Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Carolyn Donnelly, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




            An apology for inability to attend was recorded for Councillor Hussey.





            The minutes of the meeting of the Committee of 8th December were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 10th January.



Declarations of Interest


            No declarations of interest were reported.



Correspondence Received pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development pointed out to the Members that correspondence had been received following the Notice of Motion which had been agreed by the Council, at its meeting on 4th October 2022, in relation to Road Safety Review.


            She added that, following the Council’s ratification of the Committee’s decision to withdraw corporate support for the York Street Interchange scheme, a response had been received on the Minister for Infrastructure’s behalf, from her Private Secretary.


            The Committee noted the correspondence. 



Restricted Items


            The information contained in the report associated with the following item was restricted in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the members of the press and public from the meeting during discussion of the following five items as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.



Revenue Estimates and District Rate 2022/23


            The Director of Finance/Deputy Chief Executive outlined the content of the report to the Committee.


            The Committee:


·     Agreed to the cash limit of £19,461,512 for the City Growth and Regeneration Committee for 2022/23 and the individual service estimates;


·     Agreed that the decision would not be subject to call-in, as it would cause an unreasonable delay which would be prejudicial to the Council’s and the public’s interests in striking the rate by the legislative deadline of 15 February 2022; and


·     Noted the next steps in the rate setting process.



Request to Present


The National Lottery Heritage Fund pdf icon PDF 223 KB


            The Director of Economic Development informed the Committee that a request had been received from The National Lottery Heritage Fund (HLF) to present to a future meeting of the Committee.


            He pointed out that, in the request from HLF, the Policy and Public Affairs Manager stated that, as the Committee was responsible for supporting the development of culture, heritage and the arts, HLF would like the opportunity to talk about its role in supporting heritage in Belfast, as it was central to place and neighbourhood regeneration plans for repurposing the city and town centres, transport, planning, job creation and social cohesion.


            The Committee acceded to the request from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to present to a future meeting.



Regenerating Places and Improving Infrastructure


A Bolder Vision Update pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development provided the Committee with an update regarding the engagement programme and feedback from the consultation for the Bolder Vision for Belfast.


            She informed the Members that a Ministerial workshop had been scheduled to take place in City Hall to address key issues associated with the delivery of A Bolder Vision, including Belfast Streets Ahead 3 and 5 and Glider Phase 2.


            She reported that the responses to the online survey on the Your Say Engagement HQ platform with the Department for Infrastructure and the Department for Communities had been very positive, with approximately 75% of the respondents being residents in Belfast.  She added that, of the responses that had been received to date, there had been significant support for the four moves:


1.           Create a Civic Spine;

2.           Reimagine the Inner Ring Road ;

3.           Promote City Centre Living; and

4.           Embrace the River Lagan and Waterfront.


            She informed the Members that there had been particular support for the creation of a civic spine and creating the right environment to support city centre living.


            She highlighted that there had been an extensive programme of in-person and virtual meetings, including two public webinars, throughout the consultation, and that there had been targeted engagement with partnership bodies that had a wide membership and reach in order to disseminate information and host engagement sessions.


            She informed the Committee that the consultation period had been extended in order to address a previous technical issue that had occurred regarding access to the virtual room platform.


            The Committee noted:


·     The consultation activity, feedback to date and associated issues in relation to approval, timeframes and delivery;


·     The upcoming DfC/DfI Ministerial workshop, which had been due to take place on 12 January 2022; and


·     The proposed community led seminar, Joining the City, planned for January 2022.



Positioning Belfast to Compete


International Events Update pdf icon PDF 258 KB


            The Director of Economic Development updated the Committee on the proposed programme for international events as part of the cultural strategy, A City Imagining 2020-30, and draft tourism plan.


            He informed the Members that a four-year implementation plan had been developed which included a programme of homegrown events with a targeted and strategic approach to international events to provide legacy for the city as well as a direct economic return, creating the conditions for long-term transformation of the city.


            He reported that, as Belfast had successfully bid to host the One Young World Summit in 2023, a funding package of £1M had been offered by the government, subject to full business case approval, towards the overall cost for the event, which was approximately £2.7M.  He added that, following the initial bid for Belfast to host the event, a contribution of £350,000 had been allocated from within the cultural investment programme, subject to Committee approval and that the remaining funding would come from income generation from the private sector, including fees and corporate sponsorship.


