Belfast city centre’s historic entries have been celebrated at the all-Ireland CBRE and Urban Land Institute Excellence in Placemaking Awards.
The Belfast Entries project, which to date has transformed seven historic entries and laneways, picked up the Ulster region award in the public-private partnership category.
Belfast City Council and Department of Communities committed £870,000 to the makeovers at Castle Arcade, Cole’s Alley, Crown Entry, Joy’s Entry, Pottinger’s Entry, Wilson’s Court, and Winecellar Entry.
Through general repair work, new wayfinding interpretivesignage, imaginative lighting and bespoke artwork, the once overlooked entries have been transformed into vibrant, pedestrian routes and destinations for people to explore and enjoy.
Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “Belfast’s entries are hidden gems. They are a network of spaces that map the historical fortunes of a growing merchant city. They hold fascinating, untold stories of the past and provide key connections through the heart of the city.
“Cooperation from surrounding businesses and property owners has been fundamental to the success of this project. We’ve also worked with some incredibly talented local artists to create fantastic original street art referencing everything from the city’s maritime past to the vibrant punk scene of 1970s Belfast.
“The project supports our Bolder Vision for Belfast, which was developed jointly by Belfast City Council, the Department for Communities and the Department for Infrastructure. By working alongside our public and private sector partners to continue to think differently about how we use our city centre spaces, together we can create an accessible, safe, green and attractive city centre that meets the needs of established and new communities and visitors alike.”
The scheme’s success in the placemaking awards coincides with the finishing touches being made to Belfast’s first fully immersive outdoor public lighting installation in Castle Arcade. This feature, which will become operational early in the new year, will see 5,000+ LED bulbs illuminate the space in sequence with a specially commissioned musical soundtrack. It follows the recent installation of an innovative mood-changing light feature in Winecellar Entry.
Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey said: “I am delighted that my Department’s contribution to the Belfast Entries Project has resulted in a major transformation to these important spaces that make up the character of Belfast city centre. Improvements to the city centre’s public spaces are vital to the city’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. My congratulations go to all those involved in having their achievement recognised by this prestigious award.”
Phase two of the project, which will focus on the transformation of other entries in the city centre, is due to start in early 2022.
More information on city centre regeneration can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/citycentre