Res­i­dents win right to fight plan for 14-storey of­fice block

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY ALAN ER­WIN

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.

ARTHUR AL­LI­SON

Pro­test­ers rally sup­port at Belfast High Court yes­ter­day

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