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Ritchie proposes 'New Neighbourhood' in west Belfast

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie today highlighted the potential to create a new neighbourhood in west Belfast.

The regeneration proposal would include new shops and leisure facilities, plus a mix of private, social and affordable housing in lands adjacent to the Glen Road and Monagh Bypass. The new neighbourhood could lead to 900 jobs and 1,400 new homes in the area.

The potential to create this new neighbourhood was highlighted in a report commissioned jointly by the Department for Social Development and the Strategic Investment Board.

The Minister will be seeking views of the local community on the regeneration concept. Margaret Ritchie said: “This part of west Belfast can be more than the sum of its parts – there is an opportunity to create a new neighbourhood and a new destination, drawing on modern sustainable design principles. I want to hear the views of local people on exactly what that neighbourhood could look like.”

Minister Ritchie will also be seeking the agreement of ministerial colleagues to establish a reference group to oversee the development of detailed proposals for the area.

Commenting on the potential social and economic benefits of the proposals, Margaret Ritchie said: “This is an opportunity to address some of the long-standing inequalities in west Belfast, not least by responding to housing need and creating job opportunities. In fact, current indications are that the coordinated development of this area could lead to the creation of 900 jobs and 1,400 homes.”

The Department is also progressing regeneration proposals for the Andersonstown Gateway, Lower Falls and Colin Town Centre areas of west Belfast.

Notes to editors:

1. The report is available on the DSD internet site at to external website

2. Key elements of the preferred development scenario, a sustainable urban extension, include:

  • establishing the Glen Road as a destination with a distinctive neighbourhood identity;
  • approximately 580 private housing units and 846 social/affordable housing units;
  • complementary employment-generating uses including a new area of small business and enterprise space fronting the Monagh Bypass and a retail-led development incorporating a supermarket and associated community, leisure and recreation uses (potentially providing 900 jobs);
  • a new network of high quality green space including a greenway linking recreation opportunities on the Belfast hills and Colin Glen to the west;
  • improved physical connections through the provision of rapid transit and improved vehicular access; and
  • exemplar education facilities linked to a new educational campus with shared facilities.

3. Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 9082 9078 or 07970 976894. Out of office hours please contact Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.