Contact: Louise McLornan, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for inability to attend were received from Councillors Matt Collins, Groogan, Hutchinson and Murphy.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were recorded.
LA04/2021/2299/F - Change of use relating to part of unit 34 ground floor area from (class a1) retail unit to (sui generis) coffee shop with provision of external seating area; change of use (including re-configuration of internal stair/lifts, ancillary spaces and all associated works) of first and second floor levels of unit 34 and existing first floor level of unit 61 (class a1) and mall 01-k9 to (sui generis) family entertainment centre to include, crazy golf; lazer quest; indoor caving; escape rooms; bumper cars; virtual reality arcade; restaurants & bars and outdoor terrace at second floor; and (class d2) cinema with bar. 61 & Mall 01-K9 Castlecourt Shopping Centre, Royal Avenue PDF 1 MB
The Planning Manager (Development Management) provided the Committee with an overview of the application. He advised that the site was located within Belfast City Centre and comprised frontage units within the CastleCourt shopping centre on Royal Avenue. The site included vacant retail units on the ground, first, and second floors and was last occupied by Debenhams Department store.
The Members were advised that the key issues which had been considered during the assessment of the proposal included:
· the principle of loss of retail space and proposed uses at the location;
· the economic impact of the proposal;
· layout, design and impact on built heritage;
· impact on amenity / character of the area;
· impact on transport and other infrastructure;
· impact on flooding and drainage;
· economic considerations; and
· developer contributions
The Planning Manager explained that the site was within the City Centre in the BUAP 2001 and both versions of draft BMAP. He advised that it was also within the Primary Retail Core within both dBMAP versions, and Primary Retail Frontage with draft BMAP 2014. The site was located adjacent to the City Centre Conservation Area.
The Members were advised that the proposal comprised alterations to facilitate a change of use from retail with the upper floors to entertainment uses, and reconfigurations at ground floor to facilitate two retail units and a café. They were advised that the proposal comprised City Centre uses, as defined in the SPPS, and therefore complied with that aspect of the policy which promoted a “City Centre first” approach for retail and leisure uses.
The Planning Manager outlined that it was considered that the entertainment uses would fulfil a complementary function and not adversely impact on the function or retailing activities of the city centre.
The Committee was advised that the proposed physical alterations were largely internal within the existing shopping centre and did not require planning permission. However, some external alterations were necessary to the external facades to facilitate the proposal, including the introduction of new glazing, doors, louvres, and shopfronts. The Council’s Conservation Officer had been consulted and had no objections, concluding that the existing CastleCourt façade was not considered to be of heritage value. The proposed changes were considered sensitively designed and appropriate for the existing building and the character and appearance of the adjacent Conservation Area would be preserved. The setting of nearby Listed Buildings would not be harmed.
Given the current commercial use of the site, its City Centre location, the nature of surrounding similar uses, and lack of any sensitive uses nearby, it was not considered that the proposal would result in any adverse amenity impacts.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Late Items pack, whereby a response had been received from Environmental Health confirming that it had no objections subject to conditions regarding noise. He advised the Committee that the applicant had since confirmed that they were in agreement with the conditions and that the wording of the conditions would need to be refined by officers to ensure compliance with ... view the full minutes text for item 3a
LA04/2021/1702/F - Alterations and 3 storey extension to existing private hospital including vehicular access and car parking (amendment to previously approved two storey permission granted under LA04/2017/0005/Fat 807 - 809 Lisburn Road Belfast BT9 and incorporating part of Kingsbridge Private Hospital at Nos 811- 815 Lisburn Road - (Verbal update)
The Planning Manager advised the Committee that the above application had been granted approval by the Committee at its meeting on 15th February. He explained that it would be necessary to notify the Department for Infrastructure in respect of the application, in view of the objection from a statutory consultee, NI Water.
The Committee noted the update which had been provided.