Thursday, 14 January 2016

The List of the Condemned?

( By Neale, not an architect)

The Fuss

Here's the website dedicated to the proposed plans of the Northside regeneration:

At first glance, it seems OK -

The Titanic: To be re-renamed 'Frames'?
   The area will be tidied up, the car parks and derelict sites built over and the area around the Titanic Bar will be a thoroughfare for shiny happy people (though judging by the picture (here: )there will be some sort of dubious cordon that keeps out the elderly, the overweight and people who wear sports gear...).

Also, according to the pictures on the website, the Titanic Bar will be known as 'Frames' again as it was years ago...(presumably when the plans were FIRST conceived).

So that all seems grand (apart from the dodgy cordon).
Will the new buildings be nice?

Hard to say but from the vague computer generated images they don't seem too shabby (especially the hovering street lights, nice touch!)

So, what are we whinging about?

Well, in my case (and I know I'm not alone) I resent that so many older buildings with fine potential have to be tumbled without any consideration as to how they could be incorporated into the bigger picture.

Don't take my word for it, let's just go for a walk courtesy of Google:

Starting at the North Street/Royal Avenue junction at the Bank of Ireland building:

Start Here: OK, now walk left of here <======

First Victims
OK. So, while not much to look at in their current state these three wee buildings could look well with a bit of TLC.
Moving on along the street we come to the corner of North st and Union st:

Turn the corner onto Union st and we have these:

"They're just oul' red brick buildings...."


At the moment, yes.

If someone further up the planning and development food chain was to act then they could be more akin to the following:

Add a pedestrianized street and viola! A greatly improved area and no need to knock anything down.

Now, continuing with the tour.

On the junction of Union and Kent (opposite side) we have the Sunflower Pub, whose entire block is also under threat:

The Sunflower

Turn right onto Kent st and we have this, the remainder of the corner building from Union st and another unloved warehouse.

Old green buildings need love too...

However, look at what has been done to a very similar street in Melbourne (Hardware Lane):
 Again, a bit of effort and the area could be completely transformed along with retaining the character of the old buildings and ergo the city's built heritage.

After that there's a car park and the Belfast Central Library.

So, starting from the Bank of Ireland and going the whole way around the block we still have a fairly intact fabric of pre-war architecture.

We've seen what can be done with old warehouses.
We know what can be done with a spot of strategic pedestrianisation (as is the plan for the area around the library and Titanic bar).

We know we can integrate old facades into new building projects.

We know that there'll be thousands of people moving into the area.

Why not use these factors as reasons for proper sensitive regeneration instead of the ten-a-penny, boardroom print-out plans?

Alternatives? You?

These are only some of my thoughts regarding the project.
If you have any ideas, views or alternatives then feel free to send them to (and we can put them on here or on the website) or even better send them to the council (details below)to show that people do actually care about the area.


As usual, here's a quick reference footer for what to do if one wishes to object to the proposals for the area:

1/ Email the planning department quoting the ref. number LA04/2015/0577/O , explain your objections and request a reply.

2/ Sign onto the planning portal, log in and place an objection. It takes a few minutes, but goes straight to the source.

Simply register and then add a comment (tick the ‘object’ button too).

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