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Under-30s invited to discuss £400m Waterside scheme planned for Sirocco Works


Artist’s impressions of the Belfast Waterside scheme

Artist’s impressions of the Belfast Waterside scheme

Artist’s impressions of the Belfast Waterside scheme

Artist’s impressions of the Belfast Waterside scheme

Artist’s impressions of the Belfast Waterside scheme

Plans to transform the former Sirocco Engineering site in Belfast are moving forward as developers announced a series of public pre-application events and under-30s workshops.

The events will showcase four apartment blocks and a range of leisure outlets which make up the first residential phase at the £400m scheme.

The workshops will aim at opening up discussions with the generation that could live and work there when it is completed in 2023.

The latest release of plans are all part of the transformation of wasteland near the Short Strand area, converting it into 'Belfast Waterside'.

Four residential blocks housing 400 one to three-bed apartments, and 'a creative cluster' of leisure facilities at the heart of the site, make up that first residential phase.

The scheme - created by consortium Vanguard Real Estate, made up of two firms based in England and another based in Abu Dhabi - will also feature Grade A offices, a pedestrian and cycle bridge as well as community and cultural facilities which are expected to be unveiled in later stages. A total of 750 properties will be available should plans go ahead.

Pre-application events will run next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at The Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road, Short Strand Community Centre and Hilton Hotel at Lanyon Place.

And workshops targeted at people under 30 will take place straight after the Wednesday and Thursday events.

Turley, the planning professionals working alongside those behind the development, said the workshops will allow for a two-way conversation on the development and "how to make it as good as possible".

They follow on from more than 12 months of consultations with the community, elected representatives and Belfast City Council.

Chris Kane, chairman of Vanguard Real Estate, told Belfast Telegraph's sister publication Ulster Business that he hoped to achieve a "proper partnership between the public and private" sectors.

The Kildare man is also known for helping the BBC with the move of much of its operations to Salford.

He added: "If we get our act together, Belfast can be the best city on this island, if not in Europe or the rest of the world.

The potential is there - the workforce, the connectivity, the quality of life."

Mr Kane said that revised plans addressed any issues with original templates including "connectivity" and "being able to walk home safely at night, from the city centre".

"We want to put a spade in the ground this year, and complete by 2023. We have significant confidence in Northern Ireland. The city has huge advantage and will be hugely attractive to inward investment," he added.

Some 5,300 jobs will be created through the scheme.

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