The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The Council’s Physical Programme currently includes 170 capital projects with investment of £150m+ via a range of internal and external funding streams, together with projects which the Council delivers on behalf of external agencies. The Council’s Capital Programme forms part of the Physical Programme and is a rolling programme of investment which either improves existing Council facilities or provides new facilities. This report requests a movement on the Capital Programme for the Carson Tile project which is part of the City Hallprogramme. This report also provides an overview of recently completed capital projects, funding secured and contracts awarded.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
§ Capital Programme - agree that the City Hall Statues City Hall Grounds - Carson Tile project is moved to delivery stage i.e. Stage 3 – Committed on the Capital Programme;
§ Physical Programme Update - note the update on projects that have been completed recently and projects currently in construction; and
§ Contracts Awarded in Q2 and Q3 2022/23 – note the update in relation to contracts awarded.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 Members will be aware that the Council runs a substantial Physical Programme. This includes the rolling Capital Programme – a multimillion regeneration programme of investment across the city which improves existing Council assets or provides new council facilities. The Council also delivers externally focused funding streams such as BIF, LIF and SOF, as well as numerous capital programmes that we deliver for central government. Our funding partners include NHLF, SEUPB Peace IV, the Executive Office via Social Investment Fund and Urban Villages, DfC, DfI, DAERA, Ulster Garden Villages and others. When appropriate, the Physical Programmes Department is happy to arrange site visits to any projects that have been completed.
3.2 Proposed Movement – Capital Programme
Members have previously agreed that all capital projects must go through a Three Stage process where decisions on which projects progress are taken by Strategic Policy & Resources Committee. This provides assurance on the level of financial control and will allow Members to properly consider the opportunity costs of approving one capital project over another capital project.
The Committee is asked to agree to the following movements on the Capital Programme:
City Hall - Carson Tile
Installation of Carson Tile
Move to Stage 3 - Committed
3.3 In November 2012, the Council received an independent Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) relating to the City Hall and City Hall grounds. This EQIA was carried out in accordance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Council’s Equality Scheme. This EQIA underpinned the decision to relocate memorabilia into the exhibition, allowing it to be seen and understood in a different way. Whilst the relocation of the artefacts and memorabilia from various parts of the City Hall into the exhibition space addressed the issue of the City Hall itself, in terms of the EQIA, the EQIA also applied to the City Hall grounds, in respect of which no steps have been taken to address the report’s findings that there is a need to provide a contemporary image of the City, reflective of its vibrancy and diversity.
At the time when the relocation of memorabilia to the exhibition was agreed, there was, as part of that arrangement, a commemorative tile to be installed marking the place at which Sir Edward Carson stood when he signed the Ulster Covenant. HED approval is required for this and following ongoing discussions with HED it has been agreed that this will take the format of a tile within the Rotunda area. The SP&R Committee was updated on this in May 2021 and approved the installation of a plaque with the final design to be agreed. At Committee on 23 September 2022, Members agreed the design for the Carson Tile to be installed in the Rotunda in City Hall. It was further agreed in October 2022 that the material be specified as black granite.
In January 2020, the SP and R Committee agreed to add City Hall Statues – City Hall Grounds as a Stage 1 – Emerging project on the Capital Programme. The Carson Tile project falls within this programme of work and has progressed to business case stage. It is therefore recommended that the Carson Tile project be moved to Stage 3 - Committed.
3.4 Physical Programme – Projects Completed and Underway
Members are aware of the scale of the Council’s Physical Programme via a range of internal and external funding streams. Below is a brief summary of projects completed over the last few months, as well as a sample of projects currently underway.
Recently completed projects:
§ Major schemes:
o St Comgall’s - £7m restoration of former school to create a multi-use community hub BIF project with Executive Office’s SIF Programme; and
o Páirc Nua Chollan – £5.6m - Belfast’s new city park funded by Urban Villages and DfC
· Capital Programme schemes: Boodles Dam works to the Dam and environmental improvements, Clarawood Playground, Cavehill Adventurous Playground, Ormeau Park (Park Road) Playground, Waterfront / ICC Escalators, Waste Transfer Station Weighbridges, Covered cycle stands (Belmont Park, Inverary Community Centre, Belvoir Activity Centre), Ballysillan and Whiterock 3G pitches with DfC, Balmoral Bowling Club, Sea lion and lion enclosure works at Belfast Zoo.
