1st October 2021
City Quays Gardens designed to be a vibrant and attractive public space for communities, tenants and visitors
Belfast Harbour has today unveiled plans for a multi-million pound investment in its public space to create a vibrant new ‘green’ urban garden for the city.
Known as City Quays Gardens, the proposed investment will develop new public space for local and visiting communities which will blend the rich industrial and maritime heritage of the area with an innovative and sustainable design.
The City Quays Gardens project will be delivered in a number of phases, with a £3 million phase one investment focusing on the creation of a 0.8 hectare/2-acre green public space on land adjacent to the City Quays buildings and the historic Belfast Harbour Offices.
With sustainability and environmental excellence as a key design focus, the City Quays Gardens will be developed to achieve the ‘One Planet Living’ environmental accreditation, a first in Northern Ireland. The Gardens will incorporate an eco-conscious design and create new habitats for wildlife; enhancing biodiversity and utilising renewable solar energy to provide all power requirements.
The new Gardens will blend the maritime heritage of the site with sustainable design, featuring richly planted green spaces with seating, extensive tree planting, events lawns with amphitheatre seating and outdoor workspace with publicly available 5G WiFi.
The project is also designed to help promote active and sustainable travel, reconnecting the National Cycle Network by incorporating an off-road alternative cycle route along the City’s waterfront. The project will also improve pedestrian and cycle connections within close proximity to a range of public transport halts, including York Street Railway station.
Belfast Harbour is working closely with Maritime Belfast Trust and Belfast City Council to ensure that the new space can be animated with events, activities and historic trails and that it seamlessly integrates with the Maritime Mile and other public space developments within the City.
Commenting on the plans, Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour said: “Our ‘Port for Everyone’ vision is to develop an iconic waterfront for the city, working with partners to create a vibrant space that all communities can enjoy, and making Belfast Harbour an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest.
“This investment will transform the public space around City Quays, making it an attractive leisure space for visitors and better connecting the Harbour Estate to our neighbouring communities and the city core. With our strong focus on bio-diversity, we believe that the new Gardens will contribute to Belfast Harbour’s sustainability goal of reaching net zero carbon by 2030 and enhance the wellbeing of local communities and visitors alike.
“We are really excited about this project and look forward to engaging fully with our neighbours, tenants, partners and the wider community to hear their views on our plans for City Quays Gardens and will of course engage with Belfast City Council throughout the process.”
Supporting today’s announcement, Ian Humphreys from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “The pandemic has reinforced the importance of nature and spending time outdoors and we welcome that City Quays Gardens will offer a new space to promote community gathering in the City.
“Incorporating key biodiversity in an urban area has never been more important and the new City Quays Gardens will create a green space which not only enhances the environment but can also support the health and wellbeing of those who use it.”
A voluntary public consultation has commenced, ahead of a Planning Application being submitted to Belfast City Council. Subject to Planning Approval the project will begin development in 2022.
Notes to the Editor
- The consultation website (www.cqgardens.co.uk) will launch on 30th September 2021
- A consultation webinar will take place on 13th October 2021 at 6pm
About One Planet Living
One Planet Living is a sustainability framework created by Bioregional, a charity and social enterprise which aims to develop more sustainable ways of living and developed in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. The One Planet Living Framework focuses on key principles of social, environmental and economic sustainability, which will be weaved into the design and development of City Quays Gardens.
About Belfast Harbour
Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s leading gateway for trade, services and tourism, handling more than two thirds of the imports and exports that come into and out of the region by sea. The Port is essential to the smooth running of day-to-day life in the region and a major contributor to Northern Ireland’s economy. The Harbour estate is also home to a vibrant community of people and businesses, including commercial and residential real estate, film studios and leading companies in sectors such as IT, R&D, engineering and aerospace who employ over 27,000 people.
Working in partnership with stakeholders, Belfast Harbour’s vision is to become the world’s best regional port by growing economic activity, adopting new technology and upholding the highest environmental standards. Belfast Harbour is also committed to developing an iconic waterfront that is a standout destination for the city’s residents and visitors. As a Trust Port, all profits from Belfast Harbour are re-invested for the long-term benefit of our customers and wider society.
City Quays is a contemporary, sustainable, waterfront development that includes commercial offices, retail, cafes, restaurants and multi-storey car parking, as well as the AC by Marriott Hotel. City Quays is already home to a growing community of diverse blue-chip businesses, with offices at City Quays 1 and 2 fully let, whilst construction on City Quays 3, a 16-storey Grade A, office space will complete later this year.