International designer, entrepreneur and broadcaster Wayne Hemingway MBE led a stellar speaker line-up at Northern Ireland’s first regeneration conference which took place at Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre recently.
Spearheaded by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, the free-to- attend event attracted strong interest from company directors, developers, planners, policy makers and investors keen to explore the opportunities available in this area.
The Council is the first Northern Ireland authority to host a major regeneration conference.
Hemingway was the keynote speaker for a panel of leading business and industry experts, regeneration and heritage specialists who shared their insights and expertise on regeneration and place shaping for the future and how these can deliver real benefits for the region’s towns and cities, their communities and the economy.
Hemingway said: “It is vitally important that the Council, as a community leader, has a clear vision and set of plans and priorities to support its economic development and regeneration work.
“We are in a fast-paced and constantly evolving world and it is more important than ever to be aware of great examples of placemaking that inform the ability to create inspiring and accessible places, where people want to live, work and spend their leisure time.
“Urban and rural regeneration is about being brave and within reason, taking risks and providing opportunities for new generations – allowing creative minds the freedom to make a positive contribution to our towns and cities.”
In a first among Northern Ireland’s local authorities, this landmark conference supported the Council’s ‘Regeneration and Development Strategy 2015-2020’, which has invested in regeneration projects in urban and rural areas including heritage schemes, streetscape improvements, lobbying on connectivity and economic growth.
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Councillor Garath Keating said: “We are an ambitious, forward thinking council with investment, growth and development at our core. We are committed to ensuring that each city, town, village and rural area in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon realises its full potential as a ‘Place of Choice’ for living, working and investing.
“The Sharing our Potential conference was an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our regeneration and place shaping agenda. By welcoming four regeneration experts to share with us their knowledge and experiences, this conference provided an excellent opportunity for us to learn, be inspired and be ready to make a difference in our area.”
CBI Northern Ireland Chair David Gavaghan, formerly Chief Executive of Titanic Quarter Limited, who has built an enviable career in regenerative real estate and business leadership, was also part of the panel, as was distinguished speaker and urban planning expert Debra Mountford from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Dr Steve Millington from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute of Place Management.
The event brought together representatives from the local and NI-wide commercial and residential property sector, town centre management divisions, chambers of commerce and heritage trusts.
Attendees benefited from topics such as heritage-led regeneration, rural regeneration, customer trends in town centres and capital and infrastructure development, and how these can deliver real benefits for the region’s towns and cities, their communities and the economy.