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Planning Policy: Retail Sector

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 13th October 2015.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Social Democratic and Labour Party 2:00 pm, 13th October 2015

I thank Mr McKinney for those very pertinent and timely questions. As I have said, going forward, more can and must be done to support town centres and the retail sector across the region. I wish to see closer working among Executive colleagues, who have key roles to play in the creation of the thriving town centres that we all want to see. Urban regeneration, the provision of public transport and other infrastructure, rates and effective town centre management are but some of the necessary ingredients to create the mix of uses essential to the continued attractiveness of our town centres. I also believe that, with a greater array of powers or functions, councils now have considerably more power to influence positively the shape, attractiveness and use of city and town centres. The retail sector is one of the most important elements of our economy, and I am confident that it has the resolve to respond successfully to the present challenges and difficulties with which we are all familiar. Collectively, we can all bring about positive change, economic growth and a more sustainable future for city and town centres.