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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Belfast Harbour reveals plans for major urban garden investment

Belfast Harbour has unveiled plans for a multi-million pound investment in its public space to create a vibrant new ‘green’ urban garden for the city.

Known as City Quays Gardens, the proposed investment will develop new public space for local and visiting communities which will blend the rich industrial and maritime heritage of the area with an innovative and sustainable design.

The City Quays Gardens project will be delivered in a number of phases, with a £3 million phase one investment focusing on the creation of a 0.8 hectare/2-acre green public space on land adjacent to the City Quays buildings and the historic Belfast Harbour Offices.

With sustainability and environmental excellence as a key design focus, the City Quays Gardens will be developed to achieve the ‘One Planet Living’ environmental accreditation, a first in Northern Ireland. The Gardens will incorporate an eco-conscious design and create new habitats for wildlife; enhancing biodiversity and utilising renewable solar energy to provide all power requirements.

The new Gardens will blend the maritime heritage of the site with sustainable design, featuring richly planted green spaces with seating, extensive tree planting, events lawns with amphitheatre seating and outdoor workspace with publicly available 5G WiFi.

The project is also designed to help promote active and sustainable travel, reconnecting the National Cycle Network by incorporating an off-road alternative cycle route along the City’s waterfront. The project will also improve pedestrian and cycle connections within close proximity to a range of public transport halts, including York Street Railway station.

Belfast Harbour is working closely with Maritime Belfast Trust and Belfast City Council to ensure that the new space can be animated with events, activities and historic trails and that it seamlessly integrates with the Maritime Mile and other public space developments within the City.

Commenting on the plans, Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour said:

“Our ‘Port for Everyone’ vision is to develop an iconic waterfront for the city, working with partners to create a vibrant space that all communities can enjoy, and making Belfast Harbour an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest.

“This investment will transform the public space around City Quays, making it an attractive leisure space for visitors and better connecting the Harbour Estate to our neighbouring communities and the city core. With our strong focus on bio-diversity, we believe that the new Gardens will contribute to Belfast Harbour’s sustainability goal of reaching net zero carbon by 2030 and enhance the wellbeing of local communities and visitors alike.

“We are really excited about this project and look forward to engaging fully with our neighbours, tenants, partners and the wider community to hear their views on our plans for City Quays Gardens and will of course engage with Belfast City Council throughout the process.”

Supporting today’s announcement, Ian Humphreys from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:

“The pandemic has reinforced the importance of nature and spending time outdoors and we welcome that City Quays Gardens will offer a new space to promote community gathering in the City.

“Incorporating key biodiversity in an urban area has never been more important and the new City Quays Gardens will create a green space which not only enhances the environment but can also support the health and wellbeing of those who use it.”

A voluntary public consultation has commenced, ahead of a Planning Application being submitted to Belfast City Council. Subject to Planning Approval the project will begin development in 2022.


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