New Lower Shankill park officially opened

Date published: 29 September 2023

A new park on the Lower Shankill, adjacent to the Westlink in Belfast, was officially opened today (September 29).

DfC Perm Sec Colum Boyle pictured with Lord Mayor Ryan Murphy and children from the community

Funded under the Building Successful Communities programme, the £1.9million park stretches from Peter’s Hill, alongside Denmark Street to Regent Street and includes two play areas, an outdoor gym, a multi-use games area and a community garden with a toilet facility.

The park was redeveloped by the Department for Communities in conjunction with Belfast City Council and with the ongoing input of residents in the area.

Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Colum Boyle was joined by representatives from the council and from the local community to mark the occasion.

Mr Boyle said:

“DfC is committed to positive regeneration, in collaboration with communities across Northern Ireland. I am delighted that funding from the Department has delivered this new park and public facilities here in Lower Shankill for everyone to enjoy. It will transform the area and be a major community asset that local people can be proud of.

“The delivery of this scheme proves how working in partnership with the local community can deliver physical, economic and social renewal.

“This transformation will bring considerable benefits through increased positive activity and well-being across all age groups making this a safer, more welcoming area. I applaud all those involved in making this project a reality.”

Belfast City Council has taken ownership and responsibility for maintenance of the facilities. While now open to the public, the new park has not yet been named. A shortlist of names suggested by children and other members of the local community is available on Belfast City Council’s website for public vote.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Ryan Murphy said:

“We’ve made a commitment in The Belfast Agenda to create and support welcoming, vibrant neighbourhoods – and this park is helping to deliver on that. This is a fantastic example successful partnership working, and I’d like to thank the Department for Communities for their investment, and the Lower Shankill Community Association and Hammer and Denmark Street Community Centres for all their valued input.

“We received a fantastic range of suggestions for the new park’s name from local children, their parents and community groups, and we’re now asking the public to choose their favourite from the shortlist: Angel Park, Lower Shankill Park or Rock Roots Park. So please do get involved!

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing the park being used and enjoyed by people of all ages – it’s a super asset for Greater Shankill residents.”

Councillor Ian McLaughlin, a member of the steering group for the scheme, said:

“This is an exciting day to see this part of Greater Shankill revitalised into an area which will bring new and positive energy, with a facility to be used and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Thanks to Department for Communities through the Building Successful Communities programme for their willingness to engage proactively with residents and stakeholders. The result is a series of positive measures aimed at improving quality of life outcomes for our community. This park is a key part of that transformation.”

You can vote for the parkway name you prefer at: before the deadline of midnight on November 1, 2023.

Notes to editors: 

1. Photo captions:  Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Colum Boyle, Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Ryan Murphy and pupils from Malvern Street Primary School pictured at the official opening of a new park on the Lower Shankill, adjacent to the Westlink in Belfast.

2. The scheme will provide:

  • Greater levels of supervision across the site, discouraging anti-social behaviour.
  • A small play area containing nine pieces of children’s play equipment.
  • An outdoor gym area, containing six pieces of fitness equipment. 
  • A small tarmac-surfaced Multi Use Games Area (MUGA). 
  • Modifications to the public realm which will improve cycle and pedestrian access.
  • An upgraded community garden, with utilities and toilet facilities.
  • Local gated allotments.
  • A small car park with spaces for six vehicles.
  • A dog off-lead exercise area.
  • Replacement of overgrown and unmanaged woodland with new clear stem trees.  Future maintenance responsibility has been agreed with Belfast City Council.

3. The Building Successful Communities (BSC) Programme works collaboratively across government, with the Housing Executive, Housing Associations, statutory bodies and local communities to improve housing and infrastructure and targets ways to bring physical, economic and social regeneration to the area.

4. The Lower Shankill & Brown Square area is one of six pilot areas that have been selected by the Department to be offered intervention under the Building Successful Communities (BSC) Programme, five areas in Belfast and one in Ballymena.

5. A Regeneration Forum has been established in each of the pilot areas which is comprised of statutory organisations, local community and elected political representatives.  The Lower Shankill & Brown Square Forum identified the transformation of this strip of land as a priority for the area.

6. The scheme was made possible by the provision of land from NIHE, DfI and the Department for Communities.

7. Media enquiries to DFC Press Office

8. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays.  The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

9. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI

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