Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall
Contact: Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services Officer
No apologies were reported.
The minutes of the meeting of the 5th April were taken as read and signed as correct. It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 2nd May, subject to the omission of the minute under the heading Committee Plan 2023-24 and End of Year Report 2002-23, which would be taken back to the Committee for further consideration in due course.
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Lyons declared an interest in items 3.b) Queen’s Island Transport Plan and 4.a) Major Events Update, as he was on the Board of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.
In relation to items 4.a) Major Events Update and 4.d) Future of Cultural Multi Annual Grants (CMAG), Councillor McCabe declared an interest, in that she was employed by Féile an Phobail.
The Chairperson and Councillor Walsh declared an interest regarding item 4.c) Update on the development of Neighbourhood/Local Tourism, in that they were employed by Fáilte Feirste Thiar and left the meeting whilst this item was under discussion.
The information contained in the report associated with the following six items were 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 three 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.
Future City Centre Programme - Vacant to Vibrant
The Senior Development Manager provided an update on the progress of the pilot capital grant scheme, ‘Vacant to Vibrant’, together with the recommendations from the assessment panel.
· Noted the update in relation to the city centre Vacant to Vibrant pilot capital grant scheme; and
· Agreed to the recommended grant awards as outlined within Section 3.17 of the report.
Zoo - Quarter 4 Update
The Zoo Manager provided an update on the Zoo performance during the 2022-23 financial year across the following areas:
· Visitor Services;
· Education Services;
· Animal Collection;
· Marketing & Events; and
· Financial performance.
The Committee noted the Zoo performance update report for the
Belfast Zoo - Scale of Charges 2023-24
The Director of Economic Development provided an update on the Zoo scale of charges increase for the financial year 2023-24.
He highlighted that, at its meeting in April, the Committee had agreed to defer consideration of the report to allow further financial information to be provided.
Moved by Councillor Flynn,
Seconded by Councillor Lyons,
The Committee agrees to defer consideration of the scale of charges to allow Fee Benchmarking information to be provided.
On a vote, two Members voted for the proposal and eighteen against and it was declared lost.
Accordingly, the Committee agreed to the price increases for existing categories and noted that Fee Benchmarking information would be circulated to the Committee.
Zoo - Conservation Projects Donation Request
The Committee was provided with a summary of the requested payments of donation money to the approved conservation projects that were supported by Belfast Zoo.
I. Noted the amount of donation to each conservation project; and
II. Approved the donation amount to each conservation project.
Belfast 2024 update
The Committee received a presentation from the Creative Programme Manager and Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism in relation to the developments for Belfast 2024 – the Council’s ambitious year of creative celebration for Belfast to action in Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 2023/24, which included:
· An update on Belfast 2024 Creative Programme Development including Partners and Open Call;
· Updated B24 Budget allocations;
· Partnership Developments and Partnership Investment;
· An update on streamlined Governance Model;
· Engagement and citizen led development so far; and
· Next Steps.
· Noted the contents of this report and the summary of the strategic case and developments for delivery for Belfast 2024, noted details of the developments for Belfast 2024 namely programming and actioning the proposed governance model;
· Approved the Belfast 2024 outline programme budget of £7.1million;
· Approved the increase in allocation for the local Open Call aspect of programme development from £1.85million and opportunities to enhance current funding programmes within the Culture unit at Council such as the Creative Bursaries and Arts and Heritage Small Grants and Community Festivals Fund;
· Approved the bespoke commissioning partnership with the Power Plants project for research and development to the value of up to £20k;
· Approved the additional 3 Creative Bursaries (£30k – giving 16 in total across Culture and Belfast 2024 – 10 had been approved by the Committee in March 22, and a further 3 approved in June 22) for artists to work in residence across the city in the development of and during Belfast 2024 programme;
· Granted delegated authority to the B24 Programme Board for internal approval of expenditure under budget headings noted in the report;
· Approved the progression of applications, pitches and business cases to generate financial, in kind, and match funding commitment from key funders, investors and partners in order to reach fundraising targets for the B24 programme; and
· Noted that a dedicated Committee workshop on Belfast 2024 would be scheduled.
