Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room (Room G05), City Hall

Contact: Barry Flynn  028 9027 0610

No. Item




            An apology for inability to attend was reported from Councillor Kyle.




            The minutes of the meeting of 13th September were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st October, subject to the omission of the minute under the heading “Laganscape Partnership Scheme Project” which, at the request of Alderman Ekin, had been taken back to the Committee for further consideration.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillor Mullan declared an interest in Item 3 viz., Windsor Park National Stadium Project.



Laganscape Partnership Scheme Project pdf icon PDF 76 KB


            The Committee considered further the minute of the meeting of 13th September.  An extract of the minute in that regard is set out hereunder:


      The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1       Relevant Background Information


         The purpose of this report is to update Members in respect of the Laganscape Partnership Scheme Project (LPSP) and seek Members approval to allocate human and financial resources in order to complete Council’s programme of activities within the scheme and fulfil its requirement to the programme.

         LPSP is managed by Lagan Valley Regional Park (LVRP) which is a partnership between the Council, Castlereagh Borough Council, Lisburn City Council, Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Historically the Council has provided funding to support LVRP over a number of years and, during this time the Council has benefitted from the positive impact of the work of LVRP.


         In 2006 LVRP submitted a funding application to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), seeking funding in respect of the LPSP. The aim of the LPSP was to implement and manage a programme which included the following elements:


·          interpretation development

·          species survey and conservation

·          habitat management and enhancement

·          volunteer and community participation and

·          built heritage and urban improvements.


         In June 2007 LVRP received a letter of offer from HLF confirming that its funding application had been successful and a grant in the sum of £1,617,000, which represented 71% of the total eligible project costs, had been approved.


         On 24 August 2007 Council signed a partnership agreement consenting to delivery of the LPSP in accordance with the LVRP funding application to HLF and the letter of offer issued by HLF. A copy of the partnership agreement is attached as Appendix 2.


         The project was to be delivered over a five year period commencing in 2007 with capital projects being delivered in year 1 and projects aimed at engaging users, community groups and schools delivered throughout the duration of the project. A list of the project partners together with their contribution to the project is attached as Appendix 3.


         In 2007 the Council agreed to invest an in kind contribution to the project in the sum of £50,000 under the theme of habitat management and enhancement, in particular grassland and wetland management within Council sites.



         Council’s Corporate Plan identifies the importance of caring for Belfast’s environment by creating a clean, green city now and for the future. The Parks and Leisure Departmental Plan supports the Council’s objectives under the themes of environment and people and communities by maintaining, developing and protecting  parks and open spaces as well as engaging with local people to create a wide range of community programmes. By participating in the LPSP, Parks and Leisure Department endorsed these aims and objectives through delivery of its programme themes under habitat management and enhancement.


2       Key Issues


         To date Council has evidenced £4,554 of ‘in kind’ contribution to the project and it is estimated that a further £2,500 in respect of works is in the process of being submitted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Windsor Park National Stadium Project pdf icon PDF 62 KB


            The Committee was reminded that the Irish Football Association was seeking views on its Stadium Project.  The proposed development involved the upgrading of the existing stadium to provide an 18,000 seated capacity National Football Stadium.  In this regard, the Democratic Services Officer reported that correspondence had been received from Mr. G. Wilson, Head of Marketing and Communications, Irish Football Association, inviting Members of the Council to meet with the Stadium Design Team at the organisation’s Windsor Avenue headquarters in order to present the project proposals and gain feedback thereon.  Accordingly, the Director recommended that, due to the impact which the development would have on the City, the Committee accept the invitation from the Irish Football Association and that all Members of the Council be invited to attend.


            The Committee adopted the recommendation.



Support for Sport - Individual Grant and Hospitality Applications pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee noted a schedule of Support for Sport applications in relation to hospitality which had been approved by the Director of Parks and Leisure in accordance with the authority delegated to him.  In addition, the Committee approved also the recommendations for the award of individual grants as outlined below and granted delegated authority to the Director to deal with future applications for individual grants.  The Director undertook to submit to a future meeting a report in relation to the allocation of funding in respect of the various areas of the City:





Cathy McLean



Fionnuala Toner



Oonagh McCullough



Louise McKeown



Cheryl Wilson









Marie Toner



Niamh Cooper



Frances Campbell



Noleen Lennon



Caroline O'Hanlon



Hannah Irvine



Lisa McCaffrey



Thomas Abraham



Emma McGuigan



Jenny Drennan



Michael Watt Kane



Joshua McVeigh



Daniel Mayhew



Peter Hawkins



David McCann



Ellie McVeigh



Edward McGinley



Emma Jane Sharkey



Paul Pollock



Gladys Ganiel



James Reid







Title of event


St. Paul's GAC

Northern Bank Ulster Minor Club Football Tournament 2012

Do Not Recommend.    Event does not meet the 50+ criteria from outside NI

Belfast Harlequins RFC

5 All-Ireland league events during 2012/13 season

Do Not Recommend.    Event does not meet the 50+ criteria from outside NI

Total Allocated to date: £23,195

Total Allocated October 2012: £0



Update on the Development of a Boxing Strategy pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.Relevant Background Information


      Members will be aware that we are currently developing a boxing strategy for the city in partnership with Co Antrim Boxing, Ulster Boxing Council (UBC), Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA).


      The Committee agreed the proposed approach at its meeting in March 2012 and since then the steering group has been established and has met on four occasions.


      The first stage of the process was the undertaking of a baseline assessment and the key findings from this was brought to the Committee meeting in June 2012.


2.   Key Issues


      The steering committee have now produced a draft Boxing Strategy for Belfast 2012-22. The strategy includes an examination of the strategic context and an analysis of several pieces of work that have been undertaken to assess the need within boxing.  This includes a survey of clubs undertaken by UBC around facilities and the baseline assessment undertaken as part of this process.  This provided us with information on a range of issues including membership, coaches and volunteers, governance structures, funding, facilities and equipment.


      We have used this information to identify need across the city and common issues that are facing boxing clubs.  These include:


·     Many clubs have facilities that are not fit for purpose and are not large enough for them to expand their membership.

·     Although there is a growing interest in female boxing the majority of clubs do not have female changing facilities and therefore cannot expand female membership.

·     Although the majority of coaches do have formal coaching qualifications a programme of coach development is required.  This will create a high standard of coaching in the future which is necessary if boxing is to continue to enjoy success at international competition level.

·     Boxing clubs do not have paid staff and depend on volunteers. The standard of training for volunteers varies greatly across clubs and some clubs have difficulty recruiting new volunteers.

·     Governance and management varies across clubs and work is needed to ensure a high level of governance and management across all clubs.

·     Not all clubs have a club development plan.  There is interest among clubs in working towards Clubmark which will require them to have a current and active plan.

·     The majority of clubs are based in areas of social deprivation and operate on very small annual budgets.  They would benefit with help to source funding.


      Action Plans


      Based on the assessment of need and the issues identified, actions plans were developed around four strands:


·     Pathways (boxers, coaches and officials)

·     Coach education and development

·     Club support and development

·     Governance 


      These vary from the strands that were originally stated within the proposed approach to the development of this strategy, which were (management/governance, sports development and capital investment).  However these are the strategic challenges that are used in the IABA’s strategic plan and are used by both UBC and Co Antrim Boxing in their plans and for this reason we are suggesting using them to ensure alignment.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Castle Catering Contract


            The Committee considered a report in relation to the existing catering contract with Castle Catering in respect of the Malone House and the Belfast Castle.


            After discussion, the Committee agreed to terminate the contract with the company, subject to an interim arrangement for a maximum of one year being negotiated by the Director of Parks and Leisure.  This interim arrangement would be for the shortest time possible and would be reviewed on a quarterly basis.  In addition, the Committee granted authority to initiate a tendering exercise in relation to the provision of catering services at both venues and noted that the tenders would be evaluated against criteria based on both cost and quality and that, in accordance with the authority delegated to him, the Director would accept the most economically advantageous tender submitted.



Avoniel Leisure Centre - Swimming Pool pdf icon PDF 94 KB


            The Director reported that the swimming pool at the Avoniel Leisure Centre had been losing water for a number of years but that this had been carefully managed by staff at the centre.  However, during August, the leakage had escalated and the Council’s Facilities Management Unit had recommended that the bottom area of the pool be drained and excavation works carried out to ascertain the extent of the problem.  Accordingly, the pool had been closed on 20th August and all staff and customers notified.  He explained that exploratory works had been undertaken but that the main source of the leak had not yet been discovered and investigations were ongoing.  The next phase of the repair works was then outlined to the Members and, based on the current difficulties which had been uncovered, the Facilities Management Unit anticipated that the pool could remain closed until at least the end of March, 2013.


            The Committee noted that a report in respect of the cost of repairs would be submitted to a future meeting and that the Department was consulting users to ascertain whether additional classes and activities could be temporarily put in place.  In addition, the Committee agreed that monthly update reports in relation to the closure of the facility be submitted.



Community Capital Programme - Relationship with Sport Northern Ireland pdf icon PDF 126 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1  Relevant Background Information


      The Committee will recall that it has, between December 2010 and August 2012, received a series of reports regarding the Community Capital Programme which is a funding scheme administered by Sport NI.  The programme was targeted at small groups, clubs and organisations and was encouraged them to apply for funding of up to a maximum grant of £245,000 for projects which would encourage greater participation.  Council’s and other public authorities were ineligible to apply. 

      A report was presented to Committee in December 2010 regarding several requests from sporting clubs / groups who had applied to Sport NI for the funding.  The Committee was initially informed that there had been 4 applications in respect of Council land; these were Marrowbone millennium Park; Mountain Bike Trail at Barnett’s Demesne; Hammer Open Space and North Queen Street Playground. The North Queen Street Playground Application was subsequently not progressed by Sport NI. A subsequent report was brought in January 2011, this set out some further details and asked the committee to support the projects in principle subject to further discussions. 


      Sport NI dealt directly with the applicants and during the process of assessing their applications provided them with key milestones at which they would assess their state of readiness to deliver the schemes for which they had applied for funding.


