Belfast City Hall
Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall
Contact: Miss Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services 028 9027 0450
Apologies were reported from Alderman McGimpsey and Councillors Hussey and McDonough-Brown.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were reported.
LA04/2018/2393/LBC - Conservation led works to Bank Buildings involving the taking down,recording and assessment for restoration purposes of the building above the fourth floor cornice line to the Bank Street, Castle Street and Castle Place elevations of the building for off-site storage PDF 385 KB
The Committee was informed that the site related to Bank Buildings, a Category B1 Listed Building and, was located within the city centre on the corner of the junction of Royal Avenue and Castle Street, within the City Centre Conservation Area.
The Committee was reminded that the building had been severely damaged by a fire that started on 28th August and continued for 3 days. A significant proportion of the internal structure had burnt away, had collapsed or had been severely damaged with the external facades subject to further damage. In its present condition, the building’s physical fabric remained very vulnerable and posed a threat to public health and safety.
The Development Engagement Manager advised that the application sought Listed Building Consent for conservation led works involving the taking down, recording and assessment of the building above the fourth-floor cornice line to Bank Street, Castle Street and Royal Avenue, including the 6 chimneys.
He informed the Committee that, after the agenda had been published, the following representations of support had been received:
Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA)
· The proposal striked the appropriate balance between the conservation of the building, public safety and wider considerations around economic, social and cultural life in the city centre;
· Supported the orderly removal of stonework to facilitate assessment and an authentic reconstruction;
· Sets out the importance of conserving the city’s built heritage;
· Welcomed the engagement by Primark, Belfast City Council and Historic Environment Division and suggested that the combined expertise would lead to a positive outcome for the city;
· If permission was granted works should start the next day in order to reduce the safety cordon;
· The impact of the fire on city centre life had been severe. It was equally important that steps were taken by the Council and government departments to attract people back to the city centre; and
· RSUA had encouraged the public to share their views and were running an ideas competition for early career architects on the same theme.
Ulster Architectural Heritage (UAH)
· Agreed with the updated Outline Conservation Statement and reiterated its support for the proposal;
· Supports the final substantive reply from the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division, including the recommended conditions, particularly in relation to the methodology for the works;
· The methodology should refer to “dismantling” rather than “demolition”;
· Commented on the potential use of shipping containers as a basis for both the protection of pedestrian corridors and to form a base for shoring structures. UAH had previously suggested prefabricated steel pedestrian corridor sections could be craned into place and linked safely under their own cover as a quick and safe alternative solution;
· Regarding the comments from the Council’s Economic Development team, the proposal had the potential to satisfy both traders and those who wish to see the building retained. This was arguably the fastest route to reopening the footfall corridors;
· Suggested that the Economic Development team did not consider the potential impact and focused on the current situation on the ground. This was of no ... view the full minutes text for item 4.