Public to get first sight of plans for £400m Sirocco scheme

Artist's impression of how the new Sirocco Quay might look
Gary McDonald Business Editor

PLANS for one of the biggest and most ambitious inner city development schemes ever undertaken in Belfast will go forward for public scrutiny from tomorrow.

Swinford (Sirocco) Limited, the company which plans to spend £400 million building shops, offices and houses on nearly 20 acres at the former Sirocco Works in the east of the city, will launch a series of community consultation exhibitions to engage with local communities and stakeholders.

The first takes place at the Short Strand community centre on Wednesday from 3pm until 8pm and will be followed by similar sessions at the Mount on Friday April 28 (3pm-8pm), the Belfast Hilton Hotel on May 2 (10am-3pm) and the Skainos Centre on May 4 (3pm-8pm).

The exhibitions are part of a community consultation process, a key part of the master plan application process, which is expected to be submitted in the next few months.

During the 12-week consultation process, Swinford (it is privately owned by St Francis Group, Graftongate and Gulf Resources Development and Investment) will have the development plans for the site on public display and will have representatives in attendance to explain the plans to members of the public and receive feedback.

Subject to planning approval the redevelopment of the land is expected to create 700,000 square feet of office space, a hotel, 815 homes (a mix of private, rental, social and affordable accommodation) as well as restaurants, pubs, shops and cafes.

Philip Silk, director of Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd, said: "We're delighted to be starting the community consultation process and look forward to engaging with local communities and stakeholders and receiving feedback from them.

"This development represents a great opportunity for local communities and indeed for Belfast city.

"The 815 new homes represent 2.2 per cent of the Belfast Agenda 2035 target, while the jobs created by the construction work and the new office space will make up around 11.5 per cent of the 46,000 new jobs Belfast City Council is seeking to create by 2035.''

He added: "We are part of Belfast Agenda and want to contribute to the vibrancy, economy and community of the city.''

When the scheme is complete by 2035, the new 'river-front district' - which will include a landmark pedestrian footbridge creating a dramatic new access from the Waterfront Hall - will employ more than 5,000 people, according to Swinford.

The former Sirocco site has changed hands several times over the last two decades, but has lain derelict all that time.


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