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Government must protect our heritage

I was interested to read the article by Geraint Ellis and James Orr (Comment, September 6) relating to the perception that the planning system is not protecting our environment — or, indeed, successfully aiding development.

I feel this can be illustrated by the blight of important heritage buildings in, or adjacent to, Belfast city centre.

To name a few: Crumlin Road courthouse and gaol; Bank of Ireland, Royal Avenue; the Assembly Rooms, Donegall Street; and the Ewart Building, Bedford Street, are all endangered, or lying empty.

Why are we not capable of protecting the importance of these buildings and using heritage to regenerate our town centres?

It really is time the Government took heritage in Belfast seriously. Unless they do so at this 11th hour, Belfast will lose that which makes it unique.

DAVID FLINN

Belfast Civic Trust

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