The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“Relevant Background Information
Under the Renewing Communities Programme each Area Partnership Board (APB) has been resourced to, and tasked with, producing a Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) for their area by the Department for Social Development. Each APB has engaged a consultancy team to support them in this work which is due for completion in June - September 2008. Whilst each APB is at a different stage in development, efforts are being made to co?ordinate activity across the frameworks.
Members will also be aware of the local masterplans being produced for Inner East, Lower Shankill, Lower Falls, Crumlin Road and Shore Road. These plans are being developed by DSD as part of Renewing Communities also. It is intended that the SRFs for each respective area will take account of these local plans.
Engagement with councillors in each partnership board area has been pursued directly by the APBs. Some councillors are participating on the steering groups of the SRFs whilst others input through the APB meetings and consultation processes. Ministers and MLAs have been engaged to a varying level dependent on the approach taken by the APB and the stage of development of their SRF.
BelfastCity Council has not yet been formally invited to engage at political level on the SRF process. Senior officers have recently been invited by each APB to join the steering group of each SRF. This is an essential step in ensuring co-ordination with Council’s own development processes including the preparation of an Asset Management Plan, a City Development Plan, and refreshed Capital City Strategy. Members will also be aware of the Council’s production of a City-wide masterplan in 2003 which, although becoming a little dated, remains an extremely valuable document in setting out the context for the SRFs for each area.
DSD’s approach to pursing regeneration frameworks on a partnership board by partnership board basis presents a number of issues. Whilst increased scope for analysing issues particular to North, South, East, West and the Shankill exists, there is the inherent danger of losing sight of the critical mass of the City as a whole. Without co-ordination and an assessment of the strengths and deficiencies of the City as a whole there can be no agreed Strategic Regeneration Framework for the City overall.
Council must be mindful of its approach to City-wide development and regeneration and the on-going process to develop a City Investment Fund which is fundamentally underpinned by a City Development Plan. The issues analysed and opportunities identified under the SRF process need to be integrated with the City Development Plan being drafted by Council. Similarly, active engagement by Council in the SRF process is wholly necessary to ensure that the resultant SRFs are meaningful and connected to the City Development Plan. Emerging out of these discussions there may be the need for a co-ordination framework to attach the SRFs to the City Development Plan. This may necessitate the refreshing of the Council’s City-wide masterplan produced in 2003.
Status report on each SRF:
Deloitte have been appointed to produce the SRF which is due for completion in June. Comprehensive data analysis and interpretation has been undertaken, leading to housing, health, physical, social and economic profiles. Detailed mapping of the physical features of the area, land uses and opportunity sites has also been completed. Community engagement at an intensive level is due to commence shortly along with a range of sessions with business people, statutory agencies and politicians. The SRF is now at the stage of identifying the big ideas for West Belfast by considering its specific role in the City.
Paul Hogarth Company has been appointed to produce the SRF. They have now completed Stage 2 of the process following the information gathering, data analysis and interpretation stage as well as identifying key drivers for change and articulating concepts for the area. The Framework is underpinned by principles which recognise the active collaboration of sectors but which attaches key responsibility for economic development with the private sector. Concepts being explored at present include a reshaping
of the local economy, a networked governance approach, exploiting historical image, sustaining export industries in East Belfast, employing ‘development gain to optimise the local impact of new investment, ensuring spatial connectivity with East Belfast and changing the physical fabric of the area’.
Paul Hogarth Company has only recently been appointed to produce the SRF with the first meeting having taken place on 30th January. It is anticipated that the work will be completed inside 8 months. The SRF for the Shankill is intended to produce an outline view of the existing physical infrastructure with particular regard to business, retail, commercial, community and residential property balance and develop a view of potential future balanced land use and areas for development across the electoral wards of Shankill, Woodvale, Crumlin, Glencairn and Highfield. It is also intended that the SRF will make recommendations for improving transportation and traffic management within the area and which will improve links between Greater Shankill to the rest of the City in order that the area may benefit from, and participate in, the regeneration of Greater Belfast. The SRF will also help determine the shortfall in community, business and individual access to digital technology and develop proposals to enhance ICT use and place digital technology at the heart of local business and the community.
Hyder have been appointed to progress the SRF. Presently work is underway to create a physical structural map of the area, along with a mapping of the organisation’s working in the area and their inter-relationships. Community consultation is also due to start shortly along with formal engagement of other players. Propositions around the environment, community, economy and management are being considered as starting points for concepts to be produced.
Deloitte have been appointed to produce the SRF which is due for completion in June. Comprehensive data analysis and interpretation has been undertaken, leading to community, housing, health, physical, social and economic profiles. Detailed mapping of the physical features of the area, land uses and opportunity sites are being completed. Community engagement at an intensive level is due to commence shortly along with a range of sessions with business people, statutory agencies and politicians.
None requested at this stage.
Senior staff in Development and Core Improvement Team already engaged in process.
Asset and Other Implications
Will be dependent on an agreed Asset Management Plan and City Development Plan.
To note the preparation of SRFs for each Partnership Board area and to agree Council’s active involvement in ensuring linkages to the City Development Plan.
Key to Abbreviations
APBs – Area Partnership Board
SRFs – Strategic Regeneration Framework
MLA – Members of the Legislative Assembly
DSD – Department for Social Development”
After discussion, the Committee adopted the recommendation.