Eight vacant tunnels below East Bridge Street, connecting Lanyon Place and the Markets area. The Markets Development Association (MDA) propose to reopen and covert the tunnels. Two will be used for childcare facilities, one will provide access between the Markets and City Centre, and five will be available for commercial rental.
The MDA submitted a planning application (Z/2012/1421/F) in December 2012 proposing “conversion of and extension to existing archways under East Bridge Street to comprise a creche, an employment education and training hub, community space, cafe, health and fitness facility and access to train station”. The application was approved in May 2015.
Belfast City Council ran an expression of interest process during spring 2016 seeking companies and / or organisations interested in occupying the refurbished tunnel units, once completed, on a lease or licence basis.
The project is funded by Belfast City Council (£2.6m) and the NI Executive’s Social Investment Fund (£1.3m).
Construction work is anticipated to commence in 2017.