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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Michael Kenwood

2 Royal Avenue to get facelift and open rear to public at Bank Street

Renovations for the publicly owned 2 Royal Avenue building have been given the green light at City Hall, with plans to open up the rear of the building onto Bank Street, and improve the front entrance.

Elected members at Belfast City Council’s latest meeting of its Planning Committee approved proposed alterations to the listed building, including the provision of a new structural opening with new pedestrian entrance doors, roller shutters, improved boundary treatments and minor internal renovations.

The building, formerly used by Tesco, is a two storey high Victorian sandstone B+ graded listed building. It is in a prominent position facing onto Royal Avenue and was extensively extended to the rear of the site facing onto Bank Street late last century.

Read more: Major Ballymurphy social housing development gets green light

The proposal will open up the rear of the building with a new pedestrian entrance. This includes removing the existing palisade fence, to be replaced with bollards. The application was advertised on November 18 last year and neighbour-notified on the 13th December. No objections were from the public.

The Stormont Historic Environment Division and the Council Conservation Officer were also consulted. HED had no objections, and the Conservation Officer had no objections to the proposed pedestrian entrance but asked for ‘clarity’ regarding the proposed shutter.

In January 2022 the Planning Committee agreed a temporary 2 year change of use of the ground floor at the former Tesco Metro store to a “community, recreational and cultural space to facilitate multi-disciplinary uses.”

The new proposal involves the creation of a new pedestrian access to the rear of the existing extension with a roller shutter. The rear of the building is currently surrounded by a 2.4 metre palisade fence and the proposal will remove a section of fencing to the rear of the building, instead using stainless steel bollards which will open up the rear of the site. A new 2.4 metre gate is also proposed to the side of the building.

The council report states: “The proposed works are to the rear extension of the building which was constructed during the 1990s and will retain the essential character of the building. The proposal will open up the rear of the building by removing the unsightly palisade fencing and utilising bollards instead, this will improve the setting of the listed building.

“HED were consulted and considered the proposal shall not have any additional adverse impact on the listed building. HED considers that the proposed roller shutter is situated on the rear extension of the building and the removal of the fencing and opening up a new entrance is a betterment.”

It states: “The scale of the proposal is minor in nature and by opening up the building to the rear and removing the unsightly palisade fencing the development is considered to enhance the character and appearance of the area. The pedestrian entrance is considered sympathetic to the rear extension it is set within, and the proposed bollards replacing the palisade fencing will improve views within the conservation area.

“Bank Street is a pedestrianised area which is located at the rear of buildings facing Royal Avenue and contains a number of unsympathetic boundary treatments. The proposals will aid footfall within the area and enhance the character of the area.”


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