Agenda and minutes

Parks and Leisure Committee
Thursday, 15th September, 2011 4.30 pm

Venue: Lavery Room (Room G05), City Hall

Contact: Miss Lisa Hillick, Democratic Services Officer 

Note: Monthly Meeting 

No. Item




            Apologies for inability to attend were reported from Councillors Austin, Hargey, Mallon and McCabe.





            The minutes of the meeting of 11th August 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 September. 



Commencement Time of Future Meetings


            The Chairman advised the Committee that a Member had requested that the Committee give consideration to a later commencement time for future meetings.


            The Committee agreed that the item be placed on the agenda for its meeting scheduled to be held on 13th October. 



Financial Reporting - Quarter 1, 2011/2012 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:


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


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.Relevant background information


      The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee agreed on 18th June 2010 that:


·         the council would produce financial reporting packs for the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee and each Standing Committee on a quarterly basis

·         the Budget and Transformation Panel would also receive monthly financial updates if there were any significant issues to report.


      The reporting pack contains a summary dashboard of the financial indicators and an executive summary explaining the financial performance of Parks and Leisure Committee in the context of the financial performance of the overall council.  It also provides a more detailed explanation of each of the relevant indicators covering the year to date and the year end forecast position.


      The style and layout reflect much of the discussion and feedback arising from the members’ financial training at the end of September 2010.  As we previously advised the committee, we will continue to develop the style and contents of the reports in liaison with members.


      Central finance and our departmental management team have worked together to develop the information within this financial reporting pack.  


2.   Key issues


      Current and forecast financial position 2011/2012


      The current performance in quarter one of the Parks and Leisure department shows a - 3.6% variance against the year to date budget; i.e.; an under spend of £191k.


         There are a number of key reasons for the under spend within the department as follows: The direct employee budget is showing a 5% overspend at quarter one.  Committee will be aware of the ongoing service reviews within the Department and recommendations will be provided to committee over the next number of months to finalise the structures.  An action plan to address issues regarding overtime and agency usage is currently being implemented.


      Playground refurbishment is £147k under spent against budget at quarter one however the implementation plan for the refurbishment has been updated to have the majority of this expenditure in the final two quarters of the year.


      The borehole at the Zoo has finally been re-connected which means that the water supply at the zoo can be fully provided for without a requirement to connect to the mains supply. However £38k of expenditure over budget has already be spent in this area.


      £42k of grant income from the Public Health Authority which was not budgeted for has also been received in this quarter for the community gardens and allotments project.


      Income from fees and charges at Malone house is down £21k against budget and Belfast Castle £57K. Both sites are currently working on promotional campaigns, aimed at addressing this.


      Shop sales are up £35k in the first quarter due to a busy Easter at the Zoo.  The budgeted income and expenditure was adjusted to reflect more realistic trading figures in comparison to last year.  Zoo income is also up £158k against the expected income year to date due to increased visitor numbers.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Departmental Plan - Key Performance Indicator Targets pdf icon PDF 65 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 9th June, it had approved the draft Departmental Plan 2011/2012.  However, at that time annual targets had yet to be agreed for 19 out of the 29 key performance indicators included in the plan.  Following discussion with officers from the Performance Team in the Finance and Resources Department, annual targets had now been set for 14 of those performance indicators and were being applied through departmental and corporate performance management procedures.  A copy of those targets is set out below:




Annual Target

Tonnage of green waste recycled

149 tonnes

Number of leisure centre members


Percentage of users who use leisure centres more than twice per week


Programme participation levels

(outreach and health)


Participation levels at events


Number of reported ASB incidents


Square metres of parks and open spaces with green flag accreditation per resident


Percentage of residents that live within 1000m of green flag rated parks


Percentage of complaints that met response target


Average number of working days per employee lost due to absence 


Total net cost per user (indoor)


Total net cost per user (outdoor leisure)


Total net cost per user (Belfast zoo)


Percentage of Performance Indicators on target



            In addition, the following explanations had been provided for the 5 key performance indicators which remained without targets:


·         Energy consumption expressed in kilojoules per hour per square metre and number of people who use/visit our indoor and outdoor leisure facilities - it was proposed that a base line was established from the total 2011/2012 data in each of those areas, in order to allow target-setting in 2012/2013 onwards;


·         Number of complaints received – it had been agreed at a corporate level that, because departments were limited in their ability to control complaints, a target should not be set in that area; and

·         Percentage of non-compliance of Goods Received Notes after invoicing, and Percentage of non-compliance Of Purchase Orders raised on time – those key performance indicators were based on corporate and centrally-compiled data, and consideration of target-setting was ongoing at a centralised level.


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided. 


World Police and Fire Games 2013 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.Background Information


      Members will be aware that in August 2013 the World Police and Fire Games are coming to Northern Ireland.  The Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Northern Ireland Prison Service will host approximately 10,000 law enforcement officers and fire fighters from around the world who will compete in a wide variety of sporting events.


      In September 2007 the council agreed to be one of the key stakeholders for the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG).  The council committed £400,000 as part of the £7m budget for the games.  A special purpose vehicle company has been formed to deliver the games and the council is represented on the board of this company by two Elected Members, presently Alderman William Humphrey and Councillor Pat McCarthy.


      At the meeting of council on 1 September 2011, Members debated two issues regarding the preparation for the games:


1.the council’s approach to the application process to have facilities included as venues for the 2013 games; and


2.the timetable for the upgrade of the Mary Peters track.


The chairman agreed that a report would be submitted to the meeting of the Parks and Leisure Committee on 15 September 2011.


