Northern Ireland

Filling station plan submitted for Belfast's Aurora site

Computer image of the Aurora building
Image caption A computer generated image of how the Aurora building would have looked on Belfast's skyline

A site once earmarked for Belfast's tallest building could be set to revert to its former use as a filling station.

Developer Mervyn McAlister bought the site on Great Victoria Street at the height of the property bubble.

He planned to build a skyscraper called the Aurora.

The site was repossessed by Anglo Irish Bank and is now under the control of the Irish government's 'bad bank', the National Assets Management Agency (Nama).

Now the Cookstown-based Lissan Coal Company (LCC) has lodged an application to build an unattended 24-hour filling station on the site.

The planning application submitted by LCC earlier this month indicates that it does not yet own the site.

It is permissible for people to make planning applications for sites they do not own so long as the owners are notified in advance.

In this case, the notified party is the Belfast firm Keenan Corporate Finance who are acting on behalf of Nama.

LCC is the leading coal importer and distributor in Ireland. Its application is to build five pumps on the site.

Mervyn McAlister was declared bankrupt earlier this year.

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