INFRASTRUCTURE Minister Nichola Mallon was in North Belfast this week to discuss urban design proposals for a key junction.

The proposals set out ideas for a much-needed improvement of the ‘gateway junction’ at Frederick, North Queen, Donegall and Clifton streets – an essential conduit for local people and the wider city. 

At present, the very confused junction dissects North Belfast from the heart of the city. 

The Minister visited nearby Clifton House to meet members of the North Belfast Heritage Cluster to discuss the proposals.

Speaking afterwards, Minister Mallon she was “encouraged” by the proposals. 

"It is great to be able to meet with the North Belfast Heritage Cluster and see their presentation on reshaping the Clifton Street area of North Belfast. Spaces come alive and communities thrive when place making is designed to be people centred. 

“There is a real need to enhance pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities in this part of North Belfast and I am committed to working with stakeholders and local communities to ensure there is better connectivity and access to opportunities for more people to live, work and visit this part of North Belfast. I am really encouraged by the proposals that were shared with me.”

About the proposals, Paula Reynolds, CEO of Belfast Charitable Society and Cluster Chair explained: “We are using local heritage assets to help connect this part of North Belfast into the City centre and wider opportunities that it offers. 

“This junction is a crucial physical link into the heart of Belfast and can help the flow of people in and out of North Belfast. By improving it we can directly improve the local area where our historic assets are found and we can create access to jobs, amenities and opportunities that the wider city offers. 

“We were delighted to have the opportunity to discuss our proposals with the Minister.”

Mark Hackett, consultant architect on the project, presented ideas on how this junction could work to improve the flow of traffic and walkability, creating a much safer and more attractive place for pedestrians, cyclists and all other road users, as well as helping to create a much better sense of place. 

Duncan Morrow, Director of Community Engagement at Ulster University added: “It’s important  for the University as a part of the whole community, that we create an appealing quality walkway between North Belfast and the city centre. 

“By reducing the number of lanes of traffic at the junction, the connection between the University, North Belfast and the city centre would  be enormously improved, opening up the potential of future development and more amenities for the local and changing population. The plans also underline the need to future-proof our roads and walkways while learning from our past when the junction was an important place where people worked and lived, as well as drove through.”