Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID) has announced a new five-year business plan, part of which reveals its aim to extend its services to include The Gasworks and Shaftsbury Square areas. LQ BID was first appointed in 2018 for an initial term of five years and in January 2023, eligible businesses will have the opportunity to vote for it to be appointed for a second term.
The Linen Quarter and its surrounding areas are set to benefit from £1 billion investment over the next ten years with Belfast Grand Central Station, Weaver’s Cross and BBC Building all in the pipeline for re-development, and so the Term Two Ballot comes at a crucial time.
Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID
Commenting on the BID’s new business plan, Chris McCracken, managing director of LQ BID, said: “LQ BID already works in close partnership with the organisations where these incoming improvement projects will land such as Belfast City Council and Executive Departments, so we can ensure cohesive representation for Linen Quarter’s businesses as they come to fruition.
“Furthermore, the extension of LQ BID’s 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 drives footfall and support the longevity of our businesses, many of whom are still recovering from the onslaught of the pandemic.”
To date LQ BID has successfully delivered £4 million worth of improvements across one of the city’s most important areas for business and tourism. £500,000 of that comes from grant funding applications that we have submitted to safeguard the future of the District. A recent example of this being FLAXX – a pioneering social space at Brunswick Street complete with a pétanque court, outdoor seating and a performance area with a stage for small concerts.
Along with focusing on regeneration and improvements to the public realm, LQ BID is also responsible for improving cleanliness and safety across the District, and has also prioritised sustainability, with improving air quality an identified goal for Term 2.
Fearghal McKinney, Head of British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland said: “I am pleased that LQ BID takes the city’s air quality seriously and is proactively bringing solutions to the table to help us improve across multiple areas including promoting sustainable and active travel, and we look forward to continuing to support the BID’s goals. Every day, thousands of us in Belfast are inhaling toxic particles which enter our blood and get stuck in our organs, raising our risk of heart attacks and stroke. Any effort made to improve our air quality is very welcome.
“Partnership and collaboration are vital if we are to continue to move our city forward. LQ BID continues to show leadership, ambition and creativity and a great understanding of how to work proactively and successfully with relevant organisations to identify and prioritise issues of concern and deliver practical solutions.”
Chris continued: “In the last five years, we have directed £700,000 million towards cleanliness and safety and our continued presence and support will ensure initiatives such as a dedicated PSNI Officer on patrol to protect and deter remains in place, as well as the delivery of grant schemes that enhance CCTV and lighting. Our three-day-a-week cleaning team, who maintain the appearance of the Linen Quarter to ensure it remains an enjoyable place to be, will also be lost without a successful yes vote.
“Belfast is a city on the cusp of real change. It’s a vibrant place to be and we’re proud of the contribution we have made to this journey over the last five years. Ahead of the January ballot, I would urge businesses to take a look back on how much we have achieved together whilst also taking a look at counterpart cities – Manchester, London, Amsterdam for instance – and the potential that remains to be had on our doorsteps.”
LQ BID is a not-for-profit organisation that operates under statute to manage a defined area. Currently hundreds of businesses and organisations in the Linen Quarter pay a levy with these contributions then ringfenced to a shared fund which is used to deliver improvements.