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Northern Ireland: Controversial Belfast regeneration scheme hits a glitch; Wind energy ‘could become cheaper than gas’

Words: Roger Milne

A round-up of planning news in Northern Ireland: 23 January-29 January, 2016

Controversial Belfast regeneration scheme hits a glitch

A £300 million scheme to redevelop the north of Belfast city centre has hit planning problems after city planners requested extra information about the project masterplan drawn up by Northside Regeneration Ltd.

The Planner

House building grew in 2015 – NHBC

The number of homes registered to be built in the UK in 2015 topped 156,000, according to figures released by the National House Building Council. Northern Ireland had the highest percentage increase in new home starts of any UK region during 2015.

The Planner and Belfast Telegraph

Growth forecast for UK construction

The Construction Industry Training Board is calling for more apprentices as it releases new figures on 27 January that forecast an average annual growth of 2.5 per cent for the next five years.

The Planner

Council issues planning permission for extension to Altnagelvin Hospital

Derry City and Strabane District Council has approved the further redevelopment of Altnagelvin Area Hospital including the construction of six new wards consisting of 144 single bedrooms over three storeys with associated support facilities.

Derry City and Strabane District Council 

Call for joint venture support in NI

The Northern Ireland Executive should do more to support joint ventures involving housing associations as part of moves to tackle the shortage of new homes, recommends an independent report.

Inside Housing 

Number of cruise ship passengers setting sail for Belfast up 25 per cent

Belfast Harbour plans to develop a new £14 million cruise berth at D3, near the RSPB nature reserve on the County Down side of the port. The news come as it emerges that this year will be Belfast's busiest for cruise ships, with more than 145,000 passengers set to visit - up 25 per cent on 2015.

Belfast Telegraph

Infrastructure investment commission urged by surveyors

An independent commission should be set up to guide infrastructure investment in Northern Ireland, say surveyors. The RICS's Northern Ireland Manifesto says the commission could steer investment on schools, hospitals, roads, railways, energy and other infrastructure projects.

Belfast Telegraph

Wind energy ‘could become cheaper than gas’

Last year, one-fifth of Northern Ireland's electricity was generated by wind, according to Northern Ireland Renewable Industry Group (NIRIG) chair Rachel Anderson. She told an industry conference that onshore wind energy could become cheaper than new gas generation by 2020 if the policy and regulatory conditions were right.

Belfast Telegraph 

Armagh city receives £1.98m grant from Heritage Lottery Fund

Armagh is receiving a £1.98 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and enhance the city's built heritage. The money will help repair and re-use up to 30 buildings in the city’s conservation area.

BBC News