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Four new Belfast city centre hotels given planning green light in boost to tourism

Published on 15 November 2023

Belfast’s hotel and hospitality sector is set to expand after permission was granted for four new hotels — three in the Cathedral Quarter of the city centre alone.

It will mean Belfast could benefit from almost 400 new rooms for visitors to the city.

The news has been welcomed as a positive sign of confidence in Belfast and Northern Ireland as a tourist destination.

Colin Neill, chair of Hospitality Ulster, said the approval from Belfast City Council should come as a boost to all in the city centre and in the sector.

“This obviously puts out the signal that Belfast is open for business and hotel accommodation in the city remains in high demand,” he said.

“It’s a superb vote of confidence in what the city can provide.

“While we have to bear in mind that not all planning applications, even if successful, come to fruition, it is a positive step forward in enhancing Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole as a tourist destination.

“Not only will the new hotels provide much needed jobs in the industry, they will allow more people to come and stay in the city centre and help to safeguard existing jobs in the hospitality industry,” Mr Neill added.

“It shows we are on the right track towards continuing to develop Belfast and will be a boost for the whole country should the hotels finally open for business. The more people we can attract to the city and to Northern Ireland, and the more variety of accommodation we can offer them when they arrive, the better for everyone in the industry.”

While there is not yet any indication on when any of the four new hotels will be expected to open, the go-ahead for four properties will be seen as a major and positive move to continue the reinvigoration of the city centre.

The biggest of the hotel projects to receive approval from Belfast’s planning committee was for the erection of 135 hotel beds and 93 aparthotel beds directly south of Titanic Belfast and north-west of Hamilton Dock, located off Queen’s Road, Belfast. It will also have a restaurant/café and bar, gym, landscaped public realm, car and cycle parking.

That project is being led by JMK Group and when completed will sit opposite the Titanic Belfast Experience building.

The city’s former War Museum is also set to undergo a change after permission was granted for a 120-bed development at 9-13 Waring Street in the Cathedral Quarter.

The building has been sitting vacant for over a decade since the museum was moved just around the corner to Talbot Street.

Plans will see the former office space transformed into a new hotel with a bar/restaurant and covered rooftop terrace and return the “historic building to its former glory”.

Approval was also given to alter, extend and amalgamate existing buildings at 35 and 37 Donegall Street and 7 Donegall Street Place to create a 20-bed hotel with bar/restaurant. It will have an associated outdoor seating area where a Belfast pub group plans a build featuring a courtyard with shipping containers.

The plans, from 3 Wise Men Pubs, part of Clover Group, include 23 self-contained “pod” hotel rooms and a courtyard where performances can be held. It’s part of a total investment of £1.4m by the group, which will help to create 50 new jobs.

And permission was also granted for the former NI Housing Executive offices at 10-16 Hill Street for renovation. It will become a 20-bed boutique hotel with a restaurant and bar.

Chair of Belfast City Council’s Planning Committee, Councillor Matt Garrett said: “It’s great to see these developments coming forward and contributing to Belfast’s economic growth.”

Source: Belfast Telegraph