What happened and what was the impact?
On August 28, a fire broke out at the Bank Buildings that housed Primark on Royal Avenue.The city centre was shut down as firefighters tackled the blaze for days.But, no-one could have predicted just how dramatic the lasting impact would be. For safety reasons, a cordon was erected and fourteen businesses were forced to close. Footfall plummeted and businesses have struggled to cope with such an unprecedented event. In recent weeks, there have been some green shoots. The Christmas period has seen an increase in footfall and a ‘tunnel’ has reconnected Royal Avenue and Donegall Square. The opening of the Primark store on Castle Street is expected to bring huge footfall back to that part of the city, giving local traders there a major boost. But, for others in the likes of Fountain Street or Bank Street areas, it’s not as simple and traders have continued to express concerns over reconnecting the remaining parts of the city.