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Following a meeting of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) Council Panel in November, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson Councillor Laura Devlin has welcomed the progress made on the project. It's planned that £9 Million from the city deal will part fund the Newry City Centre Regeneration Scheme, including the proposed Civic Centre and Theatre/ Conference Centre as well as public realm and office accomodation. The proposed Albert Basin Park isn't included in the BRCD funding.

Newry City. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Commenting after the meeting, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “The Belfast Region City Deal is critical to the future recovery of the region, and importance has been placed on ensuring the progression of those projects that will stimulate transformative investment right across the Belfast Region City Deal. It takes us one step closer to the delivery phase and see investment start to flow into our region. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has worked towards the completion of Outline Business Cases for both the Newry City Centre Regeneration Scheme and the Gateway to the Mournes visitor attraction as part of this progress.  Alongside these projects is the progression of the Southern Relief Road, a high quality digitally enabled innovation space, and a robust employability and skills programme that will ensure we have the people and skills to drive future growth and investment.  The proposals taken forward by the Council are critical to ensuring that we unlock investment and implement our strategic priorities which will aid the recovery of our district”. 

Drawn from across the political spectrum, the Council Panel is made up of 24 elected members representing six BRCD council partners. Working collaboratively with council officers, the Panel is overseeing the development of Outline Business Cases for transformational projects across the Employability and Skills, Infrastructure, Innovation and Digital, and Tourism and Regeneration, and pillars. 

The meeting revealed that plans for an £850 million regional investment are nearing “an important milestone”. The submission of business cases to the UK and NI Governments in just a few weeks’ time represents an important milestone in the BRCD journey so far. The BRCD will see the UK Government invest £350 million into the Belfast Region, with a further co-investment of £150 million from Belfast Region City Deal partners. In May 2020, the NI Executive confirmed that it will provide match funding of £350 million towards the BRCD.

The six partner councils in the BRCD are Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Ards and North Down Borough Council; Belfast City Council; Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council; Mid and East Antrim Borough Council; and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. The collaboration also includes Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the regional Further Education Colleges (Belfast Metropolitan College; Northern Regional College; Southern Regional College and South Eastern Regional College). 

For further information about the Belfast Region City Deal, visit: www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastregioncitydeal Updates are posted at #BRcitydeal.

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