Alliance Party Representative of South Belfast, Allan Leonard, has said that the growth of retail in Belfast mustn’t rip the heart out of our communities. Mr Leonard was responding to Secretary of State, Peter Hain’s declaring Belfast as the next growth hotspot for retail-led regeneration.
Allan Leonard said:
“The Secretary of State’s vision for Belfast and the whole of Northern Ireland is positive in that it recognises how far we’ve come in attracting visitors and regenerating the waterfront with the Laganside project. It is encouraging to see the strong numbers of shoppers and money spent in Belfast city centre.
“However, I would caution the Secretary about concentrating on retail for our growth.
“When retail growth means more malls on major routes, it takes trade away from local neighbourhoods. We mustn’t allow overdevelopment take away trade from our local shops on the Ormeau and Lisburn Roads, for example.
“We mustn’t allow growth to take the heart out of our communities.”