Monday, 21 November 2011

41 Queen Street Belfast


Subject: Athletic Stores Building


21st November, 2011

Dear Mr Attwood,

I deplore the decision of Belfast City Council to approve permission for the Athletic Stores Building in Queen Street to be demolished.

This building features in Marcus Patton’s Central Belfast Gazetteer and there are a number of features which are of merit, to my mind.

Belfast is essentially a Victorian city and any attempt to destroy the character of such edifices should be treated with great caution, I believe.

Please support the heritage of Belfast by preventing the demolition of this building.

Yours sincerely etc

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society is on record as stating that
the building makes a material contribution to the character of the conservation area and should be defended vigorously by the Department charged with protecting the environment. Belfast Planning Division's own Conservation Officer also concluded that replacement of the building would result in harm to the conservation area.  


Unknown said...

Dear Lord Belmont

I completely agree with the comments in your piece. Sadly, Belfast has little enough remaining of its Victorian heritage without yet another fine building disappearing.


Stuart Blakley RTPI

Anonymous said...

absolutely right! what on earth could they replace the building with that would be sympathetic to the othere buildings in this area..

Timothy Belmont said...

I despair at the mentality and attitude of many city councillors. Obviously they have no sense whatsoever of our built heritage and are more interested in demolition than preservation.

Shame on them.

Incidentally, which councillors voted in favour? Let them be named.

Timothy Belmont said...

Councillor Patterson claims that the building is structurally unsound. Where did she get her information from and is it true?

I am in no doubt that the developers are hell-bent on getting rid of their obstacle and replacing it with a very profitable, nondescript pile.

George said...

Well done Lord Belmont for raising attention to this terrible decision by our elected Councillors.

I have followed your example and written to the Minister.

I would beseech others do likewise.

George said...

Also, its important I think to recognise those Councillors who have taken the right position on this:

And punish those who have not - such as the obnoxious Councillor Patterson


Michael said...

It is yet another sad reflection on Northern Ireland's planning attitude to heritage property as a whole. There has for too long been a love of the bulldozer and car-crash architecture which applies as much to residential property as commercial.

The long running love-in with bungalows built as closely to a road as possible has sadly become the norm. The few heritage properties we have left is under serious risk of further abuse or disappearing all together.

However there is a place for an abundance of well designed modern architecture but it should not come at the price to our past. There are plenty of ways of integrating the past with current works and some have been particularly impressive (British Museum etc.). Sadly, most decisions are made on cost rather than preservation. I fear that whilst the lunatics are running the asylum, things will not improve.

Anonymous said...

I have received an acknowledgement of my email, sent Tuesday, to Mr. Attwood. H.S.

Anonymous said...

Councillors are corrupt always have been most other cities would keep the facade clearly the benefits are going to someones pocket who thinks its in their personal interests ever notice how so many Councillors never listen to what the people want.

Anonymous said...

Dear Timothy, I absolutely agree with all you say in your email to Mr Attwood, regarding the Athletic Stores. It is a disgrace that there are people sitting in our Councils who do not appear to have an ounce of sense. I can assure you it is not only Belfast City Council that make stupid and "out of planet" decisions - Larne Borough Council is another (witness the current stupidity of inviting plans for a Marina at Sandy Bay - totally against local residential opinion for years. Then of course the Cairndhu saga which you already know about. This latter case is beginning to show signs of better attention by both the public at large and more importantly, by Mr Attwood who is now showing interest and concern that Cairndhu is restored as soon as possible. I'm sure you will agree that Mr Attwood is the first Minister of the Environment to actually be found doing practical things to help our Built Heritage - initially by substantially increasing the amount of repair grant available to owners of listed buildings. It would be very unwise for him to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming public support to keep the Athletic Stores standing. Belfast City Council need to listen to the people for once, and learn some wisdom. It would also help greatly if Councillors involved in environmental issues (which includes our built heritage) would read Prince Charles' book, "Harmony" - again, this is wisdom!