      In August 2011 a report to Committee highlighted that Sport NI had three main issues that it needed addressed to enable them to assess the applicants state of readiness, these were:


1.     Security of tenure;

2.     Short fall funding; and

3.     Planning approval was required (if necessary)


      At this time the applicants asked the Council to assist them with the security of tenure of the sites in question.  The remaining issues relating planning consent, design, funding etc were matters for the applicants to address.  The Committee agreed at the time to enter into an appropriate legal agreement with the sporting clubs and groups to enable them to draw down the funding providing the issues regarding statutory approvals and funding were addressed. 


      Following representation on behalf of some of the applicants, a report was brought to the November 2012 meeting of the Committee and subsequently to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee. It was agreed that a total of £375,000 would be set aside to provide financial support to the three applicants to enable them to meet some or all of the short fall in the funding. 


      In the interim Council Officers continued to meet with the applicants and Sport NI as necessary to address the issue around security of tenure.  The outcome of this was that the council entered into lease arrangements in respect of the Hammer Open Space and the Marrowbone Millennium Park and a management agreement in respect of the Mountain Bike Trail at Barnett’s Demesne.  In addition, Sport NI required a Deed of Dedication which tied the Council to the asset and the facility in the event that the applicant was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Pitches Strategy pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


            (Mr. S. Walker, Departmental Portfolio Programme Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee received a report and a presentation in relation to the progress which had been achieved in respect of the delivery of the physical element of the Council’s Pitches Strategy. 


            The Committee noted the revisions to the site locations and the planning for delivery of the capital build projects.



Scale of Charges for Parks and Leisure Services 2013/2014 pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Additional documents:


            (Ms. J. Wilson, Business Support Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee agreed to defer consideration of a report on the Scale of Charges for the 2013/2014 financial year to enable it to be considered at its meeting scheduled to be held on 15th November.



Procurement of Supplies and Services pdf icon PDF 119 KB


            The Director of Parks and Leisure sought and was granted authority to instigate tendering exercises in relation to the undernoted items:



Potential Annual Costs/Revenue

Supply and Installation of Hanging Baskets

£24,000 per year


Control of Invasive Species in various

parks locations


£33,000 per year


Supply and Delivery of Bedding Plants for various parks locations


£80,000 per year

Supply and Delivery of Animal Feed to

the Belfast Zoo


£30,000 per year

Provision of a Catering Franchise at

the Belfast Zoo


£50,000 revenue

per year

Supply and Delivery of Frozen Fish at

the Belfast Zoo


£28,000 per year

Supply, Delivery and Installation of Signage

for various Parks and Leisure sites


£16,000 per year

Provision of Children’s Entertainment as part of the Departmental Events Programme


£30,000 per year

Provision of a Catering Service at the

Stables Coffee Shop at the Sir Thomas and

Lady Dixon Park


£12,000 revenue

per year

Supply and Delivery of Play Equipment for various playground locations

£400,000 per year


            The Committee noted that all tenders would be evaluated on both cost and quality and that contracts would be awarded by the Director, in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation, for a period of three years, to the most economically advantageous tenders submitted.



Bereavement Administration pdf icon PDF 68 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1  Relevant Background Information


      In March 2010 the Parks and Leisure committee approved the recommendations of the review of Bereavement Services administration which examined the working patterns of the cemetery clerks and other Bereavement administration staff with regard to stabilising the unit, making it more fit for purpose, clarifying the roles of the cemetery clerks and delivering a more customer focused service in relation to cover at lunchtimes and on Saturdays.


2    Key Issues


      The recommendations of the review have now been implemented for over two years and overall have been successful in providing a high level of service to the bereaved and provided adequate cover for the service over the four sites.


      Currently three of the part time posts are vacant (one in Dundonald and two at the City Cemetery) and management have taken the opportunity to review the current gaps in cover within the service especially within City Hall, City Cemetery and Roselawn


      The requirements of each site have been assessed and currently administrative cover is provided at Dundonald Cemetery Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm and Saturday 8.30am-12.30pm i.e. 37 hours per week.  There were 148 burials at Dundonald Cemetery for 2011 and 80% of these took place between 10am and 2pm.


      It is therefore proposed that administrative cover for Dundonald is provided Monday to Friday from 10am – 2pm and from Saturday 9.30am to 12.30pm.  This will free up 18 hours per week to be reallocated to provide support at the busier sites i.e. City and Roselawn.  It is also proposed that burials will be facilitated at Dundonald during these hours and administrative support will be on site for funerals. 


      The Cemeteries and Crematorium Manager and the Manager of Bereavement Administration have been consulted in relation to this proposal to ensure the needs of the bereaved have been fully provided.  In relation to Customer queries at the site it will still be facilitated via staff at City Hall when there is no administrative cover at the site


      Management are looking at arrangements on the site for dealing with Customers queries that cannot be resolved by the operational staff at the site. For example a direct-line available for customer use as well as notices stating the central administration phone line for the City Hall or the mobile number of the Community Park Supervisor for the site or the Cemeteries/Crematorium Manager.



3    Resource Implications




      There are no financial implication of this report however this proposal will free up 18 hours which can be used alongside the vacant posts to reschedule the working patterns to provide the cover required at all 4 sites.


      Human Resources


      The Business Manager will continue to consult with those staff affected by this proposed change in working patterns. The proposal will be implemented in accordance with all HR policies and procedures and the operation of the new arrangement reviewed within the year.


4    Recommendations


      The Committee is asked to agree to the proposal that:


·     Administrative  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Falls Park and City Cemetery Master Plan pdf icon PDF 75 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1  Relevant Background Information


      A report was presented to Committee in April 2012 outlining the development of a Master Plan for Falls Park and City Cemetery.


      The plan has been developed through a number of workshops and meetings involving Friends of Falls Park and with key stakeholders to identify priorities for the site.

      The Friends of Falls Park is a group of people dedicated to continuously improving Falls Park and the surrounding area for the benefit of the local community.


      The proposals identified have been classified as short term, medium term and long term projects.  Short term refers to 1-2 years, medium term is 3-5 years and long term is 5 years+.


2    Key Issues


      Clearly the Master Plan has to be seen in the context of the capacity required to deliver the Investment Programme and the projects that are emerging as part of that from the Area Working Groups.


      Contained within the Master Plan are a number of proposals including the following:


      Short Term


·        Development of a Community Garden. This is proceeding with a number of design options identified. Landscape designs are being prepared in consultation with local community representatives. The completion date of the community garden will be March 2013. £35,000 has been approved by Parks and Leisure committee for this scheme.


·        Development of Allotments in Falls Park adjacent to Whiterock Leisure Centre. An environmental survey for the allotments has been commissioned and Officers have received a report indicating that remedial works will be required to ensure the area is safe to grow fruit and vegetables. This will involve a process to ‘cap’ the proposed area by creating a barrier of crushed stone or a geo-textile and then infilling with approved topsoil. This will cost in the region of £200,000 including ancillary works, pathways, water connections etc.


·        Installation of new 3G pitch and changing rooms. This is proceeding as part of the Pitches Strategy with planning application due to be submitted in February 2013.


·        Installation of Outdoor Gym in Falls Park. Funding for this was agreed at November 2011 Parks & Leisure Committee in partnership with PHA. This is proceeding with consultations completed, designs completed and work due to start on 1st October 2012.

·        Development of a Partnership between Belfast City Council and the Commonwealth War Graves commission to develop tourism and cultural history of the cemetery. Contact is continuing on a regular basis with key stakeholders involved in the process and a separate report will be brought to the Committee on this issue in due course.


      Medium Term


·       Relocation of Falls Park and the City Cemetery Service Yards.


      The City Cemetery depot is not fit for purpose and it is proposed to combine City Cemetery and Falls Parks depots into one agreed location to enable efficient management of both sites. The indicative cost would be in the region of £750,000.  This is a capital project and needs to be considered not only in the context of the Master Plan but also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Drinking Fountains in Belfast Parks pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1  Relevant Background Information


      The Green Flag standard encourages the provision of drinking fountains near sports facilities and playgrounds. In a wider context, there is a current trend for the promotion and provision of external drinking fountains to reduce plastic water bottle consumption. The benefits of free potable water include improved user health and wellbeing. Water fountains may also lead to improved park user satisfaction and further improve the public perception of public parks.


      The proposed drinking fountain sites should consider the location of proposed and existing cycle routes, sports pitches, multi-use games areas, outdoor gyms and play areas.  The location of existing park buildings and the existing mains water routes should also be considered, as nearby access to such will dramatically reduce potential cost and timescales of fountain installation.

      Under the Planning (General Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 1993, Schedule 12 Development by District Councils; public drinking fountains are deemed to be permitted development and would not require planning approval.


2    Key Issues


      Site requirements


·        Easily accessible, hard surface access path and hard standing area for user

·        Unit design appropriate to context, e.g. does not create an adverse visual impact in a park

·        Site with natural surveillance, to deter vandalism


      Potential refurbishments


·        Repair of existing drinking fountains, replace any old lead pipe connections to remove associated lead pollution threat

·        Historic fountains may be listed and require historic building consent for refurbishment

·        In addition to the general issues of aesthetics and function, the unit design should consider;

·        Maintenance issues – easily maintained, vandal resistant, corrosion proof, easy access to plumbing 

·        Hygiene - easily cleaned, consider covered spout (to prevent mouth touching it), and design to deter contamination.

·        Water quality improvement - inbuilt water filter

·        Ability to turn off water supply in winter

·        Speed of water flow/fill rate

·        Accessibility - consider accessibility for all potential users, e.g. children, wheelchair users

·        Other/extra functional options, e.g. outdoor bottle stations, pet level water supply

·        Sustainable design and impact on the environment (unit life cycle analysis)

·        Robust/vandal resistant

·        Site specific design issues, should the unit match other ‘furniture’ in the park, become a feature/customised design or have a single ‘branded’ design to be used citywide.


      The success of the project will be determined by the correct installation of the appropriate units, in the correct location, maintained to a high standard, combined with good user uptake. The provision of drinking fountains could potentially increase Green Flag scores.

3    Resource Implications




      The estimated cost of drinking fountain unit and installation, located adjacent to mains water supply, is £2500-£4000. The estimated annual cost of maintenance, per drinking fountain unit is £1000-£2000.


      Each fountain would also require an area of hard standing and potentially an access path, further to the cost of the fountain installation estimate.


      The total cost of four pilot sites would be in the region of £16,000.  This would be provided for in current grounds maintenance budgets.


