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Town and city centres must be retail and social spaces – McCausland

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland says town and city centre regeneration programmes will focus on developing multifunctional social and retail centres.
Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Minister was commenting as he published a report on the role of his department in supporting Northern Ireland’s town and city centres.

The report, produced by a taskforce of senior civil servants, was developed following 29 public meetings across Northern Ireland to hear the views of local traders and high street businesses. The Minister has accepted all recommendations and is committed to developing the local vision, improving coordination of city and town centre management and driving forward regeneration initiatives.

The Minister said: “The nature of retail has changed in recent years and the long term challenge is how we move from retail lead towns and cities, to developing their value as multifunctional social centres that vitalise our high streets not just in daylight hours, but also to maximise our evening economy.

“The report highlights the sense of deep frustration felt by those struggling to survive and thrive in today’s difficult trading conditions. There are complex issues and the report demonstrates the contribution my Department can make in helping to address these. I recently brought this report to the Executive sub-committee on the Economy as many of the issues raised require a response beyond my Department.

“I am committed to doing my part to bringing about improvements and will continue to work in partnership with stakeholders to make the best use of the resources available to me.”

The report, initiated by Minister McCausland following publication of ‘The Portas Review’ focuses on:

  • Tackling dereliction through public realm schemes, promoting meanwhile uses and supporting community asset transfer;
  • Supporting business through town teams and Business Improvement Districts;
  • Encouraging regeneration-led town centre living

Notes to editors:

  1. The DSD High Street Taskforce was established in February 2012 with a remit to: review the support which the Department for Social Development (DSD) currently provides to regenerate city and town centres; to consider whether this might be further strengthened in light of the recommendations emanating from the Review; consider the proposals being put forward by representative organisations; to ascertain the views of local traders and high street business across the cities and towns of Northern Ireland.
  2. The full report can be viewed at the DSD website
  3. View photos on flickr
  4. Media enquiries to DSD Communications Team on 028 9082 9078 or email press.office@dsdni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440.