There is another public consultation on the development planned for the CQ. It's been deliberately timed to coincide with the July holidays so as to get fewer people to voice their concerns after the truckload that there was the last time.
As always https://savecq.wordpress.com is the best starting point if you want to find out more. If you don't have time to write your own words before the deadline on Tuesday, there's a template response. As before I will be submitting it in it's entirety because it covers all the policies and strategies that BCC have and all the best practice that this is completely ignoring. I'm no architect and this is written by people who know stuff so it's absolutely invaluable when making the case against the plans, but as before I will be putting a bit of me at the top. And as always when it comes to consultations I'm blogging my response...
I attended the public consultation on Monday 3rd of July and raised a number of questions about the scheme with the people who were there. I found their responses lacked a basic knowledge Belfast structurally, socially and politically. I was told on a number of times when raising the issues of real concern listed below that this plan represented the ‘economic reality’. I spoke to a number of people attending the same event who were told this line repeatedly. This is smoke and mirrors.
The economic reality is that the developers believe this plan represents the easiest way to make the most money. This plan represents the simplest way to extract as much value out of Belfast as they can. This is not building a Belfast that the citizens want, that the civic leaders want or that visitors want, it’s building a Belfast that will benefit absentee shareholders to the detriment of our city.
This is what ‘economic reality’ means, it is the new version of ‘it’s God’s will’. The little people can’t argue with it because it’s all part of a bigger plan that you don’t understand. This was overwhelmingly the attitude of the representatives that I and others met at the consultation. If a hard question was asked, and there were many, the ‘economic reality’ card was played.
The reality is that this scheme is conceived to serve a few investors and their economic interests. It is out of proportion with the listed properties it surrounds and proposes to build offices and shops that we don’t need. It is an unimaginative scheme that will further reduce our cities uniqueness. At a time when Belfast is beginning to punch above it’s weight in the tourism market this scheme will reduce a large section of our most vibrant and unique areas to a functional, boring space that will be devoid of buzz and deserted at night and the weekend.
Speaking as someone who makes their living in the tourism and entertainment industry the ‘economic reality’ for Belfast is that we cannot let the economic interests of the a few overseas investors trump the longterm economic benefits of the residents of Belfast. This is about the livelihoods of thousands and the quality of life of hundreds of thousands but this does not seem to figure in the economic reality which we keep being told about.
Read the rest of the Save CQ submission that you can cut and paste into your submission here