The 5 C’s Public Realms Project – Belfast

A general view of College Street in Belfast during the day; an empty street with a row of shops with their front shutters closed.

Direct Access were the accessibility consultants for the 5 C’s Project in Belfast, providing a review of 5 proposed street refurbishments for The Department for Communities (DfC) Belfast Regeneration Directorate.

The Five Cs Project is the first project to come forward from the Developers Contributions Framework and is a public realm scheme which aims to enhance several areas within Belfast city centre which have recently seen, or will soon see, significant private sector investment in surrounding buildings, but where the streetscape is poor and in need of upgrading.

Direct Access’ reviews identified potential accessibility issues with the proposed refurbishment and delivered solutions to ensure that the work complies with local building regulations.

The Five Cs project area comprises College Court, College Avenue (from King Street to College Street), College Street (from College Avenue to Queen Street), Callender Street and Chichester Street (south side from Victoria Street to Donegall Square East and the north side from Arthur Street to Callender Street).

Our consultants undertook meetings with local Disability Groups to address potential concerns with disabled people, ensuring that issues and queries between the local community and Belfast City Centre Management were communicated and that any personal requirements of disabled people were accounted for in the redevelopment. 

The Direct Access team also delivered an Access and Inclusion report based on our knowledge and personal experience as a team of disabled people, the views and thoughts of the local population, and best practice recommendations for street design set by local and international access standards.

The project aims to create a high quality, sustainable public realm with improved paving, street lighting, soft landscaping, street furniture and public artwork such as feature lighting. The intended outcome is that it will contribute positively to the economic, environmental and social vitality of the project area; that it will encourage businesses into these areas; that it will create more attractive civic spaces to entice users into; that it will create or improve upon a sense of safety within these areas that will encourage people to visit, work, shop and live therein.

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