Final CCG section is open to the public

It’s been an incredible 10 year journey and today, 25th April, Connswater Community Greenway reached a turning point in this transformative project; the opening of the final section through Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park to Flora Street Walkway. Thanks to National Lottery players the project received £23.5million from the Big Lottery Fund Living Landmark Programme, the largest award Big Lottery Fund has ever made in Northern Ireland.  With this support, the Greenway is connecting people and places, regenerating and revitalising the area, making east Belfast a better place for people to live, work, visit and invest.

The final link, which flows through the heart of the Connswater Retail Park, was once the location of one of Belfast’s greatest industrial giants and largest ropemaker in the world; The Belfast Ropeworks.  Established in 1875 the Ropeworks once employed 3,600 workers. The new Greenway link includes; 400m new cycle and walkway, 20m span new footbridge, 600m of flood defences, street furniture including lighting, bins, benches and signage, landscaping works including semi-mature trees, blub and shrub planting. A plaque commemorating the Ropeworks will be installed on the new bridge and, over the next few weeks, the public will have the opportunity to vote for the name of the new bridge.

Connswater Community Greenway is a 9km linear park alongside the Connswater, Knock and Loop rivers from the Castlereagh Hills to Belfast Lough, connecting people and places along the way.  Along the route there are a number of significant points including; CS Lewis Square at Holywood Arches; The Hollow - off the Beersbridge Road where the rivers converge; Marshwiggle Way and the Cregagh Glen. Other Greenway features include new bridges, tourism and heritage trails, educational and play areas and other public amenities. DfI Rivers has been working in partnership with the project to deliver elements of the combined east Belfast Flood Alleviation Scheme. This is part of a significant investment of £12 million in east Belfast that will alleviate the impact of flooding to nearly 1700 properties.

The Connswater Community Greenway/East Belfast Flood Alleviation Scheme is a £40 million funded project developed by EastSide Partnership and delivered by Belfast City Council which is managing the project construction. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Belfast City Council, the Department for Communities and Department for Infrastructure. The Greenway will improve the quality of life for local people and create a legacy for future generations.

Julie Harrison, NI Chair of Big Lottery Fund, said; 

“It’s fantastic to see how the investment of National Lottery funding has transformed this area – we were proud to be able to invest the first major grant which helped develop the vision for the Connswater Community Greenway.  This is a truly ground breaking project that has captured the imagination of local people and communities. I’d like to thank all of those people who play the National Lottery as your contribution has helped create this amazing, transformational space that is improving people’s lives and will be an asset for generations to come.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said;

"It is always exciting to see multi-million pound projects coming to fruition. Given the catalyst that the Connswater Community Greenway has proven to be - boosting health, environment and visitor numbers to this part of the city - it is important to recognise that Belfast City Council support was essential in turning the proposal into physical reality. The Connswater Community Greenway is very much aligned with our priorities for those living, working or visiting Belfast and a clear indication of what can be done when council collaborates with local communities and other organisations in effecting change across our city. The commitment and support shown by the local community has been fantastic and I congratulate them on the Connswater Community Greenway’s success.”

Wendy Langham, Programme Manager Connswater Community Greenway, said;

“What an incredible journey the past 10 years has been.  The Connswater Community Greenway is set to transform east Belfast, improving the lives of many local people. As we officially open this final link we look forward to the future and to watch how this amazing project will connect people and places for generations to come. Also, I must pay tribute to our partners and thousands of people who helped us on the journey to make this project a reality.  Whilst this construction phase is completed, there is much scope for expansion and our work to regenerate east Belfast will continue.”

Commenting on the opening of the final link, Gerry Monaghan, Manager Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, said;

“It has been exciting to watch this 10 year project unfold and to see first-hand the positive impact it is already having on businesses in the area. The Greenway is a vital new connection for residents and visitors providing much improved access to businesses along route.  It has already helped us to attract interest from new investors and we look forward to our continued work with EastSide Partnership to make east Belfast a prosperous and great place to live, work and invest.”

Images from the event can be found on the photo gallery