Castle Court, Belfast

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1990.

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Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire 12:00 am, 22nd November 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has received any representations from traders and shopkeepers in the Castle Court area of west Belfast for compensation for lost trade and disruption due to current redevelopments; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Richard Needham Mr Richard Needham , North Wiltshire

Representations have been received, but there is no provision for owners of property adjacent to private developments to receive such compensation.

Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire

As you know, Mr. Speaker, I am not the Member for Belfast, West and this is a constituency case which I took up only because the elected representative refuses to take his seat in Parliament, which he should do, especially to deal with cases such as this. The Castle Court development has led to problems for shopkeepers in the area who have suffered considerable damage, loss and near-bankruptcy and who face prosecution for accidents that occur outside their shops. If the Minister can sort out the Prime Minister, why cannot he sort out this problem?

Photo of Mr Richard Needham Mr Richard Needham , North Wiltshire

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the issue. As he knows, both rates and rents were reduced by one third. The fact is that Castle Court is now up and running and proving to be a real success is bringing tens of thousands of people to the city centre. The best way to increase trade for the Belfast traders is to get the terrorists out.

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

Although I am aware of the positive points to which the Minister referred, and that shopkeepers and traders can have some compensation, is not it a fact that those who have looked for employment in the Castle Court complex have been told that it is only for people from north and west Belfast? Is not it a tragedy that people who have been forced out of north and west Belfast cannot get employment at Castle Court?

Photo of Mr Richard Needham Mr Richard Needham , North Wiltshire

That just is not true. Thousands of people are employed in Castle Court by a large number of retailers. Anybody who wants work there will be treated under the fair employment legislation which exists throughout the Province.