Agenda item


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1             To update the Committee regarding the commissioning of a new 10 year Pitches Strategy for Belfast.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


i.       Note the timeline for the commissioning and production of the new 10 year Pitches Strategy.

ii.      Note the Terms of Reference for the strategy.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       Council developed a playing pitches strategy for the period 2011-2021 which was agreed in February 2012. The strategy included action plans under 3 key objectives:


-       Objective 1-Capital Investment

-       Objective 2-Management 

-       Objective 3-Sports Development


3.2       The growth in participation numbers across a number of sports since the Covid Pandemic has created increased demand for pitches and other outdoor sports facilities.


3.3       Due to the increased demand and a number of approaches from elected members, sports Governing Bodies and Belfast based Sports Clubs the need has been identified to commission a new 10 year “Belfast Pitches Strategy”.


3.4       Any new strategy and the subsequent work arising will need to align with the wider Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy currently under development and any future plans under Leisure Development.  The new pitches strategy will need to be supported with a financial strategy in terms of funding opportunities from both council and other partners.


3.5       In the interim, officers will continue to work on an area by area basis to identify, agree and secure quick wins for all sports at our existing sites.


3.6       Indicative timeline for commissioning and production of strategy


Agree Terms of reference for the production of the strategy

July 2023 Completed

Identify and appoint external consultant to produce the strategy

August - September 2023

Background review of documentation policies and strategies

October 2023

Initial face to face consultation with key stakeholders and schools

November 2023

Review and Mapping

November – December 2023

Wider public consultation to take place online using “Your Say Belfast”

January - February 2024

Analysis of key issues identified with a focus on internal consultation and external feedback

February - March 2024

Interim Draft Report produced and presented to elected members for discussion

March - April 2024

Draft Strategy to be released for public consultation

April - May 2024

Analyse feedback from consultation and amend/update strategy

June 2024

Final Strategy to be presented to elected members

August 2024

Strategy Launched

September 2024


3.7       Terms of Reference


            Senior officers met with party group leaders and discussed the draft terms of reference and their feedback is incorporated into the terms of reference below.


i.            To produce a strategy for the development and management of all outdoor sport facilities in Belfast, which will maximise opportunities to realise Belfast Agenda outcomes.

ii.           To undertake a baseline assessment of existing outdoor sports facilities in Belfast and to identify which sports are using each facility.

iii.         To map existing Belfast sports clubs, their current home facilities, and their membership profile.

iv.         To provide an analysis of how existing facility provision supports participation in the diverse range of outdoor sports.

v.           To provide an analysis of how existing facility provision supports participation in by a diverse range of users.

vi.         To undertake a baseline assessment of current demand for facilities by outdoor sports.

vii.        To identify the changes required to Belfast’s sports facility provision, prioritise changes based on an assessment of future need and create an action plan with short, medium and long term goals.

viii.      To predict the anticipated financial resource requirement to deliver the prioritised changes to facility provision.

ix.         To review the existing process for allocation of Belfast City Council facilities.


3.8       Financial and Resource Implications


            Costs associated with the development of the new strategy and engagement of external partners will be met within existing departmental resources. Members are advised that no capital and limited revenue finance is in place to support a strategy action plan at this stage. Financial implications and prioritisation will be included as the strategy is developed.



3.9       Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment


            The draft strategy will be screened in line with the Council’s agreed process.”


            Following discussion, the Committee noted:


·        the timeline for the commissioning and production of the new 10-year Pitches Strategy;


·        the Terms of Reference for the strategy, noting that the strategy would consider all pitches across the city, not just Council owned facilities, and it would consider less popular sporting activities, with a view to ensuring that the demand for such facilities was future proofed and not based on current demand which was growing;


·        that officers were aware of the new timeline for planning regulations regarding the use of micro plastics and that these were being factored into any future considerations; and


·        that updates would be provided to the Committee in due course, including information regarding the key stakeholders.


Supporting documents: