Public Records move gets the green light from planners
Published on Mon, 12 May 2008
Millions of public records are on the move, following the approval of a planning application for a new £29million Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).
The records, which date from the 13th century, will be housed in a state of the art building, which received planning permission in six months.
Praising the Planning Service for the speed with which the application was processed and approved, Environment Minister, Arlene Foster said: “Work has already begun to deliver a fundamental overhaul of the planning system which will support economic and social development and environmental sustainability.
“While this review is taking place, a number of short-term measures have been put in place to drive forward major planning schemes in Northern Ireland. This includes a new enhanced streamlined Strategic Projects Division, which is working with developers through effective pre-application discussions in dealing with large scale investment planning proposals, and bringing these to decisions made within 6 months.
“Today’s announcement is an excellent example of how well this new unit is working and shows how people in Northern Ireland are benefiting from the new measures I have put in place,” the minister added.
The new office is to be built in the Titanic Quarter of Central Belfast, where a major redevelopment project comprising commercial, tourism, residential, educational and other uses is already underway. The new building will mean the closure of the current office which is situated in a residential area of South Belfast.
Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Edwin Poots MLA said: ‘‘My department has committed £29million to the re-location of PRONI in the hope that everyone from the region and indeed visitors to Northern Ireland can use the resources it holds. Given the choice of location it is very appropriate that many of the records held by PRONI including some on the Titanic will be returning home to where they were originally drawn up and written.”
The minister concluded: “It is also important to ensure a good quality building in terms of design and sustainable construction. It is my desire that the new Public Record Office building will be a legacy which current and future generations will both cherish and use.”
Mike Smith, CEO of Titanic Quarter added: “During last week’s very positive US Investment Conference we were able to assure potential investors that Northern Ireland was open for business, and in particular, that it had a planning system which could handle strategic projects quickly and efficiently.
“The new headquarters for PRONI at Titanic Quarter is a great example of what can be achieved and it’s also great news for the ongoing regeneration of Queen’s Island and Northern Ireland generally. Work is already well underway for the first residential and commercial developments at Titanic Quarter and the new PRONI office will help attract thousands of new visitors to the area.”