Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




            No apologies were recorded.





The Chairperson welcomed Councillor Róis-Máire Donnelly to her first meeting of the Committee.




            The minutes of the meeting of 8th and 22nd November were taken as read and signed as correct. 


            It was reported that the minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st November, subject to the following amendments:


Tree Strategy


            The Council agreed to engage with DFI seeking it to include the installation of tree pits as road chicanes in residential areas to increase overall tree coverage, slow the speed of traffic, promote road safety, and support the development of active travel.


Enforcement Action within Smoke Control Areas


            The Council agreed that the minute be amended to reflect that it had been agreed that a report would be submitted to a future meeting which would contain detail regarding the data within smokeless zones and include enforcement action detail that had been taken around bonfires, including information regarding the regulation and management of bonfires.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillor Verner declared an interest in agenda item 4 (a) – Social Supermarket Funding – Update as she was employed the Greater Shankill Partnership who was a Strategic Partner, she left the meeting whilst the item was being discussed. 





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following seven items is 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 on the following 7 items as, due to their nature, 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.



Pitch Partner Agreement - Alderman Tommy Patton Memorial Park


The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 9th August, concern had been expressed regarding the Council’s governance arrangements at the Alderman Tommy Patton Memorial Park with East Belfast Football Club (EBFC).


            The Director advised that the current governance arrangements stated that the Council was required to obtain a list of trustees, office-bearers and individuals requiring safeguarding checks, this process was consistent with all clubs. The Director confirmed that the necessary checks had been undertaken on two separate occasions and he could report that the EBFC had been compliant with the Council’s requirements.


                 The Interim City Solicitor/Director of Legal and Civic Services responded to a number of queries from a Member and also confirmed that the Club was compliant with the Council’s requirements.


            The Member expressed concern in relation to the Council’s current policies around governance and he asked that his concerns be recorded in terms of the current Partnership arrangement with EBFC and the Council.


            The Committee noted that EBFC was compliant with the Council’s monitoring requirements in respect of the Partner Agreement.



Proposed structural review for the Crematorium and a proposal to increase the fees and charges

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report which detailed proposed structural changes to the staffing at the City of Belfast Crematorium, along two options seeking to increase Bereavement fees and charges to offset the costs.


            The Director of City Services advised that, since the last structural review in 2011, there had been a 40% increase in the number of burials, she added that the City of Belfast Crematorium was the third busiest out of a total of 314 crematoria in the UK and was also the cheapest for cremations. She detailed that the proposed charge increases were necessary to fund the required structural changes to ensure that this critical regional service continued.


            A number of Members spoke in support of the need for a staffing review and reiterated the critical nature of the service and also commended the valuable and often difficult role of the staff at the crematorium.


            Following discussion, the Committee agreed to defer the matter to enable the Director of City Services to liaise with the Director of Finance to re-examine the figures, including the non residents’ allowance and that a report would, if possible, be submitted to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee to enable any uplift to be considered as part of the overall rate setting process.



Financial Reporting - Quarter 2 2022/23

Additional documents:


            The Committee noted the contents of a report which summarised the Quarter 2financial position for the People and Communities Committee, including a forecast of the year end outturn.  It noted that the Quarter 2 position showed an under spend of £3.01m (6.8%), with the forecast year end position being an underspend of £1.3m (1.6%), which was well within the acceptable variance limit of 3%.


            The Members were advised that the main reasons for the quarter 2 Committee under-spend related to vacant posts across a number of services, the receipt of additional income and the timing of grants and programmes.


            The Members were reminded that, as discussed at the November meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, these were indicative figures and the recent unbudgeted pressures had not been factored into the departmental forecast which was likely to significantly impact this position. 


            The Members noted that any further underspends that arose throughout the year would firstly be used to offset the forecasted deficit.


            The Committee noted the financial update.



GLL Annual Schedule of Charges proposal for 2023/24

Additional documents:


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services provided the Committee with an update on the proposed GLL pricing structure for the period 2023-24.


            Following a query, both the Director and Interim City Solicitor/Director of Legal and Civic Services advised that the proposed CPI/RPI price increases were a contractual entitlement and, as such, the Committee could articulate a view on the proposed price increases but did not have the authority to challenge the pricing review proposal.


            During discussion a Member sought clarity in respect of the delivery of the social value element of the contract and whether it was equitable across the city. 


            The Director advised that an officer would liaise with the Member directly to provide more information on how social value element was delivered throughout the city.


            Following discussion, the Committee:


·        noted the proposed schedule of charges for 2023/24;

·        noted the rationale presented in support of the proposed price revisions but noted its disappointment and the increase; and

·        agreed that a report would be submitted to a future meeting which would give consideration as to when the contract with GLL could be reviewed, if the contract could be broken and consider whether any management fees could be introduced which would help to offset the price increases.



Late night hot food premises opening hours on Ormeau Road


The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised the Members of ongoing complaints from residents attached to late night opening of hot food premises on the lower Ormeau Road and detailed that a request had been received from the Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group (LORAG) seeking permission for a delegation of residents to attend the January meeting of People and Communities Committee to highlight the impact of late-night opening on the local neighbourhood.


            The Director detailed that Local residents had been liaising with officers in relation to this issue and had asked the Council to consider using its powers under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1985 to make a closure order to prevent residents in the neighbourhood of the premises being unreasonably disturbed either by persons resorting to the premises or by the use of the premises for the supply of meals or refreshments.  It was noted that a closure order could only be made between the hours of midnight and 5am.


            The Director confirmed that officers had written to the businesses concerned but the complaints had persisted.



            The Committee:


·        agreed to the attendance of a deputation of residents from Lower Ormeau Residents Action Group to attend the January meeting of Committee to highlight the impact of late-night opening on the local neighbourhood; and

·        agreed that a report would be submitted to the January meeting in relation to making a closure order in respect of any premises which was causing unreasonable disturbance to residents.



Installation of Gates at Crescent Park

Additional documents:


The Committee agreed to defer the report to enable deputations from both objectors and supporters to be heard at the January meeting of Committee.



Capacity and Revenue Funding 2023/26

Additional documents:


            The Committee agreed to defer the report for consideration at Party Group Briefings and agreed that, in the interim, officers would liaise with DfC to establish if any additional funding was available.



Matters referred back from the Council/Motions


Notice of Motion - Belfast Cycle Network pdf icon PDF 226 KB


The Committee was advised that the Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 24th November, had referred the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Hanvey and seconded by Councillor Nelson, to the People and Communities Committee for consideration:


That this Council, along with the PSNI and Department for Infrastructure, should develop a long-term, comprehensive strategy to ensure that the Belfast cycle network is kept clean and free from obstructions, such as parked cars and commercial bins.”


            Councillor Maghie, on behalf of the proposer and seconder who were both unable to attend the meeting, addressed the Committee and provided an overview of the motion.


            The Committee adopted the motion and agreed that a report on how this would be facilitated, resourced and managed would be submitted to a future meeting.



Notice of Motion - Corey Jack Aughey Memorial Park pdf icon PDF 226 KB


The Committee was advised that the Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 24th November, had referred the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Pankhurst and seconded by Councillor McCullough, to the People and Communities Committee for consideration:


This Council notes with deep sadness the passing of Corey Aughey on holiday in June 2022. We also note that Corey was a well-known and loving character within the Glenbryn area of North Belfast. As such, this Council will move to rename “Glenbryn Playpark” as the “Corey Jack Aughey Memorial Park” as a fitting tribute in his memory. The Council will also agree to install a memory bench in his name within the park.”


            Councillor Verner, on behalf of the proposer and seconder who were both unable to attend the meeting, addressed the Committee and provided an overview of the motion.


            The Committee adopted the motion and agreed that a report on how this would be facilitated, resourced and managed would be submitted to a future meeting and noted that the motion would take due consideration of the Council’s Park Naming Policy.



Notice of Motion - Inclusive Leisure Services pdf icon PDF 246 KB


The Committee was advised that the Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 24th November, had referred the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Michael Collins and seconded by Councillor Ferguson, to the People and Communities Committee for consideration:


This Council recognises the shortage of services available for people with disabilities. The Council will seek to engage with BETTER to expand and promote inclusive services within our leisure centres to ensure an accessible and welcoming environment for everyone.


The Council will seek the input of service users, engage with autism support networks, BETTER and Disability Sport NI to bring inclusion and community to our leisure centres by improving accessibility for people with autism and other disabilities in a number of key areas including:


·        Belfast’s 12 leisure centre to promote inclusive sessions for people with disabilities as is the case with Lagan Valley Complex and Dundonald Ice Bowl in Lisburn  


·        These sessions should include but not be limited to swimming pools, and should be at an accessible hour for children and parents to make best use of them


·        The Council will work with BETTER to ascertain which other services: such as trampolining, Inflatable Park facilities and any other leisure facilities which may be included in these inclusive sessions


·        The Council will strive to ensure all amenities inside leisure centres are fully inclusive for people with disabilities. This includes improving advertising and continuing to promote the use of WAP cards, as well as ensuring staff are adequately trained to support children, families and carers to provide fully inclusive services to people with autism and other abilities


·        The Council will continue its pioneering work with Swimming Buddies in Brooke Leisure Centre and explore ways to expand this across all 12 leisure centres in Belfast, to ensure the life skill of swimming lessons are readily accessible for children at a local level offering a supportive space for families and provided in an inclusive manner


·        The Council will engage with BETTER to explore the permanent installation of a Sensory Room in one or more of our leisure centres in Belfast


·        The Council will strive to better promote and advertise inclusive services in our leisure centres across all of our social media platforms and publications with the overall aim of being leaders in the area of inclusive leisure services.”


            The proposer of the motion, Councillor Michael Collins, addressed the Committee and provided an overview of the motion, during which he requested that a deputation from Swimming Buddies be invited to a future meeting to hear more about its inventive work at the Brooke Leisure Centre.


            A number of Members spoke in support of the Motion and reiterated the need to ensure that the Council’s leisure and park facilities were accessible and inclusive to all.  


            During discussion a Member stated that she felt that the a Children’s Champion role within the Council should be considered, this would be a role that would specifically advocate and champion the needs of all young people  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Notice of Motion - Imagination Library pdf icon PDF 243 KB


The Committee was advised that the Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 24th November, had referred the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor de Faoite and seconded by Councillor Howard, to the People and Communities Committee for consideration:


“Belfast City Council:


·        Acknowledges that the majority of physical brain development occurs in the first three years of life, when children form over 1 million new neural connections per second;


·        Recognises the benefits of reading, and reading aloud, to young children which can promote the development of basic literacy and vocabulary skills, establish strong inter-personal relationships between children and parents/guardians, as well as improving longer term educational, health, social and economic outcomes;


·        Is concerned about the rising cost of living which will limit the ability of families to pay for essential educational resources like books for young children;


·        Agrees to investigate and establish a pilot of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in the City to provide a new book each month for children aged 0-5, working with any interested partners to secure the success and sustainable funding of the scheme.”


            The proposer of the motion, Councillor de Faoite, addressed the Committee and provided an overview of the motion.


            The Committee adopted the motion and agreed that a report on how this would be facilitated, resourced and managed would be submitted to a future meeting.



Committee/Strategic Issues


Social Supermarket Funding - Update pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:


            (Ms. K. Gilliland, Neighbourhood Services Manager, and Mrs. M. Higgins, Lead Officer – Community Provision, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       Following P&C and Council approval in August/September 2022 to take forward the design and delivery of the Social Supermarket Fund (DfC allocation) in-year, officers have spent the intervening months liaising with area-based Strategic and Thematic partners to identify and then liaise with potential delivery partners, assessing capacity to deliver and to what level of resource and to seek their views on how the additional funding could best be used within their service delivery models whilst ensuring that the high level social supermarket principles set by DfC are met.


            The paper outlines officer recommendations following these meetings/ discussions and seeks member agreement for the proposed approach outlined for 22/23 allocation and delivery.


2.0       Recommendations



2.1       The Committee is asked to


·        Note the outcomes of engagement and co-design processes undertaken with strategic and thematic partners in support of implementing the Social Supermarket Fund (SSF) 2022-23.

·        Note and agree the allocations to nominated area-based delivery partners (as detailed in Appendix 1, available on following discussions with Strategic Partners.

·        Note and agree the allocations to nominated city centre and thematic-based delivery partners (as detailed in Appendix 1, available on following discussions with Thematic Partners.

·        Grant delegated authority to the Director of Neighbourhood Services to enhance awards to delivery partners in-year (dependent on budget and capacity) in order to ensure in-year spend.


3.0       Main report





            Social Supermarket Fund


3.1       In September Council approved acceptance of £228,342.42 for delivery of a social supermarket fund (SSF) for 22/23 in the Belfast area. The social supermarket model aims to offer a sustainable response to food insecurity by seeking to help address the root causes of poverty rather than simply provide food. This is achieved through the provision of a referral network for wraparound support.


3.2       The objective of administering this fund is to support the co - design of a social supermarket model in Belfast council area and in-year implementation of same. The Department for Communities have stated that they will also consider requests to support projects that meet the high-level social supermarket principles to enable actions to address food insecurity to be delivered in 2022/23.


3.3       Members gave approval for officers to engage with existing Strategic and Thematic Partners to agree participating partners ensuring coverage for all areas. It was agreed that 60% of the overall allocation (£137,005) was to be made to area partners based on population and deprivation figures. A summary of the area allocations (as detailed at Appendix 1, available on


3.4       The overall aim of the co-design process has been to support delivery by organisations who have the capacity to deliver a social supermarket model through enhancement of their existing service provision. In a small number of cases, for example where the area/partner financial allocation is relatively low, partners have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Stadia Community Benefits Initiative 2022-2023 Quarter 2 Update pdf icon PDF 257 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To advise Committee of progress with the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative (SCBI)  for 2022/2023 and update on the action plan.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to: 


            Note progress to date


3.0       Main report


3.1       The Council has been undertaking the Leisure Transformation Programme to renew its Leisure facilities across the City. This Programme has been influenced by the Partnership opportunities presented by the NI Executive Stadia Programme.


3.2       The Council, Department for Communities (DfC) and the Irish Football Association (IFA) have recognised the opportunities presented by the Stadia Programme, have committed to work together to maximise these benefits, and have agreed to establish a Stadium Community Benefits Initiative as part of the Belfast Community Benefits Initiative (‘the Project’) to implement and deliver agreed objectives including promoting equality, tackling poverty, and tackling social exclusion within the Belfast area.


3.3       In March 2016 the Council, DfC and IFA signed an agreement which sets out their respective commitments to the project. As other major stadia are developed in Belfast it is anticipated that other sports governing bodies shall become parties to the agreement. At its April 2018 meeting People and Communities committee agreed that Council would work with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) within the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative and recognised their significant planned investment in Gaelic Games in the city to support their Gaelfast strategy. GAA activities became fully incorporated into the action plan at the start of financial year 2019-2020, with Gaelfast staff imbedded into the governance structure at the Delivery Board and the Policy and Performance Group.


3.4       The agreement is for a period of ten years with financial commitment from Council and IFA in place to the end of March 2026. Delivery is managed through monthly meetings of the Delivery Board, which reports quarterly to the Policy and Performance Board. Financial and performance reports will be presented to Council and other partners’ Boards as necessary.


3.5       The Policy & Performance Group is responsible for agreeing the Benefits Realisation Plan and associated annual targets. Work was undertaken to ensure the end benefits/outcomes are aligned to partners’ strategies. To measure the progress of this the Council and the IFA have developed a range of indicators/intermediate benefits which are monitored through programme delivery:


a.     Number of coaching sessions provided

b.     Number of coaches engaged in delivering coaching

c.     Number of sessions improving club governance

d.     Number of volunteering opportunities

e.     Participation opportunities for under 16s

f.       Female participation rates

g.     Number of people completing skills development programme

h.     Number of sessions for under-represented groups

i.       Number of sessions for school and youth groups

j.       Community group usage of stadia

k.     Number of clubs attaining club-mark

l.       Educational opportunities

m.   Number of programmes targeting ASB

n.     Improved collaborative working

o.     Number of disabled participants

p.     Number of older people participating


3.6       The policy and performance group held their meeting on Friday 4 November to review performance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Belfast Boxing Strategy 2022-2023 Quarter 2 Update pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Committee that the Council had previously agreed to provide £200,000 in funding to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association Ulster Branch (IABA) in the current financial year for delivery of an agreed action plan which supported the Belfast Boxing Strategy and he then provided an update on the progress in relation to the agreement up to the end of September 2022.


            He explained that, in line with the Council’s objectives, the Belfast Boxing Strategy Steering Group had met quarterly.  The Steering Group was chaired by the Director of Neighbourhood Services and attended by Council officers, IABA officers and officials and Co. Antrim officials.


            The Committee was reminded that the Council had previously agreed a total of 37 Indicators with the IABA to monitor delivery of the programmes.  The Director reported that the IABA had been compliant with all the reporting matters. 


            The Members were reminded that the IABA had developed the action plan relating to 2022 2023.  This plan had been approved by Committee at meeting on 8th March 2022


            Following a query from a Member, the Director confirmed that the Boxing Strategy was being considered within the context of the development of the new Belfast Physical Activity and Sport Development Strategy for the city.  





Belfast City Youth Council Update pdf icon PDF 247 KB


The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that, at its September meeting, it had agreed to postpone the special committee meeting with Belfast City Youth Council (BCYC) from October until 20th December, 2022.


            He updated that the current cohort of BCYC had not had the opportunity to meet consistently and identify their priorities for the incoming term. Furthermore, the new Children and Young People’s Co-ordinator had not commenced his employment with the Council until the beginning of November. Since then, he had been engaging with the Youth Council membership, but they were currently not in a position to take part in the special Committee meeting in December.


            As the next scheduled meeting between the BCYC was not until June, it was suggested that, if possible, officers would arrange a special committee meeting in late February/early March and also arrange a meeting with the Youth Champions of each party and the Youth Council in the interim. This would enable the new co-ordinator more time to rebuild relationships with the membership of the BCYC and support them to actively participate in the rearranged meeting.


            The Committee approved the recommended approach to engagement with Elected Members and the BCYC in the coming months and agreed that the next scheduled special meeting of People and Communities committee with the Youth Council be postponed until late February/March 2023.  



Leisure Contract Compliance and Performance Reporting Schedule 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       To present proposals for reporting on performance and contract compliance in relation to GLL and the leisure management contract.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to consider:


·        The proposed contract compliance and performance report schedules presented below at 3.5, 3.6 and in Appendices 1 and 2.

·        To consider the recommendation that GLL only attend committee meetings as required to present or be available to respond to queries in relation to specific reports or topics.


3.0       Main report




3.1       In November 2020 SP&R agreed to review the tri-partite leisure model and the Active Belfast Limited (ABL) Board, including its membership and governance arrangements.  Terms of reference were approved in June 2021 and First Point Management and Consultancy Limited were appointed to conduct the review. 


            The final review report was presented to the SP&R Committee on 25th March 2022.  After consideration the committee approved Option 3 as the preferred way forward.  Namely, to bring Contract Compliance and Performance Monitoring of GLL back into the Council and commence the winding up of ABL.  The committee decision was subsequently ratified by Council on 4th April.


            ABL has been dormant since 6th June and will remain so until formally dissolved.


            Contract compliance, performance management and financial transactions have been managed through City and Neighbourhood Services (CNS) (previously as Parks & Leisure) since the contract with GLL commenced on 1st January 2015.  Until June 2022 reoprts were present to ABL and into Council through SP&R.  On 18th November SP&R agreed that future governance and reporting would be through the People and Communites Committee (P&C).  The decision was ratified by Council on 1st December.


            Proposals for committee consideration include general oversight arrangements, periodic reports, key performance indicators, budgets and financial transactions and audit/risk assurances.


3.2       Outcomes and proposals


            This paper sets out proposed report schedules for governance and performance monitoring of the leisure management contract.  The process will be delivered through CNS including the preparation of committee reports.


            CNS will continue to gather and collate contract compliance evidence and performance data as previously required for reporting through ABL.


3.4       Committee reporting and governance overview


            Following the decision to bring management of the GLL leisure contract back under direct Council control, all related reports will be presented through the P&C committee.


            An extensive schedule of reports is defined within the conditions of contract.  An established schedule has evolved since 2015 and is now well established.  Contract governance and performance reporting mechanisms have always been subject to review by the Council’s Audit, Governance & Risk unit.


3.5       Contract compliance


            CNS takes the central role in collating information and works with Corporate H&S, Corporate finance, Audit, Governance and Risk Services and BCC Legal Services to review and present assurances.


            Contract compliance requirements are set out within the legally binding contract between BCC and GLL.  As these contractual requirements will remain unchanged, it is proposed that the same  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Belfast City Airport Request - Bird Strike Management at Victoria Park: Implications to Air Safety pdf icon PDF 234 KB


            The Committee considered a request from The George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) regarding bird strike management at Victoria Park. 


            The Members were advised that the control of birds in the flight path to the airport was a requirement of the airport’s Civil Aviation Authority licence.  In line with GBBCA’s national aerodrome license requirements and associated guidance material presented in CAP772:  Wildlife Hazard Management at Aerodromes, and that the airport was required to identify sources of risk and to reduce and maintain any risk to an acceptable level in compliance with the Civil Aviation Authority licensing requirements. 


            The Members were reminded that the Committee had granted a similar request for rookery management at the December 2021 meeting of the Committee.  Following the works, the GBBCA had reported that the post breeding rookery management had seen a further reduction in nesting rooks the following spring and a redistribution of nests to another location within Victoria Park. With progress made and still potential for the rookery to expand, the airport had identified the need to follow up with another session of winter nest removal and nest site discouragement.


            He detailed that the proposed works would include:


·        the removal of old rook nests to take place during the works period;

·        any necessary thinning of sheltering pines, structural pruning of preferred nesting trees, and reducing shelter from ivy.


            The Committee was advised that, if approved, the GBBCA would appoint a suitable contractor with previous experience to undertake the works.  In addition, officers would review the submitted risk assessment and insurance certificates in line with procedure and work with Legal Services to issue the requested licence.  The licence would include relevant conditions to ensure that the airport had confirmed that all works were permissible and that any required licences were in place to permit the works to take place within the required timescales. The licence would also place an onus on the airport to ensure that health and safety measures were implemented, essential signage was assembled and one-way systems were established where necessary.


            A Member noted the need for the required works from a health and safety perspective but requested that the Council write to the NIEA seeking it to ensure that the works were undertaken as sensitively as possible to ensure that the habitats and consequently the populations of both Canadian geese and mute swans were not detrimentally affected.


The Committee:


·        agreed the request from George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) to permit access under licence to Victoria Park to facilitate rookery management and to undertake further winter nest removal and nest site discouragement during mid-January 2023;

·        noted that the licence would permit works to commence in early January and end on 31st January 2023 and permit GBBCA thereafter to carry out monitoring until 31st March 2023, subject to the terms and conditions;

·        noted that any decision to grant permission was subject to a legal agreement that would be developed by the Council’s Legal Services Department which would ensure that any works were permissible,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Supporting Vulnerable People impacted by Cost of Living pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       To provideP&C Committeewithan updateon plans tosupportvulnerablepeopleandfamiliesimpactedby the cost-of livingcrisisand who areat riskof negative health and social impacts of livingincold homes.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is askedto notethe contentsofthisreportand


                                              i           notethe Council’sexpanding rolein supportingvulnerable people/householdsimpactedby the cost-of-livingcrisis

                                            ii           notethe workunderwayto bringforward aprogramme ofwarm hubs(Warm Welcome/ Warm Spaces)in Council assetsand facilities during thiswinter period

                                           iii           considerthe civicleadership andconvening roleofthe Councilin bringingtogether acitywide programmeofsimilarsupport andin helpingraise awarenessandsignposting tosuch facilities

                                           iv           notethe supportprovided bythe MarCom’steam inhelping toraise awarenessand promotethe supportavailableincluding thedevelopment androllout ofthe #BelfastTogethernarrative.


3.0       Main report




3.1       Households andvulnerableindividualsare experiencingthe perfectstorm, emergingfrom aCovid-19pandemic, growingpressureson householdincomesand unprecedentedincreases ingasand electricitybills. The impactsof fuel povertyare feltina widerangeof ways,onphysicaland mental health,householdfinances,theeconomy andultimately onpeople'squalityof life.Despitethehardworkof manyagencies acrossthestatutory,community, voluntaryand private sectors,theimpactof fuelpoverty isintensifying withinBelfast and thewider region.


3.2       It isimportantto highlightthe growingpressures anddemand onreferrals toexistingsupport schemes including theAffordableWarmth Schemeand the BelfastWarm andWell programme both of which arealreadyexceedingcapacityandwe arestill toenter thewinter period.The Warm andWell programme has experienced a300% growthindemandsinceit wasfirst established.


3.3       Members will be aware of the recent decision taken by the SP&R Committee to allocate £1m towards a fuel hardship scheme across the city. Council officers are also engaging with the Department for Communities to explore what support can be brought forward for those most need during this winter period. 


               Key Issues


3.4          Members may be aware of the growing focus across the UK whereby public, voluntary and faith organisations are utilising local community assets and facilities as ‘warm hubs’ which are open for people to go to keep warm and often to refreshments and to take part in social activities.  This initiative is being brought forward at pace in response to the inability of people and families to heat  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Physical Programme and Asset Management


Quarterly update on Pitch Partnership Agreements pdf icon PDF 252 KB


The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that the Council was currently developing a new policy in regard to the management of assets within the community, with pilots being delivered across a number of sites. He reported that one of the sites included in the initial pilot had been Ulidia Playing Fields and this site had now been assessed using the pilot approach.


            He reported that the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, at its meeting on 21st October, had endorsed the Committee’s recommendation to transfer the existing Partner Agreement at Ulidia to along-term lease. He continued that it was anticipated that, following review of the CAT pilot process, a number of the other sites might also be made available for consideration under new managementarrangements. However, until that time, and to ensure continuity of service provision, it was intended that the remaining existing Partner Agreements would continue until new arrangements had been established. 


            The Committee noted the quarterly progress report in relation to Partner Agreements at seven sites and that all Partners had been compliant on reporting matters and financial checks for July September 2022.



Cherryvale Gate Update pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1            The purpose of the report is to:


·        Update members on the Cherryvale gate opening resident/member engagement meetings.

·        Present mitigations for approval and completion.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the detail discussed at the resident/member engagement meetings.

·        Consider the mitigations discussed and grant approval for officers to move ahead with the works.

·        Note ongoing engagement with DFI in reference to the crossing. 


3.0       Main report


3.1       Following a decision at Council on 3rd October 2022, officers and members from the Lisnasharragh DEA have completed a number of engagement meetings with residents interested in the opening of the gate at Cherryvale Playing Fields from Knockbreda Park and the proposed anti social behaviour mitigations.


3.2       Meetings were held on 21st October and 17th November to accommodate residents and members attendance. Residents from 8 surrounding properties who were opposed to the gate opening were invited and 11 residents attended the discussions. A combined note of the meetings is attached at Appendix 1 for information.  An updated timeline of committee decisions and engagement with residents has been attached as Appendix 2.


3.3       Measures and key issues discussed are outlined below:


·        Fencing –Additional fencing and the replacement of the inner gate was discussed and officers agreed to a site meeting with residents before installation.

·        It was communicated to residents that CCTV would not be installed but the Council is currently considering a CCTV policy which will inform any future decision in relation to this.

·        Lighting – this is not seen by council as a necessary mitigation. It is too costly and the gate will be closed at dusk in line with our parks opening hours.

·        Additional dog litter bins will be installed to facilitate increased dog walkers in the area.

·        Tree pruning carried out around the sub-station.

·        Increased park warden patrols following the opening of the gate and this would kept under review.  Numbers would also be provided to residents to contact when they witnessed ASB.


3.4       If such measures detailed above were implemented in order to manage anti-social behaviour concerns, the costs would be as follows – 


·        Additional Litter bins - £800   

·        Erection of fencing around substation and rear of houses at Rosetta Park - £13,000

·        Resurfacing of the triangle if land outside the current gate £4000.


3.5       At September Committee it was agreed that a letter would be sent to DFI (Appendix 3) requesting an update on the installation of the pedestrian crossing.  A reply was received and a copy is attached at Appendix 4.  Since receiving this letter, council officers have further engaged with DFI on the timeline for installation of the crossing. Initial feedback from DFI officers confirms that a recent survey confirms that due to the busy nature of the road, this crossing will be installed regardless of the gate opening. Council have agreed that this work should be completed before the opening of the gate. 


3.6       When this matter  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Requests for containerised storage at Falls Park and Sally Gardens pdf icon PDF 264 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To advise and seek member support in dealing with two requests from soccer clubs for installation of containers on council land.



2.0       Recommendations


·        That members support the application for installation of a storage container by Belfast Celtic at Falls Park for their own use. This recommendation is based on the recent incidents of vandalism resulting in damage to the Club’s equipment.


·        That members do not support the request from Celtic Boys for installation of a container for their exclusive use at Sally Gardens on the basis that the requirements for storage at the wider site and the expectations of the broad range of  users are not fully understood at this time.

·        That members make recommendations as appropriate to Strategic Policy and Resources committee regarding the agreements required to govern the installations approved.

·        That officers will recommence work on development of a policy to govern the use of containerised storage at CNS sites and whilst this is in development no further requests will be considered.


3.0       Main report




3.1       Members may recall that in April of 2017 the committee received and approved a report from the Director of City and Neighbourhood Services establishing a management position in respect of the provision of containers and other storage accommodation on land owned and managed by Belfast City Council. The management position was adopted in the absence of any formal policy.    


3.2       The Committee agreed that where it can be established that containers are required by a sports club for storage of essential equipment the Council will consider granting permission.  Factors influencing decision making include consideration of proposed use, regularity of the use; appearance, size and access; in addition the sports club would be responsible for maintenance; obtaining appropriate public liability and building/content insurance and for installation and subsequent removal as well as the cost of any reinstatement required at the site. 


3.3       A key factor in support of any approval is a pre-existing formal relationship between the club and the council at the site. Where existing relationships, governed by a legal agreement such as an FMA a lease or a partner agreement, are in place they provide a surety and leverage should the Terms and Conditions of use of any containerised facility be broken. It was agreed that where permission is to be granted it would be limited to the period of the existing agreement or would be for a period deemed reasonable by the Strategic Director of City and Neighbourhood services but not initially to exceed 2 years.


            Key Issues


3.4       In the absence of a formal policy, City and Neighbourhood services departmental asset board have been managing containerised storage requests on this basis.  Two requests have now come forward simultaneously which warrant consideration by members as they sit outside the normal circumstances, ie. there is no existing agreement with the club at the site. 


3.5       The first is a request from Belfast Celtic FC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Public Right of Way at Floral Park pdf icon PDF 255 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a report seeking to assert a Public Right of Way from Floral Park to Antrim Road, using that the Access to the Countryside (Northern Ireland) Order 1983.


            The Director reported that in 2021 an application had been received by the Council to develop land on a route that a public right of way crossed. He explained that this had previously been investigated in 2005, however, despite a grant of planning permission having been given, the development of the land had not proceeded and consequently the assertion had not been undertaken by the Council.


            The Members were advised that the current proposal included a diversion of the existing route. The land in question had previously been granted planning permission and it was likely to be granted again.  He explained that Article 16 of the Access to the Countryside (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 gave the Department power to divert any public right of way where it was needed to enable compliance with a planning permission. The Council had written to DAERA and had been advised that the route could only be diverted after it had been asserted.


            The Director confirmed that Legal Services were satisfied that previous evidence supported the case for the route being a public right of way and that its status could not have changed since that time. 


            He explained that for a Public Right of Way to exist at Common Law there were two essential elements:


·        dedication by the owner of the soil; and

·        acceptance of the Right of Way by the public.


            In this instance the Director reported that the following evidence demonstrated presumed dedication by the landowner;


·        the path was constructed through the amenity space by the developer providing a pedestrian link between Floral Park and Antrim Road;

·        the route in question had been used ‘as of right’ by the general public;

·        the use continued for a sufficient period to imply the owner intended to dedicate a Public Right of Way; and

·        the route connected two public places or places to which the public regularly resort that use has followed a more or less consistent line.


            Given the above assessment, the Committee granted approval to assert the Public Right of Way from Floral Park to Antrim Road.



Operational Issues


Proposal for Dual Language street signs pdf icon PDF 253 KB


            The Committee was advised that the application for a dual language street signage had been received prior to the implementation of the new dual language street signs policy, therefore, it had been considered under the old policy.


            Following consultation with the applicant and given that at least two thirds of the total numbers of persons surveyed in the streets were in favour of the proposal to erect a second street nameplate in Irish Between Divis Street and Institution Place, BT12, the Committee approved the application.