Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall
Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer 90320202 x6301
Apologies for inability to attend were recorded on behalf of Alderman McCoubrey and Councillors McAteer, McMullan and Newton.
The minutes of the meeting of 10th and 25th January, 2023 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 February.
Declarations of Interest
The following Councillors declared and interest in item 3 (c) Capacity Building and Revenue Grants as they either worked for or were associated with an organisation in receipt of funding from the DfC and left the meeting whilst the item was under consideration.
· Councillor Canavan – Board of the Blackie River Community Group;
· Councillor Verner – in that she was an employee of the Greater Shankill Partnership (Spectrum Centre);
· Councillor M. Donnelly – Upper Springfield Development Trust; and
· Councillor R. M. Donnelly – West Belfast Partnership Board.
Councillor Garrett also declared an interest as a Member of the West Belfast Partnership Board but as a Council representative on the Board he did not leave the meeting.
Update on Special Meeting PDF 225 KB
The Committee agreed to convene the special Waste Update committee meeting on Wednesday 22nd March, the date previously reserved for the quarterly housing update meeting, and to request an update paper from the NIHE to be circulated to the Members.
Response from NIEA and presentation from George Best City Airport Re: Bird Strike Management at Victoria Park: Implications to Air Safety PDF 228 KB
The Chairperson welcomed to the meeting Mr. M. McDowell, Airfield Operations Manager GBCA, and Mr. K. Mackie, Wildlife Advisory Cons.
Mr. McDowell commenced by providing an overview of the management of Greylag Geese which included detail in respect of the legal responsibilities of airports to ensure that they had a risk management programme to cover a 13km safety zone around the airport, under licence from the NIEA.
Mr. Mackie provided a comprehensive breakdown of the work undertaken with egg control and habitat management to ensure these responsibilities were met, this included detailed information in respect of risk management, greylag geese risk assessment, greylag Management at Victoria Park and the efficacy of long-term egg management at Victoria Park, including consideration of the changes in Geese habitats.
Mr. McDowell advised that the airport valued the NIEA legal agreement and the arrangement with the Council, both were essential as they enabled the airport to continue to discharge its legal responsibilities with regards to air safety. He advised that the current licence with the NIEA was valid until the end of June, however, the current agreement with the Council permitting access to Victoria Park only ran until the end of May, therefore, the airport was seeking the Council to extend its permission in line with the NIEA licence period.
Following a query regarding what might be an acceptable level of grey geese in Victoria Park to ensure both biodiversity and air safety, the representative advised that the airport was required each year to undertake a risk assessment based on the audits carried out and any strikes that had occurred and to ensure that the current control measures were adequate. He stated that these measures had been successful to date, with the risks and associated severity of a collision between geese and an aircraft having been reduced, therefore, the current measures were deemed to be necessary and would be kept in place until they were no longer required.
In relation to a query regarding the fall in the mute swan population in Victoria Park, the representative advised that the decline had been natural and gradual with most of the shift in population having been to The Waterworks.
Following a request from a Member, the airport representative agreed in future to forward its annual assessment for each bird species along with its licence request.
· noted the response from the NIEA in regard to the safety of resident mute swans; and
· agreed to a request from the GBBCA to extend their current Greylag goose licence with the Council from the end of May to the end of June each year due to changes in Geese habits.
Presentation from Swimming Buddies
The Chairperson welcome Ms. S.J. Reynolds, representing Swimming Buddies, to the meeting.
Ms. Reynolds thanked the Members for the opportunity to present. She advised that Swimming Buddies was an accredited Inclusive Swim Centre for children with other abilities, the first of its kind in Europe. It specialised in teaching neurodiverse children water safety, water therapy and teaching them to swim as well as delivering accredited CPD training programs to the leisure industry on best practices for inclusive programs and facilities.
