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Northern Ireland round-up: Key advisers raise concerns over new Belfast plan; Airport revises growth projections

A round-up of planning news in Northern Ireland: 21 April-28 April, 2017

Key advisers raise concerns over new Belfast plan

A high-level group of built environment specialists who advise the Northern Ireland Executive has voiced several serious concerns about the preferred options paper produced by Belfast City Council as it prepares its new local development plan (LDP).
The Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture and the Built Environment (MAG) has raised issues about who has been consulted so far and highlighted what is calls a lack of information on the methodology behind the paper.
MAG is a seven-member group of architects, urban designers, academics and planners chaired by Andrew Haley. It can call on the expertise of 21 specialist advisers.
The group pointed out that the new LDP will replace the existing Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP).

The Planner

Pace of housebuilding slows

The pace of growth in housebuilding in Northern Ireland is the slowest of 12 UK regions at just 17 per cent, according to a report just published. 

Belfast Telegraph

Gold mine project put on hold

A Canadian firm that wants to develop a gold mine near Omagh, County Tyrone, has said it has had to put its plans for the project “on hold" because of problems over police cover for its blasting operations. Under the existing regulatory regime police cover is needed for the transportation and use of mining explosives, a consequence of ‘the Troubles’.

BBC News

Airport revises growth figures

Belfast International Airport is expecting further airline and passenger growth and has revised its figures for 2017 following growing demand.

Insider Media

Software firm opts to set up in Belfast

Oregon-based software development company Unosquare has chosen Belfast as the location of its new engineering centre, a move which should create 100 new jobs by the end of 2019.

Belfast Telegraph

George Best hotel developer buys city landmark

The developer hoping to open a George Best-themed hotel in Belfast has bought a city centre landmark next to City Hall for just over £6 million – but won't confirm if it will be the site for the project. Liverpool developer Lawrence Kenwright's Signature Living Group has purchased the grade B-listed Scottish Mutual Building, and plans to invest a further £15 million turning it into a hotel.

Belfast Telegraph

Latest greenway park section is opened

The latest section of the Greenway, the 9-kilometre linear park alongside the Connswater, Knock and Loop rivers which provides a green corridor from the Castlereagh Hills to Belfast Lough, was officially opened this week. Involved is a 400-metre section of the walkway and cycle path on the Greenway from Belfast’s Connswater Retail Park to Flora Street.

Belfast Telegraph