Residents at Belfast’s Knockbreda Road & Rosetta Park have taken it upon themselves to take back the alleyway for use as a community garden.
Other parts of the city have done the same, most notably Wildflower Alley in the Holylands as well as Rossmore and Ardmore Avenue on upper Ormeau.
The alleyway had become an eyesore and antisocial hotspot and local residents hope to encourage Belfast City Council to install alleygates to help reduce antisocial behaviour, burglaries and fear of crime.
Pauline O’Hare, a local resident and solicitor said that all the local residents had come together with the idea over lockdown to transform the space.
‘In the past few years there have been several break-ins in the area including with ourselves. We also have some elder residents who are fearful of crime as well as antisocial behaviour with drink, drugs and general littering’
The residents reached out to local Councillors to initiate the process of alleygate installation. SDLP’s Séamas De Faoite and Gary McKeown helped organise and take part in the clean-up and welcome the proposal for new gates in the area.
Cllr Séamas de Faoite said “Residents have decided that change can’t wait for gates in this area. They’re staking out this alley as a community space that can be used and enjoyed by all the residents. Belfast City Council and other statutory agencies should be working to reward local communities who are pro-actively changing their area for the better. Alleygates would make this positive change permanent.”
Residents are looking forward to repurposing the space and filling the alleyway with sleepers, wildflowers and benches for communal use. The introduction of alleygates is the final step in the process to make this happen.