Call for investment into Belfast’s former ‘Golden Mile’

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There has been a call for investment into Belfast’s former “Golden Mile” as a renowned fish and chip shop has been demolished.

In the past few weeks, Bradbury Place in South Belfast has changed dramatically as Bishop’s Fish and chip shop was knocked down, changing the landscape of the street forever.

Belfast City Council have approved plans for a 156 bed student accommodation and retail development on the site.

The stretch from Great Victoria Street, along Dublin Road to Bradbury Place, was known as Belfast’s Golden Mile and had been the “beating heart of Belfast hospitality”.

However in recent years, while the area still has very popular and thriving businesses, there has been a growing number that have had to close their doors and local councillors have called for investment to bring it back to its full potential.

Botanic SDLP Councillor Gary McKeown said: “Bradbury Place, the Dublin Road and Great Victoria Street are in need of real investment. This area was once the beating heart of Belfast hospitality, but now needs a boost.

“There are some fantastic businesses keeping the area alive and offering great service, plus new ideas such as the pop-up street food and independent retail market Box Office at the old Movie House breathing new life into the area, but the ‘Golden Mile’ needs strategic support to reach its full potential.

“That said, any development must also respect the historical and architectural heritage of the area as an asset rather than something to be bulldozed.

“All too often in Belfast we have seen great and indeed humble buildings of character cleared in the name of progress, which at the same time has sadly removed the very thing that made areas unique in the first place.”

Botanic DUP councillor Tracy Kelly feels that the area has been overlooked in recent years, with investment focusing more on the City Centre rather than the surrounding areas.

She said: “Long gone are the days of the ‘Golden Mile’, when Shaftesbury Square and surrounding streets were buzzing with night life.

“Many in Belfast will have fond memories of an era that was the heart and soul of Belfast. It is sad to see the empty buildings, run down shops and graffiti that has plagued this area for many years now.

“Investors buying, but not developing is something that is unfortunately becoming the norm.

“Many residents and business owners are frustrated at the lack of investment in the area, and trading beside dereliction can make it difficult to attract customers.

“Whilst Belfast City Centre seems to be the priority I often feel our surrounding neighbourhoods get overlooked.”