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North Belfast regeneration project hits the buffers

Words: Roger Milne

An ambitious £300 million plan to redevelop north Belfast appears to be dead in the water now that Stormont is no longer supporting the mixed-use scheme proposed by Northside Regeneration Ltd.

The developer, a consortium including constructor Balfour Beatty and property developer Kevin McKay, had been chosen by the Department for Social Development (DSD) after a competitive design brief exercise.

The consortium was planning the comprehensive redevelopment on a set of sites in and around Royal Avenue, to the north of the city centre, which had experienced dereliction and neglect over a number of years.

But the outline plans for new housing, retail, leisure and student accommodation were rejected earlier this year.

Controversially, the scheme involved demolition of buildings including well-loved landmarks.

A spokesperson for the DRD said: “Following a recent assessment of the scheme which took into account a number of areas where the developer had not met requirements set by the department, the minister has decided with regret that the scheme proposed by Northside Regeneration Limited should not be supported by his department at this time. The minister has, however, thanked NRL for their efforts and wishes them well for the future.”

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