Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Press response: Community Telegraph, 1st September

The article by Michael Wolsey in last Thursday's Community Telegraph. Click to enlarge.
"Time to get rid of ugly scar in city centre"
Community Telegraph, 1st September 2011
Response from PLACE

Michael Wolsey, writing in last week's Community Telegraph, addressed the state of the northern part of Belfast City Centre, around Royal Avenue, North Street and Garfield Street. PLACE welcomes the article and the fact that it will bring important urban issues to the attention of a wide audience.

"While the article is well-intentioned", said PLACE Director Michael Hegarty, "it ignores a number of current initiatives."

- The Forum for Alternative Belfast have highlighted the state of Garfield Street and suggested solutions in a number of their publications.

- The Let's Get it Right campaign led by the UAHS and CAF is particularly focused on this part of town.

- PLACE hosted two events focusing on public space and the design in the Cathedral Quarter during Belfast Exposed's Exchange Mechanism series in 2010. The real opportunity in this area was highlighted by Michael McGarry, Professor of Architecture at Queen's during these events: "Royal Avenue to York Street - in any other city it would be the grand boulevard," he said.

- Meanwhile, work to explore new opportunities in this area is ongoing by groups and organisations as diverse as adhoc, lecturers including Saul Golden at University of Ulster, Cathedral Quarter Steering Group, Belfast City Centre Management, Belfast Regeneration Office, Belfast City Council and others.

While the results may not yet be evident, PLACE would argue that the kind of partnerships Mr. Wolsey advocates are in fact happening, and there are many people working hard to rehabilitate this part of Belfast.

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