The representative then provided an overview of the organisation’s background. She advised that it had been established in Fleming Fulton School in 2017 and since 2019 it had also worked in partnership with the Brook Leisure Centre delivering an inclusive swim program and pioneering the way forward for the industry to reflect ‘best practice’ in inclusivity. She advised that the sensory pool and the whole facility at Brook were a perfect environment for neurodiverse children and their families to learn the key lifesaving skill of swimming and she highlighted the following key points:
· Sessions were currently based on a 1:1 learning platform for children between the ages of 4 to 14;
· Over 20,000 swim sessions had been delivered to over 300 families;
· Swimming Buddies was accredited by the international wandering, drowning prevention and inclusive aquatics organisation, Autism Swim; and
· It had 19 coaches who had extensive experience in working with and supporting the needs of neurodivergent children and young adults with differing support needs.
She outlined that what had started as a swim program for children on the autism spectrum had further developed into an inclusive program for a wide spectrum of neurodivergent children with a range of other learning needs. Swimming Buddies offered sessions to children and young adults with a range of disabilities, including physical and learning disabilities, visual and hearing impairments, autism, ADHD, brain injuries and many more. The individual coach’s expertise enabled delivery of person-centred learning, adaptable to each Buddie and their needs, including the delivery of sister programmes, Baby Buddies Sensory Swim and the Fit Buddies gym program.
The representative advised that the aim of Swimming Buddies was to expand its service, to offer this valuable life skills to more families and to ensure the leisure facility teams throughout the Belfast City Council area were trained and supported to the highest level to fully utilise the purpose-built facilities that were available to local families across the city.
In conclusion, she advised that an all-inclusive approach was not just desirable but necessary and Swimming Buddies was keen to assist the Council in bringing these plans to fruition.
The Committee then viewed a short video showing the work of Swimming Buddies which was available here.
Several Members thanked the representative for her presentation and for the valuable work that Swimming Buddies undertook in the Belfast area. Discussion ensued as to how the Council could best assist the organisation with sharing of its knowledge and also to ensure that, where possible, all areas of play and ... view the full minutes text for item 3b
TEO Request for Proposals to support Asylum Seekers
(Ms. N. Lane, Neighbourhood Services Manager, attended in connection with this item.)
The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised the Committee that the TEO had asked for Councils to submit urgent proposals, at very short notice and lead in time, for projects to support asylum seekers, which would be funded by the TEO through Home Office Dispersal Funding. The Councils had been asked to submit proposals based on spend up to the end of March 2023 and for spend covering the following financial year 2023/24.
He continued that, given the immediacy of the request from the TEO and the extremely tight deadline, officers had held initial discussions with the main organisations that currently delivered projects of scale to asylum seekers.
The Members were reminded that, in previous submissions to the TEO, the Council had highlighted the considerable pressure that these organisations were under due to the increase in numbers of asylum seekers to Northern Ireland and the many varied demands on the service.
He reported that initial funding proposals had been submitted to the TEO in mid-December, with the TEO advising that Councils would receive notification and documentation regarding the proposals pre-Christmas, however, officers had subsequently been advised on 23rd January that the proposals had been approved by the TEO.
The TEO had indicated that it would provide the Council with initial written correspondence confirming approval for Council spend in-year (up until March 2023) based on the following proposals.
Proposals submitted to and approved by TEO for Asylum Support Funding
*2023/24 indicative project delivery costs.
Several Members expressed concern at the tight timescale for the roll out of this funding, which, in essence, had prevented other smaller organisations who might also have been suitable to deliver the funding having been prohibited from being considered as the process could not be put out to an open call procurement process.
