Agenda and minutes

Contact: Carolyn Donnelly, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




No apologies were reported.




            The minutes of the meetings of the Committee of 13th and 27th October were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st November.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillors Beattie, Lyons and O’Hara declared an interest in relation to item 4(c) – City Centre Open Spaces, in that they were members of the Board of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. However, as the report was an update, it did not conflict with their role on the Board, they were not required to leave the meeting whilst the report was being considered. 


            Alderman Kingston and Councillor Donnelly declared an interest in relation to item 4(b) – A Bolder Vision Update, in that they were both employed by organisations in receipt of funding from Department for Communities, however they were not required to leave the meeting whilst the report was being considered. 


            Councillors Brooks, Hussey, Maskey, Murphy and McMullan declared an interest in relation to item 4(e) – DfC Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme Update, in that they were Members of the Planning Committee, which had been considering an application in relation to the Castle Place Kiosk and left the meeting while the item was being considered.



Schedule of Meetings - 2022 pdf icon PDF 145 KB


The Committee approved the following schedule of meetings for the City Growth and Regeneration Committee during 2022 (All meetings to commence at 5.15 p.m.):


·       Wednesday, 12th January

·       Wednesday, 9th February

·       Wednesday, 9th March

·       Wednesday, 6th April

·       Wednesday, 11th May

·       Wednesday, 8th June

·       No meeting in July

·       Wednesday, 9th August

·       Wednesday, 14th September

·       Wednesday, 12th October

·       Wednesday, 8th November

·       Wednesday, 7th December


            The Committee noted that the following Special Committee dates had also been scheduled, in order to receive presentations from outside bodies and that these would be arranged if required:


  • Wednesday, 26th January
  • Wednesday, 23rd March
  • Wednesday, 27th April
  • Wednesday, 22nd June
  • Wednesday, 28th September
  • Wednesday, 26th October



Correspondence received from Minister Mallon pdf icon PDF 339 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee was asked to consider a response to a motion proposed by Councillor O’Hara, regarding York Street Interchange – Request to Share Independent Assurance Report, which had been passed by the Council, at its meeting on 4th October.


The Strategic Director of Place and Economy highlighted that, in her response, the Minister had stated that, the Independent Assurance Review of the York Street Interchange Scheme had been carried out to provide assurances on how the proposed scheme reflected her key Ministerial priorities, and both the Executive and Belfast City Council objectives, in particular:


·         The Minister’s priorities around focus on wellbeing, sustainable travel, creating thriving liveable places and communities, responding to the climate emergency and connecting people and opportunities;


·         The Executive’s priorities set out in New Decade: New Approach and the Outcomes Delivery Plan; and


·         The scheme’s strategic fit alongside the emerging policy context, for example, the Belfast Agenda, the Belfast City Council Development Plan Strategy and the emerging Transport Plans.


He pointed out that the Minister had also made clear, the need to engage with local key stakeholders as part of this review and explained that she was not able to publish the report in accordance with Department of Finance guidance contained within DAO 02/20 (Section 8).


He stated that the Minister’s correspondence indicated that the further work which was being carried out to address the recommendations from the Independent Assurance Review, included a placemaking and active travel review, and was due to be completed in the coming weeks.  The Minister would consider the report before deciding on the next steps for the scheme.


            Following discussion, it was:


Moved by Councillor O’Hara,

Seconded by Councillor Ferguson,


      That the Members of the Committee agrees to withdraw Belfast City Council’s corporate support for the York Street Interchange scheme and will only reinstate corporate support for the scheme, if the review, and any new scheme arising from it, meets the Council’s climate, air quality, place making and housing ambitions as a city and complements the aims of “A Bolder Vision.”


            On a vote, thirteen Members voted for the proposal and five against and it was declared carried.



Restricted Items


            The information contained in the report associated with the following two items was restricted in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the members of the press and public from the meeting during discussion of the following two items as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.



Update on Strategic Acquisition


            The Strategic Director of Place and Economy provided the Committee with an update on the acquisition of 2 Royal Avenue and the progress of a meanwhile use for the premises.


            The Committee noted the update.



Vacant Premises Programme and Supporting Vibrant Business Destinations Programme

Additional documents:


            The Senior Development Manager provided an update to the Committee on the proposed Vacant Premises Grant Programme and sought approval to progress with a pilot city centre grant scheme.


            Following discussion, the Committee:


·         Noted the update in relation to the proposed Vacancy Grant Programme and Supporting Vibrant Business Destinations Programme;

·         Agreed to a continuation of the pilot Vacancy Grant Programme for the city centre and that, in tandem, further engagement would be undertaken with businesses on arterial routes, through the ‘Supporting Vibrant Business Destinations Programme’ in order to assess the most appropriate support packages for those areas, as part of a complimentary approach; and

·         Noted the opportunity to utilise the MAG High Street Craft Kit in the codesign and development of area specific interventions.



Motions Referred from Standards and Business Committee


Motion - Tourism Street Signage pdf icon PDF 223 KB


            The Strategic Director of Place and Economy reported that, The Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 26th October, had referred the following motion, proposed by Councillor Long, and seconded by McMullan to the City Growth and Regeneration Committee for consideration:


“This Council calls for the erection of street signage in the city centre to mark the location of important historical events related to the 'Belfast Enlightenment' period of our shared history in the late 18th Century. The aim is to encourage increased footfall in the city centre and improve the tourist offering. This Council will work with other relevant agencies to develop this strategy.”


            The Committee agreed that a report on how the Motion would be facilitated, resourced and managed would be brought back to a future meeting of the Committee.



Regenerating Places & Improving Infrastructure


A Bolder Vision Update pdf icon PDF 295 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To outline for Members the key aspects of A Bolder Vision (ABV), including the proposed four Key Moves, the engagement programme, feedback from the consultation to date and the indicative timelines.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to note:


·        The Bolder Vision consultation material and the proposed Key Moves and potential short and longer term interventions.

·        The consultation activity; feedback to date and associated issues in relation to further engagement, timeframes and delivery.

·        A key objective of the Bolder Vision is to enable key design decisions to be made on the city’s emerging strategic capital and infrastructure projects as well as informing major private and public sector regeneration schemes and sustainable and active travel networks.  It aims to strengthen and support the diversification of the city centre and enable improved connectivity with surrounding communities.

·        As the Bolder Vision process progresses and interventions are refined and developed, consideration will need to be given as to how the Council and other partners can prioritise funding opportunities and align corporate priorities and programmes against the Bolder Vision Strategy and subsequent action plan.

·        The Bolder Vision provides the foundation for the emerging wider city connectivity programme that seeks to address the need to improve connectivity and active travel right across the city.   To note also that Connectivity and Active Travel have been identified in the Community Planning Partnership: City Development Board as a key priority.



3.0       Main report


3.1       A Bolder Vision Consultation document


            As Members will be aware A Bolder Vision – Connectivity Study has been developed jointly between Council, Department for Communities and Department for Infrastructure. At the 8th September 2021 meeting of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee, Members received an update on the Bolder Vision pre-engagement activity, overview of the emerging issues and details on the public consultation. In the interim period before the finalisation of the current Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan the Bolder Vision aims to provide a holistic look at the city centre’s infrastructure and connections to neighbouring communities from a people and place based priority. 


3.2       A key objective is to enable key design decisions to be made from a city user perspective on the city’s emerging strategic capital programmes such as BRT Phase 2, Belfast Streets Ahead 3 & 5, the Inner Ring Junctions, as well as informing major regeneration schemes such as Weavers Cross and the Transport Hub, private and public sector developments including housing led regeneration projects and the sustainable and active travel network. The Bolder Vision also aims to bring forward area based infrastructure planning. This will strengthen and support the diversification of the city centre reflecting the changing nature of retail, the development of sustainable and inclusive city centre communities and increased city centre living; tourism and cultural development and improved connectivity with surrounding communities.


3.3       As previously advised to Committee, the public consultation document was influenced by five thematic co-design workshops including a large, cross-sector session  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


City Centre Open Spaces pdf icon PDF 470 KB

Additional documents:


            The Senior Development Manager reported that, officers were undertaking a review of open space within the city centre with a view to identifying potential interventions to improve existing spaces, as well as creating new spaces with an emphasis on greening and softening otherwise, hard urban environments.


            He explained that an audit was underway, which would enable the identification of priority sites or projects, ranging from short term to permanent placemaking projects.


            He provided the Members with a brief update on the undernoted projects, which were in development across the city:


·         City Quays Gardens;

·         North South Spine Road and Little Your Street/Little Patrick Street Area;

·         Cathedral Gardens; and

·         RSUA Design Competition for Early Career Architects 2021.


            A number of Members raised concerns regarding the consideration of a temporary meanwhile use of the Council-owned lands at Corporation Street, for a RSUA/JP Corry Open Belfast Design Competition, as it had previously been put forward as a potential site for a housing led mixed-use regeneration scheme.


