Agenda and minutes

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




            Apologies were reported on behalf of The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor McCusker and Councillors Michael Collins and Corr. 



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were recorded.





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following 3 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 3 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.



Installation of Panoramic Wheel in Botanic Gardens


The Committee considered a report which considered a request from G Force Amusements Ltd seeking to amend the date of its plans to install, promote and operate a 33 metre Panoramic Wheel in the lawn area adjacent to the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Gardens to a four week period from 2ndSeptember 2020.


            The Committee:

·         agreed to the change of date for the previously agreed request from G Force Amusements Ltd to install, promote and operate a 33 metre Panoramic Wheel in the lawn area adjacent to the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Gardens during the period 2nd - 29th September 2020;

·         noted that the promoters would continue to be bound by all the original conditions attached to the previous committee decision; and

·         agreed that any future requests to change the planned dates of events, which had previously been agreed by the committee, would be approved under the delegated authority of the Director of Neighbourhood Services providing the re-scheduled event remained largely the same as the agreed event other than the proposed change of date.



Micro Grant Funding and Reopening of Community Centres

Additional documents:


The Director of Neighbourhood Services submitted a report, which provided an update for Members in respect of the current position concerning the £150,000 micro funding programme that had opened on 6th July. 


            The Committee was advised that, at its meeting on 31st July, the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, had agreed to to approve the current applications and to extend the programme until the end of October. The Committee had further agreed to delegate authority, under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation, to the Director (Operational) of City and Neighbourhood Services for future authorisation of funding allocations and extensions to the proposed October deadline under this scheme, and that any future DfC funding through the Community Support Programme, in support of COVID recovery, could be allocated to this programme.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services also provided an update for the Members in respect of the planned phased reopening of BCC Community Centres that was anticipated would commence from 1st September 2020.


            He outlined that the approach taken would be subject to the following key guiding principles:

·         progress on re-opening would be dependent on controlling the rate of transmission;

·         social distancing measures must be strictly adhered to;

·         employers would have a duty to assess and manage risks in respect of safety in the workplace; and

·         to be aware of the concerns of staff returning to work.

            He advised that to ensure the protection of both staff and customers, each venue would have significant Covid-19 Health and Safety measures in place. 


            It was anticipated that centre staff would start to return to site from 10th August 2020 in a phased way to thoroughly prepare each venue, staff would assess and determine if and when centres could reopen their doors as part of the phased plan based on safety and health of the building for the users and the staff.  Health and safety measures would be implemented which would include essential signage being assembled, one way systems identified and put in place where necessary, hand sanitizing stations installed, deep cleaning being carried out and all other arrangements as identified to ensure a suitable and safe reopening.


            The Committee:

·         noted the update provided in respect of the Micro Grant Funding; and 

·         noted that a further report on organisational recovery would be being submitted to the August meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, where more detail would be provided in respect of the phased approach and timelines for the reopening of the Community Centres.



Request for the hire of Boucher Road Playing Fields

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report which detailed a request from UP Productions who were seeking approval to hire the Boucher Playing Fields for the AVA Music Festival.  The AVA Musical Festival was an Audio Visual Arts 2-day event with multi-stage electronic music, visual art installations which also included an outdoor art exhibition.


            The Committee approved the request for the hire of Boucher Road Playing Fields from 22nd May – 2nd June 2021, subject to the following:


  • the appropriate legal agreements including bond arrangements being prepared to the satisfaction of the City Solicitor;
  • the Director (Operational) of City and Neighbourhood Services to negotiate an appropriate fee for use of the facility taking into account costs to the Council, minimising negative impact on the immediate area but also the potential wider benefit to the city economy;
  • the event organisers to meet all statutory requirements including Public Liability Insurance cover, Health and Safety, Food Safety and entertainment licensing responsibilities;
  • the timely payment of the bond as required in the legal agreements;
  • the event organisers to liaise with Council officers and meet all statutory, legal and Health and safety requirements;

 ·       the event organisers to reinstate all Council property to its original condition after use. The organisers are to be reminded that the current ground conditions and location of the event might have to change due to adverse weather conditions which shall cover all aspects of management including health and safety, access and to ensure compliance with the current events policy.



