Townsend Enterprise Park’s £2m regeneration plans

One of Belfast’s leading business hubs, Townsend Enterprise Park is pushing ahead with £2m regeneration plans which will celebrate west Belfast’s unique and important industrial heritage and bring a much-needed economic and tourism boost.

By Claire Cartmill
Monday, 1st February 2021, 5:00 pm
Peter Darragh, Townsend Enterprise Park is pictured with the CEO of Townsend Enterprise Park, Margaret Patterson McMahon
Peter Darragh, Townsend Enterprise Park is pictured with the CEO of Townsend Enterprise Park, Margaret Patterson McMahon

The ‘Reimagining Townsend Street’ project will see the building of an Interpretive Visitor and Education Centre, a series of community-based shared workspaces and the development of the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church, increasing the utility of the space for other potential community uses.

The vision also includes a community-based Peaceline Café providing training and employment plus further industrial and office units for use by the local business community as well as the development of the Victorian National School House opening it up for further use and telling its rich history as a city school.

The vision of the project is to help to reconnect both sides of the North West Quarter community in the city by improving opportunities for residents and those who work there by creating employment and new venues. It will also enhance the physical landscape of the area and the corridor between the Falls and Shankill Roads attracting new domestic and international visitors.

Located on the former Soho Foundry, built in 1838, the project will help celebrate this important history through its Interpretive Visitor and Education Centre and will pay homage to the other local industries in the area such as mills and factories.

The plans allow Townsend Enterprise Park to meet its key objectives of business innovation, while harnessing economic development to increase the social and political stability of the surrounding community. The board is committed to the growth and success of its much-valued tenants and moving forward with this project will ensure a strong and vibrant future for the area.

Margaret Patterson-McMahon, Chief Executive of Townsend Enterprise Park said: “2020 presented very challenging times for us and our businesses, but as we continue to work through these it is also important to keep a focus on future plans. Having completed a feasibility study are looking at the next stage of this development.

“This project will give back to the local community through economic regeneration, preservation and the showcasing of wonderful historical Belfast, and the role which the people of this area played in shaping Belfast as we know it today. It will allow us to preserve the current buildings and opens up a new opportunity to share this part of our city to both local and international tourists.”

Peter Darragh, Townsend Enterprise Park continued: “Prior to the development of the Westlink, Townsend Street was a vibrant street of residential homes and businesses. The building of the new motorway severed that, instantly. In subsequent years, it has become an interface point, which resulted in very difficult times. We want to look beyond that and celebrate the rich history of this area, and to leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy.”

Peter concluded: “We believe that we can bring about a positive change to this area of the city and will now move forward to secure funding for this project that will make such a positive impact to the area by providing distinct services which open existing space, create additional shared space, attract additional local visitors and international tourists, tell the rich history of the area and provide employment and training opportunities.”

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