Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




An apology was reported on behalf of Councillor McMullan.




The minutes of the meeting of the 6th 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 8th January, subject to the amendment under the heading “Update on the Fleadh Cheoil” in that the Council agreed to expand the officer and Elected Member representation at the 2024 events.


Declarations of Interest


            In relation to item 5.a) Major Events Update, Councillor McCabe declared an interest, in that she was employed by Féile an Phobail and Councillor Maskey declared an interest, in that a family member was employed by Féile an Phobail and they both left the meeting whilst the item was being considered.



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 item as, due to the nature of the item, 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.


            Members were also reminded that the content of ‘restricted’ reports and any discussion which took place during closed session must be treated as ‘confidential information’ and that no such information should be disclosed to the public as per Paragraph 4.15 of the Code of Conduct.  



City Imagining Investment Programme - Cultural Multi Annual Grants


            The Director of Economic Development provided an update on the outcome of the cultural multi-annual grants funding process and outlined the recommended grants for approval. 




Moved by Councillor Duffy,

Seconded by Councillor Walsh,


      Resolved - that a report be referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee to explore the potential for alternative in-year funding for those organisations that did not meet the threshold to receive Cultural Multi Annual Grants. 


            Accordingly, the Committee:


·        Noted the contents of the report;


·        Agreed to the recommendations for cultural multi- annual grants 2024-2028, as set out in Appendix 3 of the report; and


·        Agreed that a report be referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee to explore the potential for alternative in-year funding for those organisations that did not meet the threshold to receive Cultural Multi Annual Grants. 



Request to Present


Translink - Weavers Cross / Belfast Transport Hub pdf icon PDF 184 KB


            The Committee agreed to receive a presentation from Translink on the Belfast Grand Central Station at a Special Meeting of the Committee and that the invitation for the presentation would include all Members of the Council.



Regenerating Places & Improving Infrastructure


Future City Centre Update pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       To update the Committee on positive activity and messaging aligned to the five pillars of the previously agreed Future City Centre Programme. 


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


                                             I.      Note the update as set out within this report and Appendix 2.


3.0       Background


3.1       The City Growth and Regeneration Committee at its meeting on 8 November 2023, approved the revised Future City Centre Programme and monitoring framework. Members will recall that the Framework (attached at Appendix 1) is supported by eight programme objectives, measured by 14 strategic indicators and underpinned by work within five thematic pillars, as below.  The programmes of work and activities included in each pillar are not exhaustive and many involve other partners but they are intended to reflect the broad range of activities that are ongoing and are managed and reported via programme and project management arrangements for the various strands:



3.2       As previously reported to Members the Future City Centre has emerged as a priority area within the ‘Our Place’ theme of the Belfast Agenda. Community Planning has provided he vehicle to anchor core city centre governance structures (Future City Centre Leadership Group and Strategic Leadership Group (Complex Lives). 


3.3       At their meeting in September 2023 the All – Party Working Group on the City Centre had agreed the need to amplify any positive messaging in relation to the city centre, whilst simultaneously seeking to ensure that the various issues are dealt with via the appropriate governance structures and the short, medium and longer term plans, projects and initiatives are brought forward working in partnerships with the wide range of public and private stakeholders.  At the meeting of the working group in December 2023 a presentation was delivered in respect of this which aligned to the five pillars of the Future City Centre Programme and picked up on key highlights with the city centre retail market landscape, footfall, and media on activities under each of the FCC pillars (noting that these are a combination of Council led, partner and stakeholder led, and public and private sectors initiatives).


4.0       Main Report


4.1       Work is ongoing around the development of the Future City Centre Monitoring Dashboard, aligned to the FCC framework which was noted and agreed at City Growth and Regeneration Committee in November 2023. It is planned that this will be presented to the Committee in Q1 2024.


4.2       In the interim and pending presentation of the FCC Monitoring Dashboard and by way of an update aligned to the vision, objectives, pillars and strategic indicators of the FCC programme Appendix 2 has been collated providing supporting evidence on positive activities aligned to the five pillars:


·        Regeneration and Connectivity

·        Business and Investment

·        Animation and Distinctive Offering

·        Clean, Green, Inclusive and Safe

·        Vulnerability


4.3       In addition to this Members will note that City Centre footfall increased by 7.5% from September – November this year compared to 2022. For the same  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Responses from Department for Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was notified that  a response had been received from the Department for Infrastructure following questions raised by Members at the Special meeting of the Committee in November 2023 in relation to the DfI Autumn Statement Presentation, together with correspondence in response to the consultation responses which the Council had submitted on the proposed traffic restriction schemes on Dunville St, Sorella St and Belmont Church Road as agreed at the December 2023 meeting of the Committee.


