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Work begins on £2.9m shared space project in south Belfast

Date: 01 May 2024

Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Aine Groogan with NI Executive Junior Ministers and two reps from Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group

Work has got underway on an ambitious £2.9 million redevelopment project aimed at improving community relations in south Belfast.

Once completed, the former Lockhouse will be reimagined into a vibrant community café, training and exhibition and good relations space situated along the Lagan Towpath.

The transformation which is being delivered by Belfast City Council will complement the work being delivered through the community garden and men’s shed, which have already opened.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Áine Groogan said: “The Lockhouse redevelopment and community garden will be fantastic community resources which will contribute to the ongoing regeneration of the area and support wider ambitious long-term plans to create a world class waterfront in Belfast.

“This section of the river will be transformed by this development and an exciting, complementary project to develop a water activity hub beside the Lockhouse at McConnell’s Lock – a project the council is delivering in partnership with Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group (LORAG) through our Neighbourhood Regeneration Fund.”

Junior Minister Aisling Reilly said: “It has been so inspiring to hear about the incredible work being carried out by LORAG to create vibrant and welcoming spaces for people of all backgrounds to come together. I am delighted that the Urban Villages Initiative is playing a key part in that work through the redevelopment of the former Lockhouse.

“This redevelopment has already transformed an unused green space into a community area for outdoor recreation and education. I have no doubt this will be a great asset for the whole community in this part of South Belfast, and I look forward to returning to see the completed project in 2025.”

Junior Minister Pam Cameron said: “I am delighted that we are able to support this important development through the Urban Villages Initiative. The new extended Lockhouse will be a vibrant social space for the wider local community.

“This Healthy Living Community Hub will be a valuable new resource for the area and will enable the Group to provide much-needed community space where organisations can meet and host a wide range of community initiatives and events.

“The redeveloped Lockhouse will be an extension of the work already being carried out by the Group, which for over 30 years has supported the residents and community of the Lower Ormeau area of South Belfast.”

A spokesperson for Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group said: “LORAG welcomes the start of this exciting new development of a Healthy Living Hub within the Lower Ormeau. We thank those funders who have embraced our vision to improve health and wellbeing of the local community.

“The development will offer access to a fabulous building encompassing the old Lockhouse, transforming the house into a beautiful riverside café, fabulous conference room, alongside two multi-purpose spaces with access to the community garden and shed with panoramic views of the River Lagan and the Belfast Old Industrial skyline.”

Funding for the project has been through a collaborative partnership between The Executive Office, Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and Belfast City Council.

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