Markets Unit Update and Development Plan
The Committee were provided with an update on the development proposals for the city markets in the coming year, together with the proposed re-structured pricing schedule for stall fees and market hire at St George’s Market.
Moved by Councillor Duffy,
Seconded by Councillor Lyons and
Resolved – That the Committee agrees to stagger the revised Stall Fees with a revised rate of £18 for non-hot food and £28 for hot food coming into effect on 1st September 2023 and a rate of £20 for non-hot food and £30 for hot food following in April 2024.
Accordingly, the Committee:
· Noted the contents of the report, including proposals to move forward with key improvement actions under the Markets Development Plan; and
· Agreed to the revision of fees and charges, as set out in sections 3.11 and 3.12 of the report with the condition that the revised Stall Fee should be staggered with a revised rate of £18 for non-hot food and £28 for hot food coming into effect on 1st September 2023 and a rate of £20 for non-hot food and £30 for hot food following in April 2024. The proposed electricity fee and venue hire increases were agreed in line with the recommendation; and
· Agreed that regular quarterly updates be submitted to the Committee on the Markets Performance and Development and that representatives of the Market Traders be invited to attend a future meeting of the Committee.
Requests to Present
It was reported that representatives from the Renewed Ambition Taskforce had requested the opportunity to present at the August meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in order to update Members on the 2022 / 2023 programme; and proposed 2023 / 2024 programme of work, including priority issues and objectives for the Partnership moving forward.
The Committee agreed to receive a presentation from representatives of the Renewed Ambition Partnership at the Committee meeting on 9th August 2023.
The Committee considered a request to receive a presentation at a future meeting of the Committee from Belfast Harbour Commissioners (BHC) and Titanic Quarter Limited (TQL) to provide an update on the development of the Queen’s Island Transport Plan (QITP).
The Committee agreed to receive a presentation from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Titanic Quarter Limited at a future meeting of the Committee to provide an update on the development of the Queen’s Island Transport Plan.
It was reported that Department for Infrastructure were proposing to commence public engagement on the emerging BMTP in the early Autumn. In advance of this, they had offered to meet with the Council to provide an early outline of what was proposed and the process to bring the BMTP to adoption. This offer of pre-launch engagement would provide an opportunity for the Committee to have an early insight and input into the proposed draft Vision, Objectives and Guiding Principles of the BMTP. Officers would then prepare a response to the Consultation documents, taking on board comments from Members, subject to Committee agreement and Council ratification.
The Committee agreed to receive a presentation from the Department for Infrastructure on the emerging draft Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan at a future meeting and requested a copy of the presentation in advance of the meeting.
Positioning the City to Compete
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on the Major Events programme; including:
· An update on the Maritime event;
· the Way Forward approach to St Patrick’s Day 2024-2026
· an update on the bid for the Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann
· an update regarding the UK and Ireland bid to host the European Football Championships in 2028
2.1 It is recommended that Members:
- Note the contents of this report on the Maritime Festival.
- Note the contents of the update on St Patrick’s Day including the procurement approach for 2024-2026
- Note the update on the bid for the Fleadh Cheoil, give necessary approval for Officers to continue with the bid process for future years, approve the budget for 2023-24 associated with the bid process (including attendance of a delegation at each event including attendance by Lord Mayor at the Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar in August), note the costs associated with 2024-25 and 2025-26
- Approve the Letter of Offer for Ards Comhaltas for 2023-2024 activity to a value of £22,000
- Note the update regarding the UK and Ireland bid to host the European Football Championships in 2028
3.0 Main report
3.1 Belfast Maritime Festival 2023
3.2 The Belfast Maritime Festival will take place on 9th & 10th September 2023. The event will deliver a diverse programme of local talent, local produce and local crafts aligning to the Cultural Strategy, with the creative theme ‘Made in Belfast’ incorporating the best of Belfast. This will be accompanied by a strong Belfast brand displayed throughout the site.
3.3 A focal point will be the Made in Belfast Village, showcasing local producers and performers – with concepts such as Performed in Belfast, Distilled in Belfast, Stitched in Belfast, Crafted in Belfast, and Baked in Belfast. In addition, there will be a full programme animating all available public realm from Donegall Quay to the Titanic Quarter. There will be a number of other focal points – visiting vessels along Queens Quay, workshops/community design at Hamilton Dock, with Abercorn Basin hosting a range of street performances. As always, the festival will showcase the heritage sites along the Maritime Mile, from St Joseph’s Church in Sailortown to the recently re-opened HMS Caroline. Titanic Quarter’s STEM sector will offer an insight into industry and innovation within the site.
