Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




            An apology was reported from Councillor Verner.





            The Committee was asked to note that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee of 5th December had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 8th January, subject to the amendment under the heading Proposal for Dual Language Street Signs, the Council agreed that the minute be amended to reflect that a Dual Language Street sign would be erected at Knock Eden Park and that a resurveyof the street would not be carried out.


            The minutes of the meeting of 5th December were taken as read and signed as correct, subject to the amendment.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillors Canavan and M. Donnelly declared an interest in Agenda Item 3 (a) Correspondence from Belfast Advice Group in that they were associated with an organisation which was in receipt of funding and left the meeting whilst the item was under consideration.



Item Withdrawn from Agenda


            The Committee noted that agenda item 5 (a) Article 4 and 5 of Waste and Contamination Land (NI) Order had been withdrawn from the agenda. 





Presentation from A Playful City on its initiative Playful Streets


            The Chairperson welcomed to Mr. A. Copeland and Ms. N. Ni Bhriain, representing A Playful City, to the meeting.


            Mr. Copeland commenced by advising that A Playful City was a not-for-profit organisation focused on engaging communities to create more inclusive, healthy and playful public places. He stated that its aim was to focus on facilitating as many voices as possible through a phased process to design public space for local community.  He highlighted that, as recently as one or two generations ago, it was part of the fabric of urban neighbourhoods to be playing in the street but, as dangers had increased, recent research demonstrated that a child's 'radius of activity' was usually quite close to parents or caregivers until the child was in the region of 9 years of age.


            The representative advised that a Playful Street was a resident-led, low cost and easy way to create play spaces close to home by reducing or removing traffic temporarily.  It was about opening streets for children to play out on their streets, whilst also giving the opportunity for neighbours to get to know each other though meeting on their streets.  Its aim was to create a safe space for children to play outside their homes and for that community to come together.


            The representative advised the Members that, in order to normalise street play for children, local authorities and public bodies needed to further explore how they could provide support to communities who wished to run Playful Streets and he specifically drew reference to the pilot run by Fingal County Council and the learning that could be taken from this pilot.


            The representative concluded the presentation by sharing a drone shot of the Fingal pilot and also a video animation of the Playful Street Report, a copy of which was subsequently e-mailed to all Members of the Committee. More information on A Playful City was available via its website here


            Several of the Members welcomed the informative presentation and stated that they would be keen to hear more about the Fingal pilot.  It was acknowledged that Belfast City Council’s situation was slightly different to Fingal County Council’s in that Belfast did not have the powers to close streets as this was the responsibility of the Department for Infrastructure, however, Members were keen to explore the learning that could be taken from it and requested that Sustrans also be invited to attend. 


            The Committee noted the presentation and agreed to invite representatives from Fingal County Council and Sustrans to a future meeting to further explore the Playful City Street Initiative and to hear more about its pilot scheme.





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following two 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 meeting during discussion of the following two items as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


            The Members were advised that content of ‘restricted’ reports and any discussion which takes place during closed session must be treated as ‘confidential information’ and no such information should be disclosed to the public as per Paragraph 4.15 of the Code of Conduct.  



Correspondence from Belfast Advice Group

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report which detailed that correspondence had been received from the Belfast Advice Group (BAG) seeking additional funding for generalist advice along with several other requests.


            It was noted that officers would be undertaking a review of the funding request with a view to obtaining a more detailed breakdown.


            The Committee agreed that it would be useful for BAG to attend the February meeting of Committee to provide an overview of its work and to consider further the request.



Crescent Park Gates

Additional documents:


The Committee was reminded that, at it’s meeting on 15th January 2023, the Members had heard deputations from representatives of the Friends of The Crescent (FoTC) and a delegation from those opposing the proposal to gate the park.  At this stage, the Committee had agreed to defer the decision to enable wider consultation to be undertaken with the various stakeholders.


            The Members were advised that, following the last meeting, Council officers had met with the FoTC and a group called the Crescent Park Preservation Collective (CPPC).  The Council had also liaised with the PSNI and sought its views on the proposal. The Neighbourhood Services Manager then drew the Members’ attention to written submissions that had been received from each of the stakeholders which had been attached as appendices to the report. 



