Belfast and Proud: Give a Sirocco Park a Fair Wind
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The Sirocco site on the east bank of the Lagan was a unique place in Belfast. Home of world class engineering achievement the word Sirocco made its stamp on industrial history. Those times are now gone but the brand remains.
We believe that the legacy footprint on this 16 acre potential jewel in the city’s crown should not be the presently proposed mixed use of further retail-office-hotel and apartment developments. The City Centre is full of this type of development and it will bring no value to the citizens of Belfast. Rather than more corporate offices, over zoning and privatizing the ground of Sirocco, we the undersigned endorse the idea of a Sirocco Park linking across the river to central Belfast.
Central Belfast badly needs a green open civic space. An appropriately crafted urban riverfront park could better enhance the unique attractiveness of Belfast as a city carving a new niche in the twenty first century. Botanic Gardens showed historical vision and set Belfast apart at the beginning of the last century. Vision is required now. An international landscape design competition could show case the best ideas on offer. The council will prescribe the vision and the principles that will determine the development of the site, and must have the confidence to look beyond GDP growth towards true civic wealth.
Extensive opportunity for imaginative planting, water features, art and sculpture, new wildlife and bird habitats, urban gardening and forestry, incorporated renewable power generation, and a Belfast garden festival are all realizable and preferable to seeing the city only as a money tree for real estate harvesting. Wealth also consists of developing Belfast as a healthy city. We ask the City Council with some urgency to take on board in its Belfast Agenda the key opportunity for a rebranded Sirocco Park.
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