3.4 A new Governance Structure has been established in partnership with Maritime Belfast Trust and Maritime Harbour Commissioners to ensure a more cohesive approach to event planning and to drive forward the ambition set out in the Maritime strategy. The Programme Board will oversee a number of working groups with Maritime Belfast Trust delivering elements of the festival programme, managed via an SLA. The value of this will be circa £85,000 and this will include delivery of the community co-design piece.
3.5 The 2023 Maritime event has been successful in securing Tourism NI International Events funding to ... view the full minutes text for item 13a
The Committee received a presentation from the Programme Director and the Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism in relation to the progress of the Belfast Stories Programme and invited Members to visit the sites included in the Programme.
The Committee also considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to:
- Update Members on the Belfast Stories programme as part of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) including the findings of the public consultation exercise.
- Outline activity to support the next development phase up to the end of RIBA Design Stage 2 and the submission of the Outline Business Case.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
- Note the contents of this report and update on progress against the delivery of the Belfast Stories programme.
- Note the findings of the public consultation exercise, the Equality Impact Assessment and the Rural Needs Screening as summarised in the report and detailed in Appendices 2 & 3.
- Agree the actions as set out in the Engagement Plan detailed in Appendix 4 and summarised at 3.38 to 3.43.
- Note the findings of the Stories Audit detailed in Appendix 5 and summarised at 3.50 to 3.52.
- Agree the actions as set out in the Stories Action Plan detailed in Appendix 6.
- Agree to set up a Members’ Working Group to provide advice and oversight on the progression of Belfast Stories as set out in the draft Terms of Reference included in Appendix 7.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 Members will be aware that Belfast Stories is the Council’s flagship project under the Belfast Region City Deal and is due to open in 2028/29.
3.2 Strategic Policy and Resources Committee agreed at its meeting on 19th November 2021 to progress a number of key pieces of work, in order to ensure we meet the 2028/29 anticipated opening date including: the appointment of the integrated design team; the appointment of the exhibition design team; and commencement of the stories collection. In May 2022 City Growth and Regeneration Committee agreed to undertake the first public consultation exercise on proposals to date.
3.3 Since then, several important milestones have been achieved and are included in the updates provided below. Activities included in the next stage of development are set out for agreement and detailed in Appendix 4: Engagement Plan and Appendix 6: Stories Action Plan.
3.4 Progress against the agreed programme is ongoing.
3.5 Site Acquisition
Members will be aware that the majority of the site (95%) was secured by Belfast City Council for Belfast Stories in 2021 with site assembly now complete with the acquisition of the remaining two smaller properties on the site since the last Committee update in May 2022.
3.6 Business Case
An interim Outline Business Case was completed in 2020 in advance of the purchase of the site. This work is now being updated to reflect progress and project development with an updated Outline ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
(Councillor McDowell in the Chair.)
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to update Members on the development of the Neighbourhood Tourism Investment Programme (the ‘Programme’) and to seek Members’ approval of the proposed funding model and next steps.
1.2 In April 2022 Members of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee approved the draft tourism plan, Make Yourself at Home together with the Year 1 2022/2023 Action Plan of priorities. This included a commitment to developing a Neighbourhood Tourism Investment Fund for local tourism, recognising this as one of 3 catalyst projects alongside Belfast Stories and Year of Culture 2024. Catalyst 1 - Our Place- Developing Local Tourism: the Tourism Plan recognises that Regenerative Tourism is driven by the relationship between people and place, with an emphasis on uplifting the importance of community in the context of tourism and in particular, the relationship between the visitor and the host.
1.3 The Programme provides an opportunity to support the development and roll out of Belfast Stories and align with delivery of the Tourism Plan, Cultural Strategy and Tourism NI’s Embrace A Giant Spirit brand and values, to deliver enhanced experiences for visitors and act as a catalyst to support the social, economic and physical regeneration across the city.
