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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread will chart the developments planned for the former Maze Prison site.

RUAS members vote in favour of Maze move

Members of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society have voted in favour of moving their headquarters to the site of the former Maze prison.

More than 600 farmers gathered at the King's Hall in Belfast to vote at a special meeting on Tuesday evening, with a majority backing the move.

The new site at the Maze is to be named Balmoral Park. Work will commence immediately at the site to ensure it is ready to host the 2013 Balmoral Show.
The annual RUAS show has been held at the King's Hall site in Belfast for more than 100 years.

'World class'

An overwhelming majority of the society's members voted in favour of the Legacy Project, the title of the proposal to develop the current site for residential and commercial use and reinvest in new show grounds at Balmoral Park.

RUAS chief executive Colin McDonald said he was delighted by the outcome which, he said, would secure the long-term finances of the organisation, develop new, world-class show grounds and position the RUAS at the hub of a potential centre for rural excellence at the new location.

"We always knew that, for many, this would be a hearts and minds issue which is totally understandable due to our connection to the King's Hall and the entire Balmoral site," he said. "This proposal has always focused on the commercial realities - market competition, capacity, and the future of the King's Hall.

"I am delighted that our members have grasped the rationale behind the Legacy Project and supported the RUAS Council in this groundbreaking vote. They have risen to the occasion, demonstrated the foresight of their predecessors, and seized the moment.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said the site lacked "proper infrastructure". "It's well known that there's huge executive pressure on the RUAS and others to make this move prematurely, before they deliver on their promise of a motorway connection," he said. "Until that is done, there is going to be traffic chaos."

However, Mr McDonald said there was enough space on the 360-acre site to ensure traffic build-ups could be avoided. "We have ample roads and car parking to move traffic around the site," he said. "It's different from a traffic jam where you have a bottleneck - ours has traffic coming on to an open site where it can spread out."
 

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^^ It's a joke. Some way or another NI needs a national stadium (Although I never really wanted it so far out of the city tbh anyway)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
royhenry114 said:
A stadium gets denied, and we end up with a country fest! What else would you expect to see from the MP pensioners?
A new show ground for the Balmoral Show was always part of the masterplan........The site is massive remember.

As a Belfast resident I'm pleased to see it move but I'm also looking forward to seeing what they develop, Balmoral Park is going to be a world class show ground, that shouldn't be swept aside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We could be getting a nice Libeskind building in NI.....


Ground Zero architect Daniel Libeskind selected for Maze site


One of the world's leading architects has been selected to work on the design of the new peace building centre on the site of the former Maze jail.

The BBC understands that the Polish American Daniel Libeskind has won an international tendering process. Earlier this year the European Union approved an £18m bid for funding for the conflict transformation centre.

The Maze prison housed paramilitary prisoners during the Troubles in Northern Ireland from 1971. The prison, where 10 men died in the 1981 republican hunger strikes, closed in 2000.

A conflict resolution centre is due to be built on the grounds of the former H-blocks.

BBC NEWS
 

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We could be getting a nice Libeskind building in NI.....
I love architecture and nice buildings as much as the next person...but... £18 million (albeit from the EU), for a building in the backend of nowhere, that will probably only attract and handful of visitors, cost a fortune to run and maintain, and cause a lot of political aggravation in the process? No thanks.

I'd rather our dimwitted 'leaders' sold the land off and put the resulting funds to something useful or beneficial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Land is worthless in Northern Ireland today, the land there is worth a pittance.

How do you know it will cost a fortune to run? I also think you'd be surprised how many people will visit the centre, 'Troubles Tourism' is big business, the Americans especially love it, they're utterly fascinated by what happened.
 

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I'm not sure how I feel about the Maze development.

Part of me thinks that a conflict resolution centre (or whatever it's being called these days) should just be built in a brownfield site in Belfast, allowing the project to bring a critical mass to an area of the city that really needs it. I can't see how building it miles from anything (even though it's on an existing historical site) complies with planning strategies and it won't boost the local area because the local area is just farmland.

I reckon the DUP have cut a deal with SF: DUP drops opposition to the project provided there is no direct romanticism of hunger striking and terrorism, SF realise that's as good as they'll get while allowing them to have a shrine in anything but name. Meanwhile, Jeffrey 'Gobshite' Donaldson sees an opportunity for votes in his constituency, so he's all over it.

Even with Liebeskind involved, I'm struggling to get excited by this. The only reason a conflict resolution (hate that term)/memorial centre wasn't proposed for Belfast is because of the political significance of the Maze for the republican narrative.
 

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Land is worthless in Northern Ireland today, the land there is worth a pittance.
I wouldn't say that exactly. I'm not really up on land values and the like, but as far as I know, if the land is somewhat useful (i.e. is not on a greenbelt, has planning permission, transportation links, ready for building...) it could sell for anywhere between £10,000 to £50,000 per acre. Given that the site is somewhere in the region of 360 acres.... that's a lot of potential money sitting there!

How do you know it will cost a fortune to run? I also think you'd be surprised how many people will visit the centre, 'Troubles Tourism' is big business, the Americans especially love it, they're utterly fascinated by what happened.
Well, it's an educated guess really. £18 million will build you a sizeable building which will require a number of general staff, tour guides, managers etc. Not to mention other factors such as general building maintenance, security, administration, power, marketing and so on. It doesn't come cheap and I seriously doubt a scattering of American tourists will subsidise the overall running costs.

