Belfast Telegraph

Giant screen may light up Belfast's Shaftesbury Square again

Exclusive: New LED screen will measure seven metres by four

By John Mulgrew

It was once Belfast's very own piece of Times Square or Piccadilly Circus - and it may be set for a comeback.

It is hoped Shaftesbury Square's big screen will make a grand return to the buzzing heart of south Belfast, almost 10 years after the old one was removed.

The planned new high-definition LED screen is going to be big, measuring seven metres by four, with a surface area of 28 metres.

Larne-based Blazin Digital has applied for planning permission for the digital screen to be located in the same spot as the old 'Scannervision', which lit up Bradbury Place.

It was attached to the former Danske Bank.

It's understood the three-storey neo-Georgian brown brick building is now owned by FonaCab boss William McCausland.

Blazin Digital's co-founder Andrew Fairfowl said the new "all singing, all dancing" modern digital billboard was like "something you would have in New York".

"We spoke to a lot of major advertising agencies and learned that there isn't really a digital network for this here, apart from ATMs," he said.

"Our screen is bigger than the old one."

Mr Fairfowl is hopeful his application will be successful. He added the big, bold billboard was "something we need" in Belfast.

"Anyone who has been to Times Square or Piccadilly Circus, it really does something to you when you're there," he said.

"We are very confident it will happen, politicians have been very excited about it.

"The reason why the old one didn't run as well was because it ran on bulbs, and they were difficult to see from far away."

Mr Fairfowl said he had ambitious plans for "two or possibly three others".

The new LED screen - believed to be one of the biggest in Northern Ireland - will advertise big name brands if planning application is successful. Mr Fairfowl added he would be giving 20% of profits made from the screen to the building's soon-to-be tenants, the Forum for Action on Substance Abuse.

It's also understood the screen will not display any advertisements selling or promoting alcohol.

Back in 2010 planners blocked a proposal by for a Piccadilly Circus-style screen on the corner of the KFC restaurant at Bradbury Place.

Though it has degraded over the last decade, back in the day the old screen illuminated the end of Dublin Road's stretch of takeaways and nightspots.

Initial plans from the Department for Social Development to revamp the area were put out for consultation last year.

Meanwhile, another planning submission has been made by Italian restaurant Speranza for an electronic display outside its building.

Belfast Telegraph


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