Primark fire update: Stores and bus routes to return this summer

  • Plans have been announced to reduce the blocked off area around the burned down Primark building in Belfast this summer, opening up bus routes and returning more stores to operation.

    When the historic bank buildings in Belfast caught fire back in August 2018, it wasn't just the Primark inside it that suffered. Every business near the blaze was forced to shut down for safety reasons, with many suffering smoke damage and those closest to the fire being under threat of the bank buildings potentially collapsing into them. The road closing had a knock-on effect, making other nearby businesses less accessible.

    It was a lean Christmas for some of those retailers, but many of the stores affected by the fire were able to re-open for the holiday period thanks to efforts by Belfast City Council. A structure was erected to eliminate the danger of the building collapsing, and a new walkway was established with an innovative solution involving repurposing sturdy shipping containers to keep pedestrians safe.

    Belfast City Council worked to boost footfall in the affected area to help retailers, running a series of events and working with the Castlecourt shopping centre to reduce parking charges on weekends. They even administered a £500,000 fund to help the smaller independent retailers affected by the blaze to stay afloat, money that was generously donated by Primark itself.

    More of the businesses near the area have been able to re-open recently as efforts are still underway to cope with the aftermath of the fire. A section of the cordon was moved back to allow Zara to re-open in March in an effort to get things back to normal in the area and attract more footfall to the high street. Now plans are in place to further reduce the blocked area in June to allow busses to pass through the city centre again.

    Source: BBC News, Image © Albert Bridge

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