Representatives from a new business body met recently with the Ministers of Enterprise, Regional Development, Social Development and Stormont’s two Junior Ministers to discuss challenges facing the retail sector and town centres.
The new Town Centre Alliance includes Glyn Roberts, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retailers Association (NIIRTA), Joe Jordan, President of the Belfast Chamber of Trade,
Stephen Dunlop, Chairman of the Association of Town Centre Management and Adrian Farrell, President of Portadown Chamber of Commerce.
It was the first time the business organisations have made a formal presentation to the Executive Sub Committee, chaired by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, on the ‘Future of Our High Streets.’
In a joint statement after the meeting, the group said:
“We put forward new ideas on rates, planning, car parking and above all we pressed the Ministers on the need for a new Shop Vacancy Strategy, given that one in five shops are now empty.
“This meeting is a very useful start to getting a new joined up approach from the Executive and we will be engaging further with the Ministers.”