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30/05/2024

Council hosts Belfast Region City Deal Council Panel

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has hosted the latest meeting of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) Council Panel, at which members discussed the transformative investment for the region being delivered through Northern Ireland’s first ever City Deal.

 

Meeting yesterday at Mossley Mill, the six partner councils reviewed the progress achieved over the last few months and heard updates on the substantial developments being made as the Deal moves through the delivery phase.

A total of 15 business cases are now approved, with 11 Contracts for Funding signed for projects with an approximate value of £550m and over £5m of claims paid to date to individual projects.

Council Panel members were also updated on the developing plans for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC), with a presentation by Ciarán Prunty, Head of Project Delivery. The £100m BRCD investment led by Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Ulster University, is set to establish a cutting-edge facility spanning 10,500m² at Global Point, Newtownabbey.

The ‘Factory of the Future’, will serve as Northern Ireland’s premier hub for advanced manufacturing, fostering enhanced levels of innovation and collaboration between industry leaders and researchers.  

Recruitment for key roles at AMIC has already started, with 21 new roles advertised to support advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses to access the very latest technology, specialist equipment and expertise. This flagship facility will become a national centre for advanced manufacturing, with state-of-the-art facilities and an expert engineering team, underpinned by academic excellence.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Mark Cooper welcomed the progress on AMIC, a flagship BRCD investment.  He commented;

“AMIC will be transformative for both our Borough and Northern Ireland. This ground-breaking powerhouse will put us on the map globally, allowing us to compete on the international market with a strong focus on sustainability. AMIC will bolster Northern Ireland’s industrial potential and address the future technology and skills challenges faced by the region’s manufacturing sector, whilst supporting the UK Government’s ambitions to deliver on the global stage, as it seeks global trading relationships and Foreign Direct Investment. A £10m investment from the council underpins our commitment to support economic growth and prosperity for the Borough and beyond through the creation of high-quality jobs and increasing inward investment through a high value manufacturing innovation cluster.”

AMIC received full business case approval in March 2024 and Henry Brothers were awarded the £30m contract to construct the 10,500m² Factory of the Future, with construction plans now at an advanced stage.

Facilities at the building at Global Point Newtownabbey, set to open in 2026, will include an engineering hall, a clean room, laboratory spaces, an auditorium and office accommodation, as well as external landscaping and mechanical and electrical services.

Panel members were also informed of the latest developments with the £7.5m Digital Transformation Flexible fund (DTFF) by Michael Forester of Newry, Mourne and Down     District Council. The DTFF grants which range from £5,000 to £20,000 are designed to help small and micro businesses fast-track their digital transformation ambitions. There is a strong demand for the project funded by Northern Ireland Complementary Fund which is now in its second call for applications.

The Belfast Region City Deal unlocks £1 billion of co-investment that will deliver more than 20 highly ambitious projects and programmes, create up to 20,000 new jobs and make the region a global investment destination over the next decade.