- President pushes ‘Heritage Square’ in Colombo Fort
- Alternative building found for Foreign Ministry relocation
- Police HQ, CID to be shifted to current SLAF HQ building
The Government is to move forward with the setting up of the proposed ‘Heritage Square’ in the Fort area in Colombo with the relocation of several key State offices in the area that include the President’s House, Foreign Ministry, and the Police Headquarters (HQ), The Sunday Morning learns.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe told The Sunday Morning during a discussion with editors on Friday (6) that arrangements were being made to shift the President’s House to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte in accordance with an earlier plan, while an alternative venue had been identified for the relocation of the Foreign Ministry as well.
He stated that the Police HQ in Fort would be relocated to the current Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) HQ building in Colombo 2 once the three armed forces had been set up at the military complex in Akuregoda.
The President was hopeful that the ‘Heritage Square’ would serve as a tourist attraction while also attracting foreign investments. “The Heritage Square will bring in good investments,” Wickremesinghe said.
However, it is learnt that the relocation of the President’s House to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte will result in the need to address several issues related to the environment due to the impact of such a set-up in a bird sanctuary.
Following relocation, the old buildings will be renovated and used as tourist attractions under the Colombo Heritage Square initiative. The concept was initially mooted by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) with the aim of replicating the walking streets of Barcelona, Spain, which is home to several tourist attractions such as the Plaça de Catalunya and the Christopher Columbus Monument.
The UDA, at the time of launching the Colombo Heritage Square project, said that it involved the renovation of historical buildings in the area and the creation of pedestrian corridors to connect the buildings, via which tourists could access them on foot.-Sunday Morning