Agenda item


            The Senior Planning officer provided the Committee with a presentation on the proposal.


            She explained that HED (Historic Monuments) had submitted a consultation response stating that there was no evidence of a scheduled monument consent and that it needed to be completed before a decision was made.  The agent had responded to HED to clarify that there was an existing scheduled monument consent granted after the previous extant approval and HED had since confirmed that they were therefore content with the application, subject to conditions.


            The Committee was advised that the main issues which had been considered during the assessment included:


·        the principle of a hotel at that location;

·        loss of open space;

·        scale, massing and design;

·        impact on Built and Archaeological Heritage;

·        traffic and road safety;

·        flooding and drainage;

·        impact on amenity;

·        human health;

·        the impact on natural heritage;

·        Pre-application Community Consultation; and

·        consideration of developer contributions.


The Members were advised that the site was located within an established industrial/ commercial area within the wider Titanic Quarter.  It formed part of the mixed-use Titanic Quarter zoning. The site had previously benefitted from being part of the wider Phase 2 Concept Masterplan (Z/2010/2864/O) which was granted in June 2008, with a hotel approved on the site in 2010.  The Senior Planning officer explained that while both the outline and hotel permissions had since lapsed, they remained a material consideration.


The Committee was advised that a further planning application, LA04/2019/1636/F, for hotel use was approved by the Committee in February 2020, which further established the principle of development and a hotel use at that location.  The ‘Design Principles’ document which accompanied the Concept Masterplan included a range of parameters for the particular site (referred to in the masterplan as Block 8) relating to land area, gross floor space, storeys and height.  The extant approval exceeded the height set out in the masterplan by approximately 2.2m but was considered appropriate given the quality of the proposal and design cues taken from the nearby listed H&W Drawing Offices.  She explained that the current scheme was only 150mm higher than the extant approval. HED had considered the proposal and had no objections.


The Senior Planning officer outlined that the amended scheme for a 256-bed hotel was very similar in terms of design, height, massing and layout to the extant approval for a 276-bed hotel (LA04/2019/1636/F).  In response to market conditions, the applicant now wanted it to comprise 94 apart-hotel rooms and 162 conventional hotel rooms.


            Consultees including DfI Roads, NIEA, Shared Environmental Services, Historic Environment Division, NI Water, DfI Rivers, City Airport, NIE, the Council’s Landscape Team, Environmental Health, Senior Urban Design Officer and Tree Officer had no objection to the proposal, subject to conditions.


            Two representations had been received from local residents.  Their concerns focused on noise, the hours of operation and licensing in respect of the rooftop bar and general noise mitigation.  She explained that Environmental Health had reviewed the Noise Impact Assessment and had advised that it met the relevant requirements. It had also provided a number of conditions in order to protect nearby residents from loss of amenity.


            The Chairperson welcomed Ms. S. Murphy, agent, and Mr. C. O’Hara, transport consultant, to the meeting.  Ms. Murphy advised the Committee that:


·        the applicant was committed to delivering the project, hence the revised aparthotel element;

·        a noise assessment had been carried out and that suitable conditions had been attached to restrict the number of people on the roof terrace and the inclusion of a noise barrier to protect neighbouring amenity; and

·        a condition requiring a construction management plan would set out how the traffic would be operated during the construction phase, and would be drawn up in conjunction with Titanic Quarter, the Harbour Commissioners and other contractors in the area.


A Member asked for information relating to safe cycling routes surrounding the hotel.

In response, Mr. O’Hara outlined that there were cycle routes that connected the city centre to the Titanic Quarter and that three of the most used docking stations for the Belfast Bikes were within the area.  He added that the new eastern access road, which was now called Hamilton Road, had a cycle lane which connected onto Sydenham Road and Airport Road, and which connected to Victoria Park and various greenways.


            In response to a further Member’s question, Ms. Murphy confirmed that the applicant’s intention was that constructions works would commence in Quarter 2 or 3 of 2023 and would take approximately 24 months.


            The Committee approved the application and granted delegated authority to the Director of Planning and Building Control to finalise the wording of the conditions.


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