Agenda and minutes

Contact: Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




            An apology for the inability to attend was reported on behalf of Councillor Ferguson.





            The minutes of the meeting of 10th February 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 March.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillor Donnelly declared an interest in relation to item 2.c) Department for Communities (DfC) COVID19 Revitalisation Fund, in that he was an employee of the Upper Springfield Development Trust, an organisation which had been a successful grant applicant.


            Councillor T. Kelly declared an interest in relation to item 2.c) DfC COVID19 Revitalisation Fund, in that her husband was a staff member of one of the organisations which had been allocated funding.


            In respect of item 2.c) Councillor Gormley also declared an interest in that he was a Board member of Lower Ormeau Resident's Action Group.


            Councillor Murphy declared an interest in relation to item 7.a) Belfast Bikes - allocation of stock to social enterprises and charities, in that he was a Board Member of the Legoniel Improvement Association, an organisation which had been a successful applicant.




Restricted Items


            The information contained in the report associated with the following 3 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 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.



Finance Update


            The Strategic Director of Place and Economy provided an overview of the monthly finance update and the Quarter 3 finance report.


            The Committee:


·        Noted the contents of the report which had been presented to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in February, including the forecast update and the Quarter 3 Finance Report (Appendix 1); and


·        Noted the re-instatement of financial reporting arrangements based on Financial Regulation G12.  



Festival 2022 Commission


            The Director of Economic Development explained that Festival 2022 was an initiative funded by the UK Government in partnership with relevant departments in the devolved governments. The focus of Festival 2022 was a celebration of creativity and innovation, with a global outlook.


            He advised that the Festival would bring together creative teams of scientists, artists, engineers and technologists to create ten large-scale extraordinary, public engagement projects; each commissioned with the goal of reaching 66 million people globally. He explained that, of these ten commissions, six would be driven by collaborations from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and contracted by Festival 2022 Ltd; the special purpose vehicle established to curate, manage and promote the Festival. However, the remaining four commissions would be delivered by Strategic Delivery Bodies and led by creatives from each of the four areas. All ten commissions were expected to be global in ambition.


The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting in October 2020, it had been agreed that the Council, in partnership with the other councils, would act as a Strategic Delivery Body alongside equivalent organisations in England, Scotland and Wales.


            The Director explained the process of the public open call for organisations and individuals from across the STEAM sectors to come together and form Creative Teams. He described the three staged Research and Development process which culminated in the submission of a feasibility report and a presentation to the assessment panel in February 2021. He highlighted that a summary of the feasibility format and criteria was included at Appendix A, together with details of the assessment of each of the teams was included at Appendix B.


            During discussion, the Director of Economic Development and the Senior Manager - Culture and Tourism confirmed the importance of the legacy of the project, including its evaluation, building capacity and community outputs of the project


            After discussion, the Committee:


·        Noted the contents of this report;


·        Agreed the recommendation that the commission, as part of Festival 2022, be awarded to the Nerve Centre led team, subject to confirmation of funding from Department for Communities; and


·        Agreed the recommended governance structure for the delivery of the project as set out in Appendix C.



DfC COVID19 Revitalisation Fund


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development provided an overview of the work packages and budget envelopes which had been agreed through the City Growth and Regeneration Committee and the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in relation to the DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme.


            She highlighted the collective programme of projects that, through the Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme, officers had been working with city stakeholders to help rebalance the use of public space, to safely promote economic recovery and provide a people focused approach. She presented some of the ongoing physical and streetscape improvements in the city such as new parklets, public realm and environmental schemes including outdoor seating areas, proposed community gardens and shop front improvements.   


            She tabled an update in relation to the Business Cluster and Community Grant Scheme applications. She explained that officers had now re-engaged all applicants through the Small Business Grant Scheme and, due to reasons including applicants withdrawing from the scheme and actual claims totalling less than originally requested, there was now an underspend of approximately £95k within this budget line of the DfC Revitalisation Programme.


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development highlighted that, in addition to the recommendations outlined in the report, the Committee was asked to also consider the reallocation of the aforementioned £95k of underspend, and any future underspend within the Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme, to the Business Cluster and Community Grant Scheme to meet the funding gap as identified within the report. She pointed out that this underspend would be allocated to extinguish the remaining City Centre Business Cluster fund, followed by assessing the application in the order in which they were received as previously agreed by Committee.


