SOCIAL Development Minister Nelson McCausland has launched a new project to develop detailed plans for the regeneration of the Greater Ballysillan area.
The ‘Greater Ballysillan Masterplan’ will set out a vision for a prosperous and vibrant revitalised area.
The project aims to explore and address all major social, economic, environmental and spatial issues affecting the Greater Ballysillan community.
Speaking about the Ballysillan area, the Minister said: “This area has suffered significantly as a result of the Troubles and the related issues of community segregation, urban decline and economic migration.
“Many parts of North Belfast have low rates of economic activity, low educational attainment, poor health rates and complex spatial and environmental issues when compared to other parts of the city or the region as a whole.
“The Greater Ballysillan Masterplan will look at the complex issues facing this community and provide evidence-based, sustainable solutions.”
The North Belfast DUP MLA said: “For me, one of the most important strands of this work is looking at potential to create a new civic and commercial centre at Ballysillan Playing Fields.
“A civic centre at this location could bring improved retail, leisure and recreation provision as well as enhanced local services to the very heart of the Ballysillan community.
“I want to put community engagement at the centre of this masterplanning process, so the first thing we will be doing is seeking the views of local people on what changes they would like to see in their area and what services would be meaningful to them at a new local centre.”
The Minister has established a ‘Project Reference Group’ made up of local community and elected representatives that will be tasked with working with consultants to design an intensive community engagement strategy to feed into the project.