Belfast City Council is actively encouraging more city-centre living. What is needed to make the plan work?
Any successful city has people living in the heart of it. We have long-established communities in Belfast, which we need to embrace and help flourish, but we also need more housing and more people living in the city centre.
The Belfast Local Development Plan (LDP) 2035 talks about 8,000 new homes in the city centre itself. The public sector can help by making space available and taking a focused approach to planning.
We also need the private sector to co-invest alongside us. The LDP is targeting a total of 32,000 new homes in Belfast over the next 20 years. We want to retain more of our young people and bring back those who went to university elsewhere; that’s a real challenge and why focusing on creating good jobs is really important. We also have 15,000 students coming into the city through the new Ulster University campus. Alongside Queen’s students, that’s going to create a great dynamism within the city. Our regeneration plans are ambitious but need stress-testing against what is currently happening in the heart of our main city after the Bank Buildings fire. It’s important we have a strong city, for the good of the entire region.