Ambitious plans have been today revealed to create 50,000 new jobs in Belfast by 2035 and attract £1 billion investment in real estate projects in next 4 years.
Belfast City Council, with joint support from key partners and stakeholders, unveiled the first draft community plan for the city – the Belfast Agenda – at City Hall. Public consultation on the draft document is now open until March 2017.
The Belfast Agenda 'outlines the city’s mission to deliver city centre regeneration and investment projects with a further world-class visitor attraction planned; to enhance good relations work across the city and develop vibrant communities and neighbourhoods'.
According to the information delivered this morning, it 'will also ensure residents have access to the best education, skills and employability opportunities and that there will be a reduction in health inequalities in the city'.
Included in the draft document are a number of outcomes for a better future for the city.
These are that everyone benefits from a thriving economy; all residents fulfil their potential and experience good health and well-being and that by 2035, Belfast is looked upon as a vibrant, connected and environmentally-friendly city and one that is welcoming, safe and inclusive for all.
Four significant goals have been identified through the Belfast Agenda to be achieved by 2035 – increasing the population of Belfast by 70,000 more people; creating 50,000 new jobs; that every young person leaving school in the city has a destination that fulfils their potential and the city reduces the current gap in life expectancy between its most and least deprived neighbourhoods.
The draft Belfast Agenda also lists a number of priorities to be achieved during the next four years.
Among these are growing the economy by 2021 to create 15,000 new jobs and support 4,000 small business start-ups. The city also aims to attract £1 billion of private sector foreign direct investment; double its economic value of out-of-state tourism and welcome a further 1.5 million overnight tourist stays per year.
Over the next four years, it is also proposed that there is an integrated, inter-agency approach to neighbourhood regeneration with a £1 billion physical investment in neighbourhoods; £1 million investment in communities to drive social innovation and progress made towards reducing the number of interface barriers.
Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, joined party leaders at City Hall today to unveil the draft community plan for the city over the next 20 years.
“The Belfast Agenda is an ambitious vision for the future of Belfast that will create a better life for everyone in the city with inclusive economic growth and improved services for residents and businesses alike," he said. "There is strong agreement and commitment across all political parties in the council to deliver the city’s first community plan and we want to thank our partners and people across the city who have worked with us to bring it to this point.
“I am now honoured to launch the next stage of the Belfast Agenda consultation process today and would encourage everyone who has an interest in Belfast to read this plan and give their views and provide important feedback on how their Belfast should be in the next 20 years.”
The public consultation on the draft Belfast Agenda opens today and closes on 9 March 2017. The document is available to view on the council website at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastagenda
There will be also be series of briefing events on the consultation process across the city from the New Year.