Matters referred back from the Council/Motions


Motion - Littering pdf icon PDF 153 KB


            The Committee was reminded that at the Council meeting on 1st July, the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Groogan and seconded by Councillor Smyth, had, in accordance with Standing Order 13(f) been referred to the Committee for consideration:


This Council recognises the blight that littering across our city presents and the significant cost to the Council in dealing with it.


We commit to doing all in our power to reduce the instances of littering, to ensure adequate resourcing is put into enforcement and to enhance opportunities for people to properly dispose of waste whether on street, in our parks or public spaces. This council will commit to providing recycling bins in parks and public spaces and where appropriate, provide additional general waste bins in communities.”


            The seconder of the motion Councillor Smyth addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion and he made a number of suggestions and requests with a view to progressing the motion: 


            Following consideration, it was agreed that:


  • a report would be submitted to the January 2020 committee which would detail how much the Council currently spends each year on cleansing, enforcement, marketing and landfill tax and include options for improved recycling bins on streets and in parks.  It should also investigate the effectiveness of current enforcement procedures and staffing tactics and look at this within the context of international models of best practice;  
  • the Council proceed to investigate ways in which it could help facilitate the reduction of littering throughout the city; and
  • that the Council write to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) seeking it to establish a Litter Strategy for Northern Ireland which would look at how it would work with communities and businesses in order to reduce litter.   



Committee/Strategic Issues


Belfast Youth Forum Update pdf icon PDF 431 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 an update on the ongoing work of Belfast City Council’s Youth Forum (BYF) and the success of the campaigns;

·         Seek agreement on the next date for the joint Committee and Youth Forum meeting;

·         Seek permission to extend the term of the current Youth Forum membership for 1 year due to the impact of Covid-19 on the recruitment process.



2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         note the content of the report relating to the ongoing work and development of the Youth Forum;

·         agree the date of the next joint Committee and Youth Forum meeting;

·         agree to extend the current term of the 2018-20 cohort membership for 1 year.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       Belfast Youth Forum


            BYF is the main youth participation structure of BCC and acts as the voice of young people within local government in Belfast.  BYF is made up of 40 young people aged 13-18 recruited from each of the DEA’s across Belfast; members serve a two year term with the current cohort serving from September 2018- September 2020.  Our BYF model is rights based and youth led, and every two years young people select campaign areas to work on and bring forward to decision makers within local and regional government.


3.2       Youth Forum Campaigns


·         BYF members are currently working on the following campaigns:

·         Mental Health (Elephant in the Room campaign);

·         Relationship and sexual health education (Any Use campaign);

·         Racism and diversity (HOME campaign).


            Updates on each of the campaigns will follow in this paper.


3.3       Elephant in the Room (EITR)


            The BYF continue to work on the two main strands of their EITR campaign:


3.4       Engaging and lobbying decision makers


            In October 2018 young people from BYF and NI Youth Forum presented their report, its findings and its recommendations in Stormont. A number of senior officials from the departments, the Public Health Agency, the Health Trust and the Education Authority were also in attendance.  At the meeting, young people led a discussion with officials on how they could work together to progress the recommendations.  The report and work of our young people was well received and highly praised. 


            This research and subsequent lobbying by the Youth Forum has had significant impact on Government Departments.  Chris Lyttle MLA, chair of the All Party Group on Children & Young People has asked the NI Executive to adopt the recommendations contained in the Youth Forum’s research report. The young people involved in this research have been invited to present the findings to the full Assembly in late July 2020.


3.5       Mental Health Advocacy - Awareness raising campaign with young people:


            Building on this work the BYF, NI Youth Forum and the Children’s Commissioners Youth have been working together to create a mental health advocacy toolkit for young people titled ‘Heads Up’.  Work in this area has been ongoing and the toolkit was due  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Request to place a memorial bench in Shankill Cemetery pdf icon PDF 223 KB


            The Committee was advised that a request had been received from a Trustee of the Greater Shankill Community Council seeking approval to install a memorial bench in Shankill Cemetery as a focal point for individuals and families who had experienced pregnancy and baby loss.  The Committee noted that there was existing memorials for babies in both the City and Roselawn Cemeteries.