            She reminded the Committee that the Council’s request for additional support from DfC for the Business Cluster and Community Grant scheme would be issued to the Minister for Communities, as agreed by the Committee at its last meeting.


            During discussion, the Director of City Regeneration and Development provided further information in relation to sustainable active travel and advised that a report on the outcome of the feasibility study on additional city wide infrastructure to support the cycling network and to inform potential capital interventions would be submitted to a future meeting. In response to a Members query she confirmed that this included the potential for a temporary Active Travel Hub at Cathedral Gardens. 


            In response to a Member’s query on the success of the pop up park at Cathedral Gardens, the Director City Regeneration and Development also confirmed that work was  being undertaken in relation to a permanent park, as agreed by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.  


            After discussion, the Committee:


·        Noted that £4.039m of funding had been provided to the Council through the DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme to date;


·        Noted the progress update on the various agreed strands of work underway through this Revitalisation Programme with the developing designs for the proposed physical improvements and streetscape improvements presented at the Committee meeting;


·        Approved the reallocation of this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2c




Visit Belfast pdf icon PDF 432 KB

Additional documents:


            The Chairperson introduced Ms. K. Thomson, Chief Executive, National Museums NI, Mr. G. Lennon, Chief Executive, Visit Belfast, and Mr. H. Hastings, Managing Director, Hastings Hotels, to the Committee and they were admitted to the meeting.


            Ms. Thomson highlighted Visit Belfast’s vision and long-term commitment to improving tourism in Belfast and thanked the Council for its support over the last decade.


            Mr. Lennon provided a presentation on Visit Belfast’s strategic plan 2021/22 which focused on supporting tourism recovery. He explained the impact which the Covid-19 pandemic had had on city tourism, with a reduction in Hotel Room Revenue by 69.7% and a reduction in Air Passenger Transit by 72%.


            He highlighted that tourism was a pillar of the city’s economy and should be prioritised in the economic recovery plans for the City. He pointed out that Belfast was a region of strategic importance and provided a summary of its significance in relation to visitor numbers and spend.


            He provided an example of a new regenerative model for Belfast, which included: Building a resilient economy; Delivering inclusive growth; and Protecting the environment. Mr. Lennon explained their plans for future destination marketing, with a focus on drawing demand and a variety of offerings through collaboration and cohesion.


            He summarised Visit Belfast’s Guiding Principles and Objectives, together with the operating challenges it needed to overcome. He explained the organisation’s Policy Framework and highlighted the excellent data and research which had been provided by the Council.


            Mr. Lennon suggested what tourism might look like in Belfast, post covid-19, and explained changing visitor behaviours and preferences for the future and how this would influence marketing, sales and new initiatives.


            He provided an overview of priority markets and segments, together with key business tourism and travel trade priorities. He informed the Committee of its Visitor Servicing work and change project outcomes.


            Mr. Hastings explained further the three year tourism recovery strategy and the vision for Belfast to become even more competitive post Covid-19. He also highlighted the objective for Belfast to become a low carbon economy.


            During discussion, the representative’s answered a range of questions in relation to the demand for travel after the pandemic, predicted occupancy rates, the impact of Brexit on tourism, data sharing across the industry, air travel rates, the demand for business tourism and conferences, the importance of neighbourhood tourism, post covid-19 preparedness of hotels and its staff, accessibility and inclusion for disabled people and their families, the employment market, environmental and societal metrics, green tourism, the promotion of Council assets, and diversity and shared history events. One Member also suggested that Members of Council could also contribute different ideas for future neighbourhood tourism plans.


            The Director of Economic Development stated that a report on the Council’s 10 year tourism plan would be submitted to Committee in June and would include an update on neighbourhood tourism. He also highlighted the need to build capacity and capitalise on the cities tourism assets to align with anchor products.


            The Chairperson thanked the representatives  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3a


York Street Interchange Alternatives - Mr. M. Hackett


            The Chairperson welcomed Mr. M. Hackett to the meeting.


            Mr. Hackett provided a presentation which detailed an alternative design solution to the planned York Street Interchange project – a Department for Infrastructure scheme to address a major bottleneck on the strategic road network, replacing the existing signalised junctions at York Street with direct links between the Westlink, M2 and M3. 