      Human Resources


      It is estimated that each fountain would require one inspection visit,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Cliftonville Playing Fields - Key Holding Arrangements pdf icon PDF 118 KB


            The Committee was advised that a request had been received from the Ardoyne Kickham’s and the Pearse’s Gaelic Athletic Clubs in relation to key holding arrangements for the Cliftonville Playing Fields and its ancillary facilities.  The Assistant Director reported that both clubs used the playing fields as their home venue for match fixtures and had been conducting training sessions there when the pitch was not closed for renovation works. 


            She pointed out that both clubs met periodically with Council officers regarding use of the site and, during those meetings, had expressed an interest in becoming key holders for the entrance gate to the playing fields and its toilet facilities.  Those toilet facilities were alarmed and secured separately from the main changing building and it was on that basis that the request could be considered.  Currently, when a member of staff was available to work the shift, the site was booked through the Council’s Outdoor Leisure Unit. However, not all bookings, particularly those received at the last minute, could always be accommodated.  She stated that both clubs had explained to the Department that toilet facilities were required under health and safety guidelines but there was no requirement for dressing rooms for training sessions.  The arrangement would enable both clubs to train at the site without the Department having to incur staff overtime costs.  Match fixtures organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association would still require full use of the facilities and normal booking arrangements would apply.


            The Assistant Director stressed that all usage, matches and training sessions would required to be booked through the Outdoor Leisure Unit and that a cost without changing facilities would be applied.  This would ensure that:


(i)      there were no fixture clashes between the clubs or any other user;


(ii)     the income which the site generated from usage was protected;


(iii)    the Parks Manager could obtain usage figures to assist with the appropriate management and maintenance of the site and the grass pitch; and


(iv)    the Outdoor Leisure Unit could effectively manage all requests for usage.


            She pointed out that an appropriate legal agreement, similar to that for the “Out of Hours” use at the Council’s leisure centres, would be prepared by the Assistant Chief Executive/Town Solicitor and that the document would outline the terms and conditions of the key holding arrangements and protect the Council in relation to all operational and health and safety implications.  Training would be required in relation to the use of the toilet facilities and the opening and closing of the site.  Usage would still take place within the site’s normal hours of operation.  She recommended that the Committee grant authority for the Ardoyne Kickham’s and Pearse’s Gaelic Athletic Clubs to have key handling responsibilities for access to the Cliftonville Playing Fields and toilet facilities, subject to satisfactory terms being agreed by the Director of Parks and Leisure and on the condition that:


·        both clubs managed all operational and health and safety issues to the Council’s satisfaction;


·        the completion of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Connswater Community Greenway - Community Garden at Avoniel Leisure Centre pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:


            The Assistant Director reported that, during June, the Department had launched, in partnership with the Belfast Healthy Cities, the Public Health Agency and the Belfast Health Development Unit, the draft Growing Communities Strategy.  That Strategy aimed to ensure that there were greater opportunities for Belfast residents to participate in community growing and to identify and support the development of sustainable growing sites. She reminded the Committee that the Connswater Community Greenway Scheme was a £32 million investment within the east of the City, which had been developed by the East Belfast Partnership Board and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the Council, the Rivers Agency, the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Department for Social Development.  Since the initial proposals for the Greenway had been developed, a key element of the project had been the proposal for the provision of a number of community gardens along the route of the Greenway, which could be used by local community groups.


            She reported that, since March, officers from the Parks and Leisure Department had had a series of meetings with the Connswater Community Greenway team in order to discuss the delivery of those community gardens.  The team had sought and had received expressions of interest in respect of the development and operation of the gardens from various community groups, including the East Belfast Counselling Services, the East Belfast Mission, the Lower Castlereagh Community Group, the Bloomfield Community Association and the Oasis Caring in Action.  Accordingly, the Connswater Community Greenway team had submitted a request for approval to use vacant land within the grounds of the Avoniel Leisure Centre in order to pilot a community gardens scheme.


            She pointed out that the following two options for the project had been explored:


Option 1


            This option involved working with the community as much as possible in relation to the design, construction and planting of the garden with the assistance of Council officers, the Community Greenway team, the community organisations and appropriate contractors.  It was proposed that this approach could:


·        develop local community skills in areas such as garden construction and horticulture;


·        ensure inclusiveness and local ownership of the project;


·        ensure community engagement with the Connswater Community Greenway; and


·        allow for lower installations costs.




Option 2


            This option involved Council officers, the Community Greenway team and the community organisations in the design and planting of the community garden, with appropriate contractors carrying out the majority of the required construction work.  It was likely that this approach would provide less opportunity for community engagement, skills development and ownership, with higher construction costs, but may result in a greater lifespan for the garden with a lower maintenance requirement.


            The Assistant Director pointed out that, in order to assess the level of community commitment and to build confidence, a pilot approach was considered to be appropriate and, given that community engagement was essential to ensuring that the site was maintained to an appropriate standard and to prove that the scheme was viable, Option 1 would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Mary Peters Track pdf icon PDF 109 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 15th September, 2011, it had requested that progress reports be submitted in relation to the refurbishment of the Mary Peters Track. 


