McCausland launches regeneration project for greater Ballysillan
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has launched a new project to develop detailed plans for the regeneration of the Greater Ballysillan area.
~ Thursday, 14 February 2013
The Greater Ballysillan Masterplan will set out a vision for a prosperous and vibrant revitalised area. The project aims to explore and address all major social, economic, environmental and spatial issues affecting the Greater Ballysillan community. Speaking about the Ballysillan area, the Minister said: “This area has suffered significantly as a result of the Troubles and the related issues of community segregation, urban decline and economic migration. Many parts of North Belfast have low rates of economic activity, low educational attainment, poor health rates and complex spatial and environmental issues when compared to other parts of the city or the region as a whole. The Greater Ballysillan Masterplan will look at the complex issues facing this community and provide evidence-based, sustainable solutions.”
Speaking about the far-reaching potential of the project, the Minister continued: “For me, one of the most important strands of this work is looking at potential to create a new civic and commercial centre at Ballysillan Playing Fields. A civic centre at this location could bring improved retail, leisure and recreation provision as well as enhanced local services to the very heart of the Ballysillan community. I want to put community engagement at the centre of this masterplanning process, so the first thing we will be doing is seeking the views of local people on what changes they would like to see in their area and what services would be meaningful to them at a new local centre.”
The Minister has established a Project Reference Group made up of local community and elected representatives that will be tasked with working with consultants to design an intensive community engagement strategy to feed into the project.
Notes to editors:
1. A competition is under way at present to appoint consultants to undertake preparation of the Greater Ballysillan Masterplan. A final appointment will be made in the next month. Consultants will be working to a six month programme to bring the Masteplan to final draft stage.
2. The key objectives of the Masterplan are to:
- Articulate all of the major social, economic, environmental and spatial issues faced by the community of the wider Ballysillan area (including the distinctive traits that have shaped the character of the area).
- Present a future vision of a prosperous and vibrant area served by a new local centre that has the support of all relevant stakeholders.
- Identify and prioritise specific regeneration proposals addressing the complex social, community, economic and environmental issues faced by this community.
- Make detailed proposals for the development of a new shared and sustainable civic and commercial heart serving the Greater Ballysillan community and adjacent neighbourhoods incorporating improved services, retail, leisure and recreation.
3. The Project Reference Group is composed of local community and elected representatives. Its role will be to advise the Department on emerging proposals, act as a conduit for community views and work with consultants to design an intensive community engagement strategy.
4. The initial target area is given below: however, consultants will be tasked with identifying a final target area as part of their commission.
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