North Belfast is set for a multi-million pound makeover as Belfast City Council reveals a £150m investment package to regenerate the city. Leisure, community and economic projects across the north of the city are set to benefit from the mammoth cash injection over the next three years.
Some of the projects in the area to profit from the windfall include the development of the North Foreshore into a green business park, enhancing the facilities at Loughside Park to sit next to a £30 million retail development, refurbishment of the historic Floral Hall, regeneration of St Kevin’s Hall and opening Crumlin Road Gaol as a business and tourism centre,
In addition, the council will be creating 200 jobs and 400 placements and internships providing opportunities for the long-term unemployed, as well as the hundreds of jobs that will be created from the development.
The package was officially launched today (Thursday) by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister at the Waterfront Hall before the city’s councillors and members of the community sector.
While the programme sets out investment proposals for the entire city, it details plans for sites across North Belfast all aimed at supporting business and creating jobs.
As one of the most economically deprived areas of the North of Ireland, North Belfast would benefit massively from economic investment and job creation.
The city’s largest development site, the North Foreshore will be developed. Belfast City Council has issued a development brief and is seeking cultural and leisure uses for the site.
A £9 million EU Peace III funding, which was first revealed by the NBN last year, will be used to create a community hub at Girdwood.
Belfast’s Zoo’s historic Floral Hall could be redeveloped, a cultural corridor could link the city centre to North Belfast and St Kevin’s Hall would be regenerated. There could also be a transport link between North Belfast and the Titanic Quarter.
The news has been welcomed by all parties on Belfast City Council.
Sinn Feín’s Mary Ellen Campbell said job creation and economic boosts to local communities is key to the package.
“We as a party are welcoming it, while we are acutely aware we are in an economic crisis it is up to the council to show hope over these next three years,” she said.
“So while capital investment is there we are also looking at investment in actual communities and the creation of jobs, to benefit real communities in North Belfast.”
SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon also welcomed the commitment to job creation.
“Through this Investment Package we will work to ensure there is investment in sustainable local neighbourhood projects in North Belfast and that employment opportunities and jobs are created for local people, particularly our young people,” she said.