Business groups welcome £500,000 scheme to upgrade Belfast city centre power cables

David Tompsett, project delivery engineer for NIE Networks, and Gareth Neill, BID manager at Cathedral Quarter, scan plans for the upgrade system. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye

BUSINESS groups say they welcome a £500,000 scheme by NIE Networks to upgrade the electricity system in Belfast city centre - even though it may mean some disruption over the coming three months.

The three-phase project to replace 3,000 metres of underground cabling - originally due to start in January but delayed because of the Primark fire - commences on July 22 and is due to complete on October 31.

The first phase of work will focus on the junction of Royal Avenue, York Street and North Street, move on towards Dunbar Link at the end of July, and then run from North Street to Peter’s Hill from September.

The timetable has been approved and supported by the Department of Infrastructure and leading business organisations in the area, and NIE Networks insists no interruptions to electricity supplies are planned and each phase will be completed before moving to the next to help minimise the impact to businesses, traffic flow and shoppers.

City centre manager Geraldine Duggan said: “Belfast City Centre Management is pleased that NIE Networks will be upgrading the network in the Cathedral Quarter area of the city centre, and the investment will be a great benefit for local businesses.

"We and Destination CQ will continue to work alongside the team at NIE to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum for the duration of the works.”

Gareth Neill, BID manager at Cathedral Quarter, added: “The business community recognises the importance of this much needed infrastructure upgrade and welcomes NIE Networks’ commitment in bringing this work forward. The project will ensure there are continued opportunities to invest and grow in this vibrant part of the city.”

David Tompsett, project delivery engineer for NIE Networks, which transports electricity to 860,000 customers across the north, said: “Delivering a high standard of service for all our customers is hugely important to us and we're delighted this critical project can now get under way to replace and upgrade older cables and ensure the continued resilience of the electricity infrastructure in this area of Belfast city centre.

“We have been working in partnership with the Department of Infrastructure, Belfast City Centre Management, Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District and Translink to make sure the impact on businesses and city centre users is kept to a minimum.”

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