1.4 It is envisaged that this will be an iterative, phased programme. Significant work has already been undertaken by the Tourism Development Unit on the initial phase of the Programme (Phase 1: Development), in collaboration with the Belfast Stories and Culture Unit teams.
1.5 In order to maximise synergies and outcomes across key programmes, it is anticipated that the second phase of the Programme (Phase 2: Implementation) will launch once Belfast Stories, the Heritage Audit and Development Plan and the Visitor Experience Action Plan have progressed to a more advanced stage.
1.6 Since 2017, Council has supported 2 neighbourhood tourism organisations (EastSide Tourism and Fáilte Feirste Thiar) to deliver a City Connections programme which promotes cohesion between cultural tourism offers in the east and west of the city. It is anticipated that City Connections will be replaced by the proposed investment Programme, which will be open to organisations across the city. To facilitate the transition, it is proposed that Council continue to support both organisations in this interim period and provide financial assistance to the end of this financial year (31st March 2024).
To progress development of Phase 1 of the Neighbourhood Tourism Investment Programme, we request Members’ consideration of the following:
2.1 Members are asked to approve investment in independent sectoral facilitation to conduct developmental engagement which will identify needs, gaps and opportunities, alignment of the City Connections programme and further inform and the parameters of the Programme (Phase 2).
2.2 Members are asked to approve investment in a 2-year programme to develop and enhance tourism products and experiences across the city, sharing and distributing the benefits of a vibrant tourism sector ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
(Councillor Nic Bhranair in the Chair.)
Future of Cultural Multi Annual Grants (CMAG)
The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting in August 2019, a new ten-year cultural strategy for Belfast, A City Imagining, had been agreed. As part of this strategy a new investment approach was approved including phased implementation of new funding programmes. Similar to the Belfast Agenda, the recommended investment model for culture proposed a new partnership approach to supporting the cultural sector, with the aim of sustaining and developing accessible cultural activity and infrastructure across Belfast. This investment was central to creating positive cultural, social and economic impacts for the city, delivering on our overall targets for the period, positioning Belfast as a regional driver, and creating the conditions for long-term transformation.
The first phased implementation of the cultural investment model commenced with the opening of a competitive funding programme for cultural multi-annual grants for the period April 2020 to March 2024. It was agreed that these multi-annual grants would cover two main areas:
· Arts and heritage organisations, which had a year-round programme of cultural activity (Anchor four-year grants and enable two-year grants); and
· Festivals and events organisations, which had a festival or event with an audience of 65,000 or more (Imagine four-year grants), or an audience of 10,000 or more (Activate two-year grants) by end of grant period.
The Director of Economic Development advised that, in advance of the new financial year in April 2024, it was planned to launch CMAG in August 2023 with approval of awards and contracts by March 2023. He outlined the following summary of the timeline:
• Open call for application submissions – early August 2023
• Information sessions for applicants – August 2023
• Submission deadline for application – September/October 2023
• Eligibility check, scoring, officer assessment and independent
assessment – October to December 2023
• Committee Approval of awards - January 2024
• Council Ratification approval of awards - February 2024
Similar to other grants, Cultural Multi-Annual Grants would be advertised widely and assessments would be made, and scoring applied under three key areas of criteria:
· Quality of programme: this included their vision, content, audience experience and marketing and audience development;
· Impact of activity: this included how the programme contributed to the four strategic themes (A City Belonging, A City Challenging, A City Creating and A City Exploring) and how they will monitor and evaluate that impact; and
· Readiness for investment: this included planning, financial management, staff, governance, and environmental impact.
The Director of Economic Development provided an overview of the Principles of the Assessment Process, together with the findings of the review of the current scheme. He highlighted that detailed feedback across each area was available in Appendix 1.
He summarised the recommendations from the review, and pointed out that the report highlighted a range of recommendations intended to further enhance the grant process, impact and evaluation, namely:
Relationship management and support
· The report highlighted the importance of one-to-one relationship management, stating that ‘staff in BCC ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report
1.1 At a meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in December 2022, members agreed the music strategy, ‘Music Matters: A Roadmap for Belfast’ including its corresponding priorities. The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on progress to date and seek approval to the allocation of funding to a number of important strands of the music strategy.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
- Note the contents of this report and the progress made against areas of the music strategy, ‘Music Matters: A Roadmap for Belfast’
- Approve the allocation of £5,000 towards the costs of an international exchange with London, Ontario Canada
- Allocate £20,000 to the creation of a pilot micro grants scheme for artists.