The Neighbourhood Services Manager acknowledged the issues and Members concerns. She explained that officers had only two weeks to submit proposals for consideration to the TEO and, based on the urgency of this request, the proposals had not therefore been subjected to a procurement process but had been accepted by the TEO as eligible for Dispersal Funding. She advised that officers were currently seeking confirmation from the TEO in relation to the conditions of funding and whether this could be progressed as a direct funding agreement arrangement based on the agreed programme. In addition, as some of the proposals involved the recruitment of specialist staff, therefore, ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Request for Use of Parks for Event 2023
The Committee considered requests seeking permission for the use of various parks and facilities during 2023, as follows:
· 24hr Run – Victoria Park – 17th June;
· Darkness in to Light – Ormeau Park – 5th/6th May;
· Belfast International Photo Festival – Botanic Gardens – 19th May to 8th July;
· Bloomfield Gospel Drive In – Dixon Playing Fields – Sunday Services Sunday 16th April to Sunday 24th September 2023, 7.00pm – 7.30pm and Tent Outreach Saturday 29th July to Saturday 26th August 8.00pm - 8.30pm; and
· Vegas Circus on Wheels – Boucher Playing Fields:
- Saturday 18th March – Thursday 30 March - Set Up
- Friday 31st March - 2 Live Shows
- Saturday 1st April - 2 Live Shows
- Sunday 2nd April - 2 Live Shows
- Thursday 6th April - 2 Live Shows
- Saturday 8th April - 2 Live Shows
- Sunday 9th April - 2 Live Shows
- Monday 10th April – Sunday 16th April - 2 Shows daily
- Monday 17th April - Tuesday 18th April: De-Rig
The Committee granted authority to each of the applicants for the proposed events on the dates outlined and delegated authority to the Director of Neighbourhood Services:
· to negotiate a fee where appropriate which recognised the costs to Council and endeavoured to minimise any negative impact on the immediate area and take account of the potential wider benefit to the city economy, in conjunction with the Council’s Commercial Manager; and
· to negotiate satisfactory terms and conditions of use via an appropriate legal agreement to be prepared by the City Solicitor, including managing final booking confirmation dates and flexibility around ‘set up’ and take down’ periods, and booking amendments, subject to:
o The organisers resolving any operational issues to the Council’s satisfaction;
o Compliance with Coronavirus restrictions in place at the time of the event;
o the organisers meeting all the statutory requirements of the Planning and Building Control Service including the terms and conditions of the Park’s Entertainment Licence
The Committee noted that the above recommendations were taken as a pre-policy position, in advance of the Council agreeing a more structured framework and policy for ‘Events’, which was currently being taken forward in conjunction with the Council’s Commercial Team and the Director undertook to establish at what stage this corporate piece of work was at and report back to Committee accordingly.
Following a query, the Director further agreed to submit a report to a future meeting detailing the cost breakdown in respect of the Social Levy Fee for the use of the various parks, including tickets prices.
In response to a query as to whether the requested remedial works had been carried out to the Ormeau car park, the Director undertook to check with maintenance and to advise the Member directly.
Capacity Building and Revenue Grants 2023/26
The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that, at its April 2022 meeting, the Committee had approved the implementation of the large grant funding provided through Community Provision for activity from April 2023 – March 2026, this had included approval of the eligibility criteria and maximum allocation for each grant stream. He also drew the Members’ attention to specific details of the applications that had been assessed, scored, moderated and independently verified.
The Members were reminded that, at the October meeting, they had been informed that the requests for funding were in excess of the available budget and that officers would present options for how the budget could be allocated. This report had been due to be presented at the December meeting, where the Members had agreed to defer the report to enable further consideration of the budget implications. The Director reported that, at the January meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, it had been agreed to enhance the budget available for this area of work.
The Director continued that, in light of this additional allocation, there was now sufficient budget to allocate all applications scoring 50 and above the level of funding requested (up to the maximum allocation for each grant) and that there was also now sufficient budget to provide a nominal level of support to those applications that had scored below 50.
The Director then referred to the fact that the Members had previously raised concerns in relation to the varying levels of community capacity across the city. He advised that the scores achieved by organisations in this round of funding had been considerably higher than the last round and that a total of 24 new organisations would receiving support in this round of funding (8 – Capacity, 16 – Revenue) which officers were interpreting as an encouraging sign of increasing capacity in terms of applying for funding.
Members had also requested a breakdown on an area basis of the number of applications received. This had been provided within the updated report, however, the Members were advised that officers could only assign area based on the postal address of the organisation and that some organisations might deliver in areas outside of this, and indeed on a citywide basis.
An analysis showed that for the Capacity Programme, the highest number of eligible applications had been received from organisations based in the Castle, Botanic and Titanic DEAs. For the Revenue Grant Programme, the highest number of eligible applications had been received from organisations based in the Oldpark, Court and Blackmountain DEAs. The lowest number of eligible applications for the Capacity Programme had been received from organisations based in the Balmoral, Collin and Oldpark DEAs. For the Revenue Grant Programme the lowest number of eligible applications had been received from organisations based in the Lisnasharragh, Ormiston and Balmoral DEAs.
