the role of the Belfast City Centre as the primary location for office development is maintained.
The designated shopping/commercial areas are located on the following Arterial Routes:-
- Albertbridge Road
- Andersonstown Road
- Antrim Road
- Castlereagh Road
- Crumlin Road/Oldpark Road
- Divis Street/Falls Road
- Donegall Road
- Grosvenor Road/Springfield Road
- Holywood Road
- Lisburn Road
- Newtownards Road/Upper Newtownards Road
- Ormeau Road
- Shankill Road/Woodvale Road
- Woodstock Road/Cregagh Road
- York Street/York Road/Shore Road
Details of the designations are contained in the Belfast District Proposals.
The Plan Proposals accommodate limited dispersal of major offices to designated MELs. These locations offer opportunities to attract developments such as call-centres which serve wide national or international markets and do not therefore require a central location within city and town centres.
The scale of floorspace and the nature of the office uses at these locations willbe controlled in order to ensure that they do not prejudice the primacy of Belfast City Centre.
In addition the type of office use will be controlled. Development will be limited to offices falling within Use Class 3 as currently specified in the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 1989. This includes offices associated with businesses other than financial professional and other services as set out in Use Class 2 of the Order.
Titanic Quarter presents a major development opportunity of significance for Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole through the regeneration of a large site on what was formerly part of the Harland and Wolff ship-building complex. The Department considers that unrestricted office development at Titanic Quarter could prejudice the role of Belfast City Centre as the primary office location in the Plan Area. However a limited amount of office floorspace as part of a mixed use redevelopment scheme will help initiate regeneration of the area by facilitating a major opportunity for investment in a prestigious location. The Plan Proposals will permit office development of 5,000 sq m at Titanic Quarter. However consideration may be given to proposals above 5,000 sq m where it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Department that the proposal cannot be accommodated within Belfast City Centre Main Office Area and which would otherwise result in the loss of significant inward investment.
Office provision within MELs will be considered at Plan Review, taking account of the uptake of office space and the impact on city and town Centres.
Details of the designations of the MELs and the Key Site Requirements are contained in the relevant District Proposals.
The Queens University Belfast comprises a number of buildings, which are dispersed over an area of South Belfast encompassing Lisburn Road, Malone Road, Stranmillis Road and University Road.
Office development has spread in recent years adjacent to the campus buildings related to the University mirroring University requirements and to some extent commercial activity. In order to accommodate further small scale offices in this area the Department will permit offices for the University of up to 200 sq m gross maximum floorspace within the designated Queens University Office Area. Accommodating University related office development with the campus environs focuses the University’s activities in the same area, ensuring that they can be easily accessed by staff and students with minimum travelling.
The designated Queens University Office Area incorporates the main University campus (Lanyon Building) and surrounding streets including College Square, University Street, Elmwood Avenue and parts of Lisburn Road, Malone Road and Stranmillis Road.
A large portion of Queens University Office Area falls within Queens Conservation Area. In addition there are a number of buildings within the University Office Area which are of historic or architectural interest some of which are listed buildings. Proposals for office conversions or for new office development will be required to take account of the Conservation Area and listed buildings where applicable and will be considered in the context of PPS 6 Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage where appropriate.
|Policy OF 6 Stormont Office Node|
|Within the designated office node at Stormont planning permission will be granted for public sector administration office development and no other type of office use.|
The Stormont Estate has been for many years a key location for public sector administration. The Department has identified an office node at Stormont in recognition of the significant role it plays in regional administration. The office node is set within Stormont Estate which is identified as an Historic Park, Garden and Demesne on the Register of Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes
Favourable consideration will be given to office development solely for public sector administration within the designated node provided that the development is in accordance with Plan Policies and with regional policy in particular as set out in PPS 6 Planning, Archaeology and the Built Environment.