Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Zipline across Lagan and other plans to revitalise Belfast's Queen's Quay

Multi-million pound scheme to revitalise Queen's Quay

An artist's impression of the proposal for Queen's Quay

People will be able to zipline across Belfast's River Lagan as part of a major new development plan.

The unusual proposal for this permanent visitor activity is part of a multi-million masterplan to revitalise the Queen's Quay site on the Lagan's east bank.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland unveiled the finalised plan yesterday, which details creating a cosmopolitan riverside frontage by 2022, as well as better links along the Lagan's east bank into the centre of Belfast.

Mr McCausland said his department will develop three key areas of works in the short-term, which include public realm improvements, an upgrade of the Lagan Walkway Bridge and provision of the zipline/viewing tower.

However, these will be taken forward subject to the necessary business cases and available funding. The Queen's Quay plan sets out a phased implementation of this site in recognition of the market conditions and the preparatory works that are required pre-development.

The overall design concept from Station Street – which requires the removal of the flyover there – will continue with the maritime theme and resemble the hull of a wooden ship, to create an improved visual environmental landscape.

Viewed as the final part of the redevelopment of the Laganside area of the city, the first phase of the masterplan proposes the creation of an integrated cycle lane and new areas of grassed public spaces as a range of public realm improvements.

However, later phases of the masterplan propose a mixed use approach including a four-star hotel, residential use and a food and beverage provision along the waterfront at the former Howden Sirocco works.

Outline planning permission for 2,000 residential units, two hotels, more than 6,000 sq ms of office space, with cafes/restaurants and a supermarket had been granted to the Carvill Group in 2011, which later went into administration.

Along with the zipline, there are also proposals for an urban park and outdoor amphitheatre underneath the M3 bridge with a coloured lighting installation to attract a mixture of leisure users.

It is planned that infrastructure works to remove the Station Street flyover and to start public realm works will run from next year to 2016, and a development partner selected from 2015-16.

The phased implementation of the commercial elements of the masterplan is planned to take place from 2017-2022.

QUOTES

Announcing the Queen's Quay masterplan, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: "The plan will enhance the economic and social development of Belfast's riverfront; its city centre; and adjacent neighbourhoods to the north and east of the site. This plan will complete a 25-year transformation of the area."