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Save CQ were quoted in a BBC News article about the planning approval. They said their three biggest issues with the proposals were the loss of Writer's Square, lack of family homes in the residential aspects, and that less than 20% of the residential units would be social housing.

They also accepted that the current proposals were a big improvement on the last plan.

So in fairness to CQ, 2 of their 3 main concerns are very valid. Still, I think there will be many more revisions to the plans as things progress. I wouldn't be surprised if the problems around social housing and family homes were addressed when (or if) the residential phases are built.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-51197944
 

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Discussion Starter #143
Hopefully, but we've heard all that before so I suspect we won't see anything for a long time.
That's from someone who been involved in the project from the beginning. I suppose we'll see but they know their stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #144
Save CQ were quoted in a BBC News article about the planning approval. They said their three biggest issues with the proposals were the loss of Writer's Square, lack of family homes in the residential aspects, and that less than 20% of the residential units would be social housing.

They also accepted that the current proposals were a big improvement on the last plan.

So in fairness to CQ, 2 of their 3 main concerns are very valid. Still, I think there will be many more revisions to the plans as things progress. I wouldn't be surprised if the problems around social housing and family homes were addressed when (or if) the residential phases are built.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-51197944
Firstly, we have social housing providers to build and manage social housing here, it's not a requirement for private developments. Pretty much all new social builds are the responsibility of housing associations. Perhaps CQ mean affordable housing?

I am also rather dubious that families are going to choose the city centre. Let's be realistic, we have a suburban mentality in NI and the vast majority of families are going to opt for a house with the additional space, parking and garden that option affords them. City centre living for families is a very rare thing here.

I'm fully in favour of building family-friendly units in new developments but there's needs to be a joined-up approach to city centre re-population and that includes building facilities that families will need such as childcare, that falls on a wider group of people and I'm not seeing it yet.
 

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The city centre is not an attractive place to live, so it's not surprising this scheme barely contains any housing. The council and the government have a massive job to make the city centre an attractive place for families and for young professionals to live in...

They need to start somewhere, but approving more multi-story carparks, removing public space is probably not the best way to go...
 

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Discussion Starter #146
Agreed, the city centre is not an attractive place to live at the moment. The council and the government have a massive job to make it an attractive place for families and for young professionals to live in...

They need to start somewhere, but approving more multi-story carparks is probably not the best way to go...
Plenty of young professionals live in the city centre, apartments are full of them.
 

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Plenty of young professionals live in the city centre, apartments are full of them.
Sure, but the majority don't and (wisely, IMO) choose to buy or rent much more affordable homes in nearby suburbs. Not sure how you convince these people to move into city centre apartments, never mind families who actually need space and amenities such as schools and crèches...
 

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I had read concerns about the Choice sheltered housing with residents relocated - perhaps that is what was mentioned.

I do have sympathy there - they were there first. they should be accommodated on site if it is truly mixed use.
 

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Discussion Starter #151
According to SaveCQ, they haven't provided a minimum of 20% social housing as stipulated in the LDP and Belfast Agenda.
Neither of which are actually finalised and thus have no legal weight and can't be used as justification for planning rejection.
 

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I would have preferred if they found an alternative use for the assembly rooms other than another hotel. A Museum for the Troubles could be great for this location. There are so many other opportunities for hotels in Belfast
 

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Discussion Starter #153
I would have preferred if they found an alternative use for the assembly rooms other than another hotel. A Museum for the Troubles could be great for this location. There are so many other opportunities for hotels in Belfast
That 'story' will form part of the new visitor attraction planned by Belfast CC and funded, in part, by the City Deal.

I do agree the Assembly Rooms would have been better as something else, but if they got a good operator it'd also be a superb hotel and secures it's future and ensures it's well maintained.
 

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I have no issue with the losing Writers Sq given it's barely used. But it could be used if kept as part of a greater residential development.

Social Housing, affordable housing in City Centre? This makes sense in Manhattan but not in Belfast and shouldn't be the responsibility of a private developer. Off the top of my head, I think the Aurora project on Great Victoria St. was rejected for many reasons but one was not enough social housing. Now sits a petrol station. Success for Belfast Planning!

I would have renovated(not demolish) the entire North Street and installed micro retail units for independent businesses with real quirk. Glynn Roberts of Retail NI sees this project as a success which probably highlights the lack of innovative thinking within local government.

I think desperate crept in. Planners backed the project fearing nothing better would come along especially in the uncertainty of brexit looming. North St currently is brutal. I like the pedestrianized aspect(if that actually comes to fruition, seldom does Belfast give up road space) but I imagine tourists on a sunday walking down North St in the future and still have only Starbucks as an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #155
IOff the top of my head, I think the Aurora project on Great Victoria St. was rejected for many reasons but one was not enough social housing. Now sits a petrol station. Success for Belfast Planning!

Aurora was rejected on the basis of "building does not fit in with the character of the site and surrounding area". It was a ridiculous decision and utterly beyond comprehension but it had nothing to do with social housing.

It would never have been built anyway, the developer went bankrupt in the recession and the land was repossessed by NAMA. If it had been approved then they likely wouldn't have got past groundwork and foundations. It would have been a ghost site.
 

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Maybe SaveCQ crew to focus next on Great Victoria Street which is a "Golden Mile" of vacant retail. Maybe that could become an Indie Sector Quarter.
Even closer to home, the absolute state that is Smithfield and Union. Plenty of opportunities there. Plus, the councils plan for that area is not an overarching masterplan like Tribeca but more a set of guidelines of how to develop the streets- plenty of ground retail, upper floor residential and well landscaped streets.
 

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The outline planning in regards to redev'd Writers Square actually shows more useable space for future events and more natural daylight reaching the area. As it stands, the square is one of the most grimy and rundown parts of the entire city centre and devoid of any positive merits. As I see it personally at this point, any changes will be positive. The plans for Buoy Park when Streets Ahead picks up again will provide a vastly superior outdoor events space beside the cathedral anyway.
 
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