NICS Departments are continuing to work with Belfast City Council and other agencies in response to the fire at Bank Buildings, Belfast.
Officials from the Department for Communities, Department of Finance and Department for Infrastructure are included in the different multi-agency recovery groups to support business and get the city centre back to normal as quickly as possible.
Actions to date include:
- Removed all business rates liability from the 17 premises inside the cordon with effect from the date of the fire. The Primark Building has also been removed from the Valuation List.
- LPS has confirmed that other properties will have zero liability if they cannot be occupied on health and safety grounds.
- To provide continued support to businesses, LPS are happy to discuss extended rate payment arrangements to assist with any cash flow difficulties and to work with businesses for any applications under the Hardship Rate Relief Scheme. For businesses affected by the fire, LPS will not at this stage seek to recover rates outstanding for periods prior to the fire.
- For employers and employees who may be impacted as a result of the fire, the Department for Communities, along with Belfast City Council, will provide dedicated clinics offering relevant assistance and advice.
- The Department for Communities has agreed to make available £50,000 as a contribution to marketing and promotion campaign led by Visit Belfast to attract people into the city centre for shopping and leisure.
- A loading and access plan has been developed by the Department for Infrastructure for the city centre. This takes account of the closure of Castle Place and makes some changes to the existing traffic priorities in Berry Street, Bank Square, Fountain Street and College Street to allow servicing of local businesses. Local traders have been informed. The Department will continue to respond positively to requests from traders to ease access problems.
- Translink is continuing to review its services in consultation with stakeholders.
Revised arrangements have been agreed with city centre tour bus operators, who can now collect and drop-off passengers from High Street.
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