Linen Quarter BID proposes new Belfast boardwalks to help hospitality businesses

An impression of how Brunswick Street in Belfast could look under the Linden Quarter BID proposals.
Ryan McAleer

A NUMBER of proposals have been raised to convert significant parts of south Belfast and the city centre to respond to the impact of coronavirus.

The Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) has raised the potential of transforming on-street parking bays into a pedestrian boardwalk that could weave from Belfast City Hall to Shaftesbury Square.

The BID has also proposed the installation of roadside ‘parklets’ with benches and planting; and development of a new social hub at Brunswick Street, close to a series of popular bars, restaurants and hotels.

General manager at Maldron Hotel in Belfast, Mike Gatt said the proposals would be welcomed by hospitality businesses in the immediate area, potentially creating “enormous benefits”.

“The scheme would bring much needed footfall to the area and provide a safe and attractive environment for people to socialise,” he said.

“The outdoor space would support social distancing and help sustain local hospitality during these challenging times.”

The proposals follow moves by Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to pedestrianise a number of streets in the Cathedral Quarter, and develop new cycle lanes in the city.

The Linen Quarter BID has specifically identified around 70 parking bays along the western side of Linenhall Street, Linenhall Street West, and western side of Dublin Road. The business group states this would create a continuous ‘pedestrian highway’ with widened pavements that can be used for pavement cafes, children’s play features and other outdoor activities.

It has said the partial closure of underused roads and associated on-street car parking could facilitate the creation of additional large-scale pedestrianised spaces, which in turn could be adapted with raised platforms for al fresco dining and other family friendly features.

Chris McCracken, managing director of LQ BID said: “We want to see a Linen Quarter characterised by cycling greenways, improved pedestrianisation, and more vibrant social space. A re-imagined city centre is a once in a generation opportunity, and we hope our ideas positively contribute to the current debate.”

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