            Baby Loss Awareness Week was held annually from 9th-15th October, it aimed to raise awareness about the key issues affecting those who had experienced pregnancy or baby loss.  Now in its 16th year, Baby Loss Awareness Week sought tangible improvements in research, care and policy around bereavement support and highlighted the need for bereavement support and services being available for anyone affected by the death of a baby at any stage.


            The bench would be designed, fabricated and installed in a fitting location in the cemetery, to be agreed by the Open Space and Streetscene Manager for the area.  The total cost of the bench, fitting and installation would be paid for by members of the 1st Shankill Golf Society and it would be manufactured and fitted by Belfast Metalworks.


            The Committee approved the installation of a memorial bench in Shankill Cemetery during Baby Loss Awareness Week in October.



Physical Programme and Asset Management


Notice of Intention - Traffic Regulation Order 2020 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that the Council had previously made available £700,000 from the Capital Programme to install alleygates across the City.  The Members were advised that Phase 4 had been divided into 3 sub-phases, with Phase 4(a) having been completed in March 2018 and Phase 4(b) in October 2018 and 4(c) in October 2019.


            The Committee noted that, at the end of this current phase, the Council had been approached by the Public Health Agency, Department for Communities and Department of Justice who had sought assistance with restricting access to challenging areas through the provision of gates, for which they would fund. At that late stage it had not been possible to include them within phase 4(c) and it had been explained to those agencies that the requests would take further time to progress.  Following the necessary legal consultation process, legal services were now content that these additional gates could be advertised.


            The Committee was advised that the required statutory and community consultation had been undertaken and formal approval was now being sought to proceed to advertise the Notice of Intention to enact the Traffic Regulation Order 2020 to enable gates to be installed in the following areas:

·         To the rear of Nos. 371 – 393 Shankill Road

·         To the rear of Nos. 14 - 34 Botanic Avenue and to the side of No. 34 Botanic Avenue.

·         To the rear of Nos. 7 – 35 Cromwell Road, Nos. 1 – 5 Wolseley Street, Nos. 2 – 24 Ireton Street, Nos. 62 – 84 Botanic Ave and to the sides of No. 7 Cromwell Road, No.2 Ireton Street and No. 24 Ireton Street.

            A number of Members referred to the success of the previous/current schemes and stated that they would like to see additional funding for additional schemes, however, it was noted thatfunding for any future Alleygating scheme would be determined by the Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee as part of the Council’s capital budget setting process.


            Following a further query in respect of future schemes and those streets that had previously been referred and were on a waiting list, it was noted that a report would be submitted to a future meeting which would provide an update in respect of the scheme and also include detail in respect of unadopted alleyways.  It was also agreed that this would include clarity in respect of the existing criteria.


            The Committee agreed to recommend to the Council that it pass a resolution to make the Belfast City Council Traffic Regulation Order 2020 for the locations as set out above, to be advertised as required by law.



Operational Issues


Horizon 2020 pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Additional documents:


            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 on a funding application which has been submitted to the EU Horizon 2020 fund and has successfully passed stage one of the application process. The project is called Upsurge and focuses on testing nature based solutions in EU cities, with the aim of sharing learning and good practice. A detailed application is being developed for submission in stage 2 by the University of Maribor, Slovenia, on behalf of a consortium of EU cities with, a final submission date of 3rd September 2020. The project, if successful, would commence in 2021 with a 48-month duration. Belfast has been included as one of a number of partner cities within the proposal.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         Approve the inclusion of Lower Botanic Gardens as the primary location for activity in the EU Horizon 2020 Upsurge project proposal, with an update to follow regarding the status of the application.


·         Authorise the project team to scan additional BCC sites with the aim of identifying satellite sites that could be incorporated into the project.


3.0       Main report


3.1       The specific Horizon 2020 call focuses on nature-based solutions. The proposal is that Belfast will test nature-based solutions developed in the city of Maribor, Slovenia, to assess if they can be implemented successfully in another city. It is proposed that Belfast will develop a site into a community garden and learning facility, where soil enhancement, food production and testing can be undertaken. Belfast City Council officers and Queens University of Belfast staff are working on the detail of the Belfast contribution and have identified a proposed primary site with the potential for linked satellite sites across the city and in the city centre. 


