Social Development and Regional Development Committees visit Streets Ahead

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 20 May 2010

Reference: SD 15/09/10

Two Northern Ireland Assembly Committees came together today to visit the Streets Ahead project in Belfast City Centre. The Committee for Social Development and the Committee for Regional Development saw how the current regeneration works will improve the Belfast shopping experience.

Streets Ahead is a four year Department of Social Development project to improve access and landscaping to public areas in Belfast City Centre in order to encourage investment, tourism and business development.

Social Development Committee Chairperson, Simon Hamilton MLA said: “Streets Ahead is a key urban regeneration project that will vastly improve the pedestrian flow between the major shopping areas of Belfast - Victoria Square, Fountain Place and planned development at the Royal Exchange. The Social Development Committee will be carefully monitoring the progress of Streets Ahead to ensure improvements are value for money and that disruption for traders and shoppers is kept to a minimum.”

Michelle McIlveen MLA, Deputy Chairperson of the Regional Development Committee commented: “The Regional Development Committee welcomes the Streets Ahead project and is keen to see that, in addition to improving the pedestrian experience the proposed changes deliver effective road safety and traffic management solutions for Belfast. Everyone will want to make sure that visiting, shopping or working in Belfast city centre is safe, enjoyable and accessible for everyone – regardless of age or disability. The Streets Ahead project has an important part to play in making this happen.”

As well as reviewing the proposed new traffic calming arrangements for Donegall Place, MLAs also inspected shop front improvements made in Castle Street and measures designed to limit future disruption to the town centre by utility companies.

Simon Hamilton concluded: “Members of the Assembly are always pleased to visit key projects like Streets Ahead. They give Committees the opportunity to see how money is actually being spent and ensures that departments are aware of the Assembly’s keen interest in urban regeneration and road safety initiatives.”

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