Update on the physical status of Bank Buildings - Last updated 18.09.18
1. The building remains in a very dangerous condition.
2. The cordon, established by the Council, will remain in its current position to protect everyone near the building from a potential collapse.
3. Primark has now successfully removed the two air-handling units at roof level without incident.
4. Monitoring devices are now being attached to the building at various points so that any movement of the building can be remotely monitored.
5. With strong winds forecast to hit Belfast on Wednesday, this provides further concerns as to the stability of the building.
6. The situation remains that the businesses within the cordon have been advised that they are not permitted to access their building.
7. Other businesses in close proximity to the cordon are reminded that they must ensure that risk assessments are undertaken to ensure the health and safety of their staff and to contact their insurers as well.
8. The council continues to work closely with Primark and their engineers to explore all options that will reduce the safety cordon as quickly as possible and improve access to affected businesses.
In addition to this, Primark has issued the following statement at 1pm on Tuesday 18 September:
"Following the devastating fire at Bank Buildings, Primark has been focused on the welfare of our colleagues, while also working with the authorities regarding our on-going commitment to businesses and the wider community in Belfast. Today we want to provide an update on our plans.
It is our intention to be back up and trading again as soon possible. As you can appreciate, we are at the early stages on this and will confirm details as soon as possible. We hope that this will assist the on-going efforts to drive footfall into the City Centre.
As well as re-establishing a high street presence in the City, Primark is committed to supporting the business community affected by the fire. Primark will be donating £500,000 to Belfast City Council’s recovery programme as a gesture of goodwill. The Council will manage the distribution of the recovery fund to those local businesses impacted by the fire.
As we progress our plans, we will continue to work with the authorities in Belfast. We would like to thank people once again for their on-going support."
Following this, Belfast City Council is issuing this statement:
A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “This is a very welcome announcement from Primark and will contribute to the wider City Recovery Investment Fund, which the Council is currently establishing, and which will be considered by members of the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on Friday (21 September).
“Primark is very keen to support small businesses in the city centre – in particular those that have been severely impacted by the fire. The company has asked Belfast City Council to distribute this funding on its behalf.
“Belfast City Council is developing a City Recovery Investment Programme which includes immediate, medium and longer term proposals to support businesses, re-establish and sustain high levels of trading beyond the city centre in the lead up to Christmas and beyond, increase connectivity across the city centre, ultimately ensuring the city’s economic resilience. The contribution made by Primark will be an important part of that overall programme delivery.
“Council and its city partners will continue their engagement with traders and landlords. Following the outcome of Friday’s meeting, more details will become available around how businesses can access the funding and when.”