Agenda item


            It was reported that it had been recognised that NI/Belfast did not benefit from the same regeneration and place based funding abilities as other UK Cities, for example Stronger Towns Fund; Future High Streets Fund; Homes England funding etc. which arguably placed Belfast at a disadvantage from a regeneration and economic growth perspective. Work was currently underway with Avison Young (strategic regeneration, finance and business consultancy) to consider this in more detail and explore the case for advocating that Belfast received the equivalent investment and funding powers available elsewhere.


            In addition, in order to help bring forward regeneration schemes at scale and given the number of potential opportunities across the city, it had been agreed that there was a need to develop a Regeneration Framework and Prioritisation Process aligned to regeneration, economic, social and environmental outcomes. Other UK cities had deployed similar Regeneration Frameworks to help inform city priorities aligned to growth propositions and to prioritise funding bids.


            In relation to the Lobby and Advocacy Paper, the Director of City Regeneration and Development advised that it centred around the case for devolving aspects of place based regeneration and funding to the Council. To include exploring the case for ensuring Belfast received the equivalent investment, funding powers and freedoms that were available in England. The focus should be on place based regeneration and include measures that might promote housing led regeneration (including city centre living), city centre and wider city regeneration and development and alignment with other strategic priorities. To include the socio and economic impact /outputs from such investment and regeneration aligned to our growth ambitions.


She advised that, subject to further engagement, it was envisaged that the work would have three main outputs:


1.      An outward facing proposition for the NI executive focusing on the strategic, economic and financial case for amended place-based and regeneration funding abilities for Belfast;

2.      An inward facing brief for Belfast stakeholders focusing on the specific benefits to wider communities and geographies derived from programmes and structures designed to regenerate the city; and

3.      A wider public facing document providing the case for Place Based Regeneration in Belfast and the economic impact and social value of potential initiatives.


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development provided an overview of the development of a Regeneration Framework, A ‘Regeneration Scheme Prioritisation and Audit Exercise’ and ‘Regeneration Scheme / Programme Level Business Case’. She highlighted that part of the Lobby and Advocacy work involved strategic consultation and engagement with relevant public and private sector stakeholders and a programme of engagement would be progressed, with initial engagement to include the following meetings, together with further engagement with a number of other stakeholders:


·        21st March Meeting Permanent Secretaries of DfI, DoF, DfC, DfE (Avison Young and the Chief Executive)

·        30th March Party Group Leaders Consultative Forum


            In relation to the Project Pipeline and Funding Opportunities, the Director of City Regeneration and Development advised that work was underway via the City and Organisational Services to collate a Project Pipeline and Funding Opportunities across Council for Members consideration and it would be important to consider how this would align to the Regeneration Framework and Project Prioritisation Process.


            The Committee:


·        Noted the work which was underway in relation to the commissioning of a Lobby and Advocacy Paper for Place Based Regeneration Funding and the development of a Regeneration Framework and Project Prioritisation Process;

·        Noted the scheduled engagement with Party Group Leaders and Permanent Secretaries as part of a wider engagement plan; and

·        Noted the alignment with ongoing work via City and Organisational Services to develop a project pipeline for Council aligned to funding opportunities and city priorities.


Supporting documents: