Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Viewpoint: A Titanic vision

Councillors in Belfast, as this newspaper reveals today, are pondering whether to invest £10 million of ratepayers' money into the proposed big Titanic tourist attraction.

As they weigh the evidence, the hard-headed question on ratepayers' lips will be: Will we get a return for our money that is worth the investment?

It is a very valid question. The TSP plan is to create a £90m iconic building at the heart of Titanic Quarter that will act as a world class cultural space and must-see tourist attraction that aims to achieve for Belfast something like what the Guggenheim art gallery has done for Bilbao.

So is it worth the risk? The TSP vision is bold and inclusive, most of its funding is already in place and Belfast has dreadfully neglected its Titanic legacy.

Obviously, public money should never be disbursed without a compelling business case. The TSP appears, at this stage, to meet these criteria and is worthy of support £ subject, of course, to rigorous and on-going accountability.

There will doubtless be cries of 'Millennium Dome' from some quarters.

It is important to remember, however, that the Waterfront Hall had its detractors, but now stands as proof that visionary, publicly-funded projects can be successful.

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