Published Monday, 09 June 2014
The planned City Quays development. (© UTV)
The application by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners is for a mix of office accommodation, residential development, a hotel, small scale retail services plus restaurants on the 10 hectare site.
This is an Article 31 planning application meaning that it is of such significance that the final decision rests with the Minister.
Minister Durkan said: "This development will bring a boost to this area of Belfast. It will revitalise a site which has been underused for a number of years.
"The mix of residential and business uses plus a hotel, small scale retail services and restaurants, will make this a vibrant hub which is more accessible for everyone.
"It will also provide a better link from the city centre along the river on the east of the M3 to the maritime heritage currently preserved at the heart of the site."
He continued: "This approval will provide much needed high specification office accommodation in an attractive water front location. Having this in place should help attract investment and encourage further job creation particularly when added to the other recent planning approval for the Belfast Harbour Commissioners at this site.
"In making my decision I did take on board concerns about the potential impact of the development on the setting of two listed buildings, the Harbour Commissioners Office and the Sinclair Seaman's Church.
"I have concluded that on balance the regeneration potential of the development coupled with the prospective economic benefits and associated job creation outweighs these concerns."
Welcoming the award of outline planning permission for City Quays, Graeme Johnston, Belfast Harbour's Property Director said: "City Quays is an extension of the highly successful Clarendon Dock development.
"The 20-acre development will regenerate a significant section of Belfast's waterfront and help reconnect the river frontage to the city centre.
"City Quays is an office-led, mixed use scheme which will be of particular appeal to potential inward investors and growing local businesses. Construction is underway for the first office in the development.
"Today's award of outline planning approval for the entire scheme will enable Belfast Harbour to progress more detailed plans and showcase the full City Quays project to potential investors."
© UTV News