            The Committee was advised that a late request had been made by representatives from the CPPC seeking to address tonight’s meeting of the Committee to outline their opposition to the gating of the park.  The Members declined to accede to the request, given that representations had already been made to the Committee in January 2023 and that the group, like the other stakeholders, had submitted a written submission which clearly outlined their position.


            The Members were also informed of correspondence received earlier in the day in relation to a possible public right of way through this public space.  The Members were informed that should they decide to agree the gating proposal that it would be subject to this matter being resolved.


            The Committee noted the estimated financial cost to the Council for the erection of the gates would be in the region of £60,000 and that the FoTC were willing to contribute £25,000 to the total costs of design, production and installation.  The Council would be required to contribute to the remainder of the installation costs, agree to adopt and maintain the gates and add the daily opening and closing of the gates to their existing schedule for other parks and open spaces in the same Council area.


            Following consideration of the report it was:


            Moved by Councillor Murray,

            Seconded by Councillor McAteer,


      That given the amount of work undertaken to try and revitalise the area, the Committee agrees to proceed with the erection of gates at Crescent Park.




Moved by Councillor Flynn,

Seconded by Councillor de Faoite,


      That the Committee agrees not to erect the gates at Crescent Park but instead to redirect the Council element of funding to animate and revitalise the area to help tackle the anti-social behaviour issues.


            On a vote, 3 Members voted for the amendment and 15 against and it was declared lost.


            The Committee then voted on the original proposal, in the name of Councillor Murray, to proceed with the erection gates at Crescent Park


            On a vote, 15 Members voted for the amendment and 3 against and it was declared carried.


            The Committee further agreed that a report be submitted to a future meeting that would detail  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5b


Committee/Strategic Issues


Community Support Plan and Review of Funding pdf icon PDF 515 KB


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1            The main purpose of this report is;


·        To seek approval for officers to produce a Council Community Support Plan (25/28) and commission external support to complete this.

·        To seek approval for a review of the current community development large grants schemes and commission external support to complete this.


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       Members are asked to:


·        Approve that officers produce a Council Community Support Plan (25/28) and commission necessary external support to complete this.


·        Approve that officers undertake a review of current community development large grants schemes and commission necessary external support to complete this.


3..0      Main Report


            Background information


            Community Support Plan


3.1       Members will recall that Council provides a range of community development grants and funding to support the community/voluntary sector across the city. This funding comes directly from Council and Department for Communities (DfC) via the Community Support Programme (CSP) which is provided to all council areas.  This year, the CSP is contributing  over £2.2m towards Advice Funding, Capacity Building, Revenue for Community Buildings, Social Supermarket and Summer Scheme funding programmes.


3.2       The CSP Letter of Offer includes a requirement for Council to provide DfC with a 3-Year Community Support Plan.  This plan sets out how we promote community development and support service provision within communities. The plan must be aligned with the CSP outcomes and our Community Plan, the Belfast Agenda.


3.3       Council’s last Community Support Plan was completed in 2014. Since the introduction of community planning, Council has used  the Belfast Agenda to articulate its priorities and commitments in terms of community support and this approach has been followed by most other council areas. However, there are a number of factors which provide the rationale for developing a current Community Support Plan which further articulates detail on Council’s priorities in terms of community support. 


3.4       These factors include;


·        Publication of refreshed Belfast Agenda which contains a number of high level commitments in relation Community and Neighbourhood Regeneration, Health Inequalities, Children and Young People and Older People.


·        Impacts of both Covid and Cost of Living pressures which need to be considered and reflected in a detailed Community Support Plan.


·        Need to review and articulate Council’s position in terms of its community support priorities as these will inform resources required, including funding priorities and approaches.

·        Ongoing DfC reviews of People and Place (Neighbourhood Renewal), Support for Community/Voluntary sector and Advice Services which are scheduled for implementation in 2025. It is likely that these will have a significant impact on the funding environment within Belfast and Council needs to consider its priorities in advance, so that it can respond to these changes and any requests for support that may emerge.


