Belfast looks to open door to more skyscrapers
Northern Ireland’s capital city could become a haven for skyscrapers if a new policy gets approval
The policy, currently in development by the Department of Environment, will look at preventing ‘ad hoc’ decisions on tall buildings by planning officers.
Exact details are yet to be announced but Edwin Poots, environment minister, told the Belfast Telegraph: ‘We are comfortable with the principle of tall buildings where they are appropriate’. He added that Belfast was ‘behind the times’ with regards to skyscrapers.
‘If we are to continue to grow our economy we need to grow our population, and tall buildings can accommodate people residentially and maximise our land use,’ said Poots.
The decision comes one year after the Aurora by HKR architects (pictured above), a proposed 37-storey residential tower in Belfast, was refused planning permission amid outcry by the developers.
Michael Galbraith, director in Belfast of HKR architects, said: ‘We’re not aware exactly sure what [the policy in development] will say but probably tall buildings will be allowed in clusters, in designated areas and at gateway sites’.
Peter Vaughan of Broadway Malyan – architect behind Northern Ireland’s tallest building, the 85m-tall Obel tower in Belfast, which is currently under construction, said: ‘[This is a] long overdue piece of policy that puts a rational yardstick on the placing of tall buildings’.
Vaughan believes, that despite the economic climate, there is still a will to build tall buildings in Belfast.
‘There are definitely other sites in Belfast where you could genuinely and rationally place a tall building in Belfast,’ said Vaughan. He added: ‘But not on a smash-and-grab basis’.