Belfast to get new 12km greenway costing £5m

By Conor Macauley
BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

Image source, Belfast City Council
Image caption,
The greenway is expected to be completed by 2022

Belfast is to get a new 12km greenway costing £5m connecting the north and west to the city centre.

Supporters say it has the potential to address decades of sectarian division.

The work will connect communities stretching from Glencairn to the Falls Park.

The route will then run through the Bog Meadow nature reserve and across Broadway roundabout to finish at the new transport hub being built on the Grosvenor Road.

The project will be delivered by Belfast City Council and will draw on EU peace money and match funding from Stormont and an Irish government department.

The Forth Meadow Community Greenway will see new cycle and walking paths, lighting and signage and is expected to be finished in 2022.

Belfast Lord Mayor Frank McCoubrey said other work would be done to encourage communities along the route to use the shared space.

"By encouraging residents to make more use of facilities in neighbouring areas, the new greenway and activity programme will also encourage interaction between communities that have been divided for too long."

The greenway project was welcomed by the first and deputy first ministers.

Shared space

Gina McIntyre, chief executive of the EU funding body SEUPB, said the greenway had the potential to change people's lives.

"Unfortunately many parts of Belfast still remain deeply divided, along sectarian lines, with little or no opportunity for people to mix with and learn from each other," she explained.

"It will provide opportunities to foster many positive and long-term relationships between people from all sections of the community.

"The shared space project will also facilitate many new, exciting cross-community events and activities that will help to create a more peaceful, tolerant and cohesive society."