Date: 28 Feb 2022
Category: City regeneration and development
The opening of the £5.1 million EU-funded Forth Meadow Community Greenway has moved a step closer with work starting on the next two sections of the project.
Sections 3 and 4 of the scheme will connect Springfield Road, the Whiterock Community Corridor, Falls Park and Bog Meadows Nature Reserve. It will include upgrades to pathways, the installation of new visitor information and wayfinding signage, new street furniture, enhancements to road junctions and improved crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.
The entrances to Falls Park will be enhanced, while a new walking and cycling path will connect the park to Springfield Road. Other work will see improvements within Ulster Wildlife’s Bog Meadows Nature Reserve, including improvements to paths, additional planting and lighting.
Welcoming the latest milestone in the project, Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl, said: “Forth Meadow Community Greenway is a transformative project for north and west Belfast which will help regenerate neighbourhoods along its 12-kilometre route, so I’m delighted that work is now progressing on these two major sections.
“Our vision is to create welcoming shared spaces and to connect communities. Alongside the physical works, we are delivering an exciting community outreach and activity programme, with the aim of increasing interaction between communities and improving relations.
“The greenway will also make a major contribution to people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing by encouraging them to get outdoors, get more active and socialise. I really look forward to seeing the greenway open, and I hope that it will encourage people from further afield to explore parts of the city that they might not have otherwise visited.”
Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA, said: “My Department is committed to developing more connected and engaged communities to create attractive, safe and sustainable places for people to live, work and visit. My Department contributed £500,000 to the greenway which will become a huge asset for local communities in terms of the improved physical environment, sustainable travel and improved health.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “The Forth Meadow Community Greenway is a key part of the Belfast Cycling Network: ‘Making Belfast an Active City’. I am delighted that my Department has committed funding of £750,000 towards this project. I want to do all I can to improve infrastructure in Belfast that will encourage more people to choose active modes of transport. When finished, this greenway will provide active travel links for communities in the north and west of the city and will enable people to change the way they travel and leave an enduring legacy to be enjoyed by future generations.”
Welcoming progress on the greenway Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the SEUPB said: “Unfortunately, within this region a large number of our citizens still continue to live side-by-side with no real opportunities to interact with each other. The EU PEACE IV Forth Meadow Community Greenway will help to address this issue by creating a fantastic new space that is welcoming to all and will encourage people from all backgrounds and cultures to socialise together. I am delighted to see that it is in its final stages of development and I look forward to its upcoming official launch towards the end of the year.”
Work on the final two sections of the greenway is due to get underway in the months ahead, with all work due to be finished before the end of the year. The final phases will see the creation of a new shared space on former industrial land between the lower Forth River and Springfield Road, plus the installation of wayfinding signage between Broadway Roundabout and the city centre.
The £5.1 million project is being delivered by Belfast City Council, 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.
For more information visit the Forth Meadow Community Greenway web page.