The Members were also asked to note that there had been a good representation across both grant programmes from organisations which served communities of interest in addition to ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Resources and Fleet Waste Update PDF 511 KB
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this reports is as follows:
· To make the Committee aware of the recently published Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland and to invite comments and feedback to be considered for inclusion in Belfast City Council’s response.
· To make the Committee aware of the recently published Government response to the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) Consultation.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
- Note the Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland.
- Forward any comments for inclusion in Belfast City Council’s response to the consultation by 28th February.
- Note the Government response to the DRS Consultation.
3.0 Main report
Consultation on a Draft Circular Economy
Strategy for Northern Ireland
3.1 The Department for the Economy (DfE) has launched a public consultation on the draft Circular Economy (CE) Strategy for Northern Ireland. This draft strategy sets out the Department’s vision to create an innovative, inclusive and competitive economy, with responsible production and consumption at its core. A Circular Economy will be a key enabler of the DfE’s 10x Economic Vision for a decade of innovation.
3.2 This draft CE Strategy also aligns directly with Northern Ireland’s draft Programme for Government and the draft Green Growth Strategy. It also makes a significant contribution to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
3.3 In March 2022, the Northern Ireland Executive passed the Climate Change Act. This sets out broad targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to:
· 48% lower than the 1990 baseline by 2030.
· net zero by 2050.
3.4 The draft CE Strategy states that our efforts to switch to renewable energy, increase energy efficiency and increase carbon capture technology would only tackle 55% of our global emissions. The remaining 45%, which relate to how we make and use things, can be tackled by the transition to a Circular Economy .
3.5 The main goal of the CE Strategy is to adopt a circular model and reduce our material footprint to live responsibly, build resilience, exploit new opportunities and to secure future prosperity for businesses, people and the planet.
3.6 A circular way offers an economic model, that many countries are pursuing, in which we:
· rethink and reduce our use of earth’s resources
· switch to regenerative resources
· minimise waste
· maintain the value of products and materials for as long as possible.
3.7 DfE has worked together with all Government departments to develop the draft strategy, in collaboration with external stakeholders from local Government, the private sector, academia, the voluntary and community sectors and others.
3.8 The overarching target is to halve Northern Ireland’s annual material footprint per person to 8 tonnes by 2050. Our material footprint is the total volume of material embodied within the whole supply chain to meet our demands. It measures the global (domestic and foreign) extraction of raw materials required for goods and services used by the residents of Northern Ireland. To live sustainably, ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Anti-Social Behaviour - update on previous interventions and initiatives in Parks PDF 272 KB
The Committee considered the following report:
"1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 Members had requested that a report be brought to Committee to take consideration of successful interventions that have been previously undertaken in Parks, in particular Dunville Park, and how similar initiatives might be applied to other Council parks with Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) problems.
1.2 In addition, Committee has asked for a further report to be brought to a subsequent meeting detailing the costs of undertaking repair works to parks damaged by ASB. This report will follow.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Note the range of interventions and services which have been previously used within BCC Parks to counteract issues of ASB.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Belfast City Council have the responsibility to maintain and keep our public parks safe for citizens and accessible for all. In the December report to Committee, in response to requests from Members, BCC officers highlighted the amount of ASB reported within Parks over the last 3 years.
3.2 Officers would remind Members to note that the figures presented in the December report may not provide an overall accurate picture of ASB within Parks and therefore, their usefulness in terms of determining patterns or hotspots is extremely limited for the following reasons:
· Residents complaining about ASB in Parks state that they under report what is occurring.
· The capturing of information relating to ASB within Belfast City Council Parks lies within the responsibility of Park Wardens, ASB Officers, and Safer Neighbourhood Officers. However, Safer Neighbourhood and ASB Officers are not located within parks but are rather deployed in the city centre and neighbourhoods.
· A team of Park Wardens is located in each quadrant of the city and each Park in the city is patrolled daily, with the more problematic parks receiving more targeted patrols than others.
