Belfast Telegraph

Where streets have no shame... stores rap clean-up delay

By Claire Graham

A retail chief is warning "lessons need to be learned" from a delayed response in cleaning up Belfast's streets.

Frustrated Belfast traders, retailers and tourists have been waiting more than a week for prime shopping locations to be scrubbed down.

Royal Avenue's blackened, stained surfaces have made the high street hotspot a talking point for all the wrong reasons since the Twelfth celebrations were held in the capital.

After confusion over who was responsible for the deep cleansing operation, the Department for Social Development (DSD) – which manages the shopping area along Royal Avenue and Donegall Place – requested that Belfast City Council carry out an urgent deep clean of the area.

However, the 'deep-cleansing' will not be carried out until tomorrow, when there's minimum footfall, more than a week after the Twelfth.

Chief executive of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association Glyn Roberts is relieved efforts are being made to get the streets back to looking their best.

"We have received some concern from our traders who said the response hasn't been as fast as it should have been.

"I'd have liked to have seen a faster response at this time of year. With cruise ships landing here, there's big opportunities to showcase both the city centres and the towns.

"There are lessons to be learned from this so there can be better response times in the future. But no one could have predicted the good weather which attracts so much business."

DUP councillor Gavin Robinson said the turbulent week of trouble in parts of the city meant resources had been used to clear debris from the aftermath of the rioting.

"This has obviously been an incredibly busy time for our street workers, given the situation in north and east Belfast over the past week. I hope in the future we have the discussions in place with the DSD ahead of any issues which may arise.

"The images of the city haven't been great, but the main focus now is to get it done."

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