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Clarity needed on Royal Exchange development dangers

25 May, 2010 - by Fra McCann

Sinn Féin MLA and member of the DSD Committee, Fra McCann, has called on the Minister for Social Development to provide urgent clarity in regards to the delays in the advancing the  Royal Exchange development in Belfast city centre.

Mr McCann today submitted and urgent question to the Minister to this effect.

Speaking today Mr McCann said:

“There is a growing concern over the way ion which the Department for Social Development has let the timetabling for the development of the Royal Exchange in Belfast slip.

“The consequences for this is that the Minister may very well have to hand back the monies that were earmarked for this development, over £100m, back into the central pot for redistribution. This would then provide no guarantee, given the strains on all other departmental budgets following indication of British government cuts that DSD would get this money back.

“I am therefore calling on the Minister to clarify the position with regards to these facts on the proposed delay to the Royal Exchange development.

A number of questions remain outstanding following this proposal.  Will the new Minister now abandon his departments sequencing of development within the city centre which ash evidently failed.

Furthermore will due to these delays will he now move to the regeneration of the west side of the city which because of the sequencing policy adopted by his department, has now essentially been put on the long finger disadvantaging further this quarter.

“If these plans, or other city centre regeneration plans s are not advanced then the very real situation exists that these developments may fall and those areas within the city that needs attention will not receive the much needed economic boost to keep our centre vibrant and competitive.”

Note to editor:

The urgent question submitted today by Fra McCann MLA reads:

Can the Minister for Social Development clarify the situation in relation to the decision to put the Royal Exchange Development proposals on hold?  Will he not now consider abandoning the approach of sequencing city centre development plans and give priority to proposals for  the West Side Regeneration plans?

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