Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has officially opened an extension to the Blaris Greenway scheme.
The latest phase of the scheme links Sprucefield Park and Ride to Halftown Road, a distance of 1.4 kilometres. This brings the total length of the Greenway to 2.8 kilometres from Halftown Road to Blaris Road where it connects with Union Locks, Lisburn and the Lagan Towpath, providing a virtually traffic free route of around 24 kilometres into Belfast city centre.
The path is four metres wide along the majority of its length and also incorporates a series of passing bays along the route to allow local access for agricultural vehicles, providing ample space for everyone to share safely.
Minister Mallon said: “As more of us are choosing pedal power or walking over the traditional car this latest safe traffic-free route will be a welcome addition to the increasingly popular Blaris Greenway by those from local communities who wish to walk, wheel or cycle as a form of leisure or as part of their daily commute.
“The path is conveniently located within reach of Culcavy and Hillsborough, provides access to Maze-Long Kesh and has direct public transport connections to Belfast from the Sprucefield Park and Ride site.
“It was important for me that the local farming community also had access to their agricultural land and I am pleased that we have been able to incorporate passing bays along the path, providing safe passage for all who travel along it.
“I remain committed to creating more active travel opportunities and developing sustainable infrastructure projects and I will continue to work with Executive colleagues, councils and other partners to help deliver cleaner, greener, sustainable active travel infrastructure across our island.”
Caroline Bloomfield, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “It is fantastic to see this high quality, safe walking and cycling route all the way from the Maze village in Co Down to Belfast. It enhances the National Cycle Network, extending NCN Route 9 via the Lagan Towpath to give more than 20 kilometres of virtually traffic-free walking and cycling. Greenways are essential to ensure walking and cycling can be for everyone, whatever their ability. With so many people living along this corridor there are huge benefits for people’s physical and mental health, as well as the environment.”
Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble added: “We are delighted that the Blaris Greenway is progressing and connecting more of our rural areas with Lisburn city centre and the towpath into Belfast. I am confident that cyclists will enjoy the opportunity to cycle further off-road and can use it to get to any events that may take place at the Maze-Long Kesh site in the future. I would like to thank the Department for Infrastructure for their continued investment in our area.”
Exciting Development at Dundonald Ice Bowl as Planning Permission Approved
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has approved planning permission to redevelop Dundonald International Ice Bowl with plans that will see it transformed in to a top class attraction with state of the art facilities in a sleek, modern fit for purpose building.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Chairman of the Capital Projects Committee said: “I am delighted to see this project pass a key milestone. The innovative plans include a new Olympic sized ice rink, the only public one on the island of Ireland putting Lisburn and Castlereagh on the map in the professional skating world.
“Along with tenpin bowling and a children’s soft play & adventure play area, we will attract visitors from across NI and beyond, ensuring we retain our status as one of NI’s leading visitor attractions.
“The local community will also benefit from new primary health care and community facilities including an outdoor children’s play area. There will be restaurants, offices and new car parking, all surrounded by contemporary landscaping. I am excited to see how this develops.”
Alderman Michael Henderson MBE, Chairman of the Leisure & Community Development Committee added: “The success of Dundonald International Ice Bowl speaks for itself, welcoming over 600,000 people through its doors each year. Its importance as a regional attraction is evident, supporting tourism, economic activity, job creation and now providing services to the community under these new plans.
“The new Dundonald International Ice Bowl will bring so many benefits to the area and the surrounding businesses. Plans will be phased so that visitors can continue to enjoy the Ice Bowl and all that it offers during development and so that jobs can be sustained throughout the process.
“I welcome the approval of planning for this project and am excited to see the plans progress.”
Mixed Use Development in West Lisburn Receives Planning Permission
At today’s meeting of the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council Planning Committee the members agreed by a majority with a recommendation to approve planning permission for a mixed use development at West Lisburn comprising 1,300 residential units and approximately 750,000 square feet of employment and other commercial floor space.
Central to the decision was the proposal by the developer to build what is known locally as the ‘Knockmore Link Road’ that connects the Moira Road at the junction with the Knockmore Road to the M1 Motorway at junction 8. This proposed roads infrastructure received unanimous approval and is to be built as one contract and at a cost of approximately £13 million.
Alderman Owen Gawith, Planning Chairman in acknowledging the finely balanced decision welcomed the investment and economic opportunities this proposal should bring. He commented: “The importance of this mixed use development in unlocking the full potential of West Lisburn to the future prosperity of the council area is recognised. The wider contribution it will bring to Northern Ireland in creating new employment opportunities is also recognised as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The decision by the council committee allows the application to move to the next stage which requires consultation with the Department for Infrastructure.