Posted on Thursday 6 June 2013 by Ulster Business

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A new strategy has been launched for the ongoing development of Belfast's historic Cathedral Quarter and the organisation that will spearhead its delivery, the Cathedral Quarter Trust.

The Trust and its 'Cathedral Quarter Strategic Vision and Development Plan' were launched at an event in The Black Box in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland.

Made up of diverse stakeholders from within the Quarter and relevant statutory bodies, the Trust is a charity that will work with a range of other organisations including the Department for Social Development, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to deliver on the plan which it has drawn up. The plan outlines several key steps for the economic and social regeneration of the area.

In addition to a presentation from the Trust's Chair, Paul McErlean, attendees were able to see examples of some of the most prominent upcoming projects in the area, including Royal Exchange and The University of Ulster's expansion plans.

Speaking at the event, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: "The Cathedral Quarter is one of the oldest and most historically significant parts of Belfast. As a location, it is ideally placed to embrace and celebrate Northern Ireland's cultural diversity – providing a unique and authentic experience both for tourists and local people. The area has seen significant investment in infrastructure in recent years and underwent a major transformation to become an integral part of the city's cultural fabric.

"Through the Strategic Vision and Development Plan, I am confident that the area will continue to grow and develop as we provide a strong vision for a sustainable commercial and cultural hub, right in the heart of the city."

The new Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, added: "Right across the city, there are neighbourhoods and communities working together to regenerate their areas; the Cathedral Quarter Steering Group and now the Cathedral Quarter Trust is an exemplar in how to move an area forward with buy-in and participation from all. Belfast City Council is pleased to be working with the Trust, DSD and other stakeholders to ensure that one of the most special and oldest parts of our city can make progress and develop in a way that is to the benefit of citizens and visitors alike."

Paul McErlean, Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, said that the voluntary body would provide a "vital stimulus" for the area.

"A vibrant cultural quarter is a vital part of making Belfast an attractive place to visit and do business. By bringing different experiences and viewpoints together in one organisation, we're better able to guide the development of the Quarter in such a way as to deliver sustainable, long-term benefits," he said.

Patricia Freedman, Director of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, added: "The Cathedral Quarter Trust will continue to work closely with the Department of Social Development, Belfast City Council and all local bodies to ensure that we continue to deliver new ideas and new energy in creating a Quarter that makes a major contribution to the life of the great city of Belfast."



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