Derry City and Strabane District Council agreed on the 8th February a new annual district rate, which with the regional rate, will result in an increase of 2.76% for the Council area.
This budget which will drive growth and investment in the City and Region, a budget which will further develop leisure, sport, cultural and community facilities and one which will see continued improvements to delivery of our high quality services to citizens right across the entire Council area.
With a key focus on business growth and economic development, physical and environmental regeneration and community support and engagement, Council will in this incoming year further lead and promote development and investment across the City and District.
Council will build on last year’s growth, which saw our domestic and non-domestic rates base grow for the first time in many years, compared to an overall average reduction across other Council areas in Northern Ireland.
Council’s key priority this year will be working with all of our partners and Government departments to deliver on the objectives and targets of the emerging Strategic Inclusive Growth Plan 2017-2030 – our Council area’s Community Plan.
Long overdue infrastructure investment to enhance both our physical and virtual connectivity, university expansion, skills and training initiatives to provide opportunity for our young people and increase employability together with the continuing advancement of the physical redevelopment of key economic opportunity sites in Derry City Centre and Strabane Town Centre remain Council’s key strategic focus.
The delivery of the Strategic Growth Plan - only possible with the full support and positive engagement of Government – is projected to lead to the creation of over 10,000 new jobs in the Council area in the next 10 years, a reduction in unemployment levels to below the Northern Ireland average for the first time in the City and District’s recent history, will improve the wealth, prosperity and general well-being of all of our citizens and most importantly will specifically target need, poverty and inequality.
With an agreed rise of 2.76% to the District Rate, a rise which is equivalent to less than £1 per month for a house of average value in this Council area, Council will advance and deliver on a wide range of exciting capital projects which will include this financial year :
- Completion on site of Phase 1 of the Brandywell Redevelopment Project
- Delivery of a new 3G Pitch at Melvin in Strabane.
- Appointment of design teams to advance proposals, business cases and costings for ambitious new Strategic Leisure facilities at both Templemore and Strabane Town
- Completion and submission of Peace IV project funding proposals for both the Riverine project in Strabane and the Clondermot Sports & Community Shared space project in the Waterside.
- Undertaking and completing a feasibility study and initial design/ costings for the Strabane Town centre footbridge in partnership with DFI and DFC.
- Advancing outline business cases and proposals for major physical regeneration schemes on a number of Strategic sites in both Derry City Centre and Strabane Town centre.
- Progressing and completing detailed design of the proposed Maritime Museum in Ebrington
- Completing design and business cases on a range of proposed Community centre developments and upgrades.
- Commencing work on site on construction of a number of play facilities and advancing detailed design, costings and planning proposals for many others across communities in the City and towns and villages throughout the District.
- Progression of a wide range of other Capital projects across the City, District and Rural area including Greenways/ Cycle Paths; Recycling facilities; Sports, Leisure, Tourism and recreational projects.
Through an ongoing efficiency programme in which Council has delivered and achieved to date over £2m of savings to its annual revenue budget, it is proposed that in addition to this ambitious Capital programme, Council will this year also invest further in its Events, Festivals and cultural activities- diversifying and adding to the area’s impressive cultural offering and attractiveness to visitors and tourists which last year saw the highest ever annual hotel occupancy rate.
In August 2016 we recorded the busiest month on record with an average hotel room occupancy of almost 90%. The last Halloween Festival also saw a significant rise in attendance figures, recording a 40% increase on the previous year while the Foyle Maritime Festival last July also attracted record breaking numbers of spectators with a 20% increase on the festival in 2014, reflecting our success in hosting internationally renowned events.
Across all of its front-line services and functions from street cleansing and waste, building control, planning and environmental health, grounds maintenance, parks and cemeteries, leisure, sport, health and community development and support, together with all of its vital corporate support services, Council will drive improvement and efficiency in this incoming year.
Council will work right across the entire City and District, both urban and rural, with all of its partners and stakeholders, at a Cross Border level through the new North West Partnership arrangements, at National level with Government both North and South through the North West Strategic Growth Partnership and through its many contacts, connections and diaspora at European and International level to drive forward this North West City Region /Council area and to advance and progress all of the objectives of the City and District’s emerging Strategic Growth Plan.