Architects debate future of Belfast city centre following Primark fire

Architects have launched a public campaign to stimulate debate about the future of Belfast city centre following the Primark fire.

The discount clothing retailer’s Bank Buildings flagship store was destroyed during last month’s blaze.

People are being encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions for improving the city centre experience using the hashtag #MyBelfastIdea on social media.

PSNI officers watch as flames from a major blaze engulf a Primark store in the historic five-storey Bank Buildings in Belfast city centre (Liam McBurney/PA)

By appealing directly to the public, the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) said it was placing debates about urban design and architecture in the public sphere.

Director Ciaran Fox said: “RSUA is committed to placing good design at the centre of decision making and the devastating fire at Bank Buildings has, inadvertently, presented Belfast with an opportunity to re-imagine how the city centre should work.

“This campaign seeks views from right across the city and the wider region, not just from architects and not just from ‘experts’, but from all of us who socialise and work in Belfast about what would draw people in to the city centre for leisure and commerce.”

Restrictions around the landmark former Primark store are expected to be in place until after Christmas, the City Council has said.

Some traders whose properties lie within a safety cordon established around the building to exclude shoppers have called for it to be demolished to allow commerce to be quickly re-established.

Financial support has been put in place for businesses affected.

- Press Association

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