            He stated that the alternative vision intended to get the roads design resolved as soon as possible, since the congestion was causing local pollution. He suggested that the scale and delays to the current scheme was holding back the city. However, repair was only possible with better design.


            Mr. Hackett presented illustrations of alternative options to the main routes of the scheme and described how changes to traffic, lighting and street realignment could reimagine the York Street Interchange. He highlighted that the suggested alternative solution removed traffic lights, so that evening traffic could clear, phases 1 and 2 could be implemented with no disruption and final bridges could be implemented quickly. He stated that the design would also be lower carbon and cost that could unlock renewal and create sustainable transport. He provided examples of how the introduction of walkways and street allocations to pedestrians and cyclists might promote safer spaces.


            He stated that the current scheme suggested temporary road closures which could be damaging to the city and suggested the alternative design would use less land, giving way for further development opportunities, whilst reconnecting North Belfast to the River Lagan.


            He suggested that the alternative design would have no underground routes, used more of the existing structure and would be faster and cheaper, with an overall better result for the city. He advised that the York Street Interchange could become an ‘Infrastructure for all’ reconnecting whole sectors.


            He concluded that he wished to work with the Minister for Infrastructure and the Assembly to reach a consensus of design. 


            During discussion, Mr. Hackett explained further the potential risks of the current design, the background and current status of the scheme including the public enquiry and reviews of the scheme. 


            The Chairperson thanked Mr. Hackett for his informative presentation and he retired from the meeting.


The Committee noted the information which had been provided and agreed that a report be submitted to a future meeting to provide an overview and background of the Council’s decision to support the current York Street Interchange design.



Requests to Present


Requests to Present to Committee pdf icon PDF 252 KB


            It was reported that a request had been received from the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to provide the Committee with an update in relation to the Belfast Rapid Transport (Glider) Phase 2 Scheme and the Ulster University in regards to the new City Centre Campus.


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development advised that, given the strategic, city wide importance of the next phase of this public transport infrastructure scheme, it was recommended that Members received a presentation from DfI senior officials on the BRT Phase 2 Scheme and the emerging proposals. It was anticipated that a presentation would be provided to the Committee at its meeting in April, subject to confirmation by DfI.


            She informed the Committee that Ulster University also intended to provide an update on the ongoing development works and the migration strategy for the new City Centre Campus, to include an update on the University’s progress in opening the city centre campus in 2021, the regenerative impact of the new campus, the Migration Strategy and the ongoing Transport and Travel and Campus Impact Study.


            After discussion, the Committee:


·        Agreed to receive a presentation from Department for Infrastructure (DfI) senior officials on the Belfast Rapid Transport (Glider) Phase 2 scheme and requested that the presentation included an update in relation to the Safe Cycle Route Network; and


·        Agreed to receive a presentation from the Ulster University providing an update on the ongoing development works, the migration strategy for the new City Centre Campus, and campus impact study. The Committee also requested an update in relation to the impact of its purpose built managed student accommodation, and how, as an anchor tenant of the Inclusive Growth Strategy, it was contributing to the inclusive growth and investment for the local community.



Regenerating Places & Improving Infrastructure


Connectivity Issues - Letters to Ministers pdf icon PDF 432 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was provided with an update on the responses which had been received to recent letters that had been sent to Ministers at the request of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee.


            The Strategic Director of Economy and Place highlighted the following points:


York Street Interchange (YSI)

The Council had received a response from the Minister for Infrastructure (Appendix 1) indicating that the review was now complete and that the Minister was currently considering the findings. The Minister went on to promote a collaborative approach between the Department and the Council in terms of the future development of the York St. Interchange Scheme and other infrastructure solutions in line with the City Centre Connectivity Study.


Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme: Connectivity Related Projects

The Council had received a response from the Minister for Infrastructure and the Minister for Communities (Appendix 2 and 3) outlining the £19.3m of urgent funding to Councils to prepare town and city centres to reopen safely. The Ministers also reiterated the departmental commitment to providing assistance, support and partnership working in delivering the programme of works.


Public Realm Schemes at Shankill Gateway and Fredrick Street

The Council had received a response from both the Minister for Communities and the Minister for Infrastructure (Appendix 5 and 6). These responses refer to the ongoing work of the joint Junctions Stakeholder Group to review the designs with the Minister for Infrastructure stating that ‘officials would work at pace to bring forward proposals for alternative junction layouts that would better reflect the priority that we all agree needs to be given to public transport, pedestrians and cyclists’ with a further update to be provided to the Council in due course.


