We hear much mention of the ‘One Plan’ in discussions about investment and regeneration in the North West. But how many residents are aware of what it actually is?
The One Plan was the result of a unique participative and inclusive two-year long development process launched in June 2011. The process involved gathering the views of some 1,000 people, from residents to community and voluntary sector representatives and the statutory and private sectors. The uniqueness of the consultation included the recognition that a new focus needed to be brought to bear on how we bring about social and economic renewal as well as physical renewal by targeting inequalities and promoting equality. These unique features were developed and promoted by Sinn Féin, resulting in the One Plan being recognised as international best practice.
During the development and consultation process the One Plan first identified the needs and inequalities in the City and Region and then created a set of interventions to target and redress them. This resulted in the creation of 11 catalyst programmes aimed at delivering on employment, education and skills, families, children and young people, health and wellbeing, integrated transport, community infrastructure, the environment and the economy. The programmes are deliberately interdependent, cohesive and mutually supporting, depending on and complementary to each other.
Although still in the early stages of delivery, significant investment has already been made in the City and Region as a direct and indirect consequence of the One Plan.
For example, £30m programme funding and £100m capital funding was secured for the City of Culture programme; the €14m Northwest Regional Science Park was opened in September 2014; £7.4m was invested in the re-development of Ebrington Square and the Business Plan for Magee an essential first step in the university expansion has been completed.
The £2.2m Urban Broadband Super Connected City Fund went live; £3.3m was secured for the Community Work Programme; £27m worth of improvements were made to the railway line; Council’s Business Development Programme worth £1m was delivered; the Age Friendly City Charter was launched; and Music City 2014 was delivered. That is approximately £200 million investment in the region since the One Plan was launched.
Although a sound beginning, the One Plan has much more to do in the coming years, and my priorities will be insisting that a focus kept firmly on job creation as the top priority and particularly on youth employment. Sinn Féin is dedicated to comprehensive delivery of the One Plan commitments and will continue to stand up for Derry by working diligently to make it happen.