SkyscraperCity banner

21 - 32 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
With this and Academy Street I'm seriously losing hope now.
When you look at the quality of proposals being put forward in cities in GB, it is sad to see our planners increasingly accepting of proposals that belong to the pre-crash era. Just go and scroll through the last few pages of the prominent inner city proposals thread on citytalk... night and day compared to here.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
22,116 Posts
Discussion Starter #24
When you look at the quality of proposals being put forward in cities in GB, it is sad to see our planners increasingly accepting of proposals that belong to the pre-crash era. Just go and scroll through the last few pages of the prominent inner city proposals thread on citytalk... night and day compared to here.

I completely agree and consistently annoy councillors about the quality and aesthetic of some of what is proposed for Belfast. Part of that is financing though is it not?

The more money you can spend on a development the nicer you can make it. I think we need to be realistic when it comes to the economics. Developers here are primarily local and don't have access to the same easy money that seems to be flowing into the likes of Manchester and Birmingham from Asia and the Middle East.

It's also worth noting that there's also plenty of crap being thrown up in cities across GB and Ireland, Belfast is not immune from rubbish, lazy or copy+paste architecture. Manchester has some superb new developments but lots more shite.

Nottingham is a good example, it's a similar sized city and has benefited from some seriously high quality non-showy developments that make a positive contribution.

Perhaps part of the problem in Belfast is that very little people actually live in the city itself and as such there's little opposition to new proposals?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
Nottingham is what I had in mind, a similar sized city but the quality of a lot of their recent residential proposals blows ours out of the water.

It's hard not to be jealous of Manchester, they are very fortunate in particular to have Renaker who are delivering swathes of large scale high quality developments. We have Mcaleer and Rushe developing large parts of our city centre. No more comment needed there.

Part of the problem has to lie with the council, who are just waving crap like this development through with little to no challenge. I guess for them the investment outweighs having a place anybody would want to spend any length of time in.

It's not all bad of course, we still have Belfast Harbour delivering quality, and the office developments on Wellington place/Chichester Street are good too. I just wish we had more developers who gave a shit.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
22,116 Posts
Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Not sure the fault does lie with BCC. There’s nothing in planning law that allows for a council to reject a project because it doesn’t look nice or use certain materials. The exception being developments in conservation areas or those involving Listed Buildings.

Taste is very subjective and you can’t put ‘taste’ or aesthetic into planning policy as that leaves the entire system up for never-ending legal challenge.

I’d love for BCC to have more powers over planning policy and a dedicated approach to the look and quality of buildings but such provision doesn’t exist in current law and applications can only be judged against current policy.

It’s definitely a conversation that BCC needs to facilitate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,891 Posts
I have to admit, going over why this was refused last time around:

  • Inappropriate massing- they've chopped off a few floors, made the tower taller and thinner; and
  • Inappropriate design- the large expanses of blank brickwork have generally been reduced.
I guess they've done enough to haul it over the line. I would have continued to argue it adversely impacts the character of the area- another reason for refusal first time around- but the entire Laganbank area is so appalling you could easily claim it probably wasn't a valid reason for refusal first time around!

It is a shame the council appear to have so little steer over what can be built. Let's hope that can indeed change into the future.

As an aside- it would be an interesting assignment- give a group of prospective developers a map of the area, with only the original Waterfront Hall footprint and the constraint of the railway line on it, and ask them to devise a masterplan for the area. I dare say 100% of the designs would be considerably better than what we have today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
757 Posts
I was flicking through an edition of one of the major travel guides to Ireland, can't remember if it was Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, Footprints, whatever. Their feedback about Belfast redevelopments and the post-1998 transformation was overwhelmingly positive, until the author went on a walk around Laganside. Their review of that area could be summarised as "WTF happened here!?".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,867 Posts
With regards to the Laganside, a precedent was set by the planners in the 90s, and now all the crap of the day has to be approved.

We had the perfect opportunity to build a world class waterfront and we've blown it.

...and unless something changes, we'll ruin it again with the Scirocco Works, when that either gets cancelled or cheapened and scaled back. The fact they're not even going to build a bridge now says it all really....
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
22,116 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
We had the perfect opportunity to build a world class waterfront and we've blown it.
There's lots more waterfront still to be developed and plenty of opportunity. The focus is now on Belfast Harbour and TQ.
 
21 - 32 of 32 Posts
Top