| 12.8°C Belfast

Fake shop fronts: the real story

Northern Ireland's fake shop fronts Close

The new Garrison in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The new Garrison in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Courthouse in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Courthouse in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Having a cuppa in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Having a cuppa in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

M&J Groves in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

M&J Groves in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Lukes of Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Lukes of Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Hemphill furniture in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Hemphill furniture in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Torrens clothes shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Torrens clothes shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

If the hat fits in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

If the hat fits in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Barristers at work in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Barristers at work in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Shopping at Clarkes in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Shopping at Clarkes in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Barbour Shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Barbour Shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Mill in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Mill in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Window shopping in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Window shopping in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Mill in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Mill in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Racing Legends.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Racing Legends.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

 Balmer's Motor Repairs in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Balmer's Motor Repairs in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Racing Legends.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Racing Legends.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Snapping the music shop in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Snapping the music shop in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

A woman walks past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like a cafe, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Thursday, June 6, 2013. Organizers of the G-8 summit of world leaders June 17-18 in Northern Ireland have spent weeks sprucing up the facades of businesses all around the County Fermanagh venue. Their use of window-sized posters to make them appear like thriving businesses with fully stocked shelves, has proved most eye-catching  indeed, eye-fooling. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

A woman walks past a derelict shop, its windows covered in giant posters to make it look like a cafe, in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Thursday, June 6, 2013. Organizers of the G-8 summit of world leaders June 17-18 in Northern Ireland have spent weeks sprucing up the facades of businesses all around the County Fermanagh venue. Their use of window-sized posters to make them appear like thriving businesses with fully stocked shelves, has proved most eye-catching indeed, eye-fooling. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

AP

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  
False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  
False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  
False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

A pedestrian walks pass stickers applied to the windows of a former butcher?s shop in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, outside Enniskillen on June 1, 2013. The stickers give the premises the superficial appearance of a open business. More than 100 properties within range of the Lough Erne resort which hosts the G8 Summit have been tidied up, painted or power-hosed. Britain is hosting this year's summit on June 17-18. AFP PHOTO/ PETER MUHLY        (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

A pedestrian walks pass stickers applied to the windows of a former butcher?s shop in Belcoo, Northern Ireland, outside Enniskillen on June 1, 2013. The stickers give the premises the superficial appearance of a open business. More than 100 properties within range of the Lough Erne resort which hosts the G8 Summit have been tidied up, painted or power-hosed. Britain is hosting this year's summit on June 17-18. AFP PHOTO/ PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  
False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

Northern Ireland- 21st June 2013 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. False shop fronts on the Lower Newtownards Road in east Belfast.

A man walks past an empty shop, which has been covered with artwork to make it look more appealing, in the village of Bushmills on the Causeway Coast August 19, 2013.

A man walks past an empty shop, which has been covered with artwork to make it look more appealing, in the village of Bushmills on the Causeway Coast August 19, 2013.

Reuters

Having a cuppa in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Having a cuppa in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

M&J Groves in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

M&J Groves in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Lukes of Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Lukes of Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Hemphill furniture in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Hemphill furniture in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Torrens clothes shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Torrens clothes shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Shopping at Clarkes in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Shopping at Clarkes in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Barbour Shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

The Barbour Shop in Bushmills.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Window shopping in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Window shopping in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

 Balmer's Motor Repairs in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Balmer's Motor Repairs in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Snapping the music shop in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Snapping the music shop in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Press Eye Photography
Wednesday 16th April 2014 

Photographer  Russell Pritchard  / Presseye.com
 

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography Wednesday 16th April 2014 Photographer Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography
Wednesday 16th April 2014 

Photographer  Russell Pritchard  / Presseye.com
 

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography Wednesday 16th April 2014 Photographer Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography
Wednesday 16th April 2014 

Photographer  Russell Pritchard  / Presseye.com
 

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography Wednesday 16th April 2014 Photographer Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography
Wednesday 16th April 2014 

Photographer  Russell Pritchard  / Presseye.com
 

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography Wednesday 16th April 2014 Photographer Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography
Wednesday 16th April 2014 

Photographer  Russell Pritchard  / Presseye.com
 

Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

Press Eye Photography Wednesday 16th April 2014 Photographer Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com Lisburn Square fake shop fronts

The new Garrison in Ballymoney.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

I would like to take the opportunity to clarify some points in relation to the issue of 'fake shop fronts', as reported in the Belfast Telegraph.

Over recent years, retailers across Northern Ireland have experienced difficult trading conditions. In an effort to support businesses towards economic recovery, ReStore/Revitalisation aims to boost business performance by creating a more attractive environment by improving the look of shop fronts and encouraging shoppers and visitors.

It is important to put in context that, although the overall ReStore/Revitalisation scheme has cost £8.2m, only £190,000 – or 2.3% – relates to 'fake shop fronts', or what I prefer to call 'virtual shop fronts'. Unfortunately, this figure was not available at the time of publication.

The short-term measure of creating virtual shop fronts to address the blight created by void and derelict units is a relatively minor element of my department's wider tool-kit for physical improvements.

The vast majority of the £8.2m has been directed towards supporting existing traders make physical enhancements to their shop fronts.

These are businesses which are open and trading, but require a bit of refresh to their property, or signage, such as repair and refurbishments of shop facades, lighting and planting.

Feedback from the business community has been overwhelmingly positive. The department's funding has been greatly appreciated in a time of significant financial constraint.

Indeed, this approach has resulted in significant benefits for town centres, including levering private sector investment and increasing footfall and tourism.

I recognise that these schemes will not in themselves regenerate a town centre, but they support the wider work of the Executive in creating sustainable towns for the future.

ReStore/Revitalisation is making an important contribution during what is a difficult time for traders.

It is, therefore, proper for us to take action to improve the appearance of our town centres and to support local business.

Nelson McCausland MLA is Minister for Social Development

Belfast Telegraph