Northern Ireland

Athletics Stores building in Belfast to be demolished

The Athletic Stores building
Image caption The landmark building is to be replaced by an apartment block (Picture: The News Letter)

A landmark Victorian building in the centre of Belfast is set to be knocked down.

The Athletics Stores building would be replaced by a multi-storey apartment complex.

The application was to be presented to Belfast City Council on Thursday night with a recommendation to approve.

However, it is understood that meeting has now been deferred so councillors can meet with planners next week.

A High Court judge ordered the Planning Service to reconsider its decision to allow the scheme.

The judicial review of the Planning Service's original decision was brought by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

Its spokeswoman Rita Harkin said: "I'm just amazed that they have come up with this decision.

"To us, this is a fairly clear-cut decision of a building that should be defended in a conversation area."

"There are already many new buildings, including apartments, such as the Obel lying empty."

Warehouse

Carlisle Property Developments Ltd is to transform the Atheltic Stores site into a seven-storey complex with 69 apartments, street level shops and basement parking facilities.

The 19th century warehouse on Queen Street is currently occupied by commercial tenants.

"It's buildings like the Athletic Stores that we need to hold for tourism and to give our city a distinct sense of identity," continued Rita Harkin.

"We are seeking legal advice and are prepared to take the department (of the environment) to court again over this highly irrational decision."