Retail Property - Victoria Square gets priority in Belfast review

Northern Ireland's Department for Social Development has agreed to promote major retail-led developments in the northwest and Royal Avenue/ Cathedral Way districts of Belfast city centre. However, it has agreed to continue to give priority to the new Victoria Square development.

The department has now formally endorsed a report on retail provision in the city centre from consultants GVA Grimley.

Dutch developer AM had been concerned that new development would be permitted before its 800,000 sq ft (74,320 sq m) scheme was fully established.

AM UK managing director Paul Sargent expressed relief at the announcement.

'AM had legitimate concerns about the phasing of other retail projects, because of the unique marketplace here in Belfast,' he said.

'The recommendations in the report appear to address these concerns and apply the same level of stringent criteria to other future developments as were applied to the Victoria Square regeneration initiative.'