Northern Ireland

Royal Exchange developer re-submits hotel plan

Royal Avenue development
Image caption An artist's impression of the Royal Exchange project

The company behind plans for a multi-million pound development of part of Belfast city centre has re-submitted proposals for a hotel in the area.

The Royal Exchange development aims to redevelop an area between Royal Avenue and the Cathedral Quarter.

Leaside Investments have applied for listed building consent to develop an hotel in Lombard Street.

Consultation on the planning application for the wider Royal Exchange development ended on Monday.

The hotel proposal would mean that existing buildings in Lombard Street, which runs between High Street and Rosemary Street, are retained.

However, the interior of the the buildings would be renovated and altered to allow the buildings to be turned into an hotel.

The ground floor of the buildings at 5-17 Lombard Street would continue to be used as retail units.

The proposals, part of the original project, had to be re-submitted as the buildings have recently been listed.

Leaside Investments have also made a second application for listed building consent for retail premises in North Street.

Burnt down

The Royal Exchange Scheme was first announced by the government in 2006 with the aim to regenerate run down and semi derelict parts of Belfast city centre.

The area between Donegall Street and Royal Avenue takes in the historic North Street arcade which was burnt down in 2004.

A planning application for the development was finally submitted in October 2010.

The plans for the development include more than 200 apartments, a hotel, an arts centre, car parks and retail units.

The developers have said it will rejuvenate a neglected part of Belfast city centre.

The Environment Minister Alex Attwood is awaiting further environmental information before considering the planning application for the Royal Exchange development.

In a statement the Department of the Environment said that they expected to receive that information within the next four to six weeks.

"Further consultation with our statutory consultees will be required on receipt of the information before a report and recommendation can be made to the minister," they said.

The Department for Social Development said: "On 28 October 2010 DSD announced that it would be premature to move forward with the promotion of a statutory development scheme for the Royal Exchange site as the retail sector is recovering from the effects of the recession.

"The promotion of a statutory development scheme is the next step in the comprehensive development process for large regeneration projects such as Royal Exchange.

"DSD is continuing to monitor the performance of the retail sector and we will make a further announcement about the timetable for moving forward the Royal Exchange site as soon as we are in a position to do so.

"Royal Exchange is an essential element of Belfast and Northern Ireland's future regeneration, and therefore a key project that DSD remains fully committed to."

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