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Newtownards Road traders to celebrate upgrade works

A Special Christmas event on Friday, December 6 will mark the completion of much needed improvement works in the Newtownards Road area.

Traders are organising the event following the completion of the most recent phase of Belfast City Council's 'Renewing The Routes' programme.

This has brought improvements to shop fronts along the Newtownards Road from Bridge End to Witham Street and on the Ormeau Road from the Embankment to the Ravenhill Road roundabout.

Part of the council's £150 million investment programme, 'Renewing The Routes' is focused on supporting local businesses and addressing environmental degradation on Belfast's main arterial routes.

In this most recent phase of work, 69 businesses received a facelift, which consisted of work such as painting, new signage, or lighting and three environmental schemes were carried out on buildings.

Explaining the impact of the scheme, Karl Bennett, chairman of the Newtownards Road and Inner East Traders Association, said: "The recent 'Renewing The Routes' scheme has been an absolutely vital part in trying to make the Newtownards Roads, Albertbridge Road and Templemore Avenue an attraction, not just to customers but to other businesses that are looking to open for the first time, relocate or open another branch.

"The newly-lit signs are alive with colour, giving the road and traders a degree of confidence.

"Belfast City Council's programme is the first important step of what is a long term plan - a plan that we hope will see the road return close to its buoyancy of not so distant years gone by," he added.

Over the past nine years, the 'Renewing The Routes' programme has seen the council invest £6.6 million in a series of local regeneration projects on 13 main roads across Belfast – from the Grosvenor Road to Castlereagh Street, the Antrim Road to Sandy Row.

The various projects have included the renovation of more than 500 shop units and almost 100 arts, heritage and environmental projects.

Councillor Deirdre Hargey, chairwoman of the council's Development Committee, pointed out that all the projects had been delivered with the full co-operation and assistance of the local communities involved.

"The programme was set up to address environmental degradation on Belfast's main roads and bolster economic and physical regeneration, and as such it takes a bottom up and hands on, localised approach to regeneration and works directly with local communities, businesses and statutory agencies in developing innovative and flexible working partnerships."

Traders will celebrate the completion of this latest tranche of work with Friday's event.

Mr Bennett said: "This is an event that we as traders are putting on to give a little back to the public who have and still continue to support the traders."

Belfast Telegraph