            He pointed out to the Committee that, as part of the bidding process in successfully securing Belfast as the designation of UNESCO City of Music in November 2021, the Council had set out a five-year plan in partnership with the music sector which focussed on sector development and civic participation and that there was an opportunity to complement those initiatives through international music events such as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.


            He informed the Committee that the  Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann was an annual event which encompassed a range of entertainment activities and was the most important event in the traditional music calendar.  He added that, although the initial outlay to secure the event was approximately £2.5 million, there were also significant opportunities for the host city to recoup the investment through partnership initiatives.


            He stated that, in line with the Cultural Strategy, draft Tourism Plan, UNESCO designation and recovery programmes, an expression of interest would indicate 2024 and 2025 as the optimum years to host the event.


            The Director pointed out that Tourism NI had been developing a business case to host the World Rally Championships in August, 2022 and that the total request from local government, incorporating council areas where activity would be taking place, was a total of £500,000, of which a request of funding from Belfast City Council was £175,000.  He added that, whilst no funding had been specifically earmarked for the World Rally Championship, the investment programme for the Cultural Strategy and Tourism Plan allowed for funding to be allocated to international activity, where the benefits had been clearly established.


The Committee:


·             Noted the contents of the report and the proposed programme of international events as part of an overall strategic approach to tourism and cultural development;


·             Agreed £350,000 as the Belfast City Council contribution towards hosting One Young World in 2023, subject to a final business case sign off by Tourism NI;


·             Agreed to submit an Expression of Interest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Update on Christmas Activities pdf icon PDF 440 KB


            The Director of Economic Development reported that, as part of the Christmas programme in November and December 2021, in response to the pandemic, the programme had aimed to meet the development objectives set out in the ten-year Cultural Strategy, which included long-term recommendations for events in the city and better strategic alignment across the Council in the design and delivery and he provided the Members with a summary of the following activities which had been delivered:


·             Window animation;

·             Lighting and illumination;

·             Christmas lighting scheme;

·             2 Royal Avenue;

·             Christmas Market; and

·             Marketing and communications activities.


            Several Members reported that they had received positive feedback on the Christmas programme of events and thanked the staff that had been involved in the development and delivery of the Christmas activities.


            The Committee noted the content of the report and that further information on the socio-economic impact of the Christmas activity would be presented to a future meeting of the Committee.



Consultation on the draft Smart Belfast Urban Innovation Framework pdf icon PDF 249 KB

Additional documents:


            The City Innovation Manager stated that the Smart Belfast Urban Innovation Framework aimed to foster an environment to support collaborative innovation between partners across industry, academia and the public sector to address urban and economic challenges, based on the understanding that Belfast’s more complex challenges often required novel solutions which were difficult for the public sector to develop on its own.


            She pointed out that Smart Belfast also reflected the growing impact of new technologies on urban policy and planning and that it aimed to maximise opportunities represented by new investments, including the Belfast Region City Deal digital programme, and the emergence of Innovation City Belfast as a regional partnership for innovation and would be particularly important in leveraging innovation in order to support the delivery of the new Bolder Vision for the city centre.


            She outlined the initial project pipeline and reported that a number of major projects were already under way or at an advanced development stage, that included:


·        The delivery of €7.9 million ‘Hub-In’ Horizon 2020 project that aimed to transform the Maritime Mile through community-based innovation and local enterprise;


·        The development of a new £20 million ‘Innovation for Societal Impact Fund’ to support collaborative innovation between the city region SMEs, researchers and public bodies;


·        The £2.5 million Connected Places Catapult ‘Homes for Healthy Ageing’ programme to bring innovation to issues around loneliness in older people;


·        The €1m ‘Access to Finance’ project that was working with local SMEs and the Economic Development teams to design new tools for designing future grant programmes and interventions;


·        The Innovative Procurement Playbook project with Sejong, South Korea, to improve our understanding of the challenges of innovative procurement and exportation of innovative products to international markets; and


·        Collaboration with the mobile industry, asset owners, businesses and public sector partners to develop a £30 million Belfast Region City Deal proposal that aimed to accelerate the roll-out of advanced wireless connectivity across the Smart District, university campus areas and Titanic Quarter.


