THE team behind the Masterplan for Lisburn City Centre has said they are planning to utilise the city's "unique characteristics and qualities" to help it reach its full potential.
A team of consultants led by GVA Grimley has been appointed by the DSD, City Council and City Centre Management to prepare the comprehensive Masterplan, which is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
They will carry out a review of the city centre's retail capacity; identify opportunities for increased office investment; encourage city centre living and look for ways of enhancing the evening economy, hospitality and commercial leisure sectors.
The consultants said that whilst the city centre has seen considerable investment in recent years by both the public and the private sector, the masterplan commission will identify future needs and opportunities to build on the existing work and provide a detailed way forward. It is expected the Masterplan will set out proposals to enhance city centre shopping, seek to establish a new business quarter, connect the city centre to the River Lagan, reduce the impact of car traffic and put in place a comprehensive public realm strategy for the centre.
Gerry Hughes, Executive Director at GVA Grimley, said: "Lisburn is a city with a strong sense of heritage and a quality to its built fabric that has not been utilised to its full potential. With excellent train and road connections there is potential to capitalise on these inherent merits, to ensure a distinctive and competitive commercial city centre.
"The city centre's unique characteristics and qualities are too rarely seen in the 'Cloned Cities' that dominate other parts of the UK. The proposed expansion of the nearby Sprucefield shopping development does present a challenge but also a significant opportunity to qualitatively distinguish the city centre offer."
Cllr Allan Ewart, Chairman of the council's Economic Development Committee said:
"To make the Masterplan study a success, I would ask for full co-operation from residents and visitors to complete the surveys. The feedback from the surveys will contribute significantly towards the Masterplan, which has an important role in attracting further private and public sector investment to Lisburn City Centre."