Loop Film Studios in East Belfast has been given the green light to expand its business to include virtual studios on site.
At Belfast City Council ’s Planning Committee this week, elected representatives unanimously agreed to the partial demolition of existing buildings on lands at 468-476 Castlereagh Road, to facilitate a proposed extension to the existing film studios and workshop facilities to include virtual studios.
The application, by LCC Group of Cookstown, will also involve the recladding of existing buildings, and the retention of lighting columns and a boundary fence.
Set up in 2013, the studios have been the base for The Fall and the Universal Studios production Dracula: Untold, and have since been used in a variety of productions, from science fiction series to a World War 2 drama. The site was previously home to a soft drinks factory.
The council received two objections on the application from local residents, and one letter of support from local MP Gavin Robinson. There were no objections from any of the statutory consultees.
The planning report states: “Issues raised include dominance, visual and amenity impacts, lack of contact from the developer, and disturbance from construction activities.
“It is considered that the proposal will not adversely impact on amenity. Lack of contact between the developer and third parties is not a matter for the council.
“Disturbance from construction works will be for a limited period and therefore will not result in long term/permanent amenity impacts to render the application unacceptable.”
The council officer recommended the application. The report states: “All extensions will adopt matching materials, colours and form to the existing buildings and be subservient in scale to the existing buildings.
“Studio D will result in some visual impact on public views from the Castlereagh Road due to the bold colour of finishes proposed, however these will match the existing buildings on site and the slight setback from the public road will provide a degree of mitigation with the result that the impacts are acceptable.
“None of the extensions will adversely impact on amenity in relation to dominance, overshadowing or overlooking/privacy of existing properties adjacent to the site due to the separation distances available.”
It adds: “Taking account of the response from Belfast City Council Environmental Health, and the existing use rights and planning history, on balance it is considered that the proposal will not unacceptably impact on the amenity of existing properties adjacent to the site, in relation to noise or lighting disturbance. It is necessary however, to secure delivery of the proposed noise mitigation measures by planning condition to safeguard amenity of adjacent properties.”