            The Director reported that the contractor had made good progress on the upgrading works and, as a result, the field area was largely completed and the laying of the new track was almost complete.  However, progress had been slower than anticipated owing to the recent poor weather.  Nevertheless, the track and field area was on schedule for completion during November and it was possible that it would be handed back to the Council at that point.  Work was continuing on the spectators’ stand which was scheduled to be completed in early 2013.


            After discussion, the Committee noted the contents of the report and agreed, following completion of the associated works, to undertake a site visit to the facility.



Progress Report on Redevelopment of Dunville and Woodvale Parks pdf icon PDF 63 KB


            The Committee agreed to note the contents of a report in relation to the progress achieved in respect of the refurbishment of the Dunville and Woodvale Parks and the ongoing discussions with local communities regarding the management arrangements for the sites post completion.



Closures for Public Holidays 2012/2013 pdf icon PDF 118 KB


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1     Relevant Background Information


         At the January 2012 Committee, Members approved the closure arrangements in respect of the various Parks and Leisure facilities.  This was specifically in relation to proposals for the opening/closing times and dates due to public holidays and maintenance agreements during the current financial year.


2       Key Issues


         A report on the opening and closing proposals is taken to Committee in either December or January each year so that adequate notice can be given to both customers and staff in relation to the Bank Holiday arrangements.


         Over the last few years the extra statutory holiday has been allocated to 2 January and recommendations taken to Committee in January 2012 were on this basis.


         The public / bank and statutory holiday entitlements for the financial year 2012/13 have now been confirmed and this year the extra statutory holiday has been allocated to the 31 December 2012. As a result of this changes to the Christmas bank holidays are required. This will include the following:


·             Leisure centres will close on Monday 31 December and     open on Wednesday 2 January.

·             The grounds of the cemeteries and the crematorium will be open as usual on 31 December 8.00am – 4.00pm.

·             Burials at Roselawn, Dundonald and the City cemeteries will be scheduled to take place in the morning only of 31December from 9.00am – 11.00am in line with normal Bank Holiday times.

·             Cremations at the City of Belfast Crematorium will be scheduled to take place on 31 December from 8.30am – 12.00noon. However if demand requires these will be extended to normal working hours 8.30am – 5.00pm.

·             The Cemeteries/Crematorium Central Administration Office and the site Offices at the Roselawn, Dundonald and City cemeteries will open on 31 December from 8.30am – 12.30pm


Members are reminded that cemeteries are open to the public as open spaces 365 days a year:


November – February: 8.00am - 4.00pm and Sundays 10.00am – 4.00pm

March and October: 8.00am – 6.00pm and Sundays 10.00am – 6.00pm

April - September: 8.00am – 6.00pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays: 8.00am – 8.00pm and Sundays 10.00am – 6.00pm.


3       Resource Implications



         The financial impact of implementation of these schedules has been reflected within approved revenue estimates for the period.


         Human Resource



         Asset and other implications



4       Equality and Good Relations Implications


         There are no equality and good relations implications from this proposal.”


            The Committee approved the closure arrangements in respect of the facilities outlined.



Out of Hours Use of Leisure Centre pdf icon PDF 114 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.Relevant Background Information


      The purpose of this report is to seek Committee approval for the extension of Out of Hours agreements under which sports clubs use Belfast City Council leisure facilities for training purposes.

      The Parks and Leisure Committee at its meeting on 11 December 2008 agreed to extend out of hours use of leisure centres to all clubs and adopted a charging rate of £20 per hour as a contribution towards utilities costs. This rate was subsequently reduced to £10 per hour at Committee on 10 September 2009. At the January 2011 Committee this rate was then increased as part of the annual review of the scale of charges for the financial year 2011/12. There was no increase in cost for the current financial year.


      The Parks and Leisure Committee at its meeting on 13 October 2011 approved the extension of the Out of Hours agreements to 31 March 2012.


      Currently six water based clubs/governing body and one tennis club avail of the out of hours facilities totalling 22.5 hours per week.


      Centres using out of hours include; Andersonstown, Ballysillan, Falls, Indoor Tennis Arena and Olympia.


      The current participating groups have submitted interim reports giving feedback on the benefits of participating in the scheme and any other issues arising.  The highlights from this feedback are presented in Table 1.


      Table 1


Total club membership

390 Males

258 Female

Total No. hours used out of hours per week

22 Wetside

2 Dryside

Total No. hours paid by these clubs at full rate

20.5 Wetside

0 (Boost members)

No. of Participant opportunities weekly

450 during out of hours


      Comments from the clubs indicate that the out of hours service is highly valued and allows the clubs to keep costs down ensuring their membership fees are manageable. Many have spoken about the increased opportunity to train when it is increasingly difficult to get access to pool time during normal opening hours due to demand from the public.  Some clubs have indicated a recent increase in interest which they put down to the London 2012 Olympics.




2.   Key Issues


      The legal agreements for the second phase of the scheme ran until 31 March 2012 and since then all of the clubs have been ‘over-holding’ on their agreements.

      Subject to Committee approval it is proposed that the Department writes to the groups to extend their current agreements until 31 March 2013.


      It is also proposed that for future financial years, clubs will apply/reapply annually in January, directly to the Council and as before they will be scored against the agreed criteria. Following assessment the successful clubs will be required to enter into licensing agreements with Belfast City Council to use the facilities out of hours and will be subject to management control and random checking.