Besides, 'Troubles Tourism' may work in Belfast and (to a much lesser extent) Londonderry, but I can't see it taking it off in the backend of nowhere at a place that has nothing else surrounding it.

Anyway, running costs and visitor numbers aside, my point is that this little political project is going to be and continues to be a complete farce and a drain on taxpayers money.

They haven't even built anything yet, but millions of pounds of our money has already been spent on consultants. A quick browse of the ol' internet will soon tell you that £3.5 million was spent on consultancy fees for the stadium that never was. That figure includes a £10,000 fee to an advertising firm for advice on naming rights for the stadium, before it had even been given the green light! The Northern Ireland Audit Office reported that upwards of £20 million has already been spent on site 'redevelopment'. The costs for this place are absolutely ridiculous, and there's absolutely nothing to show for it.

Let's not forget the irony either, that this 'conflict resolution' centre is actually causing, and will continue to cause more conflict as the months and years go on. I would conservatively estimate that at least half the population are against it while the majority of the other half probably couldn't care less.

I would further guess that in the coming years, many additional millions will be spent on yet more consultancy fees and that the topic will be brought up many times in Stormont before probably being cancelled altogether!

There is a simple solution to all of this.... If Sinn Fein are so desperate to build a Maze shrine, then sell the land to them! At least the taxpayer will be no longer burdened by this site and we can all move on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maze prison site: Green light given for showgrounds plan

The Environment minister has granted planning permission for new international standard showgrounds and livestock show rings at the former Maze prison site near Lisburn.

The application was made by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS).

Alex Attwood said the Balmoral Show would be able to take place at its new location at the Maze in May.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm not entirely sure what to think of it. I like the landscaping and plaza detail though.

The building itself seeks fine, rather stark but I suppose that may be the point. I'd love to see some good renders to get a better idea. I'm reserving judgement until I can properly visualise it.
 

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So we've went from a stadium to a 'conflict resolution centre' to a new site for the Balmoral Show? Blimey. Who cares?

I'm so against the resolution centre, as someone mentioned who will actually go to this apart from schools?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So we've went from a stadium to a 'conflict resolution centre' to a new site for the Balmoral Show? Blimey. Who cares?

I'm so against the resolution centre, as someone mentioned who will actually go to this apart from schools?
Conflict Resolution Centre as well as the Balmoral Showground.

I think we're also having the WWII airfield runway restored and something put in place to detail that.
 

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Thoughts on the design.

A comment from Ted Harris on the AJ. I couldnt agree more!

Ted Harris | 19-Apr-2013 3:28 am

Sadly, this is another case of a site of tragedy being usurped by a buffoon for personal and professional gain. Barely six months ago, Daniel Libeskind rolled out a near identical scheme for an extension to his Jewish Museum project in Berlin. The cliched distorted trapezoidal forms that supposedly embodied the essence of Jewish history in Germany are here rebranded to memorialize the struggles of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. The paucity of thought that informed this pathetic and ignorant design is evident in the childish scribble Libeskind mistakes for a serious architectural presentation.

Libeskind's very presence in Ireland makes a mockery of lives lost in that strugle. His thoughtless and formulaic design proposal insults the intellegence of those still living and will be an embarrassment to the memory of those who died.
 

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Maybe he's a one trick pony, but when he gets things right he's onto a winner. The internal spaces of the Berlin Jewish museum are very interesting (though probably completely impractical for anything but art installations), and this one in Toronto is great.



I'm not sure how meaningful his involvement in the Andytown RUC station re-development was, whether it's going ahead, or even whether it needs an off the wall building when a modern update of this sort of thing would suffice

Off Le Monde1's Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
 

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The whole conflict resolution phrase is ambiguous- what does it really mean? A troubles museum? That would be a worthwhile project for Long Kesh (not that there's much of it left as they bulldozed most of everything), though for the sake of sensitivity I would delay planning this kind of thing for a decade or three- no rush just maintain the structures while we wait for the controversy to die down. There is of course no real need to develop anything on the Maze site given it's rural isolation, but having the Balmoral show is one of the better ideas for it.

But I've heard the word conflict resolution centre banded about elsewhere. There are proposals to turn St. Comgalls School (two streets up from Divis Tower) into a conflict resolution centre/ B&B/ whatever.

Off Eric Jones Geograph.ie: http://www.geograph.ie/profile/7056


Italian Cloisters Falls Road style, courtesy of Murph on Belfast Forum


Is this going to be a troubles museum (of which there are already one or two republican ones on the Falls and one Loyalist one in the Lower Newton and one mothballed one at Fernhill house)- location wise it makes sense given where this is where it all kicked off in August 1969. But is it a conflict resolution centre of the other sort- i.e. a set of offices where ex-prisoners can talk among themselves as part of a healing process. Because truthfully this demographic is small so I question why this couldn't be located in any number of other buildings and not this landmark one. Why not make this building more relevant to the majority of society? And when you think about what they did with the similar looking school off Dee Street, creatively turning it into a housing scheme.

off my flickr


Turning the former playground into an interesting communal courtyard garden. Off BBC NI



How about something like that but more open to the public.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wouldn't say it's dead. It's a short-term political manoeuvre by a failing Unionist politician attempting to save face and win back some of their support base.

It's just another example of the poor political leadership that blights Northern Ireland, it's all rather depressingly familiar.
 
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