3.0 Main report
3.1 At a meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in December 2022, members agreed the final ‘Music Matters: A Roadmap for Belfast’. Mirroring A City Imagining cultural strategy the music strategy has 4 strategic themes, each having 4 strategic priorities. There are a number of actions and recommendations given for each priority catering to many areas of need across the music sector.
Theme 1: Place artists at the heart - Recognising the value of creators
Theme 2: Nurture the sector - Strengthening the structures to support those who guide and invest in creators
Theme 3: Ignite the live experience - Liberating the live music sector as a major catalyst for cultural and economic growth
Theme 4: Unlock the unifying power of UNESCO - Sharing the gift of music with the people of Belfast.
3.2 Update on Music Board
The Music Strategy sets out governance recommendations for Belfast Music, including the formation of a Belfast Region Music Board, comprising between 15 and 20 members, to bring to life the UNESCO City of Music designation.
The board will help to embed music in all communities across the city to make music a sustainable career option for creators and people who support them. Following agreement of the full Music Strategy in December 2022, an open call was launched for applications to join the Belfast Region Music Board with applications closing in February 2023.
Members received an update on the recruitment process and selection of the board in April 2023. Since this meeting, the final selection of board members is confirmed and details of board members are available in Appendix 1.
3.3 As noted by members in the April 2023 Committee, there was a lack of applications from the marching bands community. Officials have engaged with members of this sector and the music board has agreed to co-opt a representative from this sector to the board from June 2023.
The board is meeting monthly, with two meetings held to date, to map further initiatives to roll out in this financial year and beyond. A Chair and Vice-Chair will be appointed at the July meeting.
3.4 Update on current initiatives
In April 2023, Members received an ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
It was reported that the Council was expected to be invited to apply for and administer the Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Programme 2023-24 on behalf of Belfast based arts, culture (including leisure) or heritage organisations in early July 2023.
The Director of Economic Development explained that the Department expected to formally launch the programme as a competitive process in late June 2023 and the Council had been advised that a total fund of £624,000 was available for this programme.
He advised that the Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Programme aimed to:
i. Improve access to arts, culture and active recreation venues across NI for people with disabilities;
ii. Make arts, cultural and active recreation venues more inclusive across society; and
iii. Increase participation in arts, culture and active recreation activities by people with disabilities.
The Director of Economic Development highlighted that the Council oversaw the assessment and recommendation of projects via a competitive open call internally and externally and would be responsible for delivery of all projects in receipt of funding.
The Culture Development Unit managed the 2018/19 and 2019/20 Access and Inclusion Programme within Belfast and received support for 24 projects with total value of £412,554, of which five were Council projects. In 2020/21, they administered 11 Access and Inclusion grants with a total value of £185,443 and 9 Programme grants in 2021/22 with a total value of £143,667.
The Director of Economic Development pointed out that the total fund available in 2022/23 reduced by almost 50%, they administered 3 external projects and one Council project with a total value of £99,701. Examples of projects supported included improved access to the City Hall and the Tropical Ravine; easier access for audience and participants to not for profit cultural venues across the city; installation of new specialised playground facilities and changing spaces; and provision of equipment to provide immersive theatrical experiences for children with complex needs.
He explained that capital works and equipment costs were eligible under this programme. The maximum grant available was £30,000, (the maximum project cost could not exceed £80,000), and applicants were required to contribute at least 10% of the total project costs. To receive a £30,000 grant, therefore, applicants must provide a contribution of at least £3,000.
He advised that, this year, the Department for Communities was particularly keen to welcome applications for Changing Places facilities, accessible equipment for play parks and projects that would impact positively on sustainability and climate change. Projects must be completed on or before 31st March, 2024. The Department for Communities had advised that no extensions would be considered to the project completion date.
He confirmed that contribution of at least 10% of project cost was an eligibility condition. This resource would need to be sourced by the applicant and the Council had staff resources to oversee the administration of the Programme.
