Mallon focused on reshaping and improving towns and cities for all

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has said she is focused on reshaping and improving town and city space for the benefit of all citizens.

The Minister visited Belfast City Centre today to do a walking tour of the city with Simon Hamilton of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce.   The Minister saw the work that has been completed to deliver sustainable infrastructure and other areas with potential for place-making schemes.

Minister Mallon said:  “With the further easing of restrictions allowing shops and other businesses to re-open, we all need to be focused on reimaging our public spaces and re-energising our towns and cities for the benefit of local businesses, residents and visitors. This means shaping our places for people and around people and providing much greater choice and opportunities for active and sustainable travel.    I want our towns and cities to be pleasant, safe and healthy places to be in and move through.

The past year has been hugely challenging but it has also presented a huge opportunity to do things that are different and better.  Over the last year we have tried new things such as pedestrianisation, traffic restrictions, wider footpaths, new cycle routes and parklets. These are only first steps. There is still so much more to do and we will only deliver real change when we work together.  

I am grateful for the assistance of partners like the Chamber of Commerce and the Council.  I am up for working with all partners who are ambitious in making change, in reshaping and reimaging our shared spaces for the benefit of all. As we emerge from the covid pandemic and look to recovery, we need to put all our shoulders to the wheel, in Belfast and beyond to transform our outdoor spaces for all.”

Simon Hamilton from Belfast Chamber of Commerce said:   “Belfast Chamber are delighted to welcome Minister Mallon to the city centre. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to make our cities much more people centred to the forefront of our minds. The Minister has set out an ambitious agenda of reimagining our city as highlighted in the Bolder Vision for Belfast document and also encouraging more active travel and use of public transport which we support.

Today, was a great opportunity for us to discuss our ideas about how we can reshape areas of our city centre with a view to helping hospitality businesses who have endured a difficult year as they begin to reopen.  Transforming Belfast into a 24/7 city which makes the most of its outdoor space is crucial to the city’s future economic success and attractiveness to visitors and investors. Belfast Chamber looks forward to working with the Minister in making Belfast an even better place to live, work and enjoy leisure time.”