Alliance North Belfast Councillor Nuala McAllister has expressed concern over the future revitalisation chances for a local area after the Department for Social Development (DSD) pulled out of a £300 million development project there.
The Northside regeneration scheme was designed to help reinvigorate the area between lower Royal Avenue and Carrickhill. The DSD has stated it has no alternative plans at this stage, but added it is committed to regeneration for the area.
Councillor McAllister said she has been liaising with officials to ensure the Northside area would not be left on the sidelines following the decision.
“This news raises many concerns over the future of much-needed regeneration for Northside. Whatever the next step, we need to ensure any scheme is viable, has community buy-in and attracts inward investment.
“We must now work to find out what went on here and learn from the mistakes. This also raises an opportunity to ensure any future plans for Northside include the built heritage of our area – something that should not be missing from regeneration. This is not simply a matter for the Executive but also Belfast City Council, who will continue to work to ensure city centre regeneration commitments are met.
“Northside has been in dire need of a massive amount of regeneration for a long time. This was an opportunity to truly transform things and while it is incredibly disappointing it won’t be happening, we need to move forward in a more realistic way to deliver for North Belfast.
“There needs to be a focus on this area of North Belfast and we need to invest in it in a way which brings together the community, businesses, tourism and other interests for the benefit of everyone there.”