Addressing the Shadow Belfast City Council on community demands for the inclusion of Centre West — alongside Centre South and Centre North — in a new Belfast City Council master plan for the city core which has been drafted by Joe Berridge of Urban Strategies but leaves out the west of the city centre. This is just the latest in a long line of dispiriting city ‘masterplans’ which have ignored West Belfast and the west city centre. Sadly, unionists and the Alliance Party combined to exclude Centre West from the Berridge plan but I remain confident the persistent exclusion of the most underserved area of Belfast will not be tolerated by the people of Belfast.
The campaign for a fair and equitable masterplan will continue. Even a cursory examination of investment in the city over recent years will show that the bulk of the regeneration initiatives have been targeted at east and south Belfast. It’s time that the west shared in the investment bounty enjoyed by Belfast — no sectarian agenda, reminiscent of yesterday’s Belfast, will be allowed to prevent fair play for all in the new Belfast.