15/09/2006

Laganside Corporation to close in 2007

The Laganside Corporation is to draw to a close on March 31 2007 - after 18-years of reshaping the Belfast riverside area.

Social Development Minister David Hanson today made the announcement and added that the corporation’s assets and responsibilities will initially be transferred to the Department for Social Development (DSD).

The Minister said: "Laganside will reach the £1 billion investment mark by March 2007 and I am satisfied that it has completed its regeneration remit. It is therefore appropriate to return the Laganside area to the management of DSD. I have today published for consultation the Draft Laganside Dissolution Order.

“Laganside will leave behind a significant legacy of achievement: a rejuvenated riverfront and 14,700 jobs.”

The Minister continued by saying that land holdings, development agreements and statutory responsibilities will also transfer to DSD and be managed by the Belfast City Centre Regeneration Directorate which will also administer Laganside’s funding support for the arts and community sectors.

He continued: “DSD and Belfast City Council are continuing to explore the possibility of the Council taking ownership and statutory responsibility for the public assets and the management of the river.

“The opportune time to do this would be at the transfer of functions to local government in 2009, set out in the Review of Public Administration, subject to approval by Parliament. In the meantime DSD has invited the Council to establish a Service Delivery Agreement under which the Council would manage the Laganside area on behalf of DSD and DSD will be the recipient body for Laganside’s assets and function.

He continued: “Laganside has been a tremendous success and I congratulate all involved. However, the challenge ahead for the Department and the City is to ensure that regenerated riverfront and Cathedral Quarter are successfully integrated with the City Centre where significant regeneration is already under way at Victoria Square and there are exciting plans for the North East Quarter.”

(EF/SP)

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