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Huge Student Scheme in Belfast Set for Approval

Posted by Calum Martin in

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Mandeville Developments, have put forward plans for a 795-bed scheme in Belfast which if approved, would be the largest to date in the city.

The multi-million-pound purpose-built scheme has been recommended for approval by Belfast City Council planning officials.

Located between Library Street, Little Donegall Street, Stephen Street and Union Street, the scheme aims to help ease growing pressure for student housing in the city.

Demand in the city has increased since the new Ulster University Campus opened its door to 15K students and staff last September.

The latest figures reported by UCAS show acceptances in Northern Ireland were nearly 15K in 2021, which is 7.8% higher than reported in 2019.

The development site is just metres from the Ulster University campus and is current utilised as a car park

Usage of the ground floor for a cafe and retail spaces are among the public realm improvements planned in the project.

Colin Donaldson, director for Mandeville Developments NI Limited, commented: "Intake across both universities has grown during the pandemic, and as students have moved back into the city and classes have returned full-time, we have seen the demand rise beyond what we anticipated when we chose to invest in Belfast and support regeneration in the city centre.

"We understand from both universities and the further education college that demand for quality managed accommodation in the city will continue to grow and outstrip approved or existing supply."

"Throughout the planning process, we have had very positive engagement with businesses and the local community to ensure our proposed designs respect the character of nearby listed buildings and can support the delivery of wider residential accommodation in the area, as outlined by Belfast City Council's Inner North West Masterplan.

"We are delighted that we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback during our community consultation which engaged more than 750 people and reached more than 17,000 citizens in person and online. We have been able to respond to constructive feedback from the consultation and planning officers to refine the design of the building, and we welcome their recommendation to approve the application."

Belfast City Council Planning Committee is due to formally come to a decision on the 17th of January 2023.

Director of planning consultants Turley, Philip Stinson, said: "This part of the city has a vibrant history reflected in the heritage architecture and is set to become one of the most exciting and bustling parts of the city centre with Belfast City Council's plans for 'Belfast Stories' a new visitor attraction and building on the positive impact of the University. We welcome the positive recommendation by officers and encourage the committee to support the proposals that will both meet a continued need for managed student accommodation and support wider regeneration."

A spokesperson for Like Architects also added: "We're delighted to see the decision from Belfast City Council to recommend this application for approval. This presents a fantastic opportunity to drive the growth and regeneration of the area surrounding Library Street, where a dense urban grain once existed. The development not only repairs the built fabric of the Union Street locale but also creates a contemporary architecture which resonates with the site's industrial past, adding much-needed vitality and diversity to this part of Belfast."