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Belfast looks to ‘reimagine’ its city centre

Belfast City Council has commissioned a study to look at how its city centre can be ‘reimagined’.

The study will particularly look at ways of ensuring a more ‘joined-up’ approach between the council and its statutory partners on issues of place-making, planning, transport, and regeneration.

The new ‘vision’ will also look at how the authority can better support businesses and growth whilst ensuring the city is better connected, sustainable, liveable and people-focused.

Another element of the study will look at existing and future uses of the city centre in terms of services delivery and accessibility, as well as looking at models of pedestrianisation and landscaping to make the heart of the city accessible for those who choose to walk or cycle.

Cllr Deirdre Hargey, chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: ‘This study is about developing a shared vision for our city centre – one that will help to inform council and local government actions and ensure that we are working together to deliver an attractive, accessible and vibrant city centre.

‘That means looking at every user’s needs, and sometimes those are competing needs; so it’s absolutely vital that this study examines all aspects of what a city centre should offer.

‘We also need to benchmark Belfast against other cities of comparable size and look to them for best practice and ideas on how we can strike the right balance between attracting investment, and creating a sustainable, greener city centre which can be enjoyed by everybody, including children and older people, and be a magnet for tourism and creative industries.’

In June, Belfast City Council approved a scheme which could create over 8,000 jobs and provide homes for more than 1,500 residents in the Northern Ireland capital.

The full Belfast Waterside scheme – located on the site of the former Sirocco Works – is set to ‘transform’ the east bank of the city through a mixed-use waterfront development made up of offices, apartments and a hotel, together with retail, hospitality, offices and community and leisure facilities.

The housing section of the application includes 675 units for approximately 1,570 residents, up to 20% of which will be affordable housing units, including a minimum of 10% social housing.

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