Agenda item


            The Planning Manager reported that a Committee site visit had taken place on 10th January, following the Committee’s deferral at its meeting in December, 2023. He outlined the application to the Committee and outlined the following key issues for consideration:


·        Principle of housing in this location;

·        Housing density;

·        Affordable housing;

·        Housing mix;

·        Adaptable and accessible accommodation;

·        Design and placemaking;

·        Public realm;

·        Impact on heritage assets;

·        Climate change;

·        Residential quality and impact on amenity;

·        Open space;

·        Access and transport;

·        Health impacts;

·        Environmental protection;

·        Flood risk and drainage;

·        Waste-water infrastructure;

·        Waste management;

·        Natural heritage;

·        Employability and Skills;

·        Section 76 planning agreement; and

·        Pre-application Community Consultation.


            He highlighted that the area was comprised of a mix of residential, commercial and leisure uses and was a sustainable location for new housing that would support the regeneration of the area. 


            He explained that the scheme would provide 52 off-site affordable housing units for the Build to Rent scheme at City Quays 4 and would require 14 affordable units, a total of 66 affordable homes. He added that the social housing scheme was supported by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive due to significant unmet need.


            The Planning Manager stated that the design of the scheme was considered to be of good quality and in keeping with the locality and that the 1.3 metre raised finished floor levels were acceptable, on balance, having regard to the specific design, context and support from DfI Rivers.


            He reported that Environmental Health had offered no objections, subject to conditions in relation to contamination, noise, final construction environmental management plan and an updated air quality assessment.  He added that the Council’s City Regeneration and Development Unit welcomed the proposal but had raised concerns with regard to mixed tenure approaches to ensure access for all to good quality accommodation that would meet the needs of different ages, genders and abilities.


            He stated that, having regard to the Development Plan and material considerations, it was recommended that planning permission would be granted, subject to conditions and a Section 76 planning agreement.


            The Chairperson welcomed Mr. M. Gordon and Mr P. Stinson from Turley, and Mr. H. McConnell, Project Architect, RPP Architects to the meeting.


            Mr. Stinson explained that he welcomed the recommendation to approve the application.  He stated that no consultees had offered any objection to the development following an extensive pre-application process that explored the principle of an affordable housing development to support the City Quays Regeneration Project.


            He stated that part of the Pilot Street site formed part of the City Quays Masterplan which had outline planning permission and extended the redevelopment potential beyond the immediate waterfront area to integrate with Sailortown and bring two vacant sites into use.


            He stated that the development would deliver 69 units and provide a mix of family homes that was directly informed by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive which supported the development in the location as it would meet an acute and pressing need for affordable housing.


            He explained that the proposed density was appropriate to the highly sustainable location, in accordance with the Plan Strategy, and made good use of brownfield land.  He added that Belfast Harbour had worked proactively with officers throughout the application process to ensure the development would respond positively to its context and addressed concerns which had been raised by local residents from Garmoyle Street.


            Mr. Stinson explained that the loss of two homes along the shared boundary with Garmoyle Street had removed the impact on existing residents and allowed for the integration of a communal garden space and meant that future residents would be able to avail of new recreational space within City Quays Gardens, a transformative green space that would be delivered by Belfast Harbour, a short walk from the site.


            He concluded by stating that the development was supported by green travel measures, promoted within the Travel Plan, to reduce the reliance on the private car and that DfI Roads had no objection to the development.


            The Committee approved the application, subject to conditions and a Section 76 planning agreement, and delegated authority to the Director of Planning and Building Control to finalise the wording of the conditions and Section 76 planning agreement and deal with any other matters that might arise, provided that they were not substantive.


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