Open Ormeau can benefit all

Alliance Councillor Eric Hanvey has said plans to open ‘Open Ormeau’ are a fantastic opportunity to drive footfall back to the area, a move which will only benefit the local community.

The initiative aims to see the four lane road reduced to two at a key section, with the extra lanes utilised by businesses and pedestrians as the area builds its new normal in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throwing his support behind the scheme, Eric said it combines the best elements of recent governmental advice – namely allowing for greater confidence to shop local, improving our health through active travel and having a positive impact on reducing pollution.

He added: “Communities need to think differently as we continue to fight this global pandemic, which sadly has already claimed many businesses. Open Ormeau is just that – an innovative idea that could become a blueprint for how community led projects should work going forward.

“I want to congratulate everyone who has worked hard with the aim of transforming the quality of life here on the Ormeau Road. If this goes ahead local businesses will be able to confidently make use of outdoor space, while being confident that the correct access is in place to allow everyone to follow the social distancing guidelines.

“The consultation has been extensive, but to anyone who still has concerns please gets involved in the on-going discussion as the aim is to make sure no businesses are negatively affected by this plan.

“We have a great community on the Ormeau Road, a community which came together to work together to help each other throughout the Covid-19 crisis. This is our chance to ensure we continue to help sustain our community and I’m excited to see the trail process begin.

“This is the right initiative, at the right time, and I would ask the Department for Infrastructure and Belfast City Council to do everything to let these trials go forward. The ambitions of the latest plan for Open Ormeau are measured and achievable and reflect the outcome of real community consultation.”