SDLP Economy Spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin has called for progress to be made in revitalising town centres as part of the post COVID-19 economic recovery.
Mrs McLaughlin was speaking after questioning the Executive Office’s Junior Minister Gary Middleton in the Assembly yesterday.
Said the Foyle MLA: “I am extremely concerned about the health of our high streets and the crisis hitting the retail centres of our cities, towns and villages. We have a High Street Taskforce, but progress – if there is any – is happening far too slowly.
“Engagement with key stakeholders should have been well developed by now, yet seems to still be at an early stage.
“Moreover, the Taskforce is suffering from a lack of strategic direction and support.
“It is in danger of losing steam and momentum and risks making little difference to our high streets which are in dire need of intervention.
“The buck must stop with the Executive Office and its ministers.
“They must recognise the High Street Taskforce is a major priority.
“Relying on the High Street vouchers, if that is what the ministers are doing, would be a mistake.
“We have declining high streets, empty shops, derelict land and charity shops and we need a proper action plan to address these weaknesses.”Tags: