Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Louise McLornan, Democratic Services Officer  x6077

No. Item




            Apologies were reported on behalf of Alderman Kingston and Councillor Dorrian.





            The minutes of the meetings of 26th September and 10th October were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st November.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were reported.



Restricted Items


            The information contained in the reports associated with the following items is 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 Committee meeting during discussion of the 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 (NI) 2014.



Bank Buildings/City Recovery

(verbal update)


            The Committee noted an update which had been provided by the Strategic Director of Place and Economy on the Bank Buildings/City Recovery Programme, in the context of planning and building control, city animation, environmental and physical improvements and the allocation of the Primark fund. The Committee noted also that it would, later in the meeting, be informed of proposals to establish a City Centre Regeneration Task Force to facilitate, amongst other things, the delivery of the City centre recovery programme.  



Belfast Region City Deal

(Verbal update)


            (Mr. R. Cregan, Director of Finance and Resources, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Director of Finance and Resources reminded the Committee that £350 million had been allocated within the Autumn Budget to the Belfast Region City Deal. That figure would rise to £850 million with contributions from the Northern Ireland Executive and the six councils and two universities involved in the initiative and would be boosted further by investment from the private sector.


            He explained that, over the coming weeks, a Heads of Terms document would be signed off, which would allow for detailed business cases to be formulated for each project and, ultimately, for funding to be released.


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.   





Request to Present - Enterprise Framework for Belfast pdf icon PDF 91 KB


The Committee agreed to receive at its monthly meeting in December a presentation from Steer Economic Development on the draft Enterprise Framework for Belfast.


Growing Business and the Economy


Social Value Procurement and Inclusive Growth pdf icon PDF 96 KB


            The Director of Economic Development submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on current engagement on social clauses and the emerging outcomes from a new approach aligned to the Leisure Transformation Programme. 


2.0       Recommendations


            The Committee is requested to:


                                                  i.          note the report, including the social clause deliverables under the Leisure Transformation Programme  investment; and


                                                ii.          consider how the Council’s social clause policy might be reviewed, in order to support delivery of Belfast Agenda commitments, including the focus on inclusive growth.


3.0       Main Report


            Key Issues


3.1       Members will be aware that, for some time, the Council has been engaged in a range of activities to support ‘social value’.  Social Value means measuring investment by using more than just commercial metrics and considering other impacts that have a more ‘social’ focus.  The Social Value approach aligns with the commitments set out in the Belfast Agenda to support inclusive growth. 


3.2       A range of work is currently being undertaken across the Council to support the delivery of social value through employability activities, support for the development of the social enterprise sector and the integration of social clauses within relevant procurement processes.


3.3       The Council has been integrating social clauses as part of its procurement processes for a number of years. The current policy commits the Council to scope out all upcoming tender opportunities (with a value of at least £250,000) to explore opportunities for securing social value by introducing social clauses. 


3.4       Social clauses have been used in a number projects, mainly construction-focused, however it is recognised that the current approach is a relatively ‘blunt’ instrument to support Inclusive Growth.  As a result, social value opportunities are often restricted to a ‘shopping list’ of social clauses (e.g. work placement opportunities, work trials) which are not designed specifically for the nature and circumstances of the contract to be procured.  This means that opportunities are often missed to derive longer-term benefits for our communities and neighbourhoods. 


3.5       Recognising the limitations of the current approach, the City Growth and Regeneration Committee agreed, in November 2016, to trial the integration of social value as an evaluation criterion in the Council’s procurement activity.  The key difference was that there was a series of questions asked at the application stage about how the contract would support the Council’s social value agenda, as well as delivering on the supplies and services at the core of the contract.  Responses to these questions were then given relevant weighting as part of the tender evaluation process.  This approach was undertaken for the Leisure Transformation Programme (LTP), recognising the significant opportunity presented from this procurement due to its scale and contract duration. 


3.6       This approach allowed contractors to present a plan of activities aligned to the specific nature of the contract (i.e. leisure facilities in local areas) and the broader priorities contained within the Belfast Agenda.  The contract has a maximum  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Update on Smart Belfast Programme pdf icon PDF 103 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The Smart Belfast programme encourages collaborative innovation between our local universities, digital SMEs and the public sector in order to tackle urban challenges, drive public service transformation, and support wider economic development in growth sectors of the city’s digital economy.


1.2       Delivery of the programme is driven by an ongoing ‘pipeline’ of projects specifically chosen for their capacity to contribute to the Urban Innovation Framework agreed by Council in 2017. An update report was presented to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in September, 2018.  Given its interest in this area of work, this paper provides the City Growth and Regeneration Committee with an update on the current activities.


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       The Committee is requested to note the contents of the report.


3.0       Main Report


            Key Issues


3.1       The Smart Belfast programme encourages collaborative innovation between our universities, digital SMEs and the public sector to tackle urban challenges, drive public service transformation, and support wider economic development in growth sectors of the city’s digital economy. It operate at three levels:


(1)   City and regional: Working with partners to develop the digital innovation elements of the Belfast Region City Deal. And supporting partners to bring innovative solutions to challenges identified in the Belfast Agenda (while at the same time supporting our digital companies to innovate);


(2)   Organisational transformation: Contributing to the Council’s own service transformation by supporting the adoption of user-centric design; innovative procurement; and the application of data science and digital technologies; and


(3)   Building the core foundations: Working with partners to build the strategic capabilities of our smart city (including supporting a city data platform, networks, skills sharing, joint delivery mechanisms, etc).


3.2       The team currently consists of four officers temporarily re-assigned but is in the process of recruiting seven full time staff. Delivery of the programme continues to be driven by a ‘pipeline’ of projects specifically chosen for their capacity to contribute to the Urban Innovation framework agreed by Members in 2017. The latest information on the programme is available at


3.3       While the programme’s focus over recent months has been in the development of the digital and innovation pillar of the Belfast Region City Deal, the team has continued to deliver the smart city project.


3.4       An update was provided to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in September 2018, and the Committee is asked to note a number of current and planned pipeline projects:


            Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) on Last Mile Freight Delivery


3.5       The team has been working with Smart Dublin, the NI Department for Infrastructure, Belfast Business Improvement Districts, the NI Freight Transport Association, on a €240,000 SBRI competition to encourage SMEs to develop proofs of concepts to address the challenge of increasing numbers of van and lorry deliveries in both Dublin and Belfast city centres.


3.6       Here in Belfast, successful companies will explore the challenge from a number of perspectives including setting up  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Regenerating Places and Improving Infrastructure


Inner North West Masterplan pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Additional documents:


            The City Regeneration and Development Lead Officer submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to present the final draft of the Inner North West Masterplan for approval by Members.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:


                                                i.    approve the final Inner North West Masterplan;


                                              ii.    note the supporting documentation for the Masterplan, including the public consultation report, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), Rural Needs Assessment and EQIA Screening; and


                                             iii.    note that further details of a Delivery Plan aligned to the Masterplan will be brought back to Committee in the near future setting out proposed priorities.



3.0       Main Report




3.1       As per previous reports, Members are aware that, as part of the delivery of the Belfast City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy (BCCRIS), a number of more detailed plans were to be commissioned to help support and shape city centre developments. The Inner North West (INW) Masterplan is part of the implementation of BCCRIS and the City Growth and Regeneration Committee gave approval in October 2016 for master planning work to be undertaken. Following a workshop with Members in November, 2017, a draft Masterplan was brought to Committee in January, 2018 and it was agreed to go out for consultation on the basis of the draft Masterplan that was brought to Committee. Details of the subsequent consultation is set out below.   




3.2       The INW area as shown in the Masterplan forms a critical part of the city centre and is bounded by the Millfield/Carrick Hill road to the northwest, College Street to the south, Fountain Street to Fountain Lane to the south and Royal Avenue to the east and covers 17.2 hectares (42 acres). The area is located at the convergence of four different types of land uses: residential to the west and north; retail to the east; education to the north and mixed use to the south, including the new Transport Hub. A location map has been circulated to the Committee.


3.3       As outlined to the Committee in October 2017, the purpose of the Masterplan is to guide development in this part of the city.  The area is currently underdeveloped and in need of significant investment to ensure coherent proposals come forward as part of wider strategic development of the city. The Inner North West is experiencing significant change, mostly as a result of a number of approved and planned development opportunities in the wider area and will benefit from a more holistic consideration of the key issues associated with these emerging activities such as transport, connectivity, built heritage, mixed-use developments, residential accommodation, and design.



            Engagement and Communication Programme


            Public Consultation Programme


3.4       In January 2018, the Committee agreed to a 12-week public consultation and the 12-week formal consultation period began on 13th February 2018 and concluded on 8th May 2018. Effort was made to engage with a diverse range of stakeholders,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


City Centre Regeneration Taskforce pdf icon PDF 96 KB


            The Strategic Director of Place and Economy reminded the Members that significant effort had been put into responding to and managing the impact of the fire which had destroyed the Bank Buildings.


            He reported that the Council had, from a public sector perspective, assumed the lead role in the recovery process, which had involved ongoing liaison with a number of Central Government departments and public sector bodies, such as the Departments for Communities and for Infrastructure, Translink and Visit Belfast. That process had had significant staffing and financial resource implications for the Council and, whilst it had been recognised that it would be likely to continue over the coming months, it was essential that the public sector also adopted a strategic view on how to maximise current efforts to revitalise the City centre in the longer term.


            He explained that discussions had taken place recently between senior Council officers, the Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretaries around the need to adopt a collaborative approach to City recovery. It had been agreed that a City Centre Regeneration Task Force, comprised of Permanent Secretaries, should be established and be chaired jointly by the Council’s Chief Executive and the Head of the Civil Service. It was envisaged that the Task Force would provide the strategic oversight and direction to facilitate the delivery of the ongoing City centre recovery and revitalisation plans in both the short and longer terms and a high level forum for considering cross-cutting issues and proposals for collaborative working and co-investment. Its Terms of Reference would require approval by the participants and it was the intention that the inaugural meeting would be held within the next month. In addition to the proposed Task Force, there would continue to be ongoing liaison with businesses, their representative bodies and other stakeholders.  


            Accordingly, he recommended that the Committee note the proposal to establish a City Centre Regeneration Task Force, as outlined, and that it would receive on a quarterly basis an update on the work of the Task Force.


            The Committee adopted the recommendation.



Positioning Belfast to Compete


Update on International Relations – Nashville pdf icon PDF 85 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 10th October, it had, in receiving an update on the International Relations Action Plan, agreed that a report be submitted to its next meeting outlining the rationale behind a decision not to attend the Health:Further conference which had been held in August in Nashville.


            The Director of Economic Development drew the Members’ attention to the fact that the Council had, in May, hosted a cross sectoral delegation from Boston and Nashville, Belfast’s two US Sister Cities. He reported that Mr. Marcus Whitney, one of the Nashville delegates, had visited the City for the first time to explore the life and health sciences sector and identify opportunities for future capital funding. Mr. Whitney had been impressed by the quality of the research expertise and business innovation locally and had felt that there were opportunities for collaboration with Nashville-based businesses and investment potential. Upon his return, he had met with representatives of Invest NI’s office in Chicago and had invited Northern Ireland-based companies and economic development players to attend the Health:Further conference, to enable them to meet with their counterparts in Nashville. The Committee, at its meeting on 13th June, had approved the attendance at the event of its Chairperson and the Director of Economic Development (or their nominees).


            The Director of Economic Development reported further that, during June and July, officers had met with representatives of Catalyst Inc., Invest NI and potential delegates to explore the potential for attending the conference in Nashville. However, there had not been sufficient interest expressed by individual businesses or by the business support organisations to merit the visit proceeding and, as a result, the Council delegation had not travelled to Nashville.


            He pointed out that, since then, Council officers had continued to engage with Mr. Whitney and with representatives of Nashville’s economic development team and Invest NI’s office in Chicago to examine future opportunities for Belfast companies within Nashville’s life and health sciences sector. It was felt that additional research was required to identify potential opportunities, with a view to increasing interest amongst local businesses for future initiatives and visits.   


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.



NI Science Festival 2019 pdf icon PDF 102 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on a request for sponsorship for the 2019 Northern Ireland Science Festival, based on the success of the 2018 event.  This will be the Science Festival’s 5th annual event, with activities running from 14th till 24th February, 2019 in venues and locations across Belfast and NI.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:


                                               i.          note the contents of this report; and


                                              ii.          agree to provide sponsorship of £35,000 from existing budgets for the Northern Ireland Science Festival 2019.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       The Northern Ireland Science Festival has been taking place annually since 2015.  The 2018 Festival which ran for 11 days in February offered a wide range of events focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. During the day, the Festival presented workshops, talks and interactive activities for young people, schools and parents.  In the evening, the Festival programme presented an eclectic range of science debates, talks, theatre, comedy, film and music for adult audiences. Overall, the programme held 183 events with local and international input, held across 92 different venues in NI demonstrating a significant increase in outreach from the previous year and exceeding 2018 targets.


3.2       The Science Festival is organised by Science Festivals NI and a unique collaboration of major STEM outreach organisations in Northern Ireland.  Funding for the event was provided by a number of organisations including the Department for the Economy, Tourism NI, Queen’s University, Ulster University, the MCS Group, the Matrix Panel, the British Council, and Belfast City Council.


3.3       As cited in previous reports, Science Festivals are a relatively new type of event with global appeal and increasing audience popularity worldwide.  New York, Edinburgh, San Francisco and Dubai all host large-scale science events as part of their wider cultural frameworks.  In 2015, the inaugural NI Science Festival joined this international group by becoming the largest festival of its kind on the island of Ireland and one of the largest in Europe.  Since the first Festival in 2015, the event has continued to go from strength to strength with its increasing reputation allowing it to secure globally significant guests such as the astronaut Chris Hadfield and to host the annual internationally acclaimed Turing Lecture.


