Northern Ireland

Work to begin at Girdwood site in north Belfast

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Media captionConstruction work on the former Girdwood Army barracks next week

Construction on new leisure and community facilities at the former Girdwood Army barracks in north Belfast will begin next week.

It is the hub of a £20m redevelopment backed by EU peace funding.

The site is expected to feature a shared sports pitch accommodating rugby, football and Gaelic sports.

Details were unveiled by Belfast City Council and Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland who said it was good news.

"We worked very closely with local communities and local elected representatives over a period of time," Mr McCausland said.

"There was a lot of discussion, negotiation, consultation, in fact several years of work went into getting the agreed vision for Girdwood, but we did achieve it in the end.

"When I came into the department I made it a priority, we achieved it and I'm delighted about it."

A scheme announced under former SDLP Social Development Minister Alex Attwood in 2010 was to have involved building 200 homes on the site.

But after Mr McCausland took office revised proposals were announced that would see sport and educational facilities in the area.

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