Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID) has been appointed for a second five-year term following a six-week statutory ballot period. The results showed resounding support of the BID’s role and contribution to the District, with 92 per cent of its business members voting yes.
Businesses based their decision on LQ BID’s five-year business plan which details £3.7m of proposed investment for the vibrant city District which is home to hospitality hotspots, luxury hotels and high-grade office buildings. The BID will also now extend its remit to include The Gasworks and southern stretches of the Dublin Road and Great Victoria Street.
LQ BID was first appointed in 2018 for an initial term of five years. The Term Two vote returned a significant increase to the Term One ballot which saw a yes vote of 78 per cent. Around 350 organisations in the Linen Quarter currently pay the BID an annual levy, contributions that are ringfenced to a shared fund and used to maintain the area and deliver improvements.
Blair Mayne, Chair of LQ BID said: “We welcome this immensely positive result for the Linen Quarter which could not have been achieved without the support of our members. The BID has been a positive force for the District since 2018 and has led the successful delivery of over 30 projects and more than £2.8 million in improvements in that five years. Looking ahead to the next five years, the Linen Quarter and its surrounding areas are set to benefit from £1 billion investment in redevelopments, including the Grand Central Station, Weaver’s Cross, North-South Glider, and new office blocks, residential and student accommodation. The support for our second term is crucial to ensure the Linen Quarter’s businesses are represented as they come to fruition.
Chris McCracken, Managing Director for LQ BID said: “We look forward to delivering on our manifesto commitments and keeping regeneration, sustainability, cleanliness and safety high on the agenda. The extension of our remit will allow us to deliver more across a greater stretch of the city including new social spaces, enhanced seating, enhanced planting, murals and parklets all of which delivers a more positive city experience for those who work, live or visit the area, and of course drives footfall to support the longevity of our member businesses.”
LQ BID’s five-year business plan proposes to deliver 50 additional projects to the District.
Including a weekly ‘safe and clean’ street audit which will see an enhanced PSNI service within the area, a dedicated full-time police offer and the Linen Quarter’s clean team increasing from three to five days a week. In terms of regeneration, the BID is proposing to make a tangible difference to parts of the city that have been neglected for far too long. Working alongside the City Council and local stakeholders, the BID aims to invest a six-figure sum around the Dublin Road and Southern Great Victoria Street, with the long-term goal of attracting new capital investment. The BID will also renew the vision for the whole district, which includes commissioning a consultancy report to explore how to enhance the Gasworks, such as improved social spaces, accessibility and design features.
Additionally, the Term Two plan includes a vibrant events programme such as the upcoming 2023 Belfast Restaurant week, and investment into a sustainable district which will see free building audits from Climate NI to support members to reduce their carbon footprint and the management of air quality control to create a healthier environment.
To deliver on its Term Two plan LQ BID will be working in close partnership with Belfast City Council, Department for Communities, and the Department for Infrastructure.
Chris concluded: “We’re proud of the Linen Quarter, and our contribution to it, and I’m pleased that we will continue to work proactively with the relevant organisations and decision-makers to prioritise the concerns of our members and respond with practical solutions. There has been substantial progress over recent years, but there is still potential waiting to be unlocked right across the city.Our business plan sets out an ambitious vision that will help transform the Linen Quarter and support the wider city centre. We can’t wait to get started and delivery of our exciting five-year mission begins today.”
For more information on LQ BID and its Term Two Business Plan visit linenquarter.org/projects/term-two-business-plan