Increasing Sustainable Transport in Belfast

The Council had received a response from the Infrastructure Ministers office (Appendix 8) which confirmed the Departments commitment to creating more opportunities for active travel and making our roads safer for those who walk, wheel and cycle. The Minister referenced the importance of reimaging our city and town centres with a focus on making them greener, more walkable and more connected with commitments from the Department including the establishment of a Walking and Cycling Champion, a £20m capital funding for Blue and Green Infrastructure, progression of two key sustainable transport projects in the BRT Phase 2 and the Ormeau Road Lagan Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, and the pending publication of the final Belfast Bike Network.


            During discussion, the Senior Development Manager advised that the designs in relation to the Shankill Gateway would be submitted to the Committee once they had been received by the Department.


            In response to a Members question in relation to the lack of information provided in the letter to the Department for Infrastructure, and the response received, regarding Increasing Sustainable Transport in Belfast, the Strategic Director of Economy and Place advised that the letter for DfI had been sent following an amendment to the minutes at Council, however, feedback would be provided to Democratic Services on the issue.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Growing Business & the Economy


Economic Inactivity Research pdf icon PDF 179 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this paper is to provide the Committee with an update on the key findings of a report into barriers experienced by economically inactive residents within the Urban Village areas across Belfast.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the key findings and barriers of this research; and

·        Note and agree the way forward, based on this research.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Members will be aware that economic inactivity is one of the most significant challenges for Belfast – and has been so for some time.  Economic inactivity rates in the city are regularly ahead of the Northern Ireland average and, in some parts of the city, can be almost double the regional figure.  A key element of the council’s work on employability is to focus on supporting inclusive growth by targeting our interventions on those furthest from the labour market – including those who are long-term unemployed and economically inactive.  In order to understand the barriers faced by those individuals in finding work, the council undertook a research project in collaboration with The Executive Office’s Urban Villages programme.  The data gathering element of the research was largely undertaken in advance of Covid-19. However, it is important to acknowledge that the pandemic is likely to exacerbate the barriers to economic activity as identified in the results of this research.


3.2       The research process was initiated through a series of meetings with representatives of the Urban Village Local Reference Groups and included desk research; 36 one-to-one interviews, 252 questionnaires and 12 focus groups to qualitatively explore any perceived barriers to economic inactivity in depth.  Those engaged in the research are currently engaged within community provision within their local communities (through Urban Villages). 


3.3       Of those individuals who were involved in this research, 1/3 have been out of work for between 2-5 years and 27% were out of work for over 5 years. Over half of respondents are living with a health condition or disability.  Almost 3/4 of those aged between 19-49 years reported having no qualifications.


            Overview of key findings


3.4       While respondents were not specifically engaged on employability or skills-based projects when they were interviewed, over 75% considered securing employment to be important.  Just under half stated that the salary level required for an individual to leave the welfare system in favour of paid employment was between £16,000 and £24,000. The two key driving factors for finding a job were for financial gain and also to have a sense of purpose. 


3.5       The preferred employment sectors for female respondents were retail, office and administration. For males, the preferred employment sectors were manufacturing and construction.  Only 2% view finance; and 6% IT as preferred employment sectors – while these are recognised as two key growth sectors for the city. 24% of respondents have considered the option of self-employment or starting their own business.


3.6       The main barriers identified by respondents include:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a


Update on Tourism pdf icon PDF 457 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report, together with associated appendices:


“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 development of a new tourism plan and set out key actions for quarter 1 of the 2021/22 financial year.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-       Note the contents of the report and progress made to date on the development of the new tourism plan with agreement to receive a full draft in June 2021.

-       Agree to progress the key actions as set out in appendix 1 and supported by 2021/22 departmental budget for tourism development.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Members will be aware that at a meeting of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee in August 2020, it was agreed that a new ten-year plan for tourism was to be developed. The purpose of this plan is to:


-       Deliver on the tourism priorities set out the Belfast Agenda, recognising the importance of tourism to Growing the Economy and City Development.

-       Align to the ten-year cultural strategy A City Imagining, in order to ensure that tourism development supports cultural development and is based on an authentic and sustainable Belfast offer.

-       Support economic and social recovery in the context of Covid-19 including stabilisation, recovery and growth with the opportunity to build back better.