· The Park Wardens service operates to the current Parks’ closing times (dawn to dusk). However, the BCC and PSNI do plan and carry out interventions outside these hours in response to large events in Parks, reports of ASB and underage drinking etc.
3.3 Belfast City Council has previously used a variety of initiatives to tackle ASB in Parks. Each initiative is unique to the specific circumstances within our Parks. The measures have been based upon available resources on a short, medium or long-term basis.
Belfast City Council have 3 teams which work across Parks, these include Park Wardens, SNO’s and ASB Officers, their role includes:
A team of 9 Safer Neighbourhood Officers work across the city centre, parks and neighbourhoods. SNOs are a frontline enforcement / engagement service whose primary role is to help address issues of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) by:
· providing a visible presence through high visibility foot patrols
· offer guidance, support, and advice on community safety issues
· challenge low-level anti-social behaviour
· enforce laws relating to on-street drinking and environmental crime
· help to reduce crime and fear of crime
3.4 The SNO’s are deployed across current hotspots which is updated ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
Committee Plan Update PDF 238 KB
The Director of City Services drew the Members’ attention to the mid-year report and progress against the agreed actions within the 2022-23 People and Communities Committee Plan.
The Director advised that the plan detailed the priorities within the framework of the relevant Belfast Agenda themes (Our Services; Economic Recovery; Community Recovery; Environmental Recovery; Strategic Planning Frameworks; and Organisational Foundations) and the CNS Departmental key priority areas (Open Spaces and Streetscene; Community Provision; City Protection and Bereavement; and Resources and Fleet). She highlighted that, as detailed in the plan, it was likely that many of these areas of focus would take several years to deliver, however, this update clearly detailed the key deliverables and priorities for 2022-23.
The Director drew the Members’ attention to a table attached as an appendix that provided detail and commentary on the progress of all 33 actions. This set out the work undertaken by the Department to deliver the key priorities, to the end of Quarter 2 2022/23, 6 months into the year. 33 actions had been identified across the Department’s three Directorates. Of these, 1 had been completed, 22 were currently on track, 5 were considered at risk and were slightly delayed, while a further 5 actions were considered to be behind schedule and would require additional resources to ensure their completion.
The Committee was reminded of the current resource and capacity and resilience pressures on the City and Neighbourhood Services Department. She stated that it was anticipated that recent recruitment exercises would provide additional resources in Quarter 4, and going forward, to assist with the progress of those actions currently considered to be delayed.
The Members were also asked to note that many of the commitments would continue to be delivered with further progress into Quarter 4 and she undertook to keep the Committee updated with the progress.
A Member referred to the glass recycling expansion scheme, expressing disappointment in the ongoing disparity with the scheme as constituents from the former Castlereagh Borough Council still did not have access to the scheme whilst others in the same District Electoral Area did. He also referred to the Responsible Dog Ownership Scheme and stated that he would welcome an update on the proposed pilot in Ormeau Park for a dog run. He also commended the work relation to tree surveys that had been undertaken to identify diseased and damaged trees. The Member concluded by referring to the five-year action plan for the Belfast Open Spaces and Street Scene Plan and stated that he would be keen to see this plan being progresses, along with the required works within the plan.
A Member referred to the work being undertaken by Port Health in relation to the delivery of regulatory functions regarding the NI Protocol. Following discussion in relation to a proposal made by Councillor Bunting that was deemed not competent by the City Solicitor, it was
Moved by Councillor Bunting,
Seconded by Councillor Verner,
That the Committee agrees to defer the report to enable a further report ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Update on Belfast Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy PDF 264 KB
The Director of Neighbourhood Services provided the Members with an update on the development of a Belfast City Council Sports Development and Physical Activity Strategy (The Strategy), along with an updated timeline for completion of the Strategy.
He reminded the Members that the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, at its meeting in January 2018, had agreed that a Belfast City Council Sports Development Strategy and associated work plan would be developed. The aim of the Strategy was to provide a framework for future decision making on providing funding to National Governing Bodies of Sport delivering programmes in Belfast in support of existing funding streams and work programmes which would enhance sporting opportunities for Belfast’s sporting organisations and individuals.
