Primark plans to rebuild Belfast store damaged by fire in August

Retailer submits application outlining how it may use some of building’s original features

The historic five-storey Bank Buildings in Belfast city centre devastated by  fire.

The historic five-storey Bank Buildings in Belfast city centre devastated by fire.

 

Retailer Primark wants to rebuild its flagship store in Belfast city centre, which was damaged in a major fire in August, and has pledged to retain the listed building’s “historic authenticity”.

The retailer has submitted a planning application to Belfast City Council that outlines how Primark might use some of the building’s original features in redeveloping the site.

Primark was located in Bank Buildings, which has been a landmark in Belfast since 1785.

A major fire all but destroyed the building and resulted in a major cordon being erected around the site, which retail and hospitality bosses in Northern Ireland say has led to a “huge reduction” in trade and shopper footfall in the city centre.

Demolition debate

There has been a heated debate in Belfast, particularly among business owners, as to whether what is left of Bank Buildings should be demolished.

However, Primark’s planning application sets out proposals to “restore and reconstruct” the property, and also suggests reusing some of its original stonework and its famous clockface.

Primark had already donated £500,000 (€570,000) to a special city recovery investment programme that has been established by Belfast City Council to support businesses in the area, particularly in the run-up to the busy Christmas trading period. The council has also committed £1.25 million to the programme.