      Use of the centres for competitions will not be considered under this scheme as charging for out-of-hours competition bookings are identified within the normal pricing policy


      Grove Well Being Centre  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


"Men in Sheds" Rejuvenate Programme pdf icon PDF 122 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.Relevant Background Information


      The North Belfast Partnership has secured 3 years Big Lottery funding to address isolation amongst older men. The programme is fully funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Connecting Older People.


      A Rejuvenate Development Partnership (RDP) has been established to inform and oversee the development of the programme. This is led by the North Belfast Partnership and includes representatives from the 5 North Belfast Renewal Partnerships.


      Two full time members of staff have been appointed, by North Belfast Partnership to work on the programme. (1 programme co-ordinator and 1 development officer).


      The rejuvenate programme will give older men the opportunity to get involved in practical, hands on activities as well as promote social inclusion, consider their own health and wellbeing and make positive contributions to their community. The Project will establish a sustainable network of SHEDS where older men will be involved in community and environmental projects that promote their collaborative learning, knowledge transfer and social interaction.


      The practical activities will be linked to the establishment of 3 ‘Men in Sheds’ in different parts of North Belfast. It is anticipated that the 3 SHEDS will be linked to the neighbourhood renewal areas and that 160 older men will be engaged as part of the programme.   


      Organisations already signed up to support the project include;


·     North Belfast Partnership (Lead Partner)

·     Northern Ireland Housing Executive

·     Department of Social Development (Belfast Regeneration Office)

·     Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

·     Belfast Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership

·     Volunteer Now

·     North Belfast Senior Citizens forum

·     Ballysillan / Upper Ardoyne Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership

·     Crumlin / Ardoyne Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership

·     Ligoniel Village Neighbourhood Partnership

·     Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership

·     Inner North Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership


      Plans for the project were outlined to the Parks and Leisure department earlier in the year and at that time a general expression of support was given.


      Now that funding is in place the North Belfast Partnership would like to confirm that the Council will support the project and will become one of the named partners in the programme.


2.  Key Issues


     Commitment from the Council will require nomination of an officer to attend quarterly meetings of the RDP. It is anticipated that this would be the City Park Manager for Area North.


     The department’s role on the RDP would be an advisory one regarding community involvement in practical activities and outdoor spaces. Through community resources, programmes and networks Belfast City Council could add value to the development partnership and the operational engagement with project participants.


     The partnership board has also requested approval for the use of parks and open spaces owned and managed by the Council should the rejuvenate programme identify practical activities or programmes of work within the Belfast City Council (Parks and Leisure) estate.


     The department will identify, in writing, its terms of support and commitment to the RDP.


3.   Resource Implications




      The estimated value of officer time to attend the quarterly meetings of the RDP is 4 hours per  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Cave Hill Mountain Bike Event pdf icon PDF 126 KB


            The Committee was advised that a request had been received from Adrenaline State, Marketing and Events Company, in relation to the holding of a mountain biking event on the Cave Hill.  The Assistant Director reported that the proposed event would involve 100 bikers starting at the summit of the Cave Hill and racing down the path and through the forest to a finishing point within the Castle Estate.  It was anticipated that the event would be held during the period from 24th till 25th November.  She pointed out that the event had been scheduled to take place at Tollymore Forest.  However, due to the danger of spreading larch disease, it had been cancelled and she stated that, although there was no evidence to suggest that that disease had reached Cave Hill, the Council would be requesting that the organisers put measures in place to ensure that cross-contamination did not occur.  Access to certain areas of the Park would be restricted during the event to organisers and participants and the course design would keep disruption to a minimum.  The event would also have a minimal impact on the business at the Belfast Castle. 


            The Assistant Director explained that downhill mountain biking was covered by the parks bye?laws,  which stated that “A person shall not ride any bicycle in a manner which is unsafe or likely to cause damage to the park or give reasonable cause for annoyance or alarm to other persons in the park”.  She pointed out, however, that management had engaged with mountain bikers for over a decade and had dealt previously with issues of public safety and illegal biking within the park.  The event had the potential to attract additional riders to the site for which it was not designed to accommodate, nor were there the appropriate resources in place to enforce the bye-laws relating to such activity.  Research had indicated that events such as this usually took place in coniferous forest venues which were larger and of less biodiversity value.  Environmental and biodiversity issues had been highlighted regarding the sensitivity of the habitats on the Cave Hill and the significant development of the path network at the site.  She stated that, should approval be granted for a small event this year, the organisers had secured funding to make it an international event next year which could showcase the new mountain biking facility at the Barnett Demesne.  A bond would be sought from the organisers in order to reinstate any areas damaged during the event.


            Accordingly, she recommended that the Committee accede to the request to hold the event on the Cave Hill, subject to satisfactory terms being agreed with Parks management and on the condition that:


·        the event organisers resolved all operational issues to the Council’s satisfaction;


·        the event organisers would meet with the Cave Hill Conservation Group and satisfied all requirements to conserve the area and natural habitat;


·        the event organisers ensured that all health and safety requirements were met to the Council’s satisfaction; and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Santa's Grotto at Botanic Gardens pdf icon PDF 70 KB


            The Committee was advised that a request had been received from Smallworld Music seeking permission to hold a Christmas event at the Botanic Gardens.  The Director reported that Smallworld Music had worked with the Council over a fifteen year period and currently held the contract for event production management services for the Development Department’s Corporate Events Team.  In addition, the Company had worked regularly with Botanic Gardens staff on a number of projects and worked directly with the Friends of Botanic Gardens on a number of events.


