Friday, 4 December 2009

Ulster Architectural Heritage Society

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, which is campaigning against the demolition of a fine Victorian building in Belfast city centre, has overcome a major hurdle in its campaign.  A High Court judge has ruled that the UAHS would not have to pay a government department's costs should its application for a judicial review fail.

The society is trying to stop the Athletic Stores in Queen Street from being demolished.  Carlisle Property Developments Ltd want to remove the building and replace it with a nine-storey complex with 69 apartments and street-level shops.  Planning permission for the scheme was granted but the process is now being challenged through a judicial review.

In his ruling Mr Justice McCloskey pointed out that some people viewed the building as a 'prince among paupers' in a city whose built heritage had been depleted'.

Rita Harkin of the UAHS welcomed the decision and said, 'It's obviously a critical case which will establish whether Planning Service is prepared to use its own policy to protetc buiuldings in areas it itself has designated for their architectural or historic interest.'

1 comment:

  1. Too many old buildings have been demolished or disfigured in Belfast and NI. We ought to be cherishing and protecting what remains, rather than facilitating expedient developers and others.

    Many of these older buildings, some of which may not, indeed, be as handsome as others, do have more character than modernist structures.

    The doorway of the building under threat is a case in point: The building's finest feature is a carved stone doorcase, the archway being supported on red granite colonettes with grape and acanthus capitals. The keystone boasts an Elizabethan gentleman's head, sporting a long beard, ruff and hat; flanked by shields, oak-leaves, roses and acorns; with bosses of thistles and shamrocks.

    Which contemporary builder or developer would pay for such stone-work?

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