Boost For Belfast Traders As Primark Cordon Reduced

Traders in Belfast City Centre are hopeful for an increase in sales after the cordon surrounding the Bank Buildings was reduced.

Work to secure the historic building, which housed Primark before it was gutted by a fire last August, has been ongoing over recent months while much of the area has been cordoned off.

Pedestrian access to Castle Street via Fountain Street was restored today, Wednesday 27 February, with further reductions of the safety barriers planned.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, welcomed the news and said it would be a boost for traders in the area.

She commented: "We know that some retailers, particularly in the immediate area of the cordon, continue to be impacted by a reduction in footfall and sales, so this will be a welcome development and is good news for Castle Street traders."

The footpath from the corner of Zara on Donegall Place to the corner of Fountain Street is on schedule to be reopened at the end of March. The British Heart Foundation shop, which had its premises on Castle Street prior to the fire, has since relocated and a new shop is operating on Fountain Street.
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Councillor Hargey said: "It has been a challenging six months for our city centre businesses but Belfast has proven itself to be a resilient city. It's really encouraging to see this progress and as the cordon continues to be reduced in the coming weeks, I think we will see footfall and trade start to increase again in this area, as accessibility for pedestrians and shoppers improves."

Since the fire and the resulting cordon, Belfast City Council has been looking at ways to reimagine how city centre spaces are used, exploring best practice in urban design, and taking the opportunity to pilot new ideas.

One such project is a pop-up park which is set to open at Castle Place at the end of March, with an emphasis on being child-friendly and a space where children can explore and learn.

"As we look ahead to the longer-term recovery and regeneration of this part of the city centre in particular, we have a unique opportunity to trial new ideas and think about how our public spaces are used," Councillor Hargey added.

Over the coming weeks, the council will also be carrying out further physical and environmental improvements; upgrading entries and enhancing connectivity around the city centre, adding enhanced lighting, greening the city, and having a 'deep clean' to ensure the streets are attractive and welcoming for visitors and residents.

A family-centred programme of activities is also being delivered in partnership with Cathedral Quarter Trust including Lego animation workshops, fun science workshops and Mad Hatter's tea parties.


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