-       Provide strategic context to the Belfast City Region Deal.


3.2       A further update was provided to Committee in December 2020 setting out findings of the initial research and development phase and the emerging four draft strategic themes:


-       Grow Belfast

-       Experience Belfast

-       Position Belfast

-       Sustainable Belfast


3.3       An initial timeframe had aimed to present a full draft plan to Committee in March 2021. However due to ongoing challenges facing the tourism and hospitality sectors it is proposed that this is now extended to June in order to facilitate sectoral engagement and to better understand the recovery trajectory. This report therefore provides an update on further progress made during the development phase of the plan and sets out key foundation actions to be taken forward in quarter one of the 2021/22 financial year.


3.4       Experience Belfast – developing neighbourhoods


            The cultural strategy recognises the importance of cultural tourism and the role of Council in supporting the development of local destinations and quality products across the city. In particular the strategy commits to:


-       Developing cultural tourism through building capacity and opportunity for citizen and culture led approaches to tourism development and infrastructure (e.g. local tourism programme).


3.5       This will be further expanded in the ten year tourism plan through one of the four draft themes, Experience Belfast. This will include experiences that can be brought to life through the development of an optimal mix of ‘anchor’ and ancillary products that get people into an area and keep them there. This also increases connectivity between all parts of the city raising the visibility and appeal of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b


Sunday Opening Hours for Large Retailers pdf icon PDF 173 KB


            The Strategic Director of Place and Economy advised the Committee of the request to extend the current approach on Sunday opening hours for large retailers for a period of three months from the current proposed end date (5th April 2021) in order to support the management of shopper numbers as part of ongoing social distancing measures as the city prepared for re-opening.


            The Committee was reminded that the current Northern Ireland Executive guidance – which became operational on 26th December 2020 – confirmed that only those retailers deemed as “essential” retail were permitted to remain open at this time, until at least 1st April 2021. In January 2021, the Council considered and acceded to a request from large retailers to support extended Sunday opening hours (in line with Northern Ireland Executive guidance) on a temporary basis, to be reviewed by 5th April 2021, as part of the efforts to manage shopper volume and support social distancing.


            It was reported that, on 2nd March, 2021, the Northern Ireland Executive had produced “Moving Forward: the Executive’s Pathway out of Restrictions” which outlined the first step in the Executive’s Roadmap to Recovery and set out how it would approach the relaxation of restrictions. The first formal review by the Executive would take place on 16th March and there would be subsequent reviews every four weeks thereafter. The Executive had also confirmed that, while it would formally review and make decisions on restrictions every four weeks, the monitoring cycle provided them with the ability to move more rapidly on emerging priorities should the need arise before the next review point.


            The Strategic Director explained that, following the announcement on 2nd March, it was likely that the restrictions on capacity within retail and services would remain in place for some time in order to maintain some level of social distancing in indoor premises. He stated that one of the issues that had been raised by the businesses and the representative organisations was that it would be helpful to have some flexibility on the current Sunday trading hours, in order to support recovery efforts and enable retailers to manage their footfall better over a slightly extended trading period on a Sunday.


He highlighted that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council had extended its current approach to enforcement until the end of June 2021.


            During discussion, Members raised issues in relation to consultation with retailers and the demand for extending opening hours.


            After discussion, the Committee agreed to accede to the request from Belfast City Centre Management (BCCM) to support extended Sunday opening hours (in line with Northern Ireland Executive guidance) on a temporary basis, to be reviewed on 5th July, 2021, as part of the efforts to manage shopper volume and support social distancing.


            The Committee also agreed that officers consult with Trade Unions, Retail NI and relevant stakeholders on the matter and report its findings at the next Committee.



Strategic & Operational Issues


Belfast Bikes - allocation of stock to social enterprises and charities pdf icon PDF 344 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting in November 2020, it had been agreed that officers should take forward a programme of work to distribute some of the Belfast Bikes that were due to be replaced, and it was agreed that these were to be offered to the Social Economy, Co-operative and Charity sectors in Belfast.


            The Director of Economic Development advised that 100 bikes were made available for distribution and organisations were able to use the bikes for a range of uses, including but not limited to; stripping the bikes for parts; repairing them to sell or gift out; and upcycling them. The Council’s main stipulation was that the handover of these bikes created a positive social impact in the communities across the city.