            Following further discussion, the Committee agreed:


·         To note the update on emerging open space and placemaking projects across the city centre, including the Belfast Harbour Commissioners City Quays Gardens, the City Quays North-South Spine, the Little York – Little Patrick Street scheme and the INW / Cathedral Gardens Open Space Framework; and


·         That, a report would be brought back to the December meeting of the Committee, which would consider alternative Council-owned lands, for a temporary meanwhile use for the RSUA/JP Corry Open Belfast Design Competition.



High Street Task Force Call for Evidence pdf icon PDF 341 KB

Additional documents:


            The Senior Development Manager informed the Committee that, The Executive Office had formed a Hight Street Task Force, which comprised of members from key areas, including retail, hospitality, culture and arts sector and, the community and voluntary sector.


            He reported that the Hight Street Task Force had launched a Call for Evidence, the first stage of an ongoing public engagement process, which would run from 24th October, until 6th December.  He highlighted the themes identified in the Call for Evidence, relating to the issues high streets were facing.  


            He pointed out that, responses to the Call for Evidence, would inform a draft report relating to high street issues, and it had been proposed that a final report would be presented to the Executive by June, 2022.


            He put forward to the Committee that, officers would develop draft responses to the questions posed in the Call for Evidence document, and that a draft response would be brought to the Party Leaders’ Forum, at its meeting on 25th November.  He stated that the final response would be brought back, retrospectively, given the timeframe, to the December meeting of the Committee.


            The Committee agreed to:


·         Note that the Executive Office has launched the High Street Task Force Call for Evidence, in order to gather evidence, data and views on a wide range of issues relating to the High Street, with a closing date of 6th December 2021 for responses; and


·         That officers prepare a draft response which would be brought via Party Leaders Forum on 25th November, with the final response brought back retrospectively to the Committee, at its meeting in December.



DfC Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme Update pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Additional documents:


(The Chairperson, and Councillors Brooks, Hussey, Maskey, and McMullan, who had declared an interest in this item, left the meeting for the duration.  Alderman Dorrian, deputised for the Chairperson, in his absence.)


            The Senior Development Manager outlined the detail of the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To update Members on the progress of the DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the updates on the DfC Revitalisation Programme projects contained within this paper and the continued importance of the use of streets and spaces to assist businesses and communities as part of a wider programme of work focused on Reimagining the Public Realm. 

·        To note the progress and completion of a number of projects within the programme with further detail to be provided in a presentation to this Committee Meeting.

·        To note, in respect of the Castle Place Hub project, the current position and in particular the request from DfC to the Council to take ownership of the new kiosk at Castle Place. 

·        To agree the proposed approach (as below) in terms of the Council taking ownership of the new Castle Place kiosk subject to approval of the business case by DfC and approval by SP&R Committee on the transfer of the kiosk to Council and relevant licences and business case implications.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background


            The CG&R Committee have received regular updates and provided approvals relating to the DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme - a £4.039m programme funded via DfC, DfI and DEARA to bring forward and deliver a range of economic, cultural and physical interventions to support businesses to trade efficiently during the Covid-19 restrictions and to maximise and create more outdoor space for businesses.


3.2       Progress


            In terms of progress on delivery of the Programme, at the end of September a total of £2.6m has been spent or directly allocated to delivery partners with a forecast to complete the programme by March 2022. As previously reported, officers are continuing to work with contractors and delivery partners to minimise the impacts of the global supply and contractor availability issues. The majority of the procurement is now complete, and contract works programmes are been finalised with suppliers and contractors for the remaining work packages, minimising the impacts of these issues and further reports will be brought to this Committee as appropriate.


3.3       The following sections provide an outline of a few of the projects recently completed to date and projects in progress, with Appendix 1 Table providing a summary overview of the projects being delivered as part of the overall programme. Appendix 2 sets out the detail of the wide range of projects being delivered as part of the Business Cluster Community Grants.  Members are also asked to note that a presentation will be provided to this Committee meeting providing further detail on the projects delivered through the Revitalisation Programme.


