Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has hosted the latest meeting of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) Council Panel as it moves another step closer towards delivering transformative investment through NI’s first ever City Deal.
Following the first anniversary of the signing of the Belfast Region City Deal, the BRCD Council Panel met today to review the progress achieved by City Deal partners and stakeholders over the past 12 months. The new BRCD website was also launched, which showcases the Belfast Region City Deal programme of investment and benefits and ensures that information on programme development and delivery, current news and forthcoming events is widely accessible.
The six partner councils also heard how proposals for Newry, Mourne and Down are developing and it was recognised that these projects will be a driver for innovative, ambitious investment for the area.
In January, a BRCD Contract for Funding was agreed for Newry City Centre Regeneration Projects supported by the Deal. These projects are the Theatre and Conference Centre and Civic and Regional Hub in Newry, for which £5 million BRCD funding has been allocated for its Public Realm, along with £3 million for a Grade A Office Accommodation Fund. A planning application has also been submitted for the Theatre and Conference Centre.
Welcoming the progress across the region, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “As a City Deal region, we have approval for business cases across the pillars of investments and in recent months have signed 4 contracts for funding to the value of almost £100 million. Construction has started on a new Studio Ulster site at Giant’s Park Belfast - a world-class, large-scale virtual production studio complex with commercial stages, supported by an integrated Research and Development centre of excellence for real-time and virtual production.
“These are significant achievements. We’re now reaching key milestones and funding has started to flow through to projects, enabling delivery and the realisation of once in a generation investment. Collaboration between all our City Deal partners and stakeholders has been critical to this success.”
In total, planned investment of around £200 million is earmarked for all Newry, Mourne and Down projects.
Councillor Barra Ó Muirí who chaired the Council Panel meeting, said: “Our ambitions for the Belfast Region City Deal are to progress opportunities across all pillars, to deliver on our Council’s strategic priorities for tourism development, regeneration, digital transformation and employability and skills opportunities for our residents and labour market.
“We welcome the signing of the Contract for Funding earlier this month for Newry City Centre Regeneration. The Gateway to Mournes Project is also at an advanced stage, and we are progressing plans to reinvent the visitor experience and position the region as a world class visitor destination.
“We recognise that connectivity and infrastructure developments are key to underpinning delivery of the Deal. The Southern Relief Road, led by the Department for Infrastructure, will provide a new strategic transport link, enhance access to the Mournes, and address traffic congestion in Newry City. As a critical infrastructure project to the region, the Council continues to work with its Belfast Region City Deal partners to progress this project.
“The aggregated output from the capital investment will be transformative. We anticipate that over 400 operational and 2,000 construction jobs will be supported through our district’s three capital projects. The GVA return to the Belfast Region is £400 million, a return that will ensure a step change in our local economy’s growth and performance.
“However, to achieve this, it’s critical that we create an environment where we have the right people, with the right skills to meet employer requirements for labour and productivity growth. Working collaboratively with our regional colleges, councils will seek to enhance and create pathways to sustainable employment, and ensure the right skills are available through upskilling and reskilling opportunities. We’re focusing on skills for inclusion, skills for growth and digital skills to achieve our City Deal ambitions for job creation and inclusive economic growth.”
Finally, Councillor Ó Muirí also noted the importance of the new BRCD website, commenting “This is a fantastic digital resource for anyone looking for information on this new way of working between central and local government and regional partners, delivering investment locally that is ambitious and transformative – it’s the start of a decade of opportunity.”
The Belfast Region City Deal unlocks £1 billion of co-investment that will deliver more than 20 highly ambitious projects and programmes, create up to 20,000 new jobs and make the region a global investment destination over the next decade.
Keep up to date with all BRCD news and events via https://belfastregioncitydeal.... and get involved in the conversation using #BRCityDeal.