3.2       The preferred primary site is Lower Botanic Gardens, in the area between QUB PEC car park, and Ridgeway Street, bounded by Stranmillis Embankment (see image attached). The site has been selected due to the following: size requirement (5,000m2), proximity to partner assets (QUB), and proximity to a range of socio-economic stakeholders (QUB/UU students, minorities, Botanic Primary School, and neighbouring communities including Lower Ormeau, Ballynafeigh, and Holyland). The site facilitates vehicular access via Stranmillis Embankment and pedestrian access at Ridgeway Street. In addition, the site is in close proximity to BCC assets including the Bowling Pavilion and Botanic Gardens, with potential to utilise the project to enhance their use. Furthermore, this project is likely to support the ambitions of the local Friends of Botanic Gardens Group in developing this location.


3.3       The project will form a learning base with opportunities for digital testing of nature-based solutions, food production opportunities and educational programmes for schools, community, staff and university students.


3.4       While the focus is on the primary site at Botanic Gardens, we propose to examine the potential for satellite sites on BCC land across the city and in the city centre. This will support local community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a


Healthy Places - 'All the Colours' Initiative pdf icon PDF 276 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To bring members up to speed on the ‘All the Colours’ lamppost wrapping initiative that has been developed as a result of the work of the Healthy Places project led by Public Health Agency focussed on North Belfast.  As outlined within the body of the report both Government departments and local community organisations and residents have been involved in developing the project, however in order for it to progress the Department for Infrastructure have requested that Council must request permission/licence as a ‘competent authority’.  Thus, PHA has approached us for our support in taking this forward.


1.2       Council officers have since followed up with DfI for clarity who have explained their rationale as; ‘in order to ensure any artwork on the Department’s property has the full support of the local community, the only organisations we will consider granting permission to attach any materials to our property are local councils.  In this way we are able to ensure that local councillors, who are the best contacts within local communities to manage any concerns from residents who may object to the materials, are involved.’ 


1.3       Legal services have advised that whilst we can indicate our support for the project overall that Council shouldn’t take on the role of ‘competent authority’ as requested by DfI given that we have no function or responsibility in relation to lampposts – they are the property of, and are maintained by the Department.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·         Note the content of this report by way of update.

·         Discuss and decide whether they are supportive of the project.

·         Consider Council support for the project and, if so, request Council officers to go back to relevant partners (namely DfI, PHA and USI) informing them that Council is supportive of the project but cannot act as the competent authority (as requested by DfI) given that we are not responsible for street lampposts. 


3.0       Background


3.1       Bright Ideas is a programme developed through community engagement as part of the Healthy Places Project within the Ardoyne and Ballysillan areas of North Belfast. Healthy Places is a place based approach which aims to improve health, reduce inequalities and improved wellbeing and wider social outcomes (led by Public Health Agency, BCC is a partner in the initiative). 


            Despite being surrounded by large green spaces such as Clarendon Park and with great views of the surrounding hills, communities such as Ardoyne and Ballysillan often complain of a lack of access to green spaces. Whilst considerable investment has gone into improving active travel networks and development of parks, there remains a number of invisible barriers that prevent certain communities from feeling they belong in green spaces. There is an abundance of evidence to suggest that regular use of green spaces improves physical fitness and reduces depression, enhancing the health and wellbeing of people living and working in cities. Having more accessible, shared green spaces could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7b


Departmental Priorities during Covid Recovery - Verbal Update


            Both the Director of Neighbourhood and Director of City Services provided the Committee with a comprehensive overview of the Department’s priorities during the Covid pandemic and on the department’s areas of focus moving towards recovery.


            The Committee was advised that during the Covid Pandemic the City and Neighbourhood Services Department had remained central in the delivery of critical Council services, including bereavement services, waste collection, parks and street cleansing andlead on the development and implementation of the community response hub.  The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised that maintaining these services during the response period had required the Council to amend some working practices, this had included the re-deployment of some staff in order to ensure service delivery, some functions had moved to working from home and some had to be stood down with some staff having to be placed on the government’s Furlough scheme.