· BIF Programme: Lisnasharragh Community Schools Project, Davitt’s GAC, H&W Welders FC/Blanchflower Playing Fields, TAGIT Boxing Club
· LIF Programme: St John Bosco Boxing Club, Wishing Well Family Centre play space
· Living with Water Programme - Belfast Castle SUDS pilot project
· Other externally funded projects: Mornington Community Project with Executive Office – SIF Programme on behalf of Executive Office. VOYPIC/Include youth on behalf of DfC, ProKick Gym on behalf of Urban Villages, Expansion of Belfast Bikes network via DfI Active Travel Enablers Blue and Green Infrastructure Fund, Revitalisation on behalf of DfI and DfC – Adelaide St upgrade, Electric bike trial e-cargo project and the Entries Phase 1.
3.5 Projects Underway:
· Lagan Gateway Greenway Phase 2 – major investment of £5m in a new navigation lock, iconic foot and cycle bridge and new path connections.
· City Cemetery Heritage Project - £2.3m scheme to protect, enhance and promote the cemetery's rich heritage. The new service yard is completed. The restoration of the Mortuary Tower & exterior of Foxes Lodge is completed. Visitor centre is completed and work is ongoing in preparation for opening. In tandem with this the restoration works on several of the site’s key assets such as the Centre Steps and Victorian Fountains is well underway. Design and procurement works are underway with regards to Dual Language signage throughout the site.
· LTP Templemore Baths – £17m restoration of Templemore Baths with a focus on heritage and spa provision, nearing completion
· Forth Meadow Community Greenway – an ambitious and transformational £5m scheme which will see the development of a new 12km urban greenway in West Belfast. Section 1 – Glencairn – Works complete. Works underway: Section 2 – Forth River/ Springfield Road, Section 3- Falls Park/Whiterock, Section 4 – Bog Meadows. Section 5 – Westlink to City Centre - at detailed design stage.
· Peace IV projects - Shankill Women’s Centre – underway, Black Mountain Shared Space Centre – mobilisation stage
· Urban Villages projects – major schemes at Marrowbone Millennium Park and Ballysillan Playing Fields and Pitt Park, acting as delivery agent for Colin Valley FC, ABC Trust Health and Leisure Trust and Colin HLC.
Projects in development:
· Cathedral Gardens, New Crematorium, City Hall Statues – Winifred Carney and Mary Ann McCracken, Alleygating Phase 5
· Corporate projects – range of IT projects to ensure business continuity and ongoing Fleet replacement programme
3.6 This overview is a sample of the projects currently well underway and does not include a number of additional projects either in early stages of development, Planning or procurement, neither does it include all of the activity on maintenance projects or all the legacy projects which still require resource. Photos of the projects recently completed have been circulated. When appropriate, the Physical Programmes Department is happy to arrange site visits to any projects that have been completed.
3.7 Externally Funded Projects 2022/23 - 2023/24
Members will be aware that the Council is the delivery agent of choice for a range of funding partners and that external funding is an increasingly important component for securing funding for projects. Committee is asked to note that letters of offer and amended letters of offer have been received for a range of projects where the Council is acting as the delivery agent. Amended letters of offer are commonly received to reflect minor adjustments required following tender returns. Several of these projects are match funded by the Council, either under the various funding streams i.e. LIF, BIF and SOF or through close alignment with ongoing Council initiatives. The details are attached at Appendix 2, accompanying this report, and the Committee is asked to note the summary provided. The Committee is also asked to agree that necessary procurement processes (including the invitation of tenders and/or the use of appropriate ‘framework’ arrangements) be initiated for any Physical Programme projects including externally funded projects in 2023/24 as required, with contracts to be awarded on the basis of most economically advantageous tenders received and full commitment to deliver.
Contracts Awarded – Q2 and Q3 2022/23
3.8 The Committee is asked to note the award of tenders for capital works, including services related to works at Appendix 3.
Financial and Resources Implications
3.9 Financial – Costs for the Carson Tile are approx. £6k and will be met from non-recurrent monies.
Resources – Officer time to deliver as required
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
3.10 All capital projects are screened as part of the stage approval process. Installation of Carson Tile contributes to meeting the recommendations of the EQIA City Hall and City Hall Grounds in ensuring Council achieves a greater balance in terms of the persons who are depicted or represented within the grounds.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations and noted that a request from a Member for dual-language signage to be erected in the Marrowbone Millennium Park would be considered in the lead up to the project being completed.