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20th Apr 2018
Belfast City Council has lost a court ruling challenging the approval granted to a major new student accommodation development.
The council started proceedings after its original decision to reject the proposals for a 10-storey scheme in the city centre was overturned on appeal.
It attempted to judicially review the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) for giving the green light to a revised project near Library Street with a reduced number of apartments and beds.
However, the judge ruled in favour of the developers, citing the council failed to raise its concerns to the applicant during a critical period.
Mr Justice McCloskey said: "The ambush element was that they had insufficient time and opportunity to respond and rectify."
The case involved an examination of the PAC's legal right to determine the outcome of the amended plans.
The original scheme was refused permission in January 2016 after it was deemed the accommodation would overshadow nearby residences. But in February 2017, the Commission granted permission on appeal after assessing revisions to the development.
These included cutting the number of apartments from 114 to 79, reducing the bedrooms from 444 to 393, and increasing the number of allocated cycle spaces.
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