The People and Communities Committee, in June 2018, had subsequently agreed a proposed Terms of Reference and timeline. The Departmental Change Programme had since prompted consideration of wider opportunities to clarify and align the links between sports development and the Council’s strategic funding and programming decisions in the areas of asset development, health improvement and community development.
The Members were reminded that, at the People and Communities meeting in November 2020, it had been agreed that the Terms of Reference would be extended to include the following areas:
· In line with the Belfast Agenda the outcomes were extended to 2035;
· Physical activity programming was considered as part of the pathway into organised sport;
· To be considered and aligned with the Leisure Transformation Programme;
· To be identification of alternative sources of financing/partner opportunities;
· Facility/asset utilisation and management to be maximised through collaborative partnership approaches;
· Facility/asset planning and development to be considered taking account of local, citywide and regional need;
· Sport’s contribution to improvement of whole health to be considered in the context of partnership working through the work of the Belfast Community Planning Partnership and associated Boards – particularly the Living Here Board;
· Sport’s contribution to community development to be considered in the context of City and Neighbourhood’s Departmental approach to area working and neighbourhood regeneration; and
· The strategy ‘working title’ to be “Belfast Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy.
In July 2022, following a quotation process, Strategic Leisure had been appointed to support the Council in the production of the Strategy. The Members were advised that initial introductory meetings involving both Council officers and a number of Key Delivery Partners had now taken place, with more than 50 individuals and groups having been involved. In addition, a total of 370 responses had been received via “Your Say Belfast”.
The Director then drew the Members’ attention to the proposed draft timetable, as follows:
#InTheLoop recycling on the go campaign to improve the city's on street recycling provision PDF 561 KB
(Mr. S. Leonard, Neighbourhood Services Manager, attended in connection with this item.)
The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised the Members that award-winning, environmental charity Hubbub had recently approached Belfast City Council seeking to explore launching a trial of their #InTheLoop recycling on-the-go campaign to improve the city’s on-street recycling provision, alongside a communications campaign. Hubbub had secured new funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation to run a 3-month trial in Northern Ireland and had identified Belfast as potential campaign area.
He advised that Hubbub had been developing and delivering an approach to recycling on-the-go which had first been trialled in 2018 in Leeds, and had been followed in similar trials in Swansea, Edinburgh, Dublin, Wimbledon, Telford and Wrekin and the London Borough of Lambeth. Using the previous trials, Hubbub had tested and refined how innovative design, paired with engaging communications could change behaviour, reduce confusion about recycling and make it easier to recycle.
The Members were shown a design of the bins that would use the #InTheLoop campaign principles, featuring a bright yellow background making it highly visible on the street. This approach would prioritise the collection of high-quality materials (plastic bottles, cans, and glass) and aim to reduce the factors that lead to contamination. Alongside the installation of the new bins, Hubbub would deliver a press launch announcing the trial and a communications campaign, including a paid social media campaign, engagement with the local business improvement district and other local stakeholders. This would raise awareness of the campaign and help to educate consumers about how to recycle correctly, as well as seeking to encourage the use of reusable containers where possible.
The Committee was advised that, should the Members agree to this request, it was anticipated that the campaign would launch around April or May and would be actively promoted and monitored for a period of 3 months. After this point, the Council would have the option to continue the collections but there was no commitment beyond this trial point. The Committee was also advised that an evaluation report would be carried out that would record how effective the trial had been in increasing re-cycling in the pilot bins and with recommendations as to how the pilot could be scaled up.
The Members discussed suitable locations for the placing of the new dual bins (one recycling and one normal street litter bin) throughout the city in order to maximise their potential to ensure that they were positioned where high levels of recyclable material was generated.
During discussion, the Neighbourhood Services Manager highlighted that, based on current cost estimates, it was estimated that the funding of £22,000 being allocated would fund in the region of 20-25 bins (this total included approximately 12 yellow re-cycling bins and 12 normal black street litter bins).
Moved by Councillor Flynn,
Seconded by Councillor Maghie,
That the Committee agrees to place a trial recycling bin in a park/open space in North, South and West Belfast with the rest in the city centre.
Moved by ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Reference Group on Older People Update PDF 256 KB
The Director of Neighbourhood Services drew the Members’ attention to the minutes of the Reference Group on Older People and provided a brief overview of the items that had been considered, as follows:
· Update on the development of Age-friendly Belfast Plan 2022-2026;
· Update on Extreme Weather and Winter Planning with Older People;
· Update in respect of age-friendly Belfast Older Volunteer of the Year Awards; and
· Update in respect of Age Friendly Staffing and Resources.
The Committee approved and adopted the minutes and the recommendations from the Reference Group on Older People meeting held on 19th December, 2022.
Physical Programme and Asset Management
Access paths to the Strangford Playing Fields from Glenveagh Special School - and request for deputation in March PDF 259 KB
The Committee considered the following report:
1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on the proposed project at Strangford Playing Fields to create an accessible pathway around the Park.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Note the update and agree to receive a deputation from Glenveagh Special School at the March meeting of the People and Communities Committee.
3.0 Main report
Strangford Avenue Playing fields is situated across the road from Glenveagh Special Education school. Glenveagh shares a campus with 3 other special education needs schools: Harberton Special School, Fleming Fulton and Oakwood School. Together the schools service significant pupil numbers. Many also are from outside the immediate area and travel in daily into the school.
Breakdown of School Demographic
Glenveagh School 190 pupils aged 8-19 years old.
(20% wheelchair users)
Harberton 300 pupils aged 4-15years old
Oakwood 70 pupils aged 4-8 years old
Fleming Fulton 100 pupils aged 5-18 years old
(all physical disabilities)
3.2 Outdoor space at the school campus is extremely constrained particularly given the large number of attendees at the schools and the special needs. Strangford Playing Fields is the closest alternative site for outdoor recreation. Glenveagh School is the closest in proximity to the park, with the Drummond Park entrance directly opposite their school gate.
3.3 However, the schools have indicated that they currently cannot use the park to its full potential due to accessibility limitations around the pedestrian entrance and due to the absence of a suitable accessible bit-mac pathway for their pupils who have physical disabilities and who are wheelchair users. The Playing Fields is also widely used by local residents however the lack of a pathway around the Playing Fields also constrains their access limiting the full potential of the Playing Fields as a key local asset.
3.4 The school have invested in a pool of adapted inclusive bikes but have nowhere to ride them on the school campus and have limited storage. The school has enquired if the currently disused pavilion within the Playing Fields could be considered as a storage facility for the adapted bikes, alongside the proposed pathway project, enabling easy access to the park and removing the transportation barrier.
3.5 Recently a make-shift trail has been created by Belfast City Council parks staff. This trail has been formed by cutting the grass shorter in a loop around the perimeter of the park through the trees, with bark laid in areas. The purpose of this trail was to provide walkers and runners a scenic route around the park. It also aims to protect the pitches by encouraging recreational use around the perimeter. The feedback on the temporary pathway has been very positive however, the current grass terrain of the trail presents a barrier to people with disabilities from enjoying the park fully and is not suitable surface for inclusive bikes or wheelchairs. These constraints have an adverse impact on ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
Developer Contribution for Open Space PDF 264 KB
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to update members regarding three developer contributions that have been secured, via the Developers Contribution Framework, for council maintained open space and the proposed improvements that City & Neighbourhood Services Department plan to deliver as a result of the financial contributions.
1.2 Details of proposed improvements at each park are outlined in Section 3.9 (Main Report).
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Note the developer contributions for open space received to date and agree to recommend to SP&R committee the proposed improvement works at Knocknagoney, Tullycarnet and Belmont Parks outlined in Section 3.7 of this report.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 As members will be aware Council’s Developer Contributions Framework was ratified for adoption by Full Council on 6th January 2020. Developer Contributions are a planning tool used to mitigate or manage the impacts of new development. They may be used to ensure that new development is supported by the right infrastructure or make sure that the environmental impacts of proposals are appropriately managed. The Council’s Developer Contribution Framework sets out the council’s approach to securing Developer Contributions as part of the planning application process.
