Harland & Wolff given go-ahead to sell land


Harland & Wolff was today given permission to sell 80 acres of land at its Belfast docks site in a bid to reverse the troubled shipbuilders' fortunes.

Mr Peter Robinson, regional development minister in the Northern Ireland power-sharing executive, approved a plan to ease the lease arrangements and allow commercial development.

Belfast Harbour Commissioners had applied to Mr Robinson's department for approval to strike a deal with Harland & Wolff's sister company, Titanic Quarter, for developing 80 acres of land in the Harbour Estate that are no longer needed to build ships.

It was proposed that Fred Olsen Energy, Harland & Wolff's parent company, would invest £15 million sterling in the shipbuilding branch, based on 50 per cent of the market value of the site. The company plan to use money from the sale to restructure and secure its future.

Mr Robinson said the deal would allow the regeneration of a substantial area of the prime harbour site close to the city centre and create fresh job opportunities.

Belfast Harbour Commissioners will share capital costs and revenue benefits on a 50:50 basis, he said.