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Waterfront development must be welcoming

Published 06/02/2012

With regard to the Waterfront redevelopment proposals, I consider that the proactive investment initiatives from Belfast City Council are potentially positive moves for the city (News, February 1).

But cautionary lessons on the ways to - or not to - develop must be learned from examples like Laganside and along Chichester Street for Victoria Square, where blank walls and service entrances dominate the street fronts.

Presently, quality public space remains secondary to car park entrances, surface parking and drop-off zones.

The inhospitable barrier of traffic along Donegall Quay, Bridge End and Oxford Street hems in the entire riverfront. The message from these priorities is that they are not places to enjoy, but are somewhere to pass through on the way to somewhere else.

This hardly seems a recipe for long term cultural or commercial success for these areas of the city.

This seems to be one chance for Belfast's councillors to be brave enough to see how focusing on investing in buildings for business tourists could be used to give Belfast a more vibrant, (re)connected and integrated public waterfront.

Are enough professionals, communities and government leaders ready to work together effectively to deliver on the rhetoric?

SAUL GOLDEN RSUA, RIBA

Belfast

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