3.4       The 2018 Festival was considered to be a major success, exceeding agreed targets and competing with other established science festivals.  Points of note included:


-       183 events spread across 92 different venues across NI, with the majority of activity taking place in Belfast;


-       an increase in audience figures from 63,000 people attending in 2017, to 69,000 people attending in 2018;


-       55% of the audience consisted of children and young people under the age of 18, including participating schools;


-       95% satisfaction rate was recorded from Festival attendees, with 73% stating that participation had increased their interest in STEM;


-       development of a strategic partnership with Libraries NI which resulted in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Finance, Procurement and Performance


Committee Plan 2018/2019 – Six Month Update pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of Economic Development submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       This report provides a six month progress report on the key actions contained in the City Growth and Regeneration Committee Plan, as agreed by Committee in April, 2018.  It provides an update on progress with the key actions, in particular highlighting the work undertaken in terms of jobs growth, skills development, cultural investment and regeneration and development. 


1.2       In total, over the last six months, 1,868 jobs have been created directly or indirectly, 1,905 individuals have been supported through employability interventions and 1,243 businesses have been supported to either start-up, grow or develop their international profile.


1.3       The Plan draws together several annual delivery plans; such as city centre development, support for businesses, employability and skills, tourism and the cultural framework.  It sets out the main priorities and programmes of work that the Committee if overseeing to maximise the Council’s contribution to delivering the Belfast Agenda that, at its core, has a commitment to inclusive growth.


1.4       The Belfast Agenda sets out an ambition for growth and opportunity that includes four headline goals to focus on the economic and social growth of Belfast so that by 2035:


-       our city is home to an additional 66,000 new residents;

-       our urban economy supports 46,000 more jobs;

-       there will be a 33% reduction in the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods; and

-       every young person leaving school has a destination that fulfils their potential.


2.0      Recommendation


2.1       The Committee is requested to note the content of the report and that officers are continuing to progress the actions within the City Growth and Regeneration Committee Plan 2018-2019, as agreed by the Committee in April, 2018.


3.0       Main Report


            Key Issues


3.1       The 2018-2019 Committee Plan was developed in line with the Council’s Corporate Plan and the Belfast Agenda. The Belfast Agenda has at its core a commitment to inclusive growth and the importance of growing the local economy to improve the quality of life. The Committee contributes to the delivery of all 4 work-streams; however, Growing the Economy, City Development and Working and Learning are the focus of the Committee’s responsibilities.  The Committee therefore continues to take the lead in ensuring that there is connectivity between the need for economic growth and the purpose of this growth – to connect people to opportunity and reduce inequality. 


3.2       Last month, the Committee noted the progress reports for the Growing the Economy, Working and Learning and International Relations annual work programmes.  The Committee also receives regular updates on specific programmes of work identified in the Plan to ensure progress on delivering the Council’s investment and commitments to deliver on the Belfast Agenda. 


3.3       An update against each of the main action areas in the Committee Plan has been circulated to Members. Key programmes of work will continue to feature regularly on the Committee agenda during the remaining  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Strategic and Operational Issues


Charity Abseiling Events - Belfast Castle pdf icon PDF 82 KB


            The Committee was informed that requests had been received from Cancer Focus and the MS Society to hold in 2019 a number of abseiling events at the Belfast Castle to raise funds for charity. The requests related to 24th February, 31st March, 14th April, 12th May, 23rd June, 15th September and 6th October, however, due to the popularity of such events, additional dates might be required.


            The Director of Economic Development reported that the venue had been selected on the basis of its unique location and marketing potential and that similar events had been held there previously, which had proven to be very successful. He pointed out that Bryson Lagansports, which had over ten years’ experience of facilitating abseils, would be deploying highly qualified instructors and using the highest standard of equipment. The company would be required to provide the necessary risk assessments and documentation, including insurance cover.


            The Committee granted approval for abseiling events to be held in 2019 at the Belfast Castle to raise funds for charity, subject to satisfactory terms being agreed with the Director of City and Neighbourhood Services and to the organisers meeting all operational, health and safety and documentation requirements to the satisfaction of the Council.



Schedule of Meetings 2019 pdf icon PDF 85 KB


Additional Item                       The Committee approved the following schedule of meetings for the period from January till April, 2019 and agreed that it should continue to meet at 5.15 p.m. on those dates:


·        Wednesday, 9th January;

·        Wednesday, 23rd January (Special Meeting, if required);

·        Wednesday, 13th February;

·        Wednesday, 27th February (Special Meeting, if required);

·        Wednesday, 13th March;

·        Wednesday, 27th March; (Special Meeting, if required);

·        Wednesday, 3rd April; and

·        Wednesday, 17th April (Special Meeting, if required).



Additional Item


Annual International Homecoming Conference 2018


            The International Relations Manager reminded the Committee that it had granted approval previously for the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson (or their nominees) to attend the Annual International Homecoming Conference taking place in Belfast from 28th till 30th November.


            She reported that the Council had since been allocated four additional places for the event.


            After discussion, the Committee agreed that nominations be sought from those Political Parties not represented by the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson to attend the event.