I certainly wasn't trying to suggest there is no value in retaining the old buildings, i was thinking more along the lines of who actually is willing to put the money in to do so. A lot of these buildings aren't a simple lick of paint job; one look at the jungle growing out of the shell of North Street Arcade shows the complex task involved there.As BUG pointed out maybe best not mentioning names.
@hypnotoad - you've been lulled into believing the lie - there's no profit in retaining good buildings and creating an area that gives loads of character.
It's a bit unfair to say they won't listen to feedback at all. Since taking over the scheme, the developer has moved the balance away from mainly retail to mainly office, in line with the council's targets for new office space. Since releasing the plans earlier this year, they have altered them, significantly increasing the retained facades and (supposedly) providing space for local businesses. I do agree that on the biggest issues- the arcade, Writer's Square, the developer seems unwilling to listen.It almost sounds like you're despairing - trying to balance seemingly irreconcilable forces of a great project, while enticing those developers. Well the issue is one side refuses to listen to feedback, reason, or just rules and good taste.
The balance of power probably isn't as one sided whenever 50% of the metal you are selling is a bit of a wreck. Also, it's hard to translate into the business analogy, but when you, the Council, have publically decided to target so many square metres of office space, and someone comes along to say 'yes, i will help with that, and i will also throw in cleaning up some derelict streets in the process', the offer will look more enticing.If the planners had that attitude - they're the Guardians of a raw and finite resource - then it's the develoeprs who have everything to lose. If a jeweler came to buy a precious metal from me for their ware who do you think hold the balance of power?
Some of these buildings won't have long enough to sit around and wait for this eventual organic development. Going to the example of Hill Street, it's taken over ten years for a handful of bars to open along it's length, only one of which- the Dirty Onion- has involved anything of the scope of restoration several of the buildings between North Street and Donegall Street will require.Similarly, do you really think no one is going to ever develop this area? Maybe it won't be a big master plan, but an organic smaller scheme. There's just too much opportunity there. It'll be restored in time. So why rush to acquiesce to the developers now?
Also, the developer is retaining many of the facades along North Street and Donegall Street. Did we all get angry when Premier Inn did exactly the same for their hotel at 4 corners? I certainly don't recall much anger on here. Or, how about the old Athletic Stores building? Facade retained, with new development in behind comprising additional floors... again not much dissent on here, but somebody comes along proposing to do that to some of the buildings in this area and its a travesty.
Look, i'm certainly not, as you seemed to be suggesting, standing there getting ready to wave the diggers through. I've pointed out on here my issues with the scheme, and also responded to the last public consultation- The scale of the office between Writers Square and North Street, the need for a big department store (and the quality of its design), the quality of the buildings fronting Royal Avenue, the loss of local character. I was simply wondering where we go from here. Personally, i think the council needs to stop packaging up areas of the city, and asking for a masterplan for the area. However, i think the process with this scheme has gone too far, and it will go ahead. It would just be great if that included scrapping the unnecessary department store and restoring the arcade.