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Retail NI, in partnership with The Chief Executives' Club at Queen’s University Belfast hosted a regeneration themed conference, looking at the future of our town and city centres, City Deals and the huge challenges facing the High Street.

Among the keynote speakers were the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Local Growth and High Streets, Jake Berry MP; Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of the influential think tank, Centre for Cities; and Professor Greg Keeffe, Head of the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast.

Speaking about the conference, Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts said:

There has been so much change in the local High Street with many big name retail closures, growth of online shopping, City Deals and the Primark fire in Belfast, that we felt it was time to organise a conference to look at the way forward for our towns and cities”

“The conference focused on the solutions to all of these challenges and sought to provide a new policy direction for decision-makers at all levels of Government”

Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas, Head of Queen’s Management School, said:

“Regeneration of towns and cities is an important topic and a necessary discussion. This is a time of both challenge and opportunity for Belfast and beyond.

“At Queen’s, we value our strong relationship with Northern Ireland’s business community and firmly believe in the unique role that Queen’s University can play in both driving and supporting economic growth, promoting prosperity, encouraging innovation and promoting global thinking locally.”

Queen’s University Belfast has played an integral role in the Belfast Region City Deal. In the Autumn Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £350 million investment for Northern Ireland. It is hoped the deal will create up to 20,000 new and better jobs alongside delivering a 10-year programme of inclusive economic growth.