After 70 years of near dereliction, the Lanyon Tunnels, that run below East Bridge Street in Belfast, will be developed to regenerate the area.
With £1.3million investment from the Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund (SIF), the tunnels will be developed to provide two childcare facilities, five tunnels for commercial rental and one tunnel connecting the Markets area with the City Centre.
Speaking during a visit to the site Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “The Executive’s £1.3million investment in the Lanyon Tunnels will help regenerate this historically significant site, benefitting the area economically and socially. As well as employment opportunities and increasing community services, the project will importantly remove the physical barrier between the Markets area and the City Centre, improving mobility and access, and reconnecting the local community to the wider area.
“The Social Investment Fund is a strategically designed Executive initiative to achieve real, long-lasting social benefits for those who need it most, and local people and local needs are at the heart of it. Projects representing £76 million of the £80 million fund have either started or are operational and communities are really starting to benefit. It’s providing early intervention, education and employment opportunities to support and improve the future potential to those who need it most, as well as capital projects, such as the Lanyon Tunnels, to improve services in areas including health, employment and childcare.”
Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “The regeneration of the Lanyon Tunnels provides a great opportunity to create a real change for the better in an area of social and economic disadvantage. This exciting project has the potential to create jobs and increase community services while preserving an important historic landmark.
“The Northern Ireland Executive has committed £80million to the Social Investment Fund. The Lanyon Tunnels is one of 69 projects being delivered with the shared aim of improving the lives of people living in deprivation.
“Key to the success of the SIF is local people creating solutions; it supports communities to bring about positive change. This project is a community led initiative designed to address local need and help make a better life for everyone in the area.
“As this project progresses we will see what can be achieved when communities and government work together and I congratulate the Market Development Association for their determination and hard work in bringing their vision to a reality.”
The Market Development Association (MDA) was established in 1995 to promote the wellbeing of residents of the Market area of South Belfast. Of 14 initiatives identified in their Market Regeneration Plan, the signature project was the regeneration of the Lanyon Tunnels with the potential to provide commercial and regeneration floor space. Belfast City Council are also providing funding for the £2.6million project.
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