“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 To provide a report as requested by Councillor Black at Council on 4 September 2023 in relation to the operation of the Páirc an Lonnáinand the reinstatement of the temporary facility management agreement that had previously been in place.
1.2 To agree an approach to local management and programming of the facility.
2.1 That Council enters into a five-year Agreement with Falls Residents Association to enable local operation of the site, to include keyholding, litter picking and community programming which will maximise the opportunities from the capital investment and minimise the negative impact which anti-social behaviour had on the area prior to the site development.
2.2 That an annual programming budget of £15,000 is allocated for all new parks.
2.3 Where Council approves management arrangements with a local organisation, this budget is made available to the Agreement holder, subject to officer approval of a planned programme and subsequent reporting.
2.4 If People & Communities Committee are in agreement with the suggested approach of providing £15k pa funding for all new parks, then this matter should be referred to Strategic Policy & Resources Committee for consideration as part of the estimates process.
3.0 Main report
3.1 People and Communities Committee of 6 November 2018, within a report on asset acquisition, approved the establishment of a bespoke management arrangement at the Building Successful Communities regeneration project at Páirc an Lonnáin.
3.2 Officers worked with the local community organisation and developed a key holding agreement which supported access and activity at the site outside normal park opening hours. The group have been providing key holding for the site and continue to deliver a diverse range of programmes.
3.3 Whilst the Agreement holder is undertaking duties previously undertaken by Open Spaces and Street Scene operatives, the key holding Agreement does not include an annual amount which Council would provide to the Agreement holder. Following opening of the regenerated park, Council provided financial support of £15,000 for the initial year of operation for evidenced activity programming costs. Council provided further financial support of approximately £2,000 through Parks Outreach budgets for Halloween and Christmas activity in 2022. No further payments have been made to the group.
3.4 The work of this group at the site is saving Council revenue budget in terms of litter collection and maintenance, whilst their work in promoting positive animation at the site also safeguards against ASB behaviour and damage/repair costs which are high at nearby sites such as Dunville and Falls Parks. The group is currently receiving no funding from council and a revised Agreement would remedy this situation and ensure local supervision and community operation of the site.
3.5 Officers have recognised the need for significant growth in budgets to support operational and maintenance activity at all new parks. It is also important that specific budgets are in place to animate new spaces to ensure achievement of planned outcomes from capital investment.
3.6 Existing budgets within the Parks Events and Outreach team are stretched to support planned programming and development activity at current sites. Animation of new assets requires intensive delivery of programmes to kick start local activity which in some locations will move towards long term self-sufficient programming. Currently there are seven new parks assets, recently operating or due to come into operation, which do not have specific animation budgets for early development of local community programming.
3.7 Financial and Human Resource Implications
This report will commit an amount of £15,000 per annum to support a revised Agreement at this site, this amount is not currently included in any revenue budgets. Consideration should be given to adopting this programming budget at all new parks.
3.8 Asset and Other Implications
This approach at Páirc an Lonnáin will ensure that the local community manage key holding of a Council asset and develop appropriate programming at the site for local community benefit. The availability of a programme budget at all new parks will help to ensure that positive animation is in place from the outset of the asset’s life.
3.9 Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
There are no known implications.”
The Committee adopted the recommendation at paragraph 2.0 of the report.