            The officer advised that, in line with the easing of restrictions from the Northern Ireland Executive, the Council was now working towards the recovery of its services.  As a result it had been necessary to refocus the department’s priorities to enable officers to adequately resource the required work. 


            The Committee was advised that during the period of recovery the department priority areas of focus for the City and Neighbourhood Services Department were as follows:


·         maintaining the delivery of the key critical services – bereavement services, waste management, parks and street cleansing and Community (Area) support;

·         returning services to a new normal – which would include the creation of secure working environments in line with health and safety requirements and also taking into consideration the overall financial position of the Council;

·         Brexit – temporary staff (externally funded) to be recruited to ensure the delivery of official controls on imported foods that might be required under the NI Protocol from 1st January 2020.  These staff will be essential to meet the Council and UK Government’s legal responsibilities under the NI protocol, domestic and EU legislation;

·         Community Recovery – building on the foundation of community response activity with the Council’s community partners, the focus would involve engaging with communities, along with city partners on a co-design and inclusive process to develop area recovery priorities, build capacity and align resources and to maximise outcomes, and to improve community support infrastructure, community wealth and assets;

·         Implementation of Open Space and Street Service – to continue to implement this service structure, as agreed pre Covid, to ensure stable area teams in the management of Council parks and open spaces and public streets in a more collaborative way;

·         Supporting Governance – to ensure that decision making continued to be facilitated through the relevant committees and working groups; and

·         Planning for a potential second wave.


            A Member commended the hard work and dedication of all officers shown over the pandemic and requested that senior officers would e-mail or communicate via other internal communication mechanisms with all staff from the City and Neighbourhood Services Department thanking them for their hard work and contribution in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7c


Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Cherryvale Playing Fields - Councillor de Faoite


The Member referred to the ongoing work at Cherryvale Playing Fields in respect of the update of the carpark, the removal of the one-way system and the possible addition of a second pedestrian entrance.


            Following consideration, the Committee:

  • agreed that a site visit would be undertaken to the location in order to enable the Members and officers to better acquaint themselves with the various user groups issues within the context of the park;
  • noted that consultation was due to commence in respect of establishing an additional pedestrian entrance but that no funding had been secured for the proposal; and

·         noted the ongoing implementation of the area allocations of parks and open spaces and agreed that Officers would seek further detail on any issues and, if necessary, seek advice and guidance from the Council’s Human Resources Section.



Cemeteries Opening Times - Alderman Rodgers


            The Member commended and thanked all the Council’s cemetery staff for their hard work and dedication in maintaining the service during the Covid pandemic.


            He also suggested to officers that the Council should look at implementing a rolling maintenance programme throughout the city’s cemeteries as many of them were falling into a state of disrepair.


            The Committee noted the current financial pressures that the Council faced and noted the suggestion.



Alleyway Transformation - Councillor Kelly


Following a request from the Member it was agreed that, following the success of initiatives such as Wildflower Alley and similar projects across the city, that the Committee would write the Department for Communities, Department of Justice and Department for Infrastructure with a view to co-ordinating support and assistance for residents and groups who would like to transform and regenerate communal and open spaces throughout the city.



Pest Control Issues - Councillor Kelly


The Member outlined the difficulties that home owners were experiencing with pest control issues and sought clarity as to when domestic house calls might be able to resume. 


            The Committee was updated by the Director of City Services  that, in line with the Council’s health and safety responsibilities and creating COVID secure working environments and services, household pest control visits, were still unable to take place but that advice was being given to constituents via the telephone and sewer baiting had resumed to support communities.  It was further noted that an update on organisational recovery and the reintroduction of services would be considered corporately by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.



Future use of former Horticultural Training Site - Councillor Garrett


            In response to a suggestion from the Member that the former Horticultural Training Site at Groveland’s/Musgrave Park could potentially be regenerated and used for community outreach programmes, it was agreed that this would be considered further within the context of the Council’s Open Spaces Strategy action plan development and further agreed that a site visit would be arranged in due course.



Odour Colin Area - Councillor Baker


            In response to the Member’s request, the Committee agreed to write to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) reiterating the need for it to further investigate and address the bad odour that members of the public who lived in the Colin area, around Dunmurry, Twinbrook and Lagmore had been subjected to for a number of years.