10/11/2014

Visitor Centre Planned For East Belfast

A new visitor centre has been announced for east Belfast.

The centre will be located at the Holywood Arches on the Newtownards Road next to the new C.S. Lewis Civic Square that is due to be developed as part of the Connswater Community Greenway project.

It is part financed by the EU Sustainable Competitiveness Programme and administered by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The project is also funded by Belfast City Council, through its Local Investment Fund, and Landmark East.

Hall Black Douglas Architects have undertaken the architectural design, while Hall McKnight Architects were responsible for architectural design to planning stage.

Maurice Kinkead, Chief Executive of East Belfast Partnership, said: "With support from Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, we are developing tourism under the EastSide brand. The visitor centre will be at the heart of this new initiative, leading to increased visitor numbers and providing a real boost to the local economy."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "I am delighted that the Northern Ireland Tourist Board has been able to support the development of the new visitor centre. I am sure this new landmark building will bring the spotlight to east Belfast, helping to educate and celebrate the rich historical and cultural heritage of the area. The addition of the centre and development of this vibrant and busy area of the city will help to attract visitors and facilitate local school groups and community events."

"This is the latest step in a number of positive improvements to east Belfast, building upon the great work delivered through the first phase of the Connswater Community Greenway and complementing the exciting plans for the next stage of work," said Councillor Lee Reynolds, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

"As one of the biggest recipients of our Local Investment Fund, with an award of £250,000, the visitor centre has the potential to make a real and lasting difference to the wider community, as well as offering a ‘one shop stop’ for visitors to this part of our city."

The visitor centre is due to be completed in July 2015, with the new C.S. Lewis Civic Square being completed by early 2016.

(IT/MH)

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