3.5       Review of Capacity Building and Revenue Grants


            Council provides funding to support the development of the community/voluntary sector in Belfast. The two large multi annual grants which support this activity are capacity and revenue (for community buildings).The objectives/outcomes and operation of these grants have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a


Schools Air Quality Monitoring pdf icon PDF 737 KB


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       The Committee will be aware that the Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2026 contains an action proposed by Sustrans and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in respect of ‘School Streets’. A ‘School Street’ is a road or street outside of a school where a temporary restriction on motorised traffic is applied at am ‘drop-off’ and pm ‘pick-up’ times during the school day.  


1.2       Ambient air quality monitoring in the vicinity of schools for typical road transport related pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) may provide heath-based evidence and numerical data to help inform the identification and designation of School Streets by the Department for Infrastructure and Sustrans. Sustrans have indicated that gathering data from air quality monitors could help make the case stronger for where we need to tackle air pollution and target schools for interventions such as a School Streets pilot.


1.3       Accordingly, this report serves to provide a monitoring proposal for a range of Belfast primary schools in order to characterise local transport related ambient air pollution affecting school users. The monitoring data will be provided to DfI, Sustrans and where requested to the respective schools to help inform the identification and designation of School Streets. 


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       The Committee is invited to note the contents of this School’s Streets’ Air Quality Monitoring Report and to agree that the council’s ambient monitoring contribution to the Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2026 School Streets project be implemented in the manner proposed. 


3.0       Main Report


3.1       The Committee will be aware that the Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2026 contains an action at measure 22, traffic management, proposed by Sustrans and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) in respect of ‘School Streets’. A School Street is a road or street outside of a school where a temporary restriction on motorised traffic is applied at am ‘drop-off’ and pm ‘pick-up’ times during the school day, resulting in a safer and environmentally improved local environment. The restriction is typically applied to both school and through traffic.


3.2       By way of example, it is noted that DfI, at the Ravenhill Road, in addition to having designated the Ravenhill Road as an urban clearway from 08:00 – 09:30 and 16:30 – 18:00 (Monday to Friday), have imposed a 20 mph signalised speed limit around a school entrance and have posted signs restricting stopping on the school’s entrance markings from 08:30 – 09:15 and from 14:30 – 15:30 (Monday to Friday) in order to improve safety and the local environment.     


3.3       Moreover, the Committee is advised that a ‘Notice of Motion’ in respect of School Streets was considered at the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee meeting of 20th January 2023, whereupon the Committee agreed, ‘in the first instance, that the Council would write to the Department for Infrastructure requesting it to bring forward a School Streets  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6b


Unadopted Alleyways Workshop pdf icon PDF 331 KB


The Committee was reminded that, at its November 2023 meeting, it had agreed that a special meeting of the Committee would be convened to consider the vesting of unadopted alleyways.  Council officers had since met with the Chairperson and Councillor R. Brooks who had suggested the special meeting and it was now felt that, given the proposed number of outside stakeholders involved, a workshop would be a better, more informal approach at this stage.


            The Members were then asked to consider and review the following list of proposed attendees:


·        Department for Communities;

·        Department for Infrastructure;

·        Northern Ireland Housing Executive;

·        Radius Housing;

·        Choice Housing;

·        Department for Justice; and

·        Connswater Homes.


            The Committee agreed that the proposed special Committee meeting be changed to a Workshop to be held on 26th February and agreed the proposed list of attendees as detailed.



Operational Issues pdf icon PDF 386 KB


Request for Community Garden at Lower Botanic pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report which sought approval for the use of part of Lower Botanic Gardens by Friends of the Field for a new agroecology community garden as part of the Horizon 2020 UPSURGE project.


            The Members were advised that the UPSURGE Project was a Horizon 2020 research collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast that involved five cities across Europe aiming to test nature-based solutions for climate action. The aim of the project, which would run until August 2025, was to develop a climate demonstrator site at Lower Botanic Gardens to test different nature-based solutions and support learning on how adaptive practices in the use and management of green spaces could support pollution alleviation, citizen health, and climate resilience. The project would help the Council to deliver on the Belfast Resilience Strategy which aimed to transition the city to an inclusive net-zero emissions, climate resilient economy in a generation.


            As part of the development of the demonstrator project, an agroecology community garden was being developed on site which would test, among other things, how community growing spaces were developed and contribute towards climate action. The Climate Team had been working with a range of stakeholders since 2022 to codesign the spaces and develop relationships with interested groups and organisations. As part of this, Friends of the Field and Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens were two groups that had been engaging with the Council and helping shape the plans on site.


            A request had been received from Friends of the Field to enter into an agreement with Belfast City Council for the establishment of the community garden at Lower Botanic to act as a hub for sustainable practices, innovative garden-based learning, environmental conservation and fostering community engagement.


            The Committee was advised that Friends of the Field, as part of the project, would manage a volunteer-run community garden guided by the principles of permaculture and environmental sustainability. The garden would serve as a valuable resource for the community, promoting healthy eating habits, physical activity, and environmental stewardship.


            The Members noted that the project aligned with the objectives of the EU funded UPSURGE project and that the community garden would serve three core purposes:


1.     Growing, teaching and learning;

2.     Enhancing community development and climate resilience; and

3.     Improving the environment and biodiversity.


            The group had committed to developing the gardens and believed it had the necessary experience in project management, horticulture and fundraising to ensure the garden’s operational success.


            The Members were advised that the area requested by Friends of the Field was an area of fenced ground to the northern end of the site, encompassing 1,626 m2. The group was requesting initially that the agreement would run for one year, with the option to renew.  Friends of the Field had been successful in securing funding to run community gardening activities on the site, with the main infrastructure associated with the gardens funded via existing UPSURGE budget.


            The Committee approved, in principle, the use of part of Lower Botanic Gardens as an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a


Hubbub Recycling on the Go pilot update pdf icon PDF 613 KB


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       At it’s February 2023 meeting, Committee approved the request from Hububb for Belfast to take part in a trial recycling on-the-go campaign and noted that a report would be taken back to committee following the pilot.  This report provides members with an update on the pilot.


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       Members are asked to note the content of the report and the planned next steps.


3.0       Main Report


            Campaign Overview 


3.1       BCC worked with environmental charity Hubbub, funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation, to introduce effective recycling on-the-go in Belfast city centre. The campaign introduced 25 new dual litter and recycling bins to the city centre and to four parks in the different areas of the city Falls Park, Victoria Park, Waterworks and the Botanic Gardens. See Appendix one.


3.2       Based on Hubbub’s approach to recycling on-the-go the campaign focused on making the bins easier and simpler to use and collecting plastic bottles and cans as the primary target materials.  The bins have just two options, one for litter and one for plastic bottles and cans. This is in contrast to the previous bins, which had four compartments (litter, plastic, paper and metal separately). 


            Activities and communications 


3.3        The project launched on July 27th and was featured in the Belfast Telegraph, Belfast Live and Belfast Media.  (See Appendix 2)  On-the-ground promotion included:  


·        In-person by the CNS Environmental Education and awareness team, who attended events during the summer to engage with the public 

·        The Singing Street Sweepers’ were present in the city centre and sang recycling-inspired songs 

·        The BIDs and other local business stakeholders were informed of the campaign. 

·        Additional vinyl stickers added to the lids of the bins to reinforce the target materials. (See Appendix 3)


            Online and print promotion included:  


·        A feature in City Matters, with a question to engage residents on the specific issue that coffee cups cannot be recycled. This received over 400 entries.  

·        Hubbub led a targeted, paid, social media campaign 

·        An online quiz to educate the public about recycling with the opportunity to win a Belfast City gift card. The quiz was viewed 1,150 times, and completed by 252 people. 

·        The council promoted the campaign through their channels, with the most popular post being the Singing Street Sweepers, with content receiving 204 likes on Instagram and Facebook. 

