Published Thursday, 15 May 2014
The business owner has been told its frontage is not in keeping with the street. (© UTV)
The AM:PM Cabaret Supper Club on Upper Arthur Street near City Hall has an elaborate black facade with canopies, greenery and is even lit up at night.
DOE planning is recommending the club's retrospective application in relation to the awnings as well as signs be refused and the owner ultimately could face a £2.5k fine if they do not comply.
The club has claimed that the DOE said the awnings "detract visual amenity and the wider conservation area and present visual clutter which is not acceptable".
Proprietor Eamon McCusker told UTV that he was shocked by the request as he didn't believe the renovations would create any issue.
"The building itself is old, a kind of box, it's a pretty horrible looking building," he said.
"What we wanted to do was reflect outside what was happening inside, we are a bohemian-style restaurant, a very theatrical-style supper club. We believe that we bring something that wee bit different to the city and we just wanted to reflect that on the exterior of the building.
"We haven't done something that has actually detracted from the street, we've enhanced it and given people a reason to walk down the street.
"Now we're being told to take it down which is pretty shocking and reflects the kind of bureaucracy that holds back the city."
A petition set up on Wednesday by the club has received over 3,000 signatures from people who are against the DOE's objection.
However a DOE spokesperson stressed that the street is a "conservation area in the heart of Belfast".
"The city's built heritage contributes to its appeal and attraction to tourists and shoppers," they commented.
We need planning rules otherwise buildings, extensions to buildings and advertisements of all shapes and sizes, which may not be in keeping with the conservation area, could appear.
They continued: "These enforcement notices did not come out of the blue. Two warning letters were issued to the manager of the premises, which were ignored.
"That said, DOE acknowledges the contribution businesses make to our local economy. The Minister has asked planning officials to meet with the applicant who has applied for retrospective planning permission.
"They have done that, they will continue to do that in order to try and resolve outstanding issues. The enforcement proceedings will not be pursued until the planning issue is resolved."
They said that retrospective planning was granted for changes to the rooftop area.
It's understood the application is due to go before Belfast City Council after the elections, where councillors can agree or disagree with the DOE's opinion. If the council disagrees, they may request a deferral.
Mr McCusker will meet with the planning officials on Monday to discuss the application further.
Pictured below AM:PM before and after.
© UTV News