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Belfast City

“Positive Changes For Revised Tribeca Plans” Says Cathedral Quarter BID Manager

CQ BID, the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District, has welcomed revised plans for the multi-million pound development ‘Tribeca’.

Following a meeting earlier this month with Castlebrooke Investments when stakeholders from Cathedral Quarter saw new plans for the 12-acre site bordering Donegall and North Street.

CQ BID Manager, Gareth Neill, said that it appears that the developers have listened to stakeholders taking on board comments and revised the initial proposals.

“The revised plans appear to have taken consideration of the concerns and worries that were expressed,” he explained. “What is important now is that the new voluntary consultation period will see Castlebrooke Investments continue to listen and respond to feedback from those that work and visit the area.

Mr Neill was among a delegation that met with the investment team and project architects Squire & Partners earlier this week.

North Street Arcade

The BID manager said the revised scale and massing of the buildings and revisiting the uses; in particular the significant additional residential offering will be of great benefit to the wider City Centre. .

“We particularly welcome the plan to re-visit Donegall Arcade,” said Mr Neill. “Since the fire in 2004 this connection in the Cathedral Quarter has been a sorely missed opportunity”

“It will breathe new life and opportunity for smaller bespoke retailing and commercial activity and re-open connections that will make the area more accessible to all and provide a unique experience for the city centre.

“With the anticipated influx of students as the Ulster University campus nears completion this has the potential to be a vibrant hub emphasising the CQ ethos of live, work and play.”

Mr Neill said all in the area hope that the pledges made at the meeting will be followed through.

“We received a firm commitment to the heritage assets and their rejuvenation through an innovative design approach which will add incredible value to the overall scheme.

“The CQ BID welcomed Castlebrooke’s positive messaging around pedestrian led design and supporting sustainable travel opportunities, and move away from the original underground car parking proposals.

“Businesses in and around Cathedral Quarter are keen to see progress made in a timely and efficient manner.

“Garfield & North will commence towards the end of 2019 and we hope to see City planners take a proactive approach to make sure the Tribeca proposals are thoroughly assessed but at the same time do not stall in the planning system.”

Gareth Neill, CQ BID Manager

Mr Neill added that the Cathedral Quarter BID also welcomed Castlebrooke’s commitment to a wider ranging engagement plan for the area; building capacity with local interest groups, residents, visitors and business owners to make sure the scheme is beneficial for all concerned.

The new Castlebrooke Investments revision include a reduction in height of the proposed Grade A office block on the corner of North Street and Rosemary Street and retention of the historic streetscape of the area.

The appointment of Squire & Partners and commitment to work with conservation architects from Belfast-based Consarc Design Group has also been welcomed by the CQ BID team.

Belfast City

Gala Dinner to mark 50th Anniversary of Famous Rugby Schools Cup Win

Pictured are the Boys’ Model 1971 Rugby School’s Cup winning team.

Belfast Boys’ Model School Bursary fund is set to host a gala dinner to raise essential funds for the educational charity and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school’s Rugby School’s Cup win. 

The dinner, which is being held in the Europa Hotel at 7pm on Friday 8th October, will be hosted by BBC’s Mark Simpson and will look back on the Boys’ Model School’s major accomplishment of becoming the first and only non-grammar school to get their hands on the coveted Rugby Schools Cup.

To add to the celebration, the dinner will also remember the 25th anniversary of the “golden soccer year” in which Belfast Boys’ Model School swept the board in all football competitions across all age groups and recognise current cultural achievements at the School.

The event will also welcome special guest speaker, Frank Wilson, a former Boys’ Model teacher and player on the school’s winning team in 1971. Frank will look back fondly on and discuss his time playing at the school as well for Ulster and Ireland, the latter of which he wore the number 15 jersey in the 1970’s.

Former Head Boy, Head of the Civil Service and charity board Chair, Sir Nigel Hamilton expressed his joy that the dinner will be reflecting on and celebrating a key date within the school’s history:

“We are delighted that, after a tough year for everyone, the celebratory dinner will be a memorable event and an opportunity for former students, staff, friends and family of the Boys’ Model team to meet together and look back fondly on an important piece of history for the school and its players, past and present.

