A public consultation opened today (Thursday 11 August), inviting people to have their say on Belfast’s new visitor destination which is set to transform the city centre and support tourism across the city when it opens in 2028.
The landmark Belfast Stories development was announced in December 2021 and is the flagship project within the tourism and regeneration strand of the Belfast Region City Deal.
Elements of the new attraction will be housed in one of Belfast’s most beloved heritage buildings – the art deco former Bank of Ireland building on Royal Avenue which was acquired by Belfast City Council along with the surrounding 5,000 sq metres site.
Now, before the initial design stage of the project gets underway, members of the public are being asked to share their views on the outline concepts for the building and what Belfast Stories could mean for them.
Launching the consultation, Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Tina Black said: “This really is a project like no other; it will only be a success if the people of Belfast feel that it belongs to them and they can see themselves and their stories reflected.
“While our ambition is to create a world-class tourism destination, this is a very personal project for Belfast because it’s about people and their stories. These stories are priceless, and this project is about creating a home for those stories, gathering the untold tales and celebrating the unsung heroes of our city.
“It’s a really exciting project and one which is going to have massive regeneration benefits for the city and the entire region’s tourism economy.
“So, we want people to be involved from the outset, to have their say and help shape how this project is developed so that they see their input and ideas reflected in the finished product.”
The public consultation period is running until mid-November and as well as the online survey, a series of engagement workshops and feedback sessions will take place across the city. There will also be opportunities to get a site visit and see inside the Bank of Ireland building to hear more about the proposed plans.
Information gathered from this stage of the process will help inform how the new building – its stories, screens, and public spaces can potentially work together. There will also be testing of how best to capture people’s stories for inclusion in the project.
The public consultation is not the end of the conversation and the project will continue to engage with different people and organisations to help shape Belfast Stories right up until it opens. As part of the next stage of development, from 2023 a programme will be launched to help gather stories. It is important that these stories are about the past, present and future of the city and the people who call Belfast home.
Councillor Black added: “I would say to everyone, if you don’t already know about this project, please visit the Council’s website to find out more, join in the conversations including social media, and have your say.”
The public consultation is open until November 14 and can be found at https://yoursay.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfast-stories
Join the conversation on social using hashtag #BelfastStories and follow @belfast_stories on Instagram and @Belfast Stories on Facebook for updates.
For more information on the Belfast Stories project, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfaststories