Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Henry Downey, Democratic Services Officer  x6311

No. Item




                        An apology for inability to attend was received from Alderman Spence.





The minutes of the meeting of 7th August were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 2nd September.



Declarations of Interest


                        No declarations of interest were reported.





Presentation - Retail Analysis pdf icon PDF 235 KB


The Committee was reminded that Pragma Consulting Limited had been commissioned by the Council to undertake a retail analysis of the City centre, with its scope being developed in conjunction with the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce.


Mr. McVicker, on behalf of Pragma Consulting,  explained that the retail analysis had focused upon five key areas, namely, current catchment and shopping patterns, a trading gap analysis, independent traders, future trends and, finally, practical steps to be taken by the Council and its partners to support the City’s retail offer. He reviewed the key findings associated with each of those areas, including benchmarking with other cities, and drew the Committee’s attention to recommendations and suggested actions which Pragma Consulting Limited had made, specifically around leisure provision, place making, transport, city centre living, office development/working space and policy and governance. These would, he pointed out, assist in creating a dynamic destination for shoppers and in strengthening the economic, social and physical regeneration of the City.


The Director of Development added that a report would be submitted to a future meeting providing details of a Retail/High Street Action Plan and work programme, aligned to the recommendations set out within the retail analysis. 


After discussion, the Committee noted the information which had been provided.



Restricted Items


The information contained in the reports associated with the following three items are 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 Committee meeting during discussion of the items as, due to the nature of the item, 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.



Belfast Zoo – Performance Update Quarter 1 2019/20


(Mr. R. Black, Director of Neighbourhood Services, and Mr. A. Cairns, Zoo Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


The Committee considered a report which outlined the performance of the Zoo for the period from April till June, 2019, under five key areas, namely, Animal Collection/Welfare, Education Services, Financial Performance, Marketing and Events and Visitor Services. The report provided an update also on the implementation of recommendations arising from independent reviews which had been undertaken of Animal Welfare and Safety and Security.


After discussion, the Committee noted the information which had been provided and agreed that the next quarterly update should provide details of the priority recommendations identified within the aforementioned reviews.



Proposed City Centre Public Realm Catalyst Projects


The Committee’s attention was drawn to a report which set out an approach for developing, in partnership with the Department for Communities and other stakeholders, where appropriate, a programme of small scale catalyst public realm projects, based upon financial developer contributions which had already been received or been agreed through completed planning agreements. The report provided also the locations of developments within the City centre to which signed planning agreements related and for which approval for three potential catalyst projects was being sought.


After discussion, the Committee:


i.        agreed the emerging proposals to bring forward small scale, public realm catalyst projects for the following three cluster areas, which could utilise pre-existing developer contributions, subject to additional funding being secured from the Department for Communities or other sources:


·        Chichester Street/Callender Street;

·        Greater Clarendon and Sailortown; and

·        Blackstaff Square and its environs;  


ii.        noted that the Belfast Streets Ahead Project Board was supportive of further work being undertaken to explore these public realm projects, in conjunction with the Council;


iii.        noted that, once the scope and cost of proposed projects were identified, a report would be prepared for the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, outlining the proposed approach for bringing these forward, in partnership with the Department for Communities and other stakeholders, as appropriate, and seeking approval for the use of financial developer contributions;


iv.        agreed that further detail on the catalyst projects be brought to the City Growth and Regeneration Committee for consideration and noted that any decision on spend required Strategic Policy and Resources Committee approval; and


v.        noted that existing financial developer contributions must be spent in line with the associated planning agreement, which specified the location, purpose and timeframe (usually seven years) of expenditure, and that failure to meet these requirements would result in repayment to developers.        



Belfast Off Street Parking Order


(Mrs. S. Toland, Director of City Services, and Mr. D. Connolly, City Protection Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


The Director of City Services reminded the Committee that responsibility for off-street public car parking had, on 1st April, 2015, transferred from the Department for Regional Development Roads Service to the Council, as part of Local Government Reform. Prior to that, operating arrangements for car parks, including tariffs, had been set by the Department for Regional Development through the Off-Street Parking Order (Northern Ireland) 2000 and its numerous amendments.


She explained that those arrangements had now been reviewed, taking cognisance of the Council’s Car Parking Strategy and Action Plan for Belfast, and it was proposed that a new ‘Belfast City Council Off-Street Parking Order’ be introduced. She highlighted a number of key amendments which would be included within the new Order and confirmed that the Council would, as part of the statutory process, undertake a twelve-week public consultation exercise. The results of that consultation, together with the final draft of the Order, would be presented to the Committee in due course for consideration. Accordingly, she recommended that the Committee approve the following consultation document, together with the commissioning of suitably qualified persons to report on the findings to the Council:





Draft Off Street Parking (Public Car Parks) Order

Made      -     -     -     -                                          XXXX?

Coming into operation -                                                  XXXX





1.       Citation and commencement

2.       Interpretation





3.       Specified parking places

4.       Vehicles of a specified class

5.       Position in which a vehicle may wait




6.       Parking bays for disabled persons’ vehicles

7.       Parking bays for electric vehicles

8.       Maximum period for which a vehicle may wait

9..      Use of parking place other than for parking

10.     Issue of licences

11.     Surrender and revocation of licences





12.     Requirement to pay appropriate tariff                                                                                                  

13.     Payment of charges

14.     Pre-paid tickets

15.     Use of telephone parking system

16.     Display of printed tickets in Pay and Display car parks

17.     Particulars of ticket in a Pay and Display car park

18.     Season tickets





19.     Requirement to stop the engine of a vehicle

20.     Trading in a parking place

21.     Sounding of horn

22.     Driving in a parking place

23.     Ball games

24.     Miscellaneous activities

25.     Means of passage – Rights of Way

26.     Consumption of intoxicating liquor

27      Use of entrances and exits, and direction of travel

28.     Erection of structures and lighting of fires

29.     Supermarket trolleys

30.     Reserving a parking bay

31.     Suspension of parking places

32.     Use of car park or sections of for the purposes of temporary    meeting place






      SCHEDULE 3 – REVOCATIONS (Legal considering whether any revocations need to be included)



XXXXXXXXXXX([a]) makes the following Order in exercise of the powers conferred by Articles 10, 11, 13, 14 and 26(1) of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Growing Businesses and the Economy


Supporting Inclusive Economic Growth pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Economic Development submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to provide an update on Belfast City Council’s support to develop the social enterprise and cooperative sectors in the city and to outline plans to further enhance provision.


1.2       The report also provides an updated analysis of the impact of support provided through the Way to Scale initiative in 2018/19.  The update is in line with requests for further information following the Growing the Economy update report presented at the 7August 2019 City Growth and Regeneration Committee meeting.  This included a request for details on:


·        how the number of co-operatives in the city might be increased, taking into account the motion on Support for Small and Medium Enterprises which in 2016 had been passed by the Council and the success of the Preston Co-operative Initiative;

·        the mechanisms in place to ensure the integrity of the Crowdfunding process, together with the cost to the Council of using that platform; and

·        details of the initial analysis which had been undertaken around last year’s Way to Scale programme.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


                                            i.   note the Council’s work to date to provide support to the social enterprise and cooperative sectors; 


                                           ii.   consider and approve the allocation of £50,000 from the existing 2019/2020 Economic Development budget to support the delivery of the social enterprise action plan.  This funding was approved as part of the ‘Growing the Economy’ delivery plan that was agreed by this Committee on 6th March 2019. This budget will be used to support a Crowdfunder initiative where 10 participants on the new Social Enterprise and Cooperatives programme can gain financial backing through Crowdfunder campaigns; and


                                         iii.   agree to receive a presentation from Social Enterprise Northern Ireland and Cooperative Alternatives at a future Committee meeting; and


                                         iv.   note the initial analysis and impact of the support provided through the Way to Scale Initiative in 2018/19.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       At the Committee meeting on 7th August, members requested further information in relation to the Council’s support to encourage the development of the social enterprise and cooperative sectors in the city. 



3.2       Members will be aware that, as a result of the Local Government Reform programme, with effect from 1st April 2015, new powers were transferred from central government to local government in Northern Ireland.  This included the transfer of local economic development functions from Invest Northern Ireland.  As part of this transfer, activities such as enterprise awareness, start a business activity and social entrepreneurship became the responsibility of the council.  Since this transfer, council officers have been working to put in place a pipeline of support to encourage the growth and development of new businesses and social enterprises and cooperatives in Belfast.


3.3       The Department for the Economy defines social enterprises as ‘business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


City Centre Revitalisation Programme pdf icon PDF 270 KB


            The Director of Development submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to update members on the City Revitalisation programme that has been developed to support city centre animation and vitality and to seek approval to proceed with an engagement and consultation exercise focusing on Sundays in the City. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note the report and agree the proposed approach to moving forward with the research, engagement and consultation work on ‘Sundays in the City’, as set out in sections 3.6-3.10 below.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       Members will be aware that, following the fire at the Bank Buildings in August 2018, the Council as well as a range of public and private partner organisations invested in a programme of activities to support city centre development.  Following on from an initial response focusing on ‘City Centre Recovery’, the programme has now moved to focus on ‘City Centre Revitalisation’.  This reflects the need for a longer-term approach to investment, taking account of all the possible functions of the city centre.  It reflects a wider approach to city centre regeneration, including issues such as retail offer and mix, accessibility, cultural development, family spaces, residential investment and tourism development. 


3.2       Members will also be aware that the issue of Sunday trading hours and, in particular, the proposed designation of Belfast as a ‘holiday resort’ has been discussed by the Council on a number of occasions in the past.  The effect of this designation would provide large shops (above 280sqm in size) with an option to extend their Sunday trading hours on up to 18 Sundays (other than Easter Sunday) between 1 March and 30 September in any calendar year.  At present, all units below this size can operate without any trading restrictions (apart from relevant licensing restrictions etc.).


3.3       At the City Growth and Regeneration Committee meeting on 5 June 2019, as part of a discussion on the Revitalisation Programme, it was agreed that:


            ‘a report be submitted to a future meeting setting out the Terms of Reference to progress proposals for designating the city centre as a ‘Holiday Resort’, taking into account issues beyond opening hours and outlining the extent of the associated consultation process’. 


3.4       As noted above, the conversation with partner organisations now covers a range of issues associated with developing a mixed-use economy to support city centre viability and to encourage sustainability.  The City Revitalisation Programme is set within the context of a wider regeneration strategy and action plan for the city centre, based on the Belfast City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy.  The City Centre Regeneration Task Force (involving the Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretaries from relevant government departments, working alongside senior Council officers) aims to support a collaborative public sector response to drive and resource the city centre revitalisation efforts in the long-term.  The priority areas of focus emerging from the City Centre Joint  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Regenerating Places and Improving Infrastructure


Site Visit - Ulster University Belfast Campus pdf icon PDF 46 KB


            The Committee accepted an invitation from the Ulster University to visit its Belfast Campus on Tuesday, 5th November between 10.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon and agreed that all Members of the Council be invited. 



