Counterpoint: Belfast Concert Hall

Counterpoint: Belfast Concert Hall

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Antrim, Belfast, Cardiff




Transmission 01/01/1990


26min 24sec




1 inch



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

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Presenter Brian Black explores the plans and opinions surrounding a proposed new concert hall/conference centre for Belfast.

Could a multifaceted arts venue stimulate growth in the wider area and lead to the building of hotels, restaurants and shops In Belfast? Lord Mayor Reg Empey discusses the possibilities with architect Victor Robinson, with the need for viable public transport links seen as key to the proposition. The size of the venue is also the cause of some contention, with Charles Fitzgerald believing the calls for a 2,500 seater venue is a 'misguided concept', as it will be too big for lower profile acts and too small to host international acts. This is echoed by Eamonn McCann, the promoter believing that this new venue could have a detrimental impact on other venues in Belfast, such as the Ulster Hall and the Grand Opera House.

This is rebuffed by Alderman Dixie Gilmore, who points to the advice given by consultants and who compares the plans to the building of similarly-sized concert halls in Manchester and Glasgow. Nick Bozeat, an economic consultant, details the the costs involved in building the new concert hall, approximately £22 million. Bozeat suggests that, in part the money is coming from Laganside Corporation, with additional government and 'European funding' essential.

The Cardiff concert hall - which met with minimal local opposition and subsequently proved successful - is held up as a useful case study and exemplar.


Planning on the concert hall began in 1989 and it was eventually completed, as the Waterfront Hall, in 1997, at a cost of £32 million. It was the flagship development of Laganside Corporation and was designed by local architectural firm, Robinson McIlwaine. 


Presented and Produced by Brian Black.

Executive producer Michael Beattie.

Additional Contributors: Fred Cobain (UUP), Cormac Boomer (SDLP)



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