A new £208m Belfast Transport Hub has been given the planning go ahead by Stormont, it has been revealed.
Translink’s new proposed development is set to replace the Europa Bus Centre and Great Victoria Street train station complex.
Now, the Department for Infrastructure has issued its notice of opinion for the major scheme, and says it should be given the green light.
It is estimated the project could support up to 400 jobs during construction.
Detailed plans for scheme show sections of the roof of the main hub are designed to reflect some of Belfast’s manufacturing heritage — inspired by linen looms.
The hub will include a public area concourse, 26 bus stands, eight railway platforms along with a new public square.
Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “We welcome today’s announcement, the scheme which will take around 5 years to complete is a further milestone in the transformation of public transport in Northern Ireland.
"It is hugely important as the main transport gateway, with rail, coach and bus connections to all parts of Northern Ireland and beyond.
“It will provide over 400 direct jobs during construction as well as additional longer term investment and job opportunities”.
“As a catalyst for the regeneration of the local area, the plans will play a key role in positioning Belfast as a modern, confident and progressive city supporting the City Councils Belfast Agenda.
“We have seen strong passenger growth in recent years with a record 81 million passenger journeys last year, the highest in 20 years.
"This modern, innovative Transport Hub will allow us to build on this success, to meet growing customer demand, increase transport connectivity and enhance the customer experience as even more people choose to use public transport.
“There is widespread support across the local community, businesses, city stakeholders and political parties, and we are delighted that this project has been given the green light.
“We look forward to getting this ‘transport led regeneration’ project underway, in order to meet the future needs of commuters, visitors and residents in Northern Ireland. We will continue to work with all our stakeholders as the development progresses."
Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “This is a genuine good news story for our economy.
“Retail NI has long supported this vital project as both an investment in the infrastructure of Belfast City Centre and our transport network”
“From a retail perspective it is extremely positive as it will improve the City Centre’s connectivity for shoppers and tourists and reduce congestion”
“It will also act as a much needed catalyst for regeneration in that part of the City Centre."