Royal Exchange To Boost Belfast North

Fears that the multi-million pound redevelopment of a run-down part of Belfast city centre had been shelved have again been refuted this week with news that a planning application has been submitted.

The application came five years after the Royal Exchange project was announced.

In May this year, Belfast City Council voiced its concern at reports that plans might be delayed, as at the time, detailed plans for the £360m regeneration scheme were still due to be lodged with planners.

It aims to redevelop an area between Royal Avenue and the Cathedral Quarter on the northern side of the city centre.

The company behind the plan, Leaside Investments, is a consortium of two Northern Ireland firms William Ewart and Snoddons and a Dutch firm ING.

The Royal Exchange Scheme was first announced by the government in 2006 with the aim to regenerate run down and semi derelict parts of Belfast city centre.

The area between Donegall Street and Royal Avenue takes in the historic North Street arcade which was burnt down in 2004.

The listed building has not been touched since and there has been criticism that the project has not moved quickly enough.

The plans for the development include more than 200 apartments, a hotel, an arts centre, car parks and retail units.

Developers have signed an agreement with the Department of Social Development which will mean the scheme will receive some public funding.

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood welcomed the lodging of the planning application.

"I would encourage all stakeholders and the general public to provide their views on the application as it proceeds through planning," Mr Attwood said.

Back in May, Councillor William Humphrey, Chairman of the Belfast Council's Development Committee, said he was alarmed at suggestions that the funding which had been made available for the Royal Exchange Regeneration Scheme has been 'surrendered' by DSD and the project is 'not likely to progress' in the timescale originally indicated.

Sinn Féin MLA and member of the DSD Committee, Fra McCann, had also called on the NI Minister for Social Development, Alex Atwood to provide clarity in regards to the delays facing the Royal Exchange development in Belfast.


Related Northern Ireland Business News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 December 2009
Deadline Set For Royal Exchange Plans
Plans to regenerate Belfast's Royal Exchange area must be outlined by October next year, a development consortium has been told. NI Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie laid down the deadline for the £360m project, which has the potential to generate 2,000 construction jobs, today.
26 May 2010
Royal Exchange 'Not On Hold', Says DSD
A multi-million pound redevelopment of a run-down part of Belfast city centre has not been shelved, the Department of Social Development (DSD) has said.
09 July 2010
Economic Development Boost For Belfast
Belfast has won a place in the last stages of a prestigious UK-wide enterprise contest. Invest Northern Ireland has announced Belfast City Council's Economic Development Unit as the winner of the NI heat of the Enterprising Britain 2010 competition.
23 July 2009
Belfast 'Twelfth' Was Shopping Hit
Initial feedback on the commercial impact of Belfast shops being open over the traditional 'Twelfth' celebration has been excellent. This year's event, titled 'Orangefest' on 13 July witnessed Belfast city centre shops opening on the day of the parades for the first time.
17 August 2001
Plans are published for £200m Victoria Square redevelopment
The Department of Social Development has announced a move forward in the process to deliver the proposed £200 million redevelopment of Victoria Square in Belfast city centre.