During discussion, one Member raised concerns in relation to the time constraints of the programme and the need for the Council to have projects prepared ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Members with further information on the Christmas event as previously requested.
2.1 It is recommended that:
- In light of further information being provided, Members agree on the approach/format to Christmas 2023
- Note the contents of the report in relation to the Lighting Scheme
3.0 Main report
3.1 Christmas Programme 2023
On an annual basis, the Council’s Culture and Events Units delivers a series of large-scale public events, which are free to access by both citizens and visitors to the city, on behalf of Belfast City Council. This is further supported by the activity of other teams who support a number of annual programmes and activities and the Markets Unit who manage the delivery of the Christmas Market at City Hall in addition to year-round activity at St George’s and Smithfield markets.
3.2 The purpose of this report is to provide Members with further information and the costing of the various options for the delivery of Christmas 2023. This report follows on from a report to City Growth and Regeneration Committee on 8th March 2023, which focused on an Evaluation of the Christmas 2022 Programme.
3.2.1 At the March 2023 meeting, officers further presented an option to merge the old Christmas switch-on format (preferred option prior to the pandemic) with the city-centre-wide programme used in 2021 and 2022 which would have seen a small stage at Castle Junction/Donegall Place, allowing the audience within Donegall Place to view the lighting of the Tree and Festive Lighting within the immediate City Centre, without the requirement to close Donegall Square North. The entertainment throughout the City Centre could then be programmed
3.2.2 As per Members request, this report will give cognisance to the resumption of the traditional ‘switch on’ event while considering health and safety, community engagement and local organisation involvement, choir competitions, a procession, environmental impact, budget availability, comparison of event feedback of recent Christmas programmes and the extension of the lighting schemes. All of which will assist the forward planning of the future Christmas programme for 2023 and beyond.
3.2.3 At April City Growth and Regeneration Committee, a budget of £122,864 was agreed for the Christmas 2023 programme as part of the in-year work programme for the Tourism unit and It is important to note that the Christmas 2023 programme is the launch pad into the ‘Belfast 2024’ programme and whilst programming will deliver against core thematic alignment, there may also be opportunity for additional budget uplift as part of this.
3.3 Officers have considered and presented three possible programming scenarios and associated budget requirements as below:
3.4 Option 1: Return to the “Pre-Covid” Switch on Style event.
The table below summarises the anticipated expenditure. Forecasts are based on 2019 event costs with an allowance for inflation and additional measures required to facilitate a safe event (as recommended in the external H&S ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
Growing Business and the Economy
The Committee was reminded that the Department for the Economy (DfE) had launched its 10X Economic Vision in 2021. This was the Department’s plan to create a pathway to transform the economy in a way that is inclusive, innovative and sustainable.
Since its publication, the Department had been working to consider how the practical implementation of overarching objectives set out in the 10X Economic Vision was to be achieved. It had issued a number of related documents such as the Skills Strategy (Skills for a 10X Economy) and had been working on appropriate metrics to track progress. While the budget situation in all departments was currently unclear, it was proposed that DfE investment would be re-profiled to align with the 10X ambition – and this would mean that all delivery supported by the Department would be directed towards activity that could support the 10X ambition.
The Director of Economic Development advised that one of the key considerations for the strategy was the issue of “place”. He explained that, to consider how this should be reflected in departmental investment, the DfE had recently launched a call for evidence relating to sub-regional economic approaches – working title “Place 10X”.
The call for evidence involved the following six prescribed questions:
1. What is the problem we are trying to solve?
2. What geographic areas should Place 10X cover?
3. What is expected of delivery partners?
4. What interventions could or already occur?
5. What does success look like?
6. Is the Department’s view of place and use of Place 10X correct?
He highlighted that the issue of place-based approaches to economic development and investment had been a recurring theme in recent policy documents.
In 2022, the 11 councils had commissioned a piece of research on “A place-based approach to supporting economic development in Northern Ireland”. The high-level findings of this work were:
· Place-based approaches were closely aligned with the devolution debate. However, in practice, they could range from stronger partnership working on basis of agreed plans (for example - community planning model) to additional devolution of responsibilities (regeneration of particular interest in this field);
· The need for all regional approaches to identify sub-regional variations – but with the ability to flex depending on the issue and in line with local geographies/working areas;
· Opportunity to use Shared Prosperity funding to re-position role of councils in developing and delivering solutions that reflected local needs (within an overall framework); and
· City and Growth Deals demonstrate value of aggregating demand – are the current structures the right ones on an ongoing basis and for all economic matters?
