The Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID), Destination CQ, has formally launched its Business Plan for the next five years as it enters balloting on re-establishing the improvement district for a further five years.
Damien Corr, Destination CQ manager, said the plan had been produced after extensive research amongst the BID’s levy payers and receiving feedback on areas that had been done well, and areas that may need improvement.
“For the business plan we took the priorities that businesses and organisations gave us and divided them into three areas,” he explained.”
These are business support; safer, cleaner, greener; and promoting and animating the area.
“These include driving down costs for business support and delivering free training for your needs. It is about the collective voice for lobbying, being your voice with the developers that are coming into our area, with the plans that our statutory partners have.”
Mr Corr said the importance of having a collective voice for Cathedral Quarter was vital for the future.
“We’re your voice with the Department for Infrastructure, Department of Culture, the council and all statutory agencies and will continue to do so,” he said.
“We are involved in most stakeholder groups in the city and that’s something that our levy payers don’t see a lot of. It takes up a lot of our time and it’s very worthwhile.”
In terms of the safer, cleaner, greener strand of the business plan Mr Corr said that BID intends to build on existing programmes.
“We’ll continue with the PSNI street beat team to support dedicated patrols for the area,” he added.
“The work of the clean team to provide rapid response to clear litter and remove graffiti has been of enormous benefit and will continue.
“We also aim to work towards the area being green and sustainable, and there are many strategies that talk about environmental sustainability in the city in the future.
“Ultimately this will contribute to biodiversity, air quality and making a difference to people’s health and it makes an aesthetic difference too.”
Mr Corr said that respondents to an earlier survey had identified increasing footfall, championing arts and culture as well as the night time economy and these were included in the business plan area entitled promoting and animating.
“Cathedral Quarter is known as the hospitality heart of the city and that’s very important. We have 75 cruise ships coming to the city this year and we want to attract as much of that business into CQ as possible,” he said.
“We want to make sure that those who are marketing, that CQ is right up there on their must-do, must-visit, things to do.
“To make that work we can’t just live on past glories,” he said.
“As such we will continue to work very closely with the arts and cultural sector.
The Destination CQ manager said that they were also committed to Smithfield and Union.
“In the last year, we’ve worked very closely with a couple of the LGBT bars in the area creating outdoor dining space,” Mr Corr explained.
“With agreement and working in partnership with all the businesses in Union Street, we’ve had the road pedestrianised and we’re looking forward to working with the businesses to make it a destination area.”
Mr Corr said the business plan has been circulated to all levy payers and is available to any stakeholders who want to see the plans for building on success.
“We believe that Cathedral Quarter can continue to develop, we can support businesses, and we can speak for them,” he said.
“Across the world the challenge has been to cope with Covid-19, and we applaud the work of the NHS. Now we must work with everyone in Cathedral Quarter on the recovery. Our business plan is our roadmap to recovery.”
All those who are levy payers to the BID can now vote for it to continue for another five years of operation. Ballot papers have been distributed and should be returned by September 22.
To find out more about the work of Destination CQ BID, go to cathedralquarterbelfast.com or contact Damien Corr on 02890 314 011.