We are proposing and consulting on plans to restore a landmark and one of Belfast’s most iconic heritage assets. The devastating fire of 2018 destroyed the Bank Buildings and resulted in months of efforts to secure the building, and save the historic structure from collapse.
Primark is now seeking to restore the building to its former grandeur, by bringing forward plans to renew one of the city’s most coveted assets. The purpose of this website is to update you on these proposals, and seek your views before a planning application to restore the Bank Buildings is submitted to Belfast City Council.
The Bank Buildings were constructed in 1899-1900 and have been home to Primark Stores Ltd since 1979. Since this date, Primark has become an established presence in the city centre, and its community. The Bank Buildings has become a significant heritage asset for Belfast that embodies the city’s historic, economic and social culture both of the past and current day.
On the 28 August 2018, during the final stages of completion of a store extension at Commonwealth House, a fire devastated the Bank Buildings and left it in a state of significant disrepair.
Safety cordons were put in place to protect the community from what was now a structurally vulnerable historic building.
Two listed building consents have already been approved to allow the safe removal of materials and careful assessment of fire damaged stonework facade, internals and the remaining structure, including the 4th floor cornice and clock face.
The cordon erected around the building was initially reduced to create “container alley” - a walkway between Royal Avenue and Donegall Place which opened in early December.
Since then the cordon has been further reduced opening access to Castle Street/Fountain Street junction in February, and then again in March to open the footpath from the corner of Donegall Place to the corner of Fountain Street.
The Bank Buildings is a Category B1 Listed Building that sits within the Belfast city centre Conservation Area.
Despite the extensive damage, the listed status of the building provides it with legal protection, which means planning permission is required to allow for the redevelopment of the fire damaged structure.
A strategy to stabilise the façade and deconstruct fragile features was sought under Listed Building Consent and the initial works to prevent further degradation of the building and ensure its safety are underway. This has included the careful removal of unstable historic stonework that has been retained for reuse where possible.
Primark Stores Ltd is now proposing plans for consultation on a conservation led scheme that would fully restore the Bank Buildings to its former glory, and provide an investment that will revive the iconic building and this important Belfast store.
Before submitting planning applications to Belfast City Council we would like to know what you think about our proposals.
Public information events will be held in the Castle Street Primark store on the below dates and times:
Members of the development team will be available to answer any questions. For those who are unable to attend – we will be sharing more information on our website in due course, including materials that will be on display at the public information events.
If you are unable to attend the above events, there are a number of additional ways you can comment. You can do this by:
Completing our online feedback form and returning to the consultation team. Please submit all feedback by 15 July 2019.