As you probably already know the intended plans for the ‘regeneration’ of the northside have been rejected albeit for reasons more administrative than protest based.
From the developer’s point of view this potentially means a case of just simply re-applying.
Furthermore, any signs of public discomfort at the original plans will more than likely result in a souped-up PR campaign rather than a back-to-the-drawing-board reappraisal of the original plans.
So, what next?
Well, let us dwell in a spot of speculation.
Imagine for a minute that you’re at the helm of a large property development consortium, what would YOU do?
1/ Pull the plug on the whole project – This would result in the loss of millions in potential profit. As mentioned previously the student apartment market is a rather lucrative market - http://thebelfastrevival.blogspot.ie/2016/01/down-rabbit-hole-ever-so-slightly.html
So, ‘NO’ would be the bookie’s favourite as the answer to this scenario
2/ Comply with public demands and come up with a more sympathetic plan for the area – As with the above argument this would reduce profit margins so again ‘no’.
Sit on the properties.
Run the area down further.
Let the PR hounds do their work and try to bring the public on board with simplistic and alarmist outcries:
“HUNDREDS OF POTENTIAL JOBS LOST AS REGENERATION PROJECT FALTERS”, “STUDENT ACCOMMODATION CRISIS IN BELFAST”, “BELFAST NOT BUSINESS FRIENDLY” etc. etc. as well as a few other stunts (which I shan’t mention lest I give them ideas).
After a while the politicians will need to be ‘seen to be doing something’ and will pressurise the planning department into approving the project.
That’s what I would do if it was my (large) profit margin at stake.
And try again.
Once students start kicking off because they have nowhere to live thanks to a bunch of ‘internet NIMBY’s’ then public opinion will do the rest.
“What do WE do then?”
Well, more on that later.
In the meantime, if you have any ideas or thoughts then let the planning office know: firstname.lastname@example.org