·        In total, across the council and Hubbub activity, the social media posts reached 138,690 people, with engagement of 2064.  


            Campaign Impact 


3.4       The campaign was assessed by collecting public feedback, feedback from the street cleansing teams, and an external waste audit. The post-campaign survey is ongoing but early results have recorded that: 


·        47.8% of people had seen the new bins 

·        63% of people agreeing that ‘it’s clear what can be recycled in them’ 

·        78% of people agreeing they are more noticeable than the old bins.  

·        58.7% satisfied or very satisfied with recycling on street in Belfast 


3.5       A number of people left comments expressing their interest  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7b


Bird Strike Management at George Best Belfast City Airport pdf icon PDF 152 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee was advised that the control of birds in the flight path to the George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) 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, the airport was required to identify sources of risk and to reduce and maintain risk to an acceptable level in compliance with the Civil Aviation Authority licensing requirements. 


            The Committee was reminded that, at its December 2022 meeting, permission had been granted for a similar request. The GBBCA had subsequently reported that the rook management undertaken during January 2023 had shown a further reduction in nesting rooks the following spring.


            The Members were advised that the airport had again identified the need to continue the current management to reduce and discourage rooks from re-laying in the areas used in the previous year.  The proposed works would include the removal of old rook nests and any necessary structural pruning of preferred nesting trees, along with the reduction of shelter provided by ivy.  As in previous years, GBBCA would appoint a suitable contractor with experience to carry out the required work. 


            A Member noted the need for the required works from a health and safety perspective but requested that the Council write to the GBBCA to seek clarity as to whether it sought to reduce and manage the rooks at Victoria Park or to totally eradicate them, as he would be uncomfortable if this was their long-term intent. 




            The Committee:


·        agreed to the request from George Best Belfast City Airport to permit access under licence to Victoria Park to facilitate rookery management, in particular, the removal of old rook nests and nest site discouragement during January 2024;


·        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, and the required NIEA licence and consents were in place;


·        agreed that, as the works need to be completed by the end of January, any licence would be progressed under the Strategic Director’s delegated authority. If agreed, the licence would permit works to commence in mid-January and end on the 31st of January 2024 (subject to the terms and conditions); and


·        the Committee agreed to write to George Belfast City Airport asking it to clarify if it was seeking to reduce and manage the number of rooks at Victoria Park or to ultimately eradicate them from the area.



Health and Safety Executive Partnership Liaison Role pdf icon PDF 322 KB


The Committee considered a report which sought the continued support from Belfast City Council for a 2-year extension to the current contract for the Health and Safety Partnership Liaison Officer (PLO) post, until the end of the 2025/2026 financial year.


            The Director of City Services explained that the role had originally been created in 2010 and continued to be hosted by Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council.  The aim of the role was to ensure the effective partnership working relationships and operational delivery of the joint Health and Safety strategy between the local authorities across Northern Ireland and the HSENI.


            In order to ensure continuity of the post beyond March 2024, and to facilitate retention of the current postholder, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council had asked the other funding partners to confirm their ongoing support. The Members were advised that Belfast City Council’s contribution to the funding of this post would be approximately £6,000 per annum and the Director confirmed that that had been included within the budget allocation.


            The Committee approved the continued contribution to the joint partner funding for the Health and Safety Partner liaison Officer post until the end of the 2025/2026 financial year.



Dual Language Street Signage pdf icon PDF 461 KB


The Committee agreed to the erection of a second street nameplate in Irish at, Mount Eagles Glen, Emersons Lane, Dunblane Avenue, Floral Gardens, Cardigan Drive, Thornberry Road and Mill Valley Road.



Proposal for naming new streets pdf icon PDF 340 KB


The Committee approved the applications for the naming of three new streets in the city, namely:


Proposed Name             



Black Ridge Gardens

Off Monagh By Pass, BT11

Apex Housing Association

Black Ridge Way

Off Monagh By Pass, BT11

Apex Housing Association

Black Ridge Heights

Off Monagh By Pass, BT11

Apex Housing Association