He explained the expression of interest process to allocate the bikes on a first come, first served basis, with a final closing date of 29th January, 2021. He confirmed that the bikes had now been allocated to the following 15 successful organisations, each receiving between 5 and 10 bikes:


·        East Belfast Mission;

·        Saints Youth Centre;

·        The Turnaround Project;

·        18th Belfast Scout Group;

·        Forward South Partnership;

·        Lyric Theatre;

·        Tools for Solidarity;

·        Belfast South Community Resources;

·        Failte Feirste Thiar;

·        Mount Merrion Parish Church;

·        Sudanese Community Association Northern Ireland;

·        Salvation Army;

·        Kith and Kin Financial Wellbeing for Employers;

·        Concerned Residents of Upper Ardoyne; and

·        Ligoniel Improvement Association.


            The Director of Economic Development advised that organisations would be using the bikes for a variety of purposes, with many refurbishing them to promote healthier lifestyles within their communities and to support them to access employment by cycling to work. Others wanted to gift these to the vulnerable, homeless and newly-arrived asylum seekers to help them get to appointments whilst others planned to refurbish the bikes to sell or lease through the use of a pop-up shop.


            He confirmed that, if further bikes became available, they would be allocated to the remaining organisations who expressed an interest on a first come, first served basis as per the guidelines.


            He highlighted that, overall, this model worked extremely well, and officers were now considering how a similar model could be used to distribute reusable items in the future to deliver local impact. The sectors had not only shown great interest in obtaining these items but were also able to showcase how they would create a positive social impact in our local communities.


            The Committee:


·        Noted the work which had been undertaken by the Enterprise and Business Growth Team to allocate the stock of bikes to date;


·        Noted the recipients and proposed use of the old bikes; and


·        Noted the opportunity to utilise this model to create further opportunities to create positive social impacts through the distribution of materials and products.



Update on Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor pdf icon PDF 260 KB


            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 the Committee with an update on progress to date, on work to support the development of the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor and to provide an overview of plans for the official launch of the Corridor Partnership.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-       Note the contents of this report and progress to date to develop the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.

-       Approve the budget allocation to be managed by Fingal County Council to support the delivery of the work programme aligned to the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.


3.0       Main report


3.1       At its meeting on the 7 November 2020 members were provided with an update on progress to support the development of the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.  At the meeting members noted the progress to date, endorsed the emerging plans and member representation for participation on the political advisory group as part of the governance structure of the partnership.


3.2       Members will be aware that since the establishment of the partnership, partner councils have been working to shape its future direction and to find ways to work collaboratively to realise the potential benefits of the further development of the Corridor.  In 2019 DCU and UU were commissioned to carry out research on behalf of the councils to inform how the councils could collaborate for mutual benefit between the cities of Dublin and Belfast and the regions between.  The report detailed the current economic performance of the Corridor and the prospects for the region based on current trends. The report also began the work of identifying potential areas for cooperation which could create a stronger trajectory for growth.


3.3       However, since this initial research was undertaken the global economy has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in monumental declines in levels of economic activity across the board. The pandemic has also had an impact on the speed of the partnership’s plans to support economic regeneration across the corridor area, however the pandemic has highlighted the interdependencies across the area and reinforces the need for a coordinated commitment to enhancing the future economic potential of the corridor.


3.4       Officers continue to work in partnership to progress the recommendations of the research and have been engaging with councils along the economic corridor on a monthly basis.  These specific areas for collaboration included;


-       Opportunities for branding and promoting the area to attract private and public investment;

-       Identification of areas of complementary policy and objectives to support collaborative opportunities and the development of joint interventions;

-       Skills development to ensure that the skills pipeline is appropriate to meet future demand;

-       Use of sectoral strengths to influence of FDI pipeline;

-       Further development of sectoral concentrations which already exist in tradeable services, Agri-Food and high-tech Manufacturing and Construction;

-       Cooperation in the development and delivery of enterprise supports to increase the number of new businesses along the corridor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7b


Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Developing Clean Tech in the City (Ald. Dorrian to raise)


            Following the request from Alderman Dorrian in relation to the development of clean technology, levels of engagement, and the types of clean technology the Council was working on, the Committee noted that the issue would be investigated, once resources became available, and agreed that a report, on how this could be facilitated, resourced, managed, be brought back in due course.