The economic review, launched with the aim of attracting visitors and businesses to Lisburn city centre, has acknowledged there is no quick fix solution.
But local MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, who launched the report, is confident that Lisburn has “a bright future.”
Launching the report Mr Donaldson said: “I am delighted to launch this report as I believe it represents a major contribution in terms of identifying the key challenges that we face in the regeneration of Lisburn City Centre after a number of years of decline due to the impact of the global recession.
“We believe there is a need for a more joined up approach to the branding of Lisburn as an attractive location and the launch of the new public realm in Market Square later this year offers an opportunity to send out a more positive message that Lisburn is ‘open for business’.
“We need to expand the range of the retail offer and enhance the amenities in the city in order to attract more shoppers and visitors.
“As a priority, we have identified a city centre boutique style hotel as being vital to the development of the evening economy. Included in the other priorities that we have identified, is the need to attract more office based employment to Lisburn City Centre as well as establishing more business incubation units to promote the growth of local businesses within or close to the city centre.
“Much of the growth in the housing market in recent years has been on the outskirts of Lisburn and therefore, the new Area Plan that will be brought forward by the Council will offer an opportunity to create new residential development in or near to the city centre so that we can help to put a strong heart back into Lisburn.
“The Report also identifies the need for more investment in our infrastructure, with the proposed Knockmore Link Road and the new M1 Motorway junctions onto the Maze development site being absolute priorities in order to open up some 1,000 acres of land for industrial and mixed use development. This will create the biggest development hub in Northern Ireland.
“I strongly believe that if we adopt this more focused and coordinated approach to promoting our city, then Lisburn really can have a bright future.”
President of Lisburn Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Houston added: “We believed that there was a need to review the issues and opportunities facing Lisburn and provide a range of recommendations which would in itself provide a framework to planning for the future.
“The report brings together all those recommendations and we hope will act as a stimulus to reinvigorate the Lisburn Area. We believe there are no quick fixes from our recommendations but the Chamber is keen to be at the forefront of this regeneration to represent local businesses in order to help return Lisburn to a thriving city with excellent resources.”