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Major Belfast regeneration project gets green light

Belfast City Council has approved a scheme which could create over 8,000 jobs and provide homes for more than 1,500 residents in the Northern Ireland capital.

The full Belfast Waterside scheme – located on the site of the former Sirocco Works – is set to ‘transform’ the east bank of the city through a mixed-use waterfront development made up of offices, apartments and a hotel, together with retail, hospitality, offices and community and leisure facilities.

The housing section of the application includes 675 units for approximately 1,570 residents, up to 20% of which will be affordable housing units, including a minimum of 10% social housing.

Developers Osborne+Co (Swinford Sirocco Ltd) estimates that as well as creating 875 full-time jobs during construction, the project, once completed, will have the capacity to support 8,295 full-time equivalent jobs, 6,130 of which will be on site and a further 2,760 through the supply chain, through almost 80,000sqm of office space.

A ‘creative cluster’ building, facing onto the River Lagan, will include a public square, reflecting the site’s industrial heritage, and new spaces for community and arts use.

Cllr Arder Carson, chair of the Planning Committee said: ‘This is a massive step forward for Belfast, with the potential to create almost 20% of the jobs pledged through the Belfast Agenda, our community plan, as well as providing new space for city centre living, another of our key goals.

‘The provision of additional high quality office space in a brand new part of the city centre will be hugely attractive to investors as Belfast continues to grow in stature internationally as a great place to do business.

‘I’m also pleased that this project will not only finally transform a site which has been out of use since 1999, but also provide affordable housing units, responding to housing need and ensuring it becomes a place for everyone, with the facilities required to reflect our expected growth in our population by 2035.’

Belfast City Council has recently approved a series of high profile planning applications.

Last week planning permission was given to begin work on a £17m restoration and extension of the historic Templemore Baths, as part of the council’s Leisure Transformation Programme, providing state-of-the-art leisure facilities, including a new 25m six-lane pool, for inner east Belfast.

They also approved a £7 million plan to restore the Grade B1-listed St Comgall’s school, providing a vital boost to economic and social regeneration in west Belfast through the creation of a multi-use community hub, was also granted approval, along with a 251-bed purpose-built managed student accommodation development, on vacant lands between University Road and Botanic Avenue.

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