We’re thrilled to have a star studded line up of guests and to welcome Frank back home for a re-presentation of the Schools Cup which will be a very special moment for us all. Most importantly, this evening is about supporting our young boys to give them the opportunity and encouragement to excel. We hope that everyone comes out to support this worthy cause on Friday 8th October.”

Established in 2015, the charity provides bursaries to Boys’ Model pupils going into third level education, encouraging boys who are otherwise hesitant to pursue third level education, many of which are the first member of their extended family to go to university.

To date, the charity has provided funding of £61,000 to 25 pupils and this year will allocate seven awards.

Frank Wilson, former Boys’ Model teacher recognises first-hand the work of the charity and the effect the money raised has on the students involved:

“The bursary fund is essential in encouraging boys to raise their aspirations and help them further their education. The dinner will be a great night for all involved and a great opportunity to not only reflect on great times but also look forward to the future.

With the challenges of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we support young talent to further their education and open up more opportunities and we hope that this dinner will go a long way in raising much needed funding. It’s also a great way for us to connect with the local community and welcome more friends to the charity and we look forward to seeing old and new faces alike on the night.”

Guests are encouraged to book tickets early for what promises to be a great event for a worthy cause. To purchase a ticket for the event, visit here or email fund@boysmodelbursary.com

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Belfast City

Cathedral Quarter BID Celebrates Success Of Street Beat Police Presence In Area

An initiative that saw additional dedicated police officers patrolling Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter has been welcomed as a proven success story by Destination CQ’s manager Damien Corr.

The Ballot for the continuation of the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) is currently open until September 22. In an independent survey carried out in advance of the ballot, the Street Beat (#streetbeat) programme was seen as one of the key projects that adds value for businesses and organisations in the area, over 90% of respondents prioritised it for inclusion in the Business Plan for the next 5 years.

The StreetBeat officers are paid for by the BID and are additional to the normal policing provided by PSNI. The initiative was a direct response to local business owners’ concerns regarding antisocial activity within the areas. 

BID manager Damien Corr said: “As the businesses are paying for the service, it was essential that they felt in ‘control’, accordingly the officers have a designated phone which our Cathedral Quarter businesses can call direct 07787432635. This ability to bypass the general PSNI Switchboard is key to a more effective localised response.”

The officers patrol the area on foot and in their distinctive CQ street beat branded vehicle, dealing with anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. They also visit premises offering practical security and personnel safety advice and equipment.

StreetBeat PSNI officer Michael Gillies added: “Being given the time and support both by the BID and PSNI management, I have been allowed to focus my work specifically within the Cathedral Quarter and its needs. 

“This has helped to strengthen relationships already made with businesses and also to forge new ones. It’s back to basics Neighbourhood policing, only this time the neighbourhood is my local business community”.

However, the future of the scheme in the Cathedral Quarter relies on a ‘yes’ vote for a new five-year term for the Business Improvement District organisation Destination CQ.

With ballot papers already issued and voting by post closing on September 22, Mr Corr is keen to remind voters of what could be lost without their votes.

“The BID levy payers have told us that they really appreciate the work done by our Street Beat officers who, between them, have provided 2080 extra policing hours targeted patrolling,” he said. 

“They were particularly effective over lockdown when lots of properties were left unattended. Our officers continued to patrol, checking on closed business premises and providing assurance and practical assistance to those who continued to work.

“It is a simple reality, that unless we get a yes vote in the ballot, aloof this additional targeted policing will be lost to Cathedral Quarter.”

Sorcha Woolsy, Operations Director of Beannchor with a number of businesses in the BID area said the BID has carried out a number of projects that have impacted the Beannchor suite of businesses.

“The one that really stands out to me is the provision of the City Centre Beat Officers,” she added.

“It’s a really good example of an initiative that a BID can provide that an individual business could not on their own. 

“For me, it is imperative to vote yes on the re-ballot of the BID. The collective energy and brainpower and money of a group of businesses all pulling in the same direction for the betterment of this area will inevitably gain better results than individual businesses doing little bits and pieces on their own.”

For more information on the work of Destination CQ and Street Beat go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.

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