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North Belfast open spaces to get a makeover

23 Nov 2018
North Belfast open spaces to get a makeover

Belfast City Council is working in partnership with the Urban Villages Initiative (UVI) to deliver a significant makeover in park and open spaces in North Belfast and a four-week public consultation on their proposals is now open.

The work involves an upgrade to Marrowbone Park and initial steps to create new public space within the Ballysillan Playing Fields site. 

Marrowbone plans focus on improving facilities, safety and accessibility and proposes a complete renewal of the existing park facilities to make it a welcoming, safe and shared space.

Alderman Jim Rodgers, Chair of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, said: “The revamp planned for Marrowbone puts forward a range of outdoor activities including sports and fitness as well as a place for younger children to have fun in the play park.

“The proposal is to have a wider and longer 3G pitch plus a new changing pavilion and a multi-use games area, improved lighting, boundary fencing, and new entrances to the park,” added the Alderman

In relation to Ballysillan we are working with the Urban Villages Initiative to work up a longer-term development plan for a new public space within Ballysillan Playing fields. 

Proposed facilities include an additional synthetic pitch, a cycle track, play area, dog park, enhancements to the community gardens and Parkrun routes, as well as events space for local community groups to enjoy outdoor events such as summer festivals, concerts, community fun days, markets and fairs. This will enable the park to cater for a wide range of age groups and interests.

Alderman Rodgers said: “The proposed development will be welcoming safe, accessible. These are long-term plans and the consultation is a first step.

“The proposals aim to enhance the natural surroundings by opening up part of the river to create wetland, and shaping part of the area to encourage wildlife and plants to thrive.

“The installation of lighting throughout the park would improve visibility during the hours of darkness. And improved access around the park perimeter and improved pathways within the park will make it easier for walking, jogging, cycling and running,” he added.

“It would really benefit local communities and other stakeholders to get involved with the consultation which can be done online although we are also running a number of face-to-face events where people can view the plans and speak directly to officers from the council and Urban Villages,” said the Alderman.

Linsey Farrell, Programme Director, the Urban Villages Initiative commented: “We are delighted to be investing in improving parks and open spaces for the communities in the North Belfast Urban Village area. We are fortunate to have the expertise of Belfast City Council as our delivery partners for these two projects which gives us assurance of a high quality development.

“We are confident that the upgrade of Marrowbone Park and the development of the playing fields in Ballysillan will significantly contribute to creating thriving places for the people of north Belfast,” she added.

Feedback from both consultations will be used by UVI to put together a business case, including cost and plan revisions, before submitting for planning permission. 

You can participate online by clicking on
Details of the face-to-face events can also be found there.