            The Committee noted the correspondence.



Positioning the City to Compete


Major Events Update pdf icon PDF 717 KB


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1             The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on


·        A summary of the Maritime Festival Developmental plans

·        Activity delivered as part of a Christmas programme in November - December 2023

·        An update on St Patrick’s Day Celebrations 2024

·        Request for funding to support Seachtain na Gaeilge


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to:


·        note the contents of this report on the Maritime Festival

·        note the contents of this report on recent Christmas activity

·        note the update on St Patrick’s Celebrations arrangements


3.0       Main report


3.1       Belfast Maritime Festival 2023


            The purpose of this part of the report is to provide Members with a summary evaluation of the 2023 Maritime Festival held on 9th & 10th September. The report will also give consideration to options for the 2025 Belfast Maritime Festival Programme.


            This year’s ‘Belfast Maritime Festival’ was held on 9th and 10th September 2023 in the Titanic Quarter with a programme that stretched from Queens Quay to HMS Caroline / Titanic Distillers and Sailortown.  The aim was to create an inclusive Maritime event that appeals to all demographics celebrating all that is good and creative about Belfast in neutral accessible locations in the city, highlighting our current tourism, heritage, culture and maritime offering and showcasing our existing landmarks in conjunction with partner organisations and stakeholders.


            The 2023 festival aimed to meet the development objectives set out in the Connected by Water strategic recommendations:


-       A Festival Ready for Investment

-       A Festival with Diverse Appeal

-       A Giant Opportunity

-       A Distinctly Belfast Experience

-       A Festival Belonging



3.1.1     A Festival Ready for Investment


            This years festival carried a budget from the financial reserve from 2022, in addition to the approved 2023 budget.  The festival was successful in receiving TNI International Events funding to the value of £60,000.  In addition to this, the event received a small income from food traders and sail training opportunities resulting in a top line budget of £409,630.00.  The event was coordinated and implemented under a governance structure consisting of 3 subgroups – Marcomms, Production / Logistics and Creative.  Each subgroup reported into a Programme Board with senior representatives from Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour and Maritime Belfast Trust.  All groups met on a monthly basis opening the opportunity to increase partner circle and reach, with the aim to strengthen both the commercial and creative festival profile.


3.1.2     A Festival with Diverse Appeal


            The brand identity chosen for the 2023 event was determined in line with the TNI International Events Funding criteria and agreed TNI /  BCC / VB brand playbook targeting Active Maximisers: Young families wanting inspirational and educational experiences for their children and Culture Connection Seekers: lovers of the arts, history and the outdoors.


            Visit Belfast and BCC Corporate Communications developed a regional and out of state campaign, with the initial press release issued to the public on 24th  July 2023 with Visit Belfast hosting the festival landing page for all collateral and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Update on Draft Tourism Strategy Consultation Response pdf icon PDF 317 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting in December 2023, it had considered the draft response to the Department for the Economy (DfE) consultation on

the Draft Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland and had agreed to the draft response to the consultation, with the additional request to emphasis neighbourhood tourism.


            The Director of Economic Development advised that there had been ongoing discussions with key partners in the sector and Visit Belfast and the draft response had been updated to reflect these points.


            The Committee:


·        approved the update to the draft response to include the neighbourhood references as set out in Appendix 1; and


·        noted that the consultation response would be submitted in line with the deadline of 12th January, 2024 as a draft response, subject to ratification by Council on 1st February and any further comments or amendments at Council would be forwarded to the Department.



Strategic and Operational Issues


Notice of Motions Update pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Additional documents:


            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 one Motion had been recommended for closure.


            The Committee:


·        Noted the updates to all Motions that the Committee was responsible for as referenced in Appendix 1; and


·        Agreed to the closure of one Motion, as referenced in Appendix 1 and noted in paragraph 3.4.