3.2 Policy OS 2 of Planning Policy Statement 8 requires open space to be an integral part of new residential development of 25 units or more, or on sites of one hectare or more. In smaller residential schemes, the need to provide open space will be considered on its individual merits. Exceptions to this policy requirement include apartment developments or specialised housing where a reasonable level of private communal open space is being provided; or where residential development is designed to integrate with and make use of adjoining open space. Policy OS 2 goes on to specify the proportion of a site that needs to be set aside for open space and the requirement for equipped children’s play area on larger sites.
3.3 In some cases, as an exception to the normal policy approach, the council may consider it more appropriate for residents of the new development to make use of existing or planned open space in the locality rather than require new open space to be provided on-site as an integral part of the development. When assessing this option, account will be taken of any specific reasons why open space cannot be provided on site, the scale and nature of the proposed development, existing and planned open space in the area, accessibility and connectivity to the open space, and its ability to support residents of the new development.
3.4 It may be necessary for the developer to enhance the existing or planned open space so that it is able to support the additional population and/or improve the site’s connectivity to it. In such circumstances, the developer will be required to pay a Commuted Sum to cover the cost in lieu of providing the open space on the site. This will include ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
Product Safety Update and OPSS funding PDF 263 KB
The Committee considered the undernoted report:
1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 This report is to:
i) update Members on the Council’s work to protect consumers in Belfast and Northern Ireland from unsafe consumer products; and
ii) highlight available funding to support Belfast City Council’s activity in this area.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
a. Note the Council’s ongoing activity and statutory function in relation consumer product safety; and
b. Agree to avail of current grant funding opportunities to support Belfast City Council’s work on product safety.
3.1 NI councils have a number of statutory obligations in relation to consumer safety legislation, principally the Consumer Protection Act 1987, and Regulations for safety of specific products such as toys, electrical goods, cosmetics etc. More recently the Market Surveillance (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021 have also been introduced, setting out how councils must carry out certain functions for product safety, including some additional enforcement powers.
3.2 Environmental Health officers have undertaken this regulatory function for several decades. In England, Scotland and Wales, this function has been (and continues to be) carried out by Trading Standards Departments of Local Authorities.
3.3 Principally, councils must ensure that businesses involved in the importation, supply or sale of goods comply with their legal obligations and to ensure that goods presented on the market do not present risk of harm or injury to consumers. Councils’ activity include:
- Identification and investigation of potentially unsafe goods through receipt of consumer complaints, visits to premises and inspections/sampling and testing of products.
- Receipt and sharing of intelligence surrounding unsafe goods or their supply chains, between relevant authorities, including Council Environmental Health Departments in NI, Trading Standards Officers across GB Local Authorities, the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) and Border Force.
- Providing advice and education to businesses to raise awareness of product safety requirements to reduce potential for businesses to procure and place unsafe goods on the market in the future.
- Taking enforcement actions including steps to remove unsafe goods from the market, or to have the goods made safe.
3.4 A range of product safety initiatives are undertaken each year in co-ordination with all 11 district councils. These are co-ordinated via Environmental Health NI (NI Consumer Protection Subgroup), and may involve partnership working and engagement with agencies and stakeholders operating in related regulatory fields across Government in NI, UK, RoI and beyond. Belfast City Council continues to actively support this work – in 2022/23 initiatives are focusing on:
· Undertaking a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of button batteries by supporting the OPSS ‘Nil by Mouth’ campaign, raising awareness with retailers and consumers, market surveillance through partnership with other relevant services within Environmental Health and external agencies.
· Working with Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to carry out a Part worn tyre initiative to assess the safety and compliance of part worn tyres on the market.
· Developing and disseminating guidance to businesses on the topics ... view the full minutes text for item 18a
Proposal for Dual Language Street Signs PDF 253 KB
As at least fifteen percent of the total numbers of persons surveyed in the street were in favour of the proposal to erect a second street nameplate in Irish at Ardilea Drive, the Committee approved the application.
Proposal for Naming New Street PDF 245 KB
The Committee approved the application for naming a new street in the City at Pavilion Park Demesne, off Dub Lane, BT9.