Residents win right to fight plan for 14-storey office block
RESIDENTS yesterday won legal permission to challenge the building of a £55m office development in an inner city housing district of Belfast.
A High Court judge granted leave to seek a judicial review of the decision to approve the major construction in the Markets area.
Campaigners opposed to the construction of an office block which will be up to 14 storeys high claim it will seriously impact on their right to privacy.
The 26,000-square metre Grade A offices will create 350 construction jobs and generate permanent employment for 2,500 people, the court heard.
Resident Elizabeth Conlon brought the challenge on behalf of a wider group within the Markets community. Her barrister, Liam McCollum QC, insisted that the decision by the council’s planning committee to approve development was arguably unlawful.
Claiming a potential breach of privacy entitlements under European law, he contended that the office tower would be invasive and overlooking homes.
“This is a long, historical social housing location going back many years,” Mr McCollum stressed. “The tradition is two-storey housing in the Markets area — this development will involve up to 10 and 14 storey-high development which is in strict contrast to the neighbourhood.”
A lawyer for the council rejected claims that a “paucity” of information was put before the committee.
The legal challenge will now be heard in full over two days in January.
Protesters rally support at Belfast High Court yesterday