Blighted Space
The current design of the general green space area that runs from North Queen Street Steps along the Westlink Wall to Henry Place is a product of previous road building in the 1980s. For many years this area has become a persistent hotspot for anti-social behaviour, dumping, fire setting and graffiti. The situation is further aggravated by poor maintenance because of fragmented responsibility for its upkeep and cleansing, with three separate agencies including Belfast City Council, the Housing Executive and the Department for Infrastructure each having separate responsibility for different sections of the area.

Radical Improvement Needed
In recent times Ashton has convened a series of discussions between community representatives and statutory agencies to explore how this space could be improved to better meet local people’s needs. The general idea would be to radically redesign the site in a way that would make it safer, visually attractive and functionally effective. Statutory authorities have indicated a willingness to explore further how such radical improvements could be achieved.

Community Conversations
To gather local opinions workers from Ashton have been in ongoing conversation with a significant number of residents that live nearby. This has included leaflet drops as well as doorstep and kitchen table discussions. Two public meetings have also been called where residents have been invited to view draft re-design proposals that have been drawn up by Mark Hackett who is an architect and urban designer working for Ashton. Ashton is keen to gather the views of as many local residents as possible and will continue to conduct community outreach on this matter and keep residents up to date with all developments.

To view draft design proposals go to https://www.ashtoncentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Park-Slideshow-Small.pdf
To discuss this further contact Mark Hacket: mark.hacket@ashtoncentre.com