            She highlighted that, as part of the consultation process for the new framework, engagement would take place between January and April 2022 via:


·        Party Group briefings;


·        The Belfast City Council ‘Your Say’ platform where organisation and individuals could respond formally to a series of questions on each element of the framework;

·        A public Smart Belfast webinar series which would offer insights into urban innovation practice form keynote speakers and further detail on the delivery of the programme; and


·        Community focused workshops on the citizen in a smart city.


            The Committee noted the content of the Smart Belfast urban innovation framework and the plans for individual party briefings from early in 2022.



Update on Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor and National Development Plan pdf icon PDF 260 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0        Purpose of Report


1.1       The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with a progress update on the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor (DBEC) and work on a development plan, strategy and action plan to progress this work. 


1.2       The report also provides members with a synopsis of the Republic of Ireland Government’s Shared Island Initiative and draws out elements of the National Development Plan aligned with cross border economic co-operation, with specific reference to the Dublin-Belfast corridor.


1.0            Recommendations


1.1            The Committee is asked to:


·             Note the contents of this report and progress to date to develop the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.


2.0            Main report


3.1       At its meeting on 9th June 2021, Members were provided with an update on progress to support the development of the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor including proposals for work on a development plan and governance structure involving business and elected representatives.  Members noted the progress to date and endorsed the approach.


3.2       Since the last committee update, the DBEC group proceeded with the commissioning of a development plan, strategy and action plan for the partnership.   Belfast City Council acted as lead partner on the tendering and contract management of this work.  The development plan is progressing well.  It is being supported by a working group of officials from across the partnership. Activities include:


·             Review of successful corridors, including staffing, funding, legal and governance structures including powers and purpose, and successful initiatives or projects carried out by the partners


·             Review of existing cross border structures/entities and funding, legislative environment


·             Review of existing research and delivery in priority sectors to identify gaps in provision/research, areas of alignment and potential for collaboration


·             Identification of options to support the development of a DBEC entity aligned with the partnership’s ambitions including recommended governance, legal and operating structures


·             Development of a detailed resource plan to support the delivery of the DBEC entity including identification of potential sources of funding.


3.3       To date, the delivery team has undertaken research in relation to future governance, operational, legal and resourcing models for the partnership. This has included a comparative analysis of other corridors and consultations with existing cross border institutions and relevant internal and external stakeholders. The next steps for stage 1 include finalising consultations with cross border bodies and preparing the implementation and resourcing plan.  Once approved the delivery team will proceed to stage 2 of the project.


3.4       Since the previous update, the inaugural meeting of the Dublin Belfast Political Oversight Group took place on 23rd November 2021 at City North Hotel, Dublin. The CEOs of the council partners attended the meeting along with the three elected representatives from each council.  A Chair and Vice Chair of the group were elected to serve a one-year term.  The Chair is Councillor Pete Byrne from Newry Mourne and Down District Council and the Mayor of Fingal, Councillor Seána Ó Rodaigh, of Fingal County Council was elected as Vice-Chair. The team delivering the development  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Update on Renewed Ambition Programme 2022 pdf icon PDF 291 KB


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development outlined the undernoted report to the Committee:


“1.0     Purpose of Report


1.1            The purpose of this report is to:


·        Update Members on the Renewed Ambition Partnership Programme for 2022 aimed at delivering regeneration, infrastructure and a modern built environment for Belfast and wider City Region


2.0            Recommendations


2.1            The Committee is asked to:


·          Note the update on the programme of work which is being delivered via the Renewed Ambition Partnership Approve entering into contractual arrangements on behalf of the Renewed Ambition Partnership with event organisers for UKREiiF - the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum, noting that attendance at this event will be funded through the Renewed Ambition Partnership.


