Athletic Stores Planning Approval challenged by UAHS
The Departmentís decision to Grant Planning Permission for a new mixed use regeneration scheme in Queen Street has been challenged by UAHS
The owner of The Athletic Stores (arguably the oldest independent sports goods retailer in Belfast having been established prior to 1890) submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of the existing building occupied by The Athletic Stores in June 2008. This application was to be part of a package of measures to ensure The Athletic Stores continued to trade from Belfast City Centre.
As part of the package of documents submitted with the Planning Application was a Structural Report submitted jointly by Blamphin Associates and RPS. This report contained vital information regarding the exceptionally poor condition of the building which justified its demolition. Despite receiving this in June 2008 it took until December 2008 for the document to be sent to Construction Service for consultation.
When this consultation was received Construction Service agreed with the conclusions reached by the Blamphin/RPS Report in so far as the building had degenerated, despite the continual works carried out by the owner since their occupation around 1974, to such a degree that it could not be repaired or maintained and that as a result there was an overriding case for the demolition of the building.
Planning Service finally granted Planning Permission in June 2009; however the delay in seeking the above consultation afforded UAHS the time to submit an objection to the application which despite being advertised in June 2008 was not submitted until May 2009.
This interest (only taken at the last minute) has not prevented a sustained lobbying campaign in the press by objectors who have not been inside the building to assess its true condition.
The case is due to be heard in December and we hope to have another report on the decision prior to Christmas.