Update on Department for Communities Regeneration Guidance for Greater Clarendon and Sailortown pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 7th August, it had deferred consideration of the following report to enable a briefing to be held:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       This report provides an update on a suite of regeneration policy and guidance documents prepared by DfC for the Greater Clarendon and Sailortown area. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:


1.     note the content of a suite of regeneration policy and guidance documents prepared by DfC for the Greater Clarendon and Sailortown area, including:


                                                       (i)          the Greater Clarendon (Sailortown) Masterplan (2016)

                                                     (ii)          the Greater Clarendon (Sailortown) Delivery Framework (2018)

                                                   (iii)          Greater Clarendon and Sailortown Accessibility and Public Realm Design Guide (2019);


2.     endorse the proposed approach to regeneration proposals in this part of the city centre aligned to Belfast City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy (BCCRIS); and


3.     support further collaborative working and engagement with stakeholders and local communities to deliver the priority projects identified in the Greater Clarendon and Sailortown Accessibility and Public Realm Design Guide.


3.0       Main Report




3.1       Greater Clarendon (Sailortown) Masterplan (2016)


            The draft Greater Clarendon (Sailortown) Masterplan seeks to provide an overarching framework for the development of the area and was published by DfC in December 2016. The key projects identified in the Masterplan are broadly in line with the aspirations of the Belfast City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy (BCCRIS) including:


·        encouraging more people to live in the city centre;

·        improving the Dunbar Link;

·        the potential impact of a rail halt in this area in terms of encouraging use of public transport (a site is reserved for this purpose at Gamble Street);

·        encouraging activity and animation under the motorway flyovers; and

·        creating attractive squares and spaces.


3.2       Greater Clarendon (Sailortown) Delivery Framework (2018)


            The Masterplan committed DfC to bring forward the Greater Clarendon Masterplan Delivery Framework and its publication followed in 2018. The Framework has a strong focus on comprehensive development and prepares for the prospects offered upon completion of the York Street Interchange. It identified a number of projects under the overarching Masterplan that can come forward in a flexible way to make the most of market opportunities as they arise. As delivery will require a collective effort by a wide range of stakeholders, it was important to set out the key principles which would guide the preparation of the Delivery Framework and future implementation.


3.3       The Delivery Framework included a detailed site development tracker which was prepared as a tool to track progress and new information as it arises during the implementation stage. This may include changes in land ownership, new planning approvals or commencement of key development sites for example. It also highlighted areas where public sector intervention would have the greatest impact. This is set out in Sections 6/7 of the Delivery Framework and culminates in the Action Plan in Section 8. In order to maximise the contribution that all developments can make to the wider regeneration of the area, the Framework proposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Strategic and Operational Issues


Schedule of Presentations to Committee pdf icon PDF 148 KB


            The Committee approved the following schedule of presentations for the remainder of 2019 and agreed that the recent decision by Queen’s University’s School of Architecture to declare a climate emergency should feature in the discussions at the meeting on 4th December, to be attended by representatives of Queen’s University and the Ulster University:



Date of Meeting




9th October (Monthly Meeting)


Tourism NI - to consider collaborative opportunities



23rd October (Special Meeting)



Belfast Harbour Strategy


(To which the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee is invited)



6th November (Monthly Meeting)



Retail NI - to present its policy agenda ‘Regeneration NI, Creating 21st Century Town and City Centres’



27th November (Special Meeting)



NOW Group - to review the work of the social enterprise


Social Enterprise NI - to present as part of the Growing the Economy update report on the agenda



4th December (Monthly Meeting)





Queen’s University/Ulster University – to outline the role and issues impacting Higher Education in the City and Region




Finance, Procurement and Performance


Financial Reporting 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a report which set out the financial position of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee for the first quarter of 2019/20. The report confirmed that there had, during that period, been an underspend of £65,000 (1.2%), with a year-end overspend of £251,000 (1.5%) being forecast. The underspend could be attributed primarily to vacant posts across a number of services, which had been offset by lower than budgeted income and additional health and safety expenditure.


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.  



Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Translink Policy - Dogs on Buses


At the request of Councillor McAllister, who raised the issue in the absence of the Deputy Lord Mayor, (Councillor McReynolds), the Committee agreed that a letter be forwarded to Translink, recommending that it review and amend its policy governing the carriage of dogs on buses and trains, to allow for more dog owners to avail of public transport.