3.0       Main Report




3.1       At the meeting of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee on 8th September 2021, an update was provided on the Renewed Ambition Programme – a public-private partnership programme of work underpinning regeneration, development and infrastructure activities in the city. This was accompanied by a presentation from representatives from the Renewed Ambition Taskforce who provided an update on the programme of activity to date. This included proposed areas of focus for the 2022 programme aligned to securing investment and regeneration for the Belfast region. A key objective is to build awareness of the Belfast investment proposition aimed at attracting investment and creating employment opportunities to support the delivery of regeneration projects across the City, with a focus on creating the physical, digital and social infrastructure / assets we need for inclusive sustainable growth.


2022 Programme of Activity


3.2       In 2021, the Renewed Ambition programme delivered a structured five pillar programme focused on activities that help to ensure Belfast and the wider region is positioned to continue to attract investment and deliver on inclusive growth.


3.3       It is proposed that the 2022 programme will continue be delivered as a collaborative programme of activity across the following key pillars: 


·             Research – Research aligned to the impact of real estate investment to inform the city proposition and narrative.


·             Events - Programme of content aimed at the local and international real estate audience which aims to showcase the Belfast Region for future investment though participation at virtual and in-person conferences and showcase events.


·             Engagement and Advocacy - Programme of engagement and advocacy to facilitate two-way conversations with policy makers and showcase real estate opportunities to the investor community. This aims to position the Belfast Region positively and seeks to identify and try to address barriers that investors, developers and occupiers may face when they consider Belfast as a destination.


·             Communications - Media engagement reinforcing positive messaging around Belfast’s investment proposition through international marketing and communication campaigns targeting the national and international real estate investment and development community. 


·             Repository - A shared access repository on the Invest in Belfast website which facilitates sharing of data, marketing collateral and intel to help ensure consistent messaging and shared narrative is used by all partners when promoting the city region.


3.4       The Renewed Ambition Taskforce have agreed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Strategic and Operational Issues


Community Planning Update: City Development Board pdf icon PDF 200 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report


1.1            The purpose of the report is to provide Members with an update on community planning with a specific focus on the work being taken forward by the City Development Board.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


(i)          Note the on-going work being progressed through the Belfast Agenda’s City Development Board.


(ii)        Note the alignment and synergies with the work of the Committee.


(iii)      Note the feedback from the City Development Board Workshop on 19 November and the priority areas identified by partners, as well as support from non-statutory partners including DfI, DfC and SIB and the private sector to lead focused discussions and coalesce with partners.


(iv)      The role and ongoing opportunities for Elected Members to input and shape the work being taken forward through Community Planning Partnership, including the refresh of the Belfast Agenda and associated delivery plans, over the coming months and years.


3.0            Main report




3.1       Members will be aware that a series of delivery focused Boards have been established to enable and encourage greater collaboration across city partners to deliver the ambitions and priorities set out within the Belfast Agenda and address key challenges facing the city and its communities.


City Development Board Update


3.2       Members will also be aware the work underway to review and refresh the Belfast Agenda for the period 2022-2026.  Since the launch of the review in September 2021, we have been continuing the conversation with our city partners, including through the established Delivery Boards, to help shape the refresh the Belfast Agenda.


On 19th November a workshop was held with the City Development Board, chaired by Neil McInroy former Chief Executive of CLES. The workshop had a strong attendance with representation across the VCSE, statutory partners, Belfast Chamber as well as representatives from the local development community. The session also involved Senior Officials within DfI, DfC, NIHE and SIB with focused discussions amongst the Board members to secure collective agreement on actions and interventions. Specifically, the workshop focused on:


·        Taking stock of the current priority themes of the City Development Board in the context of Belfast Agenda commitments through the lens of Housing-Led Regeneration; Regeneration and Investment; Future City Centre; Connectivity, Access and Active Travel.


·        Securing collective agreement on a small number of priority interventions that the Board can drive forward over the coming 4-years.


·        Shaping and influencing the refresh of the Belfast Agenda and associated delivery plans.


The out-workings of this workshop will feed into subsequent engagement phases, enabling the co-design of action plans and a relevant, refreshed Belfast Agenda which can deliver a positive impact for everyone in the city. 


3.4       A number of key overarching areas which emerged during the workshop discussions are summarised below:


·        It was felt that City Development should be drawn out as an additional priority in the ongoing refresh of the Belfast Agenda.


·        There was general consensus that the priorities are the right ones with housing led regeneration and connectivity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.