04/11/2010

Robinson Welcomes Connswater Parkway

A multi-million pound inner city linear parkway project has received a fillip with news that the construction contracts for the innovative Connswater Community Greenway have now been awarded.

New bridges, riverside walkways and cycleways are to be built along the banks of the Connswater, Knock and Loop rivers in east Belfast as part of the scheme.

First Minister Peter Robinson (pictured) has welcomed the announcement that SIAC (NI) Ltd and Galliford Try Infrastructure have been awarded the contract to develop the imaginative project.

Having supported and encouraged the scheme from its first inception, the DUP First Minister and East Belfast MLA said that the project represented a significant investment in the local economy.

Speaking at the Connswater riverside site, Mr Robinson said: "I welcome this milestone in the development of the Connswater Community Greenway and East Belfast Flood Alleviation project.

"This major regeneration scheme represents a significant financial investment of some £32m and I congratulate the East Belfast Partnership for their initiative in bringing this innovative project forward.

"The Greenway project will make a major contribution to the enhancement of the physical landscape and the restoration of the rivers in east Belfast, and this enhanced environment will in turn benefit the health and well being of local residents.

"In these financially difficult times, it is very gratifying indeed to be making a positive announcement which not only offers the prospect of bringing jobs to the east Belfast area but will, on completion, leave a lasting benefit for the whole community," he said.

The Connswater Community Greenway and East Belfast Flood Alleviation scheme is being funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council and the Belfast Regeneration Office of the Department for Social Development as well as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Rivers Agency.

Work on the project will commence in November 2010 with many construction jobs being created. The entire project it is expected to be completed by July 2013.

The developers said it will improve the lives of thousands of people in the area, and is aimed at spurring economic development and cross-community relations.

Kieran Doyle, Regional Director for SIAC (NI) Ltd described the contract his firm has won - which has an estimated value of up to £21m - as a major boost to the struggling construction sector in Northern Ireland.

The told UTV: "This contract is a major win, and is a welcome boost to our ongoing operations and expansion in Northern Ireland.

"For this project that will mean working closely with the client, their representatives, government departments, local councils and the communities involved. We will also be seeking to ensure that the project provides local employment opportunities where possible."

David Bevan, Managing Director of UK-wide building firm Galliford Try Infrastructure added: "We are delighted to have secured such a significant scheme and for the opportunity to increase the geographical spread of our operations while drawing on our civil engineering experience of similar regeneration schemes elsewhere in the UK."

The project will include a 9km linear park and wildlife corridor, 16kms of foot and cycle paths and 40 new or improved bridges.

Improved flood defences are also planned as part of the scheme. They will be project managed by city-based consultancy group McAdam Design Limited.

(BMcC/GK)

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