Date: 28 May 2021
Work to create an EU PEACE IV-funded community greenway connecting parks and open spaces along a 12 kilometre route in north and west Belfast is moving ahead at pace, with major works set to begin.
Forth Meadow Community Greenway will create shared paths and cycle ways starting at Clarendon Playing Fields and ending at the new Transport Hub in the city centre, with enhancements to key locations along the route.
Following the recent upgrade to Springfield Dam, work on the first major section of the greenway is starting between Glencairn and Ballygomartin. New paths, lighting and seating areas will be installed in Glencairn and Forthriver Parks and Glencairn Park will also get a new entrance. Other work will see improvements to Forthriver Linear Park’s existing path and the footbridge at Forthriver Way which will be refurbished.
Welcoming the commencement of work, Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey, said: “There has been a great deal of interest in Forth Meadow Community Greenway since we announced detailed plans for it last autumn and I’m delighted that work is about to start on the first major section.
“As well as regenerating neighbourhoods, we hope that the greenway will help to improve community relations by creating a welcoming and safe shared space. We are delivering an exciting events and outreach programme along the route in parallel with the capital project to encourage residents to interact with one another and make more use of facilities in neighbouring areas.
“Walking and cycling are more popular than ever, so when it is completed in 2022, this will be a superb asset for local communities along its 12 kilometre route. This is a transformative project for north and west Belfast and I really look forward to seeing it completed.”
Belfast City Council is delivering the £5.1 million project, with funding provided by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), the Department for Communities and the Department for Infrastructure. The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland have provided support for the PEACE IV element of the project.
Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, said: “It is excellent to see work starting on this project that will provide a high quality, shared space for the community to use together. Following the successful completion of the Springfield Dam development, this project is another tremendous example of how my Department is committed to working with others to deliver for local neighbourhoods.
“This scheme will deliver tangible benefits for the people and communities of north and west Belfast.
“The provision of a new active travel route to the city centre will not only improve the physical environment and connections between local communities but will encourage physical activity for healthier living.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “The Forth Meadow Community Greenway is one of the projects that I am supporting through my Department’s Blue/Green Infrastructure Fund, so I am delighted to see construction commence. This 12km urban greenway will connect the communities of North and West Belfast to the city centre, giving people the freedom and confidence to walk, cycle or wheel as part of their everyday routine. Now, more than ever, we are embracing active travel as a quick, easy and safe means of getting around our city. The Forth Meadow Community Greenway will ultimately create public spaces to enhance our quality of life and leave an enduring legacy to be enjoyed by future generations. I look forward to seeing the project when it is completed.”
Commenting on the importance of the project Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the SEUPB said: “As a result of our shared past, many sections of our society still remain divided; living, working and socialising separately from each other. This only serves to increase mistrust and tensions and does not allow people to challenge their own prejudices and misconceptions. This PEACE IV funded project will help to start a process of change, by opening up new spaces that will encourage greater levels of positive cross-community contact. I am delighted to see that work will now begin on this greenway and I look forward to the day that citizens will be able to use it safely.”
For more information visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/forthmeadow