End of road for rusting Troubles gates tarnishing the Golden Mile
One of the last sets of security gates in Belfast city centre is set to be removed.
The yellow gates at the Shaftesbury Square end of Donegall Pass were installed close to a former police station, which closed in 2012.
They previously helped secure the prime city centre location, but over the last decade have turned to rust.
Ulster Unionist councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon has claimed the gates are now an eyesore.
He has been in communication with a number of departments over several months in an attempt to have them removed. Mr Dudgeon said he understands the gates were put in place by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) during the early 1980s to protect the adjacent police station, and were part of a security chain of similar gates around Belfast city centre. The distinctive yellow gates were also a common sight in many towns across Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
Mr Dudgeon said this particular set have not been used for some years, and now that the police station they were installed to protect is gone, it makes even less sense to retain them.
The south Belfast representative has been making inquiries about the gates since September to the Department of Infrastructure, Department for Justice, the NIO and now the PSNI to request their removal.
"The PSNI has finally agreed to remove the dirty, rusting security gate that blocks the pavement at the top of Donegall Pass, opposite the old barracks," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"This will help improve the look of Shaftesbury Square and its environs, which need urgent action and early revitalisation as it is increasingly a dead zone."
Mr Dudgeon said he is now keen to push for further improvements to the area - which was once one of the liveliest in the city centre at the end of the so-called Golden Mile of Dublin Road.
A PSNI spokesman confirmed that the gates will be removed.
"The Police Service of Northern Ireland has consulted with the Northern Ireland Office and can confirm that an old security barrier on the Donegal Pass in Belfast will be removed at the earliest possible opportunity," he said.
The PSNI has appointed a contractor who will liaise with Transport NI to obtain a temporary footpath and road closures to facilitate the work.
The removal work should be completed shortly.