Retail NI Welcomes Primark Progress

Almost a year since the iconic Bank Buildings that once housed Primark were destroyed by fire, Retail NI has welcomed the progress in rejuvenating the area.

Parts of the surrounding roads were cordoned off for months following the devastating blaze, with shops and restaurants closed. All businesses had reopened by mid June, with the exception of City Picnic on Castle Street. Pedestrian access between Donegall Place and Royal Avenue has also been fully restored, and the roads reopened to traffic.

Retail NI said the progress follows a challenging year for city centre traders, particularly those in Castle Street and within the cordon.

"This whole crisis has shown just how resilient city centre traders really are," Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said.

"We are making solid progress in restoring that part of the City Centre, but we must go further and faster.
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"While the fire was a terrible tragedy, the one positive from it was that it has turbo charged a new debate amongst consumers, traders and political leaders about what type of City Centre we want for the future."

Retail NI also called for a "bold, radical and new vision" to be harnessed for 21st Century Belfast City Centre.

Mr Roberts continued: "Looking to the future it has to be more inclusive, accessible and more family-friendly for shoppers and tourists. Retail NI is very ambitious for Belfast and we believe that a 21st Century city centre can be created with a dynamic retail and hospitality offer.

"Above all else, it also needs to be a fun place for families to visit and enjoy.

"Retail NI is ambitious for Belfast and with the right level of support and an enabling policy framework, the city could become one of the UK and Ireland's top retail destinations.

"In our discussions with Government, Retail NI will continue to lobby for a wider City Rejuvenation Fund to make this radical new vision a reality."


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