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Generational opportunity to shape a more liveable city through ‘A Bolder Vision’

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Date: 27 Oct 2022

Category: City regeneration and development

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd and Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Tina Black standing outside Belfast City Hall.

The Ministers for Infrastructure and Communities and Belfast City Council have committed to delivering 'A Bolder Vision for Belfast'.

The Ministers for Infrastructure and Communities and Belfast City Council have committed to delivering “A Bolder Vision for Belfast”.

The Bolder Vision Strategy, which is currently being finalised, will set out a joint vision and an agreed approach by the Departments and Council. It will be the blueprint for major investment decisions on the delivery of all current and future planning, regeneration and infrastructure projects across our city.

The Bolder Vision Strategy will be supported by an action plan which will detail placemaking interventions that will deliver the vision and transform how communities are connected in Belfast, by linking the universities, reclaiming streets and spaces, and embracing the River Lagan.

It will challenge us collectively to ensure that our projects and interventions are sufficiently future-proofed, by ensuring we embed climate solutions. It will also challenge us to be innovative, ambitious and responsive so that we are able to provide streets for people while simultaneously facilitating effective public transportation connections in the heart of our city.

Working in partnership with stakeholders, investors and local communities, the two Departments in association with Belfast City Council, will implement A Bolder Vision, as the pre-eminent policy for place-based infrastructure investment decisions, to transform Belfast into a more accessible, attractive, vibrant and globally competitive city.

Minister for Infrastructure John O’Dowd said: “The last three years have demonstrated how much has changed in relation to how we live, travel, work and shop. To make the most of that change for the benefit of all the people who live in, work in and visit Belfast, we must be ambitious and continue to seize every opportunity for further transformation.

“A Bolder Vision shows what we can achieve through genuine partnership working for everyone’s benefit. We have listened to the public and the appetite for change is resounding. There will be new opportunities and challenges ahead, but together, we will transform Belfast into a greener, safer, more liveable and people-focused city. It will be well-connected within itself and further afield by road, rail and sea; an attractive place to live, work, study, visit and invest.”

Deirdre Hargey, Communities Minister said: “We all recognise what a great city Belfast is.  It has come a long way and everyone should be proud of what has been achieved.  Like all cities it faces challenges which we are committed to addressing.

“I want the Belfast of the future to be a more liveable and vibrant city for all.  This Bolder Vision has the potential to transform the heart of Belfast to create sustainable, attractive, liveable places where people and businesses thrive. 

“A Bolder Vision sets out an ambitious framework for the future regeneration of the city centre.  It will define the principles that will guide regeneration projects including our major public realm schemes that my department is taking forward over the next few years.  Many believe that the regeneration activities of the past have had the effect of creating severance between Belfast city centre and the surrounding communities, this strategy is a bold step towards addressing that situation and will create the infrastructure and conditions to reconnect those communities to their city centre.

“A Bolder Vision provides a blueprint for working collaboratively to create a vibrant and sustainable city centre.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Tina Black, said: “The public response to our Bolder Vision consultation showed overwhelming support for radical change. While we recognise there will be challenges ahead, we are committed to collaborative working to unlock our city’s potential and deliver on our climate obligations, and we’re determined to see Belfast achieve its potential as a vibrant, competitive city. Our aspiration is for a clearly defined and recognisable civic spine that is configured to prioritise space for people yet also supports effective access by public transport.

“Our Bolder Vision is the lens through which all current and future city infrastructure decisions must be made as we seek to diversify the city centre for new uses that support our goal to increase city centre living. We want to create greener, more vibrant streets and spaces - places for people to linger and meet up, where families can relax and children can play. With that in mind, we want our city centre to support and encourage sustainable living, making it easier for people to make sustainable choices in how they live and move around the city. This includes prioritising streets for people and new uses whilst also ensuring effective public transport connections at key nodes. We also have ambitions to increase leisure and tourism opportunities, as well as maximising opportunities arising from the Belfast Region City Deal programme of investment.”

All three organisations have committed to A Bolder Vision as the strategy to inform current and future placemaking opportunities and infrastructure decisions and will continue to work together on the transformation of the city centre so that it is more people-focused, supporting the diversification of uses and increasing city centre living.

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