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We must protect our architectural gems

It's not too late for the public to campaign for the preservation of some existing buildings within the Royal Exchange redevelopment area in Belfast (News, July 15).

A case in point of the worth of repairing existing architecture is the building at the corner of Waring Street and Donegall Street.

For a long while, this building looked very run-down but is now a Premier Inn hotel. When you look at the quality of the materials used and the detail and visual interest this building has, it is a gem.

If it had been demolished, a newly built replacement would just not have had the same character or presence.

There are other Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the area that, given the same treatment as the now Premier Inn, would greatly add to the character of the Cathedral Quarter in a way a new-build just can’t.

Even a reconstructed North Street Arcade would add something different.

When we visit foreign cities, it is generally the older buildings that are of interest — Shards and Guggenheims notwithstanding.

Let’s go out of our way to keep what truly is the essence and feel of Belfast intact.

Peter Millar

Coleraine, Co Londonderry

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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