            He pointed out that the company had requested free use of The “Little Pavilion” at the Botanic Gardens to host a Santa’s Grotto.  The building was situated on the East walk of the great lawn at the site and the organisers had requested the use of the Little Pavilion on the following dates:


·        Saturday, 24th November and Sunday, 25th November

·        Saturday, 1st December and Sunday, 2nd December

·        Saturday, 8th December and Sunday, 9th December

·        Saturday, 15th December and Sunday, 16th December

·        Saturday, 22nd December and Sunday, 23rd December

·        Christmas Eve, Monday, 24th December

            The organisers wished to open the grotto from 10.00 a.m. till 4.00 p.m. and had requested also access to the pavilion one week in advance of these dates in order to set up for the event.  The Director reported that the proposed event would be both a unique experience for regular park users and raise some much needed funds for the Friends of Botanic Gardens Appeal for the Tropical Ravine.  Small World had committed to donate 25% of their net profit to this appeal.  It was anticipated that approximately 1,000 children would visit the Grotto over the eleven day period.


            He reported that the company would operate the project as a commercial venture, with no direct costs being incurred by the Council, and had suggested charging a single child admission of £5.00 and £12.00 for a family of three children.  Each child would receive a wrapped gift from Santa and a framed photograph to commemorate the visit.  Additional copies of the photograph and a variety of other photo?based merchandise, such as snow globes and key rings would be available to purchase at pocket money prices. 


            The Director stated that officers had considered the option to manage this request and had identified that there would no cost to the Council for event as the “Little Pavilion” would be opened in line with the Parks opening times and therefore did not require additional staffing cover.  As with all such events, health and safety issues would be addressed through the preparation of an event management plan.  Accordingly, he recommended that the Committee grant approval for the free use of the “Little Pavilion” at the Botanic Gardens to Smallworld Music in order to host the Christmas Grotto, subject to the event organisers entering into an agreement for the use of the site, the submission of an event management plan, proof of public liability insurance and the associated risk assessments to the satisfaction of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Christmas in the Park Event


            The Director reported that a request had been received from the Stroke Association seeking permission to hold a Christmas fund raising event in  the Ormeau Park Bowling Pavilion and surrounding park land.  The organisers had indicated that activities would include a children’s craft making event, storytelling and face painting.  In addition, guests would be served non-alcoholic mulled wine and mince pies, whilst joining in with carol singing provided by children from local schools.  Outdoor activities would be staged around the bowling green in the “secret garden” which would be lit by fairy lights in the trees.  These would include festive characters for photo opportunities, a petting farm with animals and Santa arriving on a horse and cart.  A sponsored Christmas trail would also be an optional activity for the children on the day.


            It was anticipated that the event would attract approximately 250 people, with the main event taking place on Sunday, 9th December from 1.00 p.m. till 4.00 p.m.  However, the organisers had requested access to the park and the bowling pavilion on the evening of 8th December from 6.00 p.m. till 10.00 p.m. in order to erect Christmas decorations and set up the various activities for the event.  The event organisers would therefore require the use of the bowling pavilion and surrounding park land for ten hours over those two days.

            The Director reported that the purpose of the event was to raise much-needed funds and raise the profile of the Stroke Association.  The organisers were, therefore, proposing to charge an entry fee of £8 for adults, £12 for children and £30 per family, which would include non-alcoholic mulled wine and mince pies.  As the purpose of the event was to raise funds for charity, the event organisers had requested that the Council waive the fee for hire of the bowling pavilion.  That would result in a loss of income of £216 to the Council.  The Director recommended that the Committee grant approval for the ‘Christmas in the Park’ event to take place at the Ormeau Park Bowling Pavilion on Sunday, 9th December and that the organisers be granted free use of the site, including time for set-up and dismantling, subject to the event organisers providing the Council with an event management plan, associated risk assessment and proof of public liability insurance.  The staffing costs over the two days would be the Department’s contribution-in-kind.


            The Committee adopted the recommendation.



Rose Society of Northern Ireland - Permission to Raise Funds pdf icon PDF 105 KB


            The Director reported that the Rose Society of Northern Ireland had written to the Assistant Director seeking the Council’s permission to raffle a piece of artwork which was currently on display in the Higgins Gallery at Malone House.  He explained that, as part of the intake for the H. R. Brown Art Exhibition at the gallery, an artist had donated a painting for display and sale on behalf of Rose Society funds.  However, the artist had indicated that, should the painting not be sold, it should be raffled with all funds donated to the Rose Society.  He pointed out that the Rose Society had stressed the importance of such funding activities in the current economic climate and had requested whether it would be possible to extend authority to cover other similar events.


            The Director recommended that the Committee grant authority to the Rose Society of Northern Ireland to raffle a painting currently on display at the Higgins Gallery in the event that it remained unsold.  In addition, he recommended that the Committee grant delegated authority to him to approve other raffles or similar events which might arise.


            The Committee adopted the recommendations.