Renewing the Routes
We deliver regeneration projects, working side by side with local people, businesses and agencies to bring out the best in our arterial routes and neighbourhoods.
Since 2004 we’ve invested £7,510,000 in approximately 21 miles of the city – making improvements to shopping areas and green spaces, developing gateways, introducing public art and celebrating diverse heritage.
- enhanced areas along 13 main roads, taking in 21 miles of the city
- revitalised 767 business frontages
- delivered 135 arts, heritage and landscaping projects
- contributed to increases in turnover for local retailers
- built relationships with over 60 partners
Our current Renewing the Routes programme is part of our Investment Programme and supports our tourism and economic development objectives. Many of our neighbourhoods have formed traders groups or business associations and the Renewing the Routes programme has helped to by improving the physical appearance of shopping areas.
How does it work?
We work hand in hand with local communities, service providers and organisations to develop plans that make a positive impact on our neighbourhoods and respond to the needs of individual areas. Our appointed team of professional architects, quantity surveyors and contractors ensure good quality design, materials and value for money. We project manage the work, and owners are asked to contribute to the design and costs.
How do we choose the streets?
Belfast arterial routes are identified in the (BMAP), adopted on 9 September 2014, which sets urban design criteria for development along these routes to improve the physical appearance of the cityscape.
We also carried out extensive research to help us target the areas most in need and target blocks where commercial properties are clustered together to maximize impact. We also seek to provide assistance to Belfast businesses through our economic development support programmes.
Our 2014-2015 projects include:
- Lisburn Road from Bradbury Place to Tates Avenue
- Castlereagh Road from Beersbridge Road to Grand Parade
From 2015 - 2016 we'll focus on:
- York Road from Fife Street to York Park
- Shankill Road from Peters Hill to Agnes Street
Over the past 10 years we've carried out:
- cosmetic improvements to building facades in commercial areas including new signage, lighting and painting
- improvements to shared public spaces (landscaping, planting or public art)
- restoring historical features on heritage sites
- cleansing work and removal of graffiti.
We've carried out improvements to the following roads:
- Albertbridge Road
- Antrim Road
- Castlereagh Street
- Crumlin Road
- Falls Road
- Grosvenor Road
- Lower Ormeau Road
- Newtownards Road
- Sandy Row
- Shankill Road
- Upper Springfield Road
- York Road.
Renewing the Routes' success has been recognised locally and nationally through the following awards:
- Best Practice in Regeneration, British Urban Regeneration Association (now UK Regeneration)
- Outstanding Environmental Contribution to West Belfast Award and Environmental Achieved Award, West Belfast Partnership Environmental Awards
- Recognition from Gaelgradam Loch Lao, Forbairt Feirste
- Highly Commended Regeneration Awards, Local Government Chronicle National Awards for Local Government
- Winner Bridge Builder category, Belfast City Council Making a Difference Awards
- Nominee for Outstanding Services to the Irish Language, Aisling Awards, Belfast Media Group.
Case study 1: Grosvenor Road Community Garden
We supported the development of a community garden at Grosvenor Road. Christina Black, Centre Manager at Grosvenor Community Centre explains, “Belfast City Council pro-actively engaged in community consultation and ensured that the views of the local residents, community centre user groups and organisations located in the area were directly reflected in the project’s design, layout, access and usage potential. Importantly, the viewpoints and opinions were reflected directly in design, programming and planning. Belfast City Council and the Roden Street Community Development Group used this project as an opportunity to showcase the potential impact of community planning.
The once-derelict site now provides an area to grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers and the raised beds are accessible for children, older people and wheelchair users. This garden has significantly improved the physical appearance of the Grosvenor Road as a key arterial route, matched with enormous enhancement of environmental engagement at the local level”.
Case study 2: Mountpottinger Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church
The present Mountpottinger Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church on Castlereagh Street was completed in 1875. Our Renewing the Routes team worked closely with the owners to give a lift to this heritage building and improve access to it.
We carried out extensive improvements at the church, including the installation of a new DDA-compliant ramp, new paving and a new gulley with connections to the drainage system. Hon Treasurer Adrian Moir wrote to us to express his thanks:
“On behalf of the congregation, I record our thanks to you and the others in ‘Renewing the Routes’ as well as Belfast City Council in respect of funding and managing the scheme that has upgraded the frontage of our Church in Castlereagh Street. We have received many favourable comments from passers-by as well and I think the investment in the frontage has been uplifting not only to those who attend the church but also to those who live in the neighbourhood and people who pass by as they travel along Castlereagh Street to and from the city centre.”
Case study 3: Gowdy’s on Woodstock Link
Working in partnership with local businesses is central to our Renewing the Routes programme. We undertook work on the Woodstock Link to improve both commercial units and the surrounding area. The scheme was funded by the Department for Social Development and is a good example of how collaborative working can make a big impact.
Local shop owner Mike Gowdy described his experience: “After the initial survey, Belfast City Council came back out with drawings describing the planned work such as painting, cleaning, tiling and new signage. They worked directly with us and the other tenants to make sure that the new signs and the facade works addressed what we felt needed to be done.”
Mr Gowdy continued, “Prior to the scheme we were concerned about shop vacancies and the area badly needed a facelift. We’re very happy with the quality of the work and our units are now occupied. I found it easy to work with council and I’ve since noticed an increased number of people shopping in the area.”