A summary of the six questions posed and draft responses to each of these had been collated and were attached in Appendix 1.
The Director of Economic Development pointed out that the Committee should note that this was a ‘call for evidence’ rather than a fully-developed approach to place-based economic development – this would follow once responses to this consultation were analysed.
The Committee noted the Place 10X call ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Strategic and Operational Issues
The Committee was provided with an update on the Motions which had been assigned to the City Growth and Regeneration Committee. It was highlighted that the following three Motions had been recommended for closure:
Category 1 Recommended Closures:
· Letter to DfI re Belfast Cycle Network Delivery Plan; and
· Presentation re GP services in Belfast.
Category 2 Recommended Closure:
· Development of Community Wealth Building framework.
· Noted the updates to all Motions that this Committee was responsible for as referenced in Appendix 1; and
· Agreed to the closure of the 3 Motions, as outlined.
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 To update Members on the performance of the Belfast Bikes scheme for 2022-2023 financial year (year 7 of operation).
2.1 The Committee is requested to:
· note the update of the Belfast Bikes performance for 2022-2023 financial year (year 7 of operation)
· note the update to the notice of motion regarding free access for young people;
· note the progress regarding phase one and phase two expansion.
· note the update that tender will be prepared for a procurement of a new Public Bike Hire Scheme
3.0 Main report
The Belfast Bikes scheme was launched in 2015 as part Belfast City Council’s physical investment programme. The Department for Regional Development provided initial capital funding for the scheme as part of their Active Travel Demonstration Projects budget. The scheme launched with a network of 30 docking stations and 300 bikes. The scheme has been operated by NSL continually since inception using bikes and supporting infrastructure from ‘Nextbike by TIER’. The scheme currently operates with 455 bikes (including those in reserve for new stands) and 52 docking stations.
At CG&R on 12 May 2021 it was agreed that an additional four Belfast Bikes docking stations would be deployed using DFI Active Travel funding. All stations below are now operational
· Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre
· Olympia Leisure Centre
· Kennedy Centre
Council officers are currently liaising with the operator and supplier to improve the supply chain issues for future installations.
3.3 At CG&R on 9 June 2021 it was agreed to proceed with an additional 15 docking stations. At SP&R on 18 June 2021 members agreed for £500,000 to be invested in the expansion proposal.
3.4 Works are ongoing for the design and installation of eight stations in Phase 1 (to be installed in 2023):
· North: Yorkgate and Shore Road
· West: St Mary’s College and Shankill Road
· South: Lisburn Road and Malone Road
· East: Castlereagh Road, Upper Newtownards Road.
There are plans for seven stations in Phase 2
3.5 As previously agreed by the committee, discussion and agreement through Area Working Groups is required to determine exact locations and consider those against the Site Expansion Matrix. These site options and discussions with Area Working Groups commenced in November 2022. The AWGs have agreed the exact locations in their respective areas.
Following the ongoing challenges sourcing replacement bike parts, this issue has been resolved and the number of bikes on the street during Q4 has increased. The average daily bikes on the street during Q4 was 295.
3.7 An additional 180 bikes have been purchased to facilitate the ongoing docking station expansion, and this stock will be filtered onto the street, so availability levels are expected to further increase in coming months.
3.8 There were 16,282 registered Belfast Bike users at the end of Q4. Nextbike by Tier the current provider changed their payment operator during ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
Issues Raised in Advance by Members
Cultural Mapping Report (Councillor Lawlor to raise)
Alderman Lawlor requested an update on the Cultural Mapping Report (Phase One), in particular, the research gaps which had been raised at a previous Committee in relation to the omission of some Musical Venues and Theatres across the City.
During discussion, the Director of Economic Development clarified that the Report was not publicly available and the report was being amended to rectify the issues which had been raised.
The Committee noted that an updated report on the Cultural Mapping Project would be submitted to the Committee in September for consideration and the Director of Economic Development would continue to engage with Members on the issues which had been raised.