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Castle Place, Belfast, BT1 6BT.
Full external conservation led restoration and redevelopment of Bank Buildings. This will include the reinstatement of any original elements that have been removed and are in a suitable condition to reuse.
Fire damaged elements will be replaced with like for like materials and features / detailing.
Internal refit for a modern Primark store.
The original dormers will be restored, although there may be some realignment to the roofline to accommodate screening of the plant.
A new support structure within the footprint of the remaining stonework facades, which will tie together the façade to the new interior build.
The internal floor plates will remain stay largely the same. The internal layout may be revised to include the latest retail features.
Despite the extensive damage the listed status of the building provides it with legal protection, which means planning permission is required to allow for the redevelopment of the fire damaged structure.
The listing applies to the whole structure of the building, inside and out, which requires us to consider carefully how it can be reinstated, restored or repaired.
Our conservation led approach to its redevelopment has required the careful assessment of all features and recovered material.
Listed Buildings are divided into three grades; A, B+ and B to give an indication of their relative importance.
Since 1987 buildings have been divided into 2 main groups, namely B1 and B2. Generally B1 is chosen for buildings that qualify for listing by virtue of a relatively wide selection of attributes. Usually these will include interior features or where one of more features are of exceptional quality and/or interest.
The devastating fire of 2018 destroyed the Bank Buildings and resulted in months of efforts to make the building safe, and save the historic structure from collapse.
Safety cordons were put in place to protect the public and surrounding buildings from what was now a structurally vulnerable historic building.
A temporary Primark store was reopened in the completed extension of Commonwealth House - immediately adjacent to the Bank Buildings, and a second store on Fountain House opened in December 2018.
Planning for the reconstructed flagship Primark Store within the restored Bank Buildings is expected by the end of the year.
Subject to planning construction is expected to take up to three years.
It is anticipated that the Bank Buildings will be full restored and operational again as soon as possible.
The target sales area will be between 80,000 and 90,000 square feet when combined with the Commonwealth House building.
Internal changes will be made, influenced by the construction build to retain all safe pre-existing façade.
However the floor plates have been engineered to deliver a similar floor space to the new store.
The Castle Street store will then be connected to deliver the intended extension, and will function as one store.
There is no lease. Primark owns the building
The Bank Buildings are Primark’s flagship store in the city.
Primark are committed to Belfast and the future success of the city centre
Yes. The Bank Buildings will be fully restored.
Due to the extensive fire damage a careful assessment of all retained and salvageable material has taken place.
There will be some small difference due to the requirement of the restoration, and modern building regulations.
Any safe original material will be reused in the restoration, and where originals features have been damaged beyond repair they will be replaced using like for like materials.
Proposed changes to the exterior are very minor:
The opportunity is being taken to remove some of the more recent ah-hoc alterations - such as changing inappropriately altered windows back to their original Victorian pattern and removing the ground floor window roller shutters and casings.
The modern walling to Bank Street introduced after the 1970’s bomb damage will be reinstated in a more appropriate brick type and the string course reinstated in brick and stonework.
The 1970 tiled finish to the blank panels on Castle Street will be changed to granite facings.
The naturally slated mansard roof will be rationalised in it’s reinstatement with a consistent higher ridge to tidy up vies of rooftop plant.
Minor changes to escape door positions are made to accommodate building control standards in internal layout.
The internal layout will be a similar to that presented in the original plans for the store extension. The new store will have the latest retail layout, and these details will be confirmed as the scheme develops.
It is important that the original character of the Bank Buildings is retained and revived through the redevelopment process. The ongoing efforts to stabilise heritage features has allowed for the retention of much of the historically significant external walls.
Our project team have been investigating the current physical condition of the building, assessing risks and identifying methods to allow the retention of heritage features where possible.
Two listed building consents have already been approved to allow the safe removal of materials and careful assessment of fire damaged stonework facade, internals and the remaining structure, including the 4th floor cornice and clock face.
A strategy to stabilise the façade and deconstruct fragile features was sought under Listed Building Consent and the initial works to prevent further degradation of the building and ensure its safety are underway. This has included the careful removal of unstable historic stonework that has been retained for reuse where possible.
The development will be a Considered Constructors scheme.
It is not envisaged that the reconstruction will create any further impact than any other city centre building site.
Primark will continue to engage with traders, shoppers and the local community during the construction process.
This consultation is open to the all members of the public and we welcome feedback from members of the public, neighbouring businesses, elected representatives and Primark staff.
We will be hold separate consultation events with surrounding businesses and heritage groups.
All feedback submitted will be summarised in a Pre-Application Community Consultation Report which will be submitted alongside the planning application. Personal details will not be shared with a third party and we will not contact you in relation to any other project or for marketing purposes.
The information you provide will be stored securely until determination of the planning applications. Following determination, this information will be deleted. Unless you have indicated otherwise, we will not contact you about this development.