Belfast gets £ 500,000 walking social center with cafe, outdoor seating and French pétanque court
A new promenade area for outdoor hospitality will be unveiled at Linenhall Street in Belfast city center next month when it is hoped that lockdown restrictions will be relaxed.
This is part of a £ 0.5million project involving the Linen Quarter Belfast (Bid) improvement district to create more outdoor space in the city center as businesses and society emerge from the lockdown .
And in May, a parklet – a semi-enclosed outdoor space – will be set up outside the BBC with bike and plant stands. There are plans for wider sidewalks and outdoor artwork on Adelaide Street during the summer.
Bid said the plans for Blackstaff Square and Brunswick Street represented his “biggest intervention”. The area between Great Victoria Street and Bedford Street will feature gravel ground for French boules, a social center, container bar-café, 160 outdoor seats and a stage for entertainment.
Chris McCracken said: “Brunswick Street Social will become one of Belfast’s most exciting new spaces, bringing people back to the city center to enjoy a program of film festivals, food events and live music when that is certain. ”
But in an article for BelfastTelegraph.co.uk, Mr McCracken said a longer-term approach to improving the city was also needed.
He said the city should appoint its own architect to lead the redevelopment after the pandemic.
He suggested freeing up street parking as a green and social space, moving the parking lot to more than several floors.
He writes: “Over the past five years Belfast has been successful in attracting urban regeneration and investment. We have been less good in terms of urban renewal and quality of life.
“The focus is on bringing residential investment into the downtown area, but not so much on the support facilities – playgrounds, schools and surgeries – that communities need.”
And he said residential development in the city center shouldn’t just focus on homes for professionals.
“And before new developments are approved, we should have space standards and mixed tenures in place. We need to create appropriate housing for people and not just professional pied-à-terre.”
And it was crucial to focus more on mixed-use development, with a need for an architect focused solely on planning Belfast’s future.
“Why doesn’t Belfast have an urban architect? Why don’t we have sustainable building standards? Why have we invested too much in monofunctional neighborhoods that have pushed the creative sector from the heart of our city? ” he writes
“We need to put more emphasis on mixed-use developments that work with the grain of our city, renewing communities and respecting the crucial role of arts and culture.
The Linen Quarter Bid worked on projects with the Department for Infrastructure, Department for Communities and Belfast City Council.
He said he would spend £ 0.5million in total on “tactical regeneration.”
Bid conducted an online consultation at the end of last year to seek opinions on his proposals for improving public spaces.
He said the consultation revealed “overwhelming public demand for a change in Belfast’s urban environment”.
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