Council to discuss economic plan

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Derry City Council’s economic development plan for the year ahead will be discussed by local councillors later today.

The plan will be presented at a meeting of the Council’s development committee this afternoon.

It sets out the Council’s plans to maximise job creation, increase tourist numbers, and capitalise on the potential of the Clipper yacht race and City of Culture celebrations.

It involves plans to spend almost £750,000 to boost Derry’s economy and create jobs.

The plan has six subject headings, each dealing with a particular aspect of Derry’s economy; business and enterprise/inward investment, developing people, tourism development, city centre economic renewal, rural development, and enabling strategic policy and infrastructure.

The wide-ranging document covers many different topics, from tourism, including plans to support the Museum of Free Derry, the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall, and St Augustine’s Church, to promoting community transport in the rural area.

The plan also sets out a vision to dramatically increase the number of start-up companies promoted though the Digital Derry Scheme.

The report recommends making £25,000 available from rates to market Digital Derry to promote its plans to create 100 companies providing digital contact in Derry by 2015. This would effectively double the current number of companies in the sector.

It also recommends making £80,000 available to assist efforts to realise business opportunities which may be provided by the Clipper yacht race, which visits the city next month and Derry’s year as City of Culture in 2013.

The economic development report also discusses the potential of events planned for the city, including the upcoming North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCO) and the NI International Ploughing Championships, which will be held in Drumahoe next year, as well as the annual events held in the city.

It also includes recommendations to make money available to support speciality market trading in the city centre, including the visit of the continental market to Guildhall Square.

The report will be discussed at today’s meeting.