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Belfast city centre landmark buoys may be moved

By Rebecca Black

Published 12/05/2016

Buoys at Buoy Park in Belfast
Buoys at Buoy Park in Belfast

Three buoys on display in Belfast city centre for decades could be set for a move.

The buoys have sat as public works of art at Cathedral Gardens beside St Anne's Cathedral since the 1980s.

Despite being such landmarks of the area that the location is informally known as Buoy Park, they could move across the river.

Belfast City Council is in discussions about gifting the buoys to Titanic Quarter as part of a plan to redevelop Cathedral Gardens under Stormont's Streets Ahead programme.

Councillors discussed the plan and agreed to recommend to their strategic policy and resources committee that the buoys be given to Titanic Foundation Ltd.

Councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnston said: "The buoys were gifted to the council in the 1980s in recognition of our maritime history.

"The rationale for the relocation is linked to the redevelopment of Cathedral Gardens as part of the Belfast Streets Ahead public realm scheme. This scheme aims to create a predominately green space to provide relief from the urban landscape.

"In keeping with the recognition of our maritime history, it is believed the buoys would take pride of place in the Titanic Quarter, given its proximity to water and the relevance of the buoys as a navigational aid."

The move must be agreed by the strategic policy and resources committee and the full council.

The idea is to help the Titanic Foundation "develop and promote Queen's Island as an authentic maritime heritage destination and shared space".

The buoys are believed to be more than 50 years old and are of the type used in local waters.

They were presented to the council by the Commissioner for Irish Lights in recognition of the port and maritime tradition of the city, and were used as a feature within a then new scheme for Cathedral Gardens.

They were repainted in 2009, but the colours chosen were seen as controversial as they were not in line with the colours used to mark the buoys when they served as navigation aids.

They were repainted two years ago in the authentic colours.

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