City has ‘big ideas’

One of the suggestions in the Draft Legacy Plan is that the city bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023 - ten years after its year as UK City of Culture.
One of the suggestions in the Draft Legacy Plan is that the city bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2023 - ten years after its year as UK City of Culture.

A DRAFT ‘Legacy Plan’ developed by Derry City Council and seen by the Sentinel suggests the city might bid for the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

‘Small City - Big Ideas,’ which was drafted in late Spring/early Summer warns a bid would need to be in place by 2016, however, to make the initiative viable.

“It is too early to commit ourselves to bids for designations and events in the future. However, plans to secure the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for 2014 and 2016 are at an advanced stage,” said the plan. Of course, since the proto-plan was drafted the race’s return has been made official.
Intriguingly, the 45 page Council report contains just two references to the Culture Company, the firm set up to manage Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013. Back in June Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín alluded to the draft plan but said more work was needed and that the local authority needed to get on with it urgently.
Now the Sentinel has a copy of the draft. See page 19.

In reference to the potential for the European Capital bid it states:“If the city wishes to be considered for the European Capital of Culture 2013 designation, a bid would need to be resourced, researched and submitted by 2016.”

The revelation is one of a number of eye-catching proposals drawn up by the Council to ensure UK City of Culture 2013 doesn’t fail in achieving targets set out by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), by Ms Ní Chuilín and, indeed, by the Ilex One Plan.

Other big ideas are to make Londonderry a City of Music in 2014. Subject to funding, two key music events will be programmed into the city’s calendar.

Plans are apparently underway for a music festival in February, which will “set the tone for the coming year.” Other Voices? It took place in February this year and Philip King appeared willing to come back.

A major outdoor event is also slated for next summer. Then in 2015 the city is to focus on Creativity and Learning to help achieve the educational targets of the One Plan. And in 2016 Londonderry is to become a Maritime City.

An Gaeláras also intends acquiring and refurbishing the old Third Derry Church on Great James’ Street to create a work space for artists in the basement, a performance space in the church itself and an academy of traditional music in the manse.

Whilst DCMS insisted key objectives of the UK City of Culture were the delivery of a high quality programme and lasting social regeneration, Ms Ní Chuilín expects wages to rise, more jobs in poorer areas, greater equality, greater rapport between Protestants and Catholics and happier citizens.

This is something, which is addressed in the Council’s draft plan. Amongst its provisional objectives are getting at least 2,300 more residents into jobs and increasing Gross Value Added (GVA) - regional GDP - by at least £57m by 2020.

It also wants to improve perceptions of the city and enhance community relations by between five and ten percentage points at least.

The template also appears to accept some projections made in the One Plan and surrounding City of Culture in general might have been somewhat wishful.

The report says: “This Plan is a consultation document. It must also convince our key partners to stay with the City as it pursues the objectives set out in the One Plan.

“While the One Plan envisaged £500m of capital investment within its timescale, and a doubling of our tourism revenue by 2020, the success of the City of Culture year should not be measured solely in economic terms.”

In order to achieve its ‘ambitious targets’ the plan is considering a number of interventions across five emerging themes.

Provisionally and not necessarily exclusively they are: Theme 1, Celebration City 2014-2017; Theme 2, Culture Connecting Communities; Theme 3, Creative Economy; Theme 4, Cultural Tourism; and Theme 5, Telling a New Story.

So who’s going to pay for all of this and who is going to run the show? The document points out that Derry City Council and Ilex are joint signatories of the One Plan.

It suggests a process was apparently also initiated to integrate Ilex staff who were leading the 2013 monitoring and evaluation process.

“This will have the benefits of aligning the One Plan and 2013 Legacy project, as well as providing the resources needed to support legacy,” the draft says.

Whilst Derry City Council has already committed £2m for legacy projects in 2014-16, match funding and grants from various other sources will have to be explored to realise a legacy.

The authors expressed hope the advent of a new EU budget - 2014 to 2020 - will provide an opportunity to leverage additional cash.

“Under the umbrella of Europe 2020 - the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade - there are several flagship funding programmes targeting priorities such as innovation, the digital economy, employment, youth, industrial policy, poverty and resource efficiency,” the report suggests.

One programme identified is ‘Creative Europe,’ an EU slush fund for TV, cinema, music and other arts that is valued at £1.8billion.

The draft plan suggests a ‘Legacy Team’ - drawn from all relevant disciplines within the local authority - will be managed by Strategic Director of Development at the Council, Stephen Gillespie. He was also the incumbent at the time of the plan’s genesis in Spring/early Summer.

Democratically elected representatives will then be responsible for scrutinising the work of this ‘Legacy Team’ through a ‘Legacy Working Group.’

The ‘Legacy Team’ will be responsible - with the assistance of Council management - of co-ordinating programmes and delivery mechanisms.

Under the proposed management arrangements for the mooted Legacy Plan, the One Plan Strategy Board is central.

That’s local politicians, community and voluntary representatives and business interests.

It will work in partnership with both the existing Interdepartmental Working Group which includes representatives from Executive Departments like DSD, DCAL, DRD, OFMDFM and others with a direct interest in the One Plan.

The Strategy Board must also work in partnership with two further existing groups - the City Infrastructure Group and the City Marketing Group.

The report tells us nothing else about the City Marketing Group. It says the City infrastructure Group includes representatives from Derry City council, DSD, Ilex, NIEA, Planning Service and DRD.

The Strategy Board must also work with the City Legacy Group - comprised of elected members - which at the time of the draft plan had yet to be established.