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Council concern over £360m development

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Councillors in Belfast have appealed for an update on the planned £360m Royal Exchange development after fears that little progress has been made over the last year.

Belfast City Council has called on the Department for Social Development, and developers Leaside Investments, to explain why more than a square mile of land between Royal Avenue and Donegall Street remains virtually derelict after it was purchased more than nine months ago.

There are concerns that the project to regenerate the north side of the city centre and link the new development at St Anne’s Square and Cathedral Quarter with the docks developments could have fallen victim to the current economic slowdown.

Councillor William Humphrey, chair of the council’s Development Committee, said: “Belfast City Council took a decision on 3 November 2008 that the Department for Social Development should give the developer nine months to bring forward an application for planning. This hasn’t happened.

“This means that the council’s Development Committee will now have no choice but to revisit the current position at our September meeting.”

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