Northern Ireland

Belfast office block, One Bankmore Square, granted planning permission

An artist's impression of One Bankmore Square Image copyright Savills
Image caption One Bankmore Square will provide office space for about 3,000 workers

A major £65m office block project in the centre of Belfast has been given the go-ahead by the city's council.

The 12-storey One Bankmore Square will replace the Movie House Cinema building on Dublin Road.

It is expected to take two years to build and will provide office space for about 3,000 workers.

Image copyright Savills
Image caption The project will include a redevelopment of the neighbouring Bankmore Square

It was approved by the planning committee at Belfast City Council on Tuesday night.

It said the project's planning application was processed in "record time" and took the number of new office developments it had approved in the past two years to 21.

'Outdoor cinema'

"From the plans being lodged to tonight's decision, it has taken just eight weeks to process this application," said planning committee chair Peter Johnston.

"There is an acute and increasing demand for grade A office accommodation in the city, and we are delighted to have been able to take this latest development to the next stage."

Image caption Construction work on the project is expected to take two years to complete

The Richland Group, which is developing the project, said the building will become the largest office building in Northern Ireland and will have the potential to include a cinema.

It submitted the planning application for the building in March after a public consultation.

Interest in the scheme has been "very positive", both "locally and internationally", according to Gary McCausland, the firm's chief executive.

Planning consultant Clyde Shanks said a "key element" of the proposal is work to redevelop Bankmore Square into a "focal public open space with potential for an outdoor cinema and public art exhibitions".

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