Belfast's derelict Lanyon tunnels to get £2.6m refurb funding
A NETWORK of derelict tunnels near Belfast city centre is to be given a new lease life as part of a major regeneration project.
The eight Lanyon Tunnels, which run under East Bridge Street, are to be developed into childcare facilities, commercial premises and one will be used to link the Markets area with the city centre.
The Stormont Executive has pledged £1.3 million towards the project with a further £1.3 million coming from Belfast City Council.
During a visit to the site, Stormont Junior Minister Megan Fearon said the development would bring economic and employment opportunities.
The Sinn Féin Minster said: "The executive's £1.3 million investment in the Lanyon Tunnels will help regenerate this historically significant site, benefiting the area economically and socially.
"As well as employment opportunities and increasing community services, the project will importantly remove the physical barrier between the Markets area and the city centre, improving mobility and access, and reconnecting the local community to the wider area."
The tunnels were originally used by cattle traders as holding pens for cattle on their way to the slaughterhouse but have not been used for more than 70 years.
They weave their way between the Markets area, connecting Belfast Central Station, St George's Market, the former Maysfield Leisure Centre site and Lanyon Place.
DUP Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: "The regeneration of the Lanyon Tunnels provides a great opportunity to create a real change for the better in an area of social and economic disadvantage.
"This exciting project has the potential to create jobs and increase community services while preserving an important historic landmark."