            Sustainable and Active Travel (DfI Funded as part of the DfC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Strategic and Operational


Notices of Motion - Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       This report provides a quarterly update on the Notices of Motion that City Growth & Regeneration are responsible for, in line with the agreement at SP&R Committee that all Standing Committees will receive a quarterly update.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       It is recommended that the Committee:


-       Notes the updates to all Notices of Motion that this Committee is responsible for as referenced in Appendix 1; and

-       Agrees to the closure of a number of Notices of Motion, as referenced in Appendix 1 and noted in paragraph 3.5 below.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Key Issues


            At SP&R Committee on 25th October 2019, the following Notice of Motion was agreed:


            ‘That this Council notes that other Councils produce a monthly status report in relation to Notices of Motion; and agrees Belfast City Council adopts a similar practice and produces a monthly Notice of Motion Update which will be brought to each full Council Meeting, detailing the following:


1.     Date received

2.     Notice of motion title

3.     Submitted by which Councillor

4.     Council meeting date

5.     Committee motion is referred to

6.     Outcome of committee where Notice of Motion will be debated

7.     Month it will be reported back to committee

8.     Other action to be taken.’


3.2       Following Committee’s consideration of the report on the quarterly update of Notices of Motion in August 2021, it was agreed to close 4 Notices of Motion.  All subsequent Notices have been added to the database in Appendix 1 which shows 11 active Notices of Motion and Issues Raised in Advance for which this Committee is responsible.


3.3       Notice of Motion Updates


            As previously noted by Committee, given the current pressures in responding to the pandemic, it has been difficult to afford the usual time towards progressing Notices of Motion.  Nevertheless, there has been progress in a number of notices of motion.  Members will also note that work on the database continues to be developed. 


3.4       Closure of Notices of Motion and Issues Raised in Advance


            At SP&R Committee on 20th November, it was agreed that Notices of Motion could be closed for one of two reasons:


-       Category 1 - Notices of Motion which contained an action that has been completed.  All Notices of Motion within this category contained a specific task that has since been completed.  It is worth noting that, when Committee agree to action a Notice of Motion, there are sometimes additional actions agreed alongside the Notice of Motion.  As these are not technically part of the Notice of Motion, they are taken forward through normal committee decision making processes.  The Notice of Motion can therefore be closed, but additional actions related to it will continue to be progressed and reported to the committee.  These additional actions are not contained in this report but will be noted in the live database moving forward.

-       Category 2 - Notices of Motion have become Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


City Growth and Regeneration Committee Plan - Six Month Progress Report pdf icon PDF 265 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       This paper provides a six month progress update on the key actions contained in the City Growth and Regeneration (CG&R) Committee Plan, as agreed by this Committee in June 2021.


1.2       The 2021-2022 Committee Plan was developed in the context of the Council’s Corporate Plan and the Belfast Agenda. The Committee will recall that the Committee Plan contains the commitments within the 2021-22 annual delivery plan for the Corporate Plan which fall under the remit of the Committee, plus additional deliverables that have been agreed by CG&R Committee and relevant to the Standing Orders of the Committee.  It sets out the main priorities and programmes of work that the Committee is overseeing to maximise the Council’s contribution to delivering a sustainable and inclusive recovery and the Belfast Agenda.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-       note the content of the report and that officers are continuing to progress the actions within the City Growth and Regeneration Committee Plan 2021-2022, as agreed by the Committee in June 2021.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       Whilst the City Growth & Regeneration Committee have a role to play across a number of the themes, the clear focus for this Committee is City Recovery, immediate emergency response and reopening etc whilst also continuing with work to deliver on longer term plans for the city, with key priorities that will help the people and businesses of Belfast continue to respond to, and recover from, the economic impact of the pandemic while also shaping the future development and sustainability of the city. 


3.2       In addition to the ongoing work to support the Community Planning Partnership, through the refreshed Jobs, Skills and Education Board and the City Development Board, this year the Committee has held a number of engagement and workshop sessions to enable strategic discussions to shape the Council’s role and position on key issues such as the future of the city and role of the city centre and the DfC Employability NI programme, which has led to the establishment of the interim Labour Market Partnership.  In addition to this there is regular and ongoing engagement with the City Stakeholder Group and a multi agency approach to city recovery measures etc.


3.3       The Committee receive regular updates on progress with the delivery of specific programmes and initiatives such as; the DfC COVID19 Revitalisation Fund, Future City Centre programme, A Bolder Vision and A City Imagining Cultural Strategy.  At the October 2021 meeting, the Committee also received detailed reports on the progress in relation to the Jobs and Skills work programme and the Business Support Services programme. 


3.4       This report therefore provides a composite overview. Appendix 1 outlines progress with the main commitments in the Committee Plan for the six month period (April-September 2021). It should be noted that many of the commitments will continue to be delivered over the course of the year and the Committee will be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.