Business

Belfast Harbour reveals plans for major urban garden investment

Artist's impression of the proposed new City Quays Gardens
Gary McDonald Business Editor

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

The proposed City Quays Gardens will develop new public space which will blend the rich industrial and maritime heritage of the area with an innovative and sustainable design.

The scheme, which will begin next year subject to planning approvals, will be delivered in a number of phases, with £3 million being spent initially to create a two-acre green public space on land adjacent to the City Quays buildings and historic Belfast Harbour Offices.

City Quays 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 project 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 wi-fi.

And it will also improve pedestrian and cycle connections within close proximity to a range of public transport halts, including York Street Railway station.

Belfast Harbour chief executive Joe O’Neill 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 the 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.

“And with our strong focus on biodiversity, 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.”

Artist's impression of the proposed new City Quays Gardens

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 begun (www.cqgardens.co.uk) ahead of a planning application being submitted to Belfast City Council, with a consultation webinar arranged for October 13 at 6pm.

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