Academic claims Belfast is exploiting sinking of Titanic
BBC Radio 5 live's Shelagh Fogarty spoke to professor William Neill from Aberdeen University who said "disaster tourism" is disrespectful to the 1500 people who died. Ian Clarke is the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland tourist board.
Strange that many of the 'critics' haven't ever expressed their views in relation to other museums/exhibits which are rather less sympathetic to the disaster, nor the auctioning of recovered wreck items nor the many millions made from the films.
As the tourism chief said, the centre is one of many things happening. We have a service of remembrance in St Anne's Cathedral, the unveiling of the new Memorial Garden at Belfast City Hall and the emphasis on remembrance in the slipway park.
InShops on High Street is to be closed by its French owners.
Not that I find the building particularly attractive but there are a good few busy businesses located there and I don't see a buyer coming forward for what is an old building in desperate need of redevelopment.
I agree that the whole site in which the InShops occupies needs refurbished or indeed a wholesale redevelopment.
It is possible that the site has been sold quietly in an off the market sale?
If this were to be the case, I could only hope that any new owner of the site redevelops it into a mixed use development. Boutique shops, bars, restaurants, apartments, hotel and offices. Perhaps introduce a new street linking to Pottingers Entry from Church Lane?
With the ever increasing footfall on Church Lane to Victoria Square and towards Skipper Street and the Cathedral Quarter, Church lane has the potential to become a street lined with buzzing bars and restaurants with al-fresco dining - an example of which is Muriels which is always busy. A handful more dining / drinking establishments could make that area a destination in itself.
The potential wholesale redevelopment of the In-shops site, could lead to this possibility.
Anyone else any thoughts of what they would like to see happen to the In-Shops site?
Ideally I'd like to see it knocked down as it's a major eyesore. Replace the above ground parking with underground and create a small, mixed use scheme of apartments and retail/dining, but densely packed in and to a similar aesthetic style/height to the Merchant across the road. Let any businesses still willing to remain there take up new units.
Redevelopment seems unlikely given the current climate, big commercial developments are not going to happening for a couple of years. Some shops may remain open if they own the unit themselves and are self-contained with access from the street.
There are some unique small businesses in the centre and be a shame to lose them. Some of the units have some really useful services.
There's a new watch fixer in Smithfield Market if you're desperate. In shops seemed to die a death with the smoking ban. They haven't even got their suburban colony in Glengormley anymore though I was surprised to see one in London, didn't realise they were a chain.
It seems the shops that face onto Church Street, Pottingers Entry and the carpark are not owned by InShops. So I think those will also remain open, it's just the units inside the building that are to close.
They make substantial losses at IKEA Belfast and IKEA managers operate their stores independently so any increased costs must be met locally which the Belfast IKEA can (if rumours are true) no longer afford.
For example when the levy comes into place IKEA will have a rates bill of £320,000 which for a store that is already making substantial losses is unreal.
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