Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




            An apology was reported on behalf of Councillor Ferguson.





            The minutes of the meeting of the Committee of 12th 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, subject to the following amendments:


·        Under the heading “Blue and Green Infrastructure Funding”, the Council had agreed to engage with the Department for Infrastructure to investigate the replacement of Browns Bridge in Lagan Valley Regional Park, which was an unadopted asset, through the Blue/Green Infrastructure Funding, and in relation to unadopted alleyways across the City and the impact on residents, an external legal opinion was sought on how the adoption of alleyways might be actioned;

·        Under the heading “Artemis Technologies”, the Council had agreed that in relation to the presentation from Queen’s University, to write to Queen’s University to clarify if all staff would be in receipt of the Cost-of-living assistance payment outlined at the Special Committee, together with data on the number of international and local student admissions and the impact of funding cuts might have on future admissions.; and


·        Under the heading “Housing Led Regeneration Programme Update”, the Council had agreed an amendment which had been restricted due to commercial sensitivity, as outlined in the Council Decision Register.



Declarations of Interest


            In relation to item 5.a) Supporting Vibrant Business Destinations Update, Councillors Beattie, Duffy, McCabe and McLaughlin declared an interest in that they worked for or were associated with the West Belfast Partnership Board and left the room while this item was being considered. Councillor McCabe also declared an interest, under the same item, in that she was associated with Féile an Phobail.




Committee Schedule 2023 pdf icon PDF 147 KB


            The Committee approved the schedule of meetings for 2023 as follows:


·        Wednesday, 11th January at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 8th February at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 22nd February at 5.15 pm (Special);

·        Wednesday, 8th March at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 5th April at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 7th June at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 21st June at 5.15 pm (Special);

·        Wednesday, 9th August at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 23rd August at 5.15 pm (Special);

·        Wednesday, 13th September at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 11th October at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 25th October at 5.15 pm (Special);

·        Wednesday, 8th November at 5.15 pm;

·        Wednesday, 22nd November at 5.15 pm (Special); and

·        Wednesday, 6th December at 5.15 pm.





Department for Infrastructure - Spring & Autumn Report

Additional documents:


            The Chairperson introduced Mr. D. McFarlane, Eastern Divisional Roads Manager, Mr. M. McKendry, Belfast North Section Engineer, Mr. D. Williams, Belfast South Section Engineer, and Mr. C. McLaughlin, to the Committee and they were admitted to the meeting.


            Mr. McFarlane provided a brief overview of the 2022/23 Autumn Report on the work of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Roads across the Belfast City Council area which had been submitted in advance of the Committee for consideration. 


            He advised that the report contained details of works already completed across the Council area during the year 2022/23 as well as setting out initial proposals for schemes to be undertaken in the year 2022/23.


            He informed the Committee that, in the absence of an Executive, the Department of Finance (DoF) had provided the Department with contingency planning envelopes, for both Resource and Capital, to assist with making decisions on the allocation of resources until a budget was established. The planning envelope provided an allocation for capital structural maintenance activities in 2022/23, which included resurfacing.


            In relation to contracting resources, he advised that, following the legal challenges to the award of asphalt resurfacing contracts in 2021, regrettably the Belfast City Council area had been without a replacement resurfacing contract since November 2021. However, the Department had developed a new interim procurement strategy for resurfacing contracts and a new contract for the Belfast North area had recently been awarded. It was anticipated that a new contract for the Belfast South area would be awarded in early 2023. As a consequence, there would be a delay commencing the 2022/23 resurfacing programmes in the Belfast area.


            He pointed out that the Department was continuing with a Limited Service policy for routine maintenance activities such as defect repair and gully emptying, which allowed the Department to repair defects greater than 50mm on all roads, including low trafficked rural roads and on high trafficked roads, defects greater than 20mm would also be repaired. The Department would aim to cut all roadside verges and sightline grass at least twice between April and October with sightlines at bends and junctions being cut more frequently as required to ensure public safety was not compromised. He also advised that a full street lighting repair service would continue during 2022/23.


            He provided the Committee with updates on the main strategic transportation schemes for the city, together with an overview of the DfI Roads Programme of Works for 2022/23 for those projects and schemes that had been completed and were in progress, which included updates on minor works, maintenance of structures and inspections. He also summarised the updates to network traffic and street lighting, collision remedial schemes, traffic schemes and pedestrian measures and resident’s parking schemes.


            In advance of the meeting, the representatives had been provided with issues which the Committee had previously raised. Mr. McFarlane provided an update on the following matters:


            Junctions (improvement works, plans and progress)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


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 2 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.



Future City Centre Programme: Vacant to Vibrant


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development provided an update on the progress of the pilot capital grant scheme, ‘Vacant to Vibrant’, including the outcome of recent application submissions.


The Committee:


·        Noted the update in relation to the city centre Vacant to Vibrant pilot capital grant scheme and that regular updates would be submitted to the Committee for consideration;

·        Noted the update on the Business Cluster and Community Grant Scheme; and

·        Agreed to the recommended grant award as outlined within the report.



City Centre Revitalisation and Connectivity


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development updated the Committee on recent correspondence from the Departure of Infrastructure in relation to Road Closure Notices and informed the Committee of the outcomes and recommendations of the RSUA Open Belfast Design Competition.


            After discussion, the Committee:


·        Noted the updates within this report in relation to the Road Closure Orders in respective of Brunswick Steet, Union Steet and Castle Place; and

·        Noted the outcomes of the RSUA Open Belfast Design Competition and agreed that, at this stage, the proposal would not be brought forward to delivery due to the escalation in costs and the lack of funding.



Regenerating Places & Improving Infrastructure


Council Powers on Vesting


            The Committee deferred consideration of the item to allow the Committee more time to review the report.



Horizon Europe Urban Planning 2030 Proposal pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that various services across the Council, including the Climate Unit and City Regeneration and Development Division, were working together to ensure an integrated approach between urban planning, achieving net zero and aspects of resilience such as supporting play and environmental sustainability through engagement with key stakeholders, including young people, families, and businesses.


            In December 2020, Belfast had launched the Belfast Resilience Strategy alongside the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap and, with initiatives such as the Belfast One Million Trees programme, these formed key elements of the city’s ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality (80% reduction by 2030 and 100% by 2050). Officers had been working collaboratively to align play, climate neutrality, tree planting and green infrastructure by developing the award-winning Urban Childhood Framework and had tested these new approaches in the design and implementation of the Cathedral Gardens pop-up park and the new Grey to Green programme.


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development advised that, as a result of the Council’s membership in the Resilient Cities Network, it had been invited, at short notice, to participate in a Horizon Europe funding application from the UP2030 (Urban Planning 2030) fund. Horizon Europe was the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion, which looked to tackle climate change, help to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth and was focused on supporting cities achieve net zero.


            She explained that UP2030 aimed to guide cities through the socio-technical transitions required to meet their climate neutrality ambitions. It would do so by enabling a quantum leap from a ´business as usual´ project-by-project decarbonisation approach to a vision-driven, strategy-based approach that was anchored on sound projects and renewed policy development. The approach used urban planning and design as a vehicle to create better connected, more compact, net-zero neighbourhoods that promote liveability and, through designing with intent, promote mitigation actions.


            She confirmed that the Urban Planning 2030 consortium was made up of 46 partners with a total budget of €11,956,686. Belfast had been selected as one of the pilot cities, based primarily on the work via the Resilience Strategy and Bolder Vision, and had been nominated to receive €204,250 to support research, training and policy development related to the creation of a net zero district through: Enhanced tree planting, linking to the Resilience Strategy and Belfast One Million Trees; Green infrastructure, linking to the Bolder Vision and Council’s Grey to Green initiative in the city centre; and Play, linking to the Urban Childhood Framework, and Belfast’s membership of the Real Play Coalition (a global initiative led by the Lego Foundation, IKEA, ARUP, UNICEF and National Geographic).


            She reported that, through the UP2030 funding, the Council would seek to create a framework that would be applied to regeneration projects that integrated tree planting, green infrastructure, play and co-design with young people and supported the integration of play and environmental sustainability into city design. She highlighted that, to maintain alignment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Correspondence from the Office of the Minister for Infrastructure - Belfast Cycle Delivery Plan & Pedestrian Crossing pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee noted the correspondence which had been received from the office of the Minister of Infrastructure regarding the Belfast Cycle Delivery Plan and potential pedestrian crossing at the Ravenhill Road/Ardenlee Avenue Junction.



Proposed Public Realm Scheme at Little York St & Little Patrick Street pdf icon PDF 354 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            To provide an update on the Little York St Little Patrick Street Place Making Public Realm Design Work aligned to the Section 76 Developer Contributions secured in the area


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the emerging design proposals for a proposed Place Making Public Realm Scheme at Little York Street-Little Patrick Street and the Lancaster St entrance aligned to utilising the Section 76 Developer Contributions secured from the adjoining developments

·        Agree the approach of the design works as outlined within this paper, pending consultation with stakeholders including the local communities, development managers and statutory partners, in relation to the utilisation of the Section 76 Developer Contributions within this area for the Little York Little Patrick / Lancaster St scheme subject to due diligence through the Capital Programme and approval at SP&R


3.0       Main report




3.1       The CG&R Committee have received a number of reports relating to emerging projects to address the connectivity issues between the city centre and the local and new communities and development opportunities that sit on the northern side of the Dunbar Link. These projects include the Fredrick St Junction, and the North South Spine located at Tomb St.  Officers are currently engaging with Belfast Harbour Commissioners on the North South Spine in order to bring forward a jointly funded proposal to bring this scheme up to RIBA Stage 3.   An all-party delegation met with the Permanent Secretary for DfI and the University of Ulster on the 31st of October in relation to certain schemes coming forward in the University of Ulster area, and to address the time required to bring forward schemes, in particular now that the University Campus has opened and the pedestrian footfall levels have greatly increased within the area. DfI are to present their Autumn Report to this Committee meeting and have been asked to bring further detail on the emerging designs and timeframes for the schemes required to assist in the successful relocation of the University to the new City Centre Campus. Further reports on these schemes will also be brought to future meetings of this Committee.


3.2       The CG&R Committee agreed in September 2019 to the development of a place making public realm catalyst project within the University Quarter of the Greater Clarendon and Sailortown area in order to utilise secured Section 76 Developer Contributions from a number of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBMSA) Blocks within the Little York Street / Little Patrick Street area. The completed PBMSA developments within this small area are now operational and demand is exceeding supply.  In total, the Little York Street Little Patrick St developments will be home to some 4,000 students within a very hard landscaped area on the fringe of the city centre with little local amenities.  They are also located adjacent to existing communities in the Lancaster St area. A further report to CG&R Committee in October  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Growing Business & the Economy


Supporting Vibrant Business Destinations: Update pdf icon PDF 352 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was provided with an update on the work to support local commercial districts through the Supporting Vibrant Business Destinations programme. This programme aimed to work with business/traders associations to develop and deliver interventions that could drive footfall and create vibrancy in those areas.


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 9th February, Members were provided with an overview and update of the approach to supporting local business associations to develop and deliver interventions to drive footfall and create vibrancy in those areas.


            The Director of Economic Development advised that the overarching purpose of the pilot initiative was to strengthen the competitiveness of our local business destinations, focusing on actions which aimed to:


      Support the development of shared and safely accessible commercial areas;

      Support the diversification of business destinations outside of the city centre;

      Bring together key stakeholders to benefit business destinations outside of the city centre; and

      Improve the quality of urban design, distinctiveness, and townscape quality.


            He informed the Committee that, following feedback from a range of businesses and traders associations across the city and through engagement with the Department for Communities (DfC), an opportunity had been identified to secure resources through the DfC Revitalisation programme. Vibrant Business Destinations was identified as a pilot programme and was in keeping with the work which had been undertaken by the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) to develop a “Living High Street Toolkit”. He confirmed that the Council had successfully secured funding of £475,000 from the DfC, which would be supplemented by a contribution from the Council’s resources to enable the delivery of advice and support to assist businesses to access the scheme. The scheme was intended to complement a wider programme of support and activity that was taking place within the city centre, including the targeted interventions to address vacancies and previous business support interventions through the Covid Revitalisation Programme.


            He reported that the pilot initiative aimed to support up to 10 business associations to a maximum of £40,000 each, for expenditure on a range of eligible activities, and the objectives were to:


·        Increase engagement and partnership working between statutory partners and local business associations;

·        Support the development of area-based actions plans which addressed specific local concerns and deliver specific, measurable benefits over the short/medium and long term;

·        Increase footfall and sales as a direct result of marketing and promotional activity; generating new customers or sustaining customer loyalty through increasing sales revenue, increasing the number of new customers or developing repeat business;

·        Enhance the profile of the area with a view to stimulating economic activity;

·        Support the growth and development of businesses engaged in associated activity; and

·        Support the sustainability of businesses and local business associations.


He highlighted that the initiative had a two-stage application process. Stage one involved the completion of an Expression of Interest (EoI) by 31st May, 2023. The basic eligibility criteria included the following:


        Groups or established associations must be led by the business community (including  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Positioning Belfast to Compete


Christmas Programme 2022 pdf icon PDF 726 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1       The purpose of this report is to provide Members with a summary of the Christmas programme proposed in November / December 2022.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to:


-       Note the contents of this report and that further information on the socio-economic impact of Christmas activity will be presented in due course (post event).


3.0       Main report


3.1       On an annual basis, the Council’s Culture and Events Units delivers a series of large-scale public events, which are free to access by both citizens and visitors to the city, on behalf of Belfast City Council. This is further supported by the activity of other teams who support a number of annual programmes and activities and the Markets Unit who manage the delivery of the Christmas Market at City Hall in addition to year-round activity at St George’s and Smithfield markets.


3.2       Members will recall that in 2021, officers adopted a different approach to the Christmas 2021 programme which replaced the traditional switch - on ceremony. In the context of Covid, the challenge for officers was to design a programme that continued to be cognisant of safety considerations and have the ability to respond to a changing environment whilst meeting the needs of city stakeholders including those businesses impacted by the pandemic. The cessation of the traditional Christmas Light Switch was also in response to safety concerns regarding crowd control raised by colleagues in our Corporate Health and Safety Unit. In addition, feedback from city centre traders on the traditional light switch was not entirely positive, with many highlighting traffic, parking congestion and the event itself acting as a barrier to normal trading at a crucial time of year.


3.3       As well as responding to the pandemic the Christmas programme also aimed to meet the development objectives set out in the ten-year Cultural Strategy, including long-term recommendations for events in the city including better strategic alignment across the Council in the design and, delivery of these event-based programmes and above all ensuring the activities were authentic and utilising our local supply chain.


3.4       Cultural animation and creative interventions were identified as fundamental in welcoming people back into the city and played a significant role in creating an authentic and open environment at Christmas. 


3.5       As a consequence, in 2021, the Christmas programme consisted of a combination of creative initiatives such as street performance, projections, music, window dressing and lighting installations all inspired by the theme ‘Once Upon a Time in Belfast’, utilising local artists, creatives and designers to create an authentic and engaging experience for all throughout the festive season. 


3.6       The weekend event proved to be successful. Despite concerns over moving away from the traditional switch on format, the new approach offered increased value for money and audience satisfaction in an environment that was designed to prioritise public safety.


3.7       Estimated audiences over the 2 evenings (20 & 21 November) was 15,000, with the event primarily taking place in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Music Strategy pdf icon PDF 553 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report and associated appendix:


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1       At a meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in March 2022, it was agreed that the draft Music Strategy would complete a 12-week public consultation. The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an overview of feedback and present the final strategy for approval.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-       Note the contents of this report and feedback received as part of the public consultation.

-       Agree the final music strategy, ‘Music Matters: A Roadmap for Belfast’ including the priorities


3.0       Main report


            Members will be aware that at a meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in March 2022, it was agreed that the draft Music Strategy would complete a 12-week public consultation.   


3.1       Becoming a UNESCO City of Music


            As members will be aware, Belfast submitted an application in June 2021 and was officially awarded the title of UNESCO City of Music on 8 November 2021, bestowing upon the City the international recognition that music is part of our identity – past, current, and future. We became only the third city in the UK to be awarded the status, with Liverpool receiving it in 2016 and Glasgow in 2008, and we are the first city on the island of Ireland to be granted the prestigious accolade.


            Development of the Draft Music Strategy  


            The development of a new music strategy is aimed at supporting the ambitions submitted in Belfast’s UNESCO application, delivering a more joined-up and visible music offer whilst also increasing opportunities for production and civic engagement in music across the city on a permanent basis.


            In 2020, Council contracted Sound Diplomacy to develop an analysis of the Belfast music ecosystem; exploring how best to support its evolution and recovery from COVID-19, and its application to become a UNESCO City of Music.  Following this, The Fourth Pillar, Morgan Young Consulting and Score Draw Music worked with Council to develop Sound Diplomacy’s research into a roadmap for music and the associated strategic recommendations.  This included:


-       27 City of Music Steering Group meetings with 20 members representing various genres & city stakeholders such as Tourism NI, BBC, British Council and Arts Council NI.

-       An online survey on music (both for audiences and sector workers) 1500+ responses

-       45 one to one meetings with music and city stakeholders representing a variety of expertise

-       6 round table workshops about music recovery for artists and music sector workers


3.2       Music Strategy – strategic themes and priorities


            We want to reshape music in Belfast, so it is characterised by quality, sustainable projects, and accompanied by long-term strategic investment. This strategy constitutes a response to the challenges, concerns and, indeed, opportunities that exist and is intended to take a foundational approach – one which will deliver the fundamental needs of individuals working in or engaging with music and one which has identified the shortfalls in the local music ecosystem and sought to eliminate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


2024 Programme Update pdf icon PDF 411 KB


            The Committee considered the following report, together with a presentation which outlined the Strategic Case for Belfast 2024.


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1             The purpose of this report is to set out:


-       Strategic case, concept and creative developments for Belfast 2024 – our ambitious year of cultural and creative celebration for Belfast including updates on brand and programme development and civic engagement approach.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


            Note the content of this report and the summary of the strategic case and developments for delivery for Belfast 2024, and current approach and budget allocation for delivering St Patrick’s Day for 2023.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Belfast 2024


            Belfast 2024 is a year-long celebration of home-grown culture featuring new and exciting events, theatre, music, and art developed through new co-design and partnership models with the city stakeholders, the creative sector and the citizens of Belfast. The year delivers on the aims of the City Council’s Cultural and Tourism strategies, Belfast Agenda, Bolder Vision and City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy. All founded in a belief and a commitment from Council that culture, sustainability, collaboration, partnership and people should be at the heart of the city’s Development to:


-       Work towards Belfast becoming a more ‘attractive’ place to live and work

-       Addressing city dereliction, by increasing vibrancy and civic pride

-       Recognise the Climate Crisis, develop awareness & change cultural behaviours

-       Re-activate Belfast’s Tourism Sector and develop our Cultural Tourism offer

-       Deliver a distinct portfolio of city events connected to citizens and attracting international visitors promoting Belfast as a world-class cultural destination


3.2       Strategic Case for Belfast 2024


            The Belfast Agenda provides a long-term framework for how community planning partners will work collaboratively to deliver an ambitious and inclusive vision that will create a better quality of life for all citizens in Belfast. Catalysed by the European Capital of Culture Bid development in 2017, which involved the largest and most significant public engagement programme Council has undertaken to date, Council has been undergoing significant strategic development in Culture & Tourism. The results of which are 3 new strategies for the city – A City Imagining Cultural Strategy, Make Yourself at Home Tourism Plan and Music Matters Roadmap - putting creativity, and the people of this city, at the heart of Belfast’s development and growth opportunities.


            A City Imagining launched in April 2020, has been developed with the people of Belfast and places culture and creativity at the heart of civic development. Outward-looking, forward-facing, innovative and inclusive, the strategy is supported by an Investment Model and an Implementation Plan that proposes a new partnership approach to funding and actions, and aims to:


-       Support the cultural life of the city by enabling our people to be active, dynamic

-       and creative agents of change

-       Invest in our cultural and creative sectors to develop the skills and capacity for

-       production and innovation

-       Position Belfast as an international testing ground for new approaches to cultural

-  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Cultural Mapping for Culture, Arts & Heritage pdf icon PDF 431 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, as a key action of Belfast’s ten-year cultural strategy, A City Imagining, the Culture Unit, in partnership and the Department for Communities, had jointly commissioned a report on Belfast’s cultural infrastructure.  The aim of this report was to analyse what physical space was available for residents to experience culture, and to examine current physical resource allocation for the cultural sector across the city. 


            The Director of Economic Development advised that the overall cultural mapping project was key to the delivery of the city’s cultural strategy and the city’s community plan (the Belfast Agenda). He described the significance of the research, and the requirement for a whole city approach in terms of a critical analysis of physical resources for cultural activity, identifying gaps and models of good practice – starting with a study of the physical resources for culture. He pointed out that the Culture Team were committed to delivering a cultural mapping of the city within A City Imagining implementation plan 2020-2023. 


            He explained that the Cultural Mapping project addressed the existing and future needs of Belfast’s cultural and creative industries sector by ensuring that policy was informed by up to date and accurate data whilst also providing a valuable resource for the public to increase engagement and participation.   Furthermore, this data had the potential to be utilised by residents, visitors, artists, cultural and creative organisations, funders and planners.  This Cultural Mapping Report was Phase One of a major cultural mapping project which included the following phases:


·        Phase One - A review and analysis of Belfast’s hard cultural infrastructure;

·        Phase Two – Study and Scoping of the soft infrastructure, identifying cultural resources, networks links and patterns of cultural practice. Research with partners and community networks, wide-reaching public engagement and cluster engagement, crowdsourcing ideas; and

·        Phase Three – An interactive digital cultural map product that would allow residents to browse the city’s cultural offerings. This would be similar in concept to Dublin’s ‘culture near you’ project.


            The Cultural Mapping report (copy available here ) provided strategic recommendations for improving Belfast’s creative provisions in the short and long term and could be seen as a tool that could inform broader plans for the city alongside other areas, including, but not limited to, regeneration, heritage, and economic development.


            He outlined the recommendations within the Cultural Mapping Report as follows:


·        A key recommendation in this phase one report focused on addressing the shortage of affordable artist studio space in Belfast.  Members would be aware that, at a meeting of City Growth and Regeneration Committee in February 2022, it had been agreed to open a new funding scheme for artist led organisations to provide financial and development support for this sector.  As part of this support, members also agreed a strategic review of artist studios and maker-spaces in Belfast which would identify examples of best practice and potential solutions to this issue.  This research would be conducted over the coming months, with a number of long-term recommendations presented to Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Department for Communities' Access and Inclusion Programme 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 410 KB


            It was reported that The Department for Communities was inviting local Councils to administer the Access and Inclusion Programme 2022-23 within their respective local Council areas and to submit an application for funding to the Department by 17th November, 2022. The Department had formally launched the programme as a competitive process on 20th October 2022, which advised that a total fund of £624,000 was available for this programme.


The Department for Communities’ Access and Inclusion Programme aimed to:


·        Improve access to arts, culture and active recreation venues across NI for people with disabilities;

·        Make arts, cultural and active recreation venues more inclusive across society; and

·        Increase participation in arts, culture and active recreation activities by people with disabilities.


            The Committee was informed that the Council oversaw the assessment and recommendation of projects via a competitive open call internally and externally and was responsible for the delivery of all projects in receipt of funding.


            The Culture Development Unit (previously Tourism, Culture Heritage and Arts Unit) had managed the 2018/19 and 2019/20 Access and Inclusion Programme within Belfast and had received support for 24 projects with total value of £412,554, of which five were Council projects. In 2020/21, they had administered 11 Access and Inclusion grants with a total value of £185,443 and 9 Programme grants in 2021/22 with a total value of £143,667. Examples of projects supported included improved access to the City Hall and the Tropical Ravine; easier access for audience and participants to not for profit cultural venues across the city; installation of new specialised playground facilities and changing spaces; and provision of equipment to provide immersive theatrical experiences for children with complex needs.


            Capital works and equipment costs were eligible under this programme. The maximum grant was £30,000 and applicants were required to contribute at least 10% of the total project costs. To receive a £30,000 grant, therefore, applicants must provide a contribution of at least £3,000.


            This year, the Department for Communities was particularly keen to welcome applications for Changing Places facilities, accessible equipment for play parks and projects that would impact positively on sustainability and climate change. Projects must complete on or before 31st March, 2023. The Department for Communities had advised that no extensions would be considered to the project completion date.


            The Committee granted permission for Council to apply for, promote, assess and manage the Access and Inclusion Programme 2022-23.



Market License Application pdf icon PDF 166 KB


            The Committee was advised that the following Market License Applications had been submitted:


       Vault Art Studios, 4 – 84 Tower Street Belfast - to host a two-day Christmas Marketon Saturday 3rd December and Sunday, 4thDecember, 11am – 17:00pm; and

       Fine and at Dandy Market - a monthly variety market beginning in February/ March 2023, in either Elmwood Hall or the Titanic Hotel depending on availability. proposing to trade on the first Sunday of every month from 1-5pm.


            In line with the overall Belfast City Council Markets Development Strategy, these two proposed events would help to enhance these two areas of the city and, in doing so, drive footfall into the areas.


            The Committee:


·        Agreed to grant the licence to Vault Art Studios for a one-off Christmas Market; and.

·        Agreed to grant a licence to Kellie Mairs (Fine and Dandy market) for the running of a monthly market in Elmwood Studios / Titanic Hotel.



Strategic & Operational Issues


Belfast Zoo - Fun Run Event Request pdf icon PDF 162 KB


            It was reported that a request had been received from Monkstown Spartans Athletics Club to hold a ‘Zoo Challenge 5k fun run’ in the grounds of Belfast Zoo. The organiser were flexible with dates, and the zoo proposed that this should be held in the off-peak season (September 2023). The organiser intended to use the entire zoo site (public areas) and car park, with an anticipated number of participants of 250 to 500 maximum to be permitted.


            The organiser intended to charge a registration fee to participants of £18 per person with a portion of the fee contributed to Belfast Zoo. The organiser also intended to donate a portion of the registration fee to their selected charity. The event would not impact on normal zoo opening hours, with set-up, run, and dismantle taking place prior to normal opening at 10.00am.


            The Committee was informed that the organiser had submitted all relevant documentation, including public liability insurance, risk assessment and event management plan and the Council’s Corporate Health and Safety Unit had confirmed suitability of the event to take place, as per the risk assessment and event management plan supplied.


The Committee approved the fun run event at Belfast Zoo.