2.   Key Issues


      Venue selection process


      The process for venue selection being undertaken by the World Police and Fire Games company was commenced by Sport NI with a letter dated 29 June 2010 to the Chief Executive.  This required applications to be submitted to Sport NI by 4pm on 29 July 2010.  This letter was passed to the Director of Parks and Leisure for action.


      As this was over the July recess it was not possible to present the request or the department’s response to committee.


      Sport NI outlined a three stage approach to venue selection:


·         Stage 1: applications

·         Stage 2: quality assessment and prioritisation

·         Stage 3: quality commercial assessment.


      Interested venue operators were required to complete an online expression of interest form for each sport they wanted to host at their venue.


      Sport NI indicated that they would accept applications from:


·         Established venues that met the requirements of the World Police and Fire Games.

·         Venues in the process of refurbishment or that had plans in place for refurbishment prior to the games.

·         New venues that would be completed and commissioned prior to the games.


      Sport NI indicated that priority would be given to venues that are nearest geographically to the games village but in exceptional circumstances where there is not a suitable venue within Belfast for a particular sport or there is an exceptional venue outside Belfast other venues would be considered.  The guidance notes from Sport NI for the selection of events are attached.


      The list of 23 parks and leisure council venues which were submitted for consideration has been circulated.  In addition the City Hall, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall were also put forward.


      It is understood that a provisional list  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Incident at the Grove Wellbeing Centre pdf icon PDF 55 KB


            The Committee noted the contents of the report in relation to an incident which had occurred at the Grove Wellbeing Centre on 11th August.



City of Belfast Golf Course pdf icon PDF 63 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1        Relevant Background Information


1.1       The Committee is reminded that at its meeting in January 2010 it received a report relating to the need to erect fencing adjacent to the first hole at the City of Belfast Golf Course to prevent the encroachment of golf balls onto nearby residential properties.  At the time the Committee was asked to authorise a one off payment of £40,000, to the Golf Club Committee to erect the fencing.  The Committee agreed not to provide a one off payment to the Club in connection with the installation of the ball stop net and also agreed that a report in relation to the operation and possible future use of the facility be submitted for its consideration in due course.  


1.2       Members are reminded that the matter of the future of the golf course was considered at a Special Meeting of the Parks and Leisure Committee in January 2011 and again in August 2011 and it has been agreed to enter into a long term management arrangement with the Club for a period of up to 21 years.  It was also that provision would be made to keep under review in the medium term the issue of development potential for the site. 


1.3       At the meeting in January 2011 the issue of the fencing was raised and it was noted that a separate report would be brought to the Committee; at the time the Club had stated that it would contribute 50% of the cost of the fencing.  This matter had been deferred to enable the issue of the future of the facility to be clarified. 


1.4       A report was due to be brought to Committee in September 2011 to seek to address the ongoing problem.  However, the issue has been escalated recently.  The Council has now received a solicitor’s letter, on behalf of a minor, who resides in a property adjacent to the Golf Course.  The letter points out that the activities at the Golf Course continue to present a risk to the minor as a result of golf balls egressing from the facility and landing at the minor’s present address and garden area.  The letter refers to incidents on 11 May 2011 and 5 August 2011.  The letter states that in addition to the risk of personal injury; it constitutes a nuisance in respect of the child’s ability to have a quiet and peaceable enjoyment at his family home location; it further states that the risk interferes with the child’s Article 2 and Article 8 rights under the Human Rights Act. 


1.5       The Solicitor has asked that:


1.      An undertaking for the appropriate location within the Golf Course from which the risk emanates be immediately closed down in order  that the risk can be removed in the interim;


2.      Works be immediately undertaken for the purposes of remedy of the situation; and


3.      The appropriate area from which the risk emanates remain closed off until appropriate works have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Grove Wellbeing Centre - Bowling Area Usage pdf icon PDF 65 KB


            The Committee agreed to defer consideration of a report in relation to the vacant bowling area at the Grove Wellbeing Centre to enable the local Councillors in the area to be consulted on its future use. 



Watch this Space - Educational Programme pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of Parks and Leisure submitted for the Committees’ consideration the undernoted report:


“1        Relevant Background Information


1.1              The purpose of this report is to:


                                                              i.      outline how the ‘Watch This Space’ (WTS) programme is currently being delivered; and

                                                            ii.      present for Members’ review and agreement the proposed revisions and development of the programme which will be the basis of a forthcoming tender process.


1.2       The history of the WTS Education programme is as follows:


·         it was originally set up in 2007 in Shankill and Falls Parks where antisocial behaviour was prevalent and with the aim of linking ownership of parks amongst young people through an education programme.  Victoria Park was also included as the programme developed.

·         In January 2010 Members agreed to extend the programme in terms of the ‘Saturday clubs’ to the south of the city at Ormeau Park.

·         A full evaluation report on the programme was presented at the March 2011 meeting of the Committee and it was agreed that Ulster Wildlife Trust would continue to run the education programme to March 2012 whilst a revised education programme was scoped and a tendering exercise undertaken.

·         In March 2011 Members also requested a further update be brought back on the development of the education programme’s objectives and content - which are contained within this report.


1.3       An officer working group was established to consider:


·         the existing programme;

·         its evaluation by Sustainable NI and the council’s requirements;

·         an overview of other council education approaches and programmes in particular Waste management’s involvement with the Eco schools programme; and

·         consideration of external education programmes.

·         In light of all of the above, officers have been developing the future programme’s purpose and identifying the priority objectives for the future parks related education programme.


1.4       Management of the existing programme


Two review meetings with the current programme provider have taken place and a meeting this month will confirm the arrangements for the programme until March 2012 to ensure that opportunities for participation are available across the whole city for the schools programme, community group activities and public events.


As agreed by Members in January 2010 there is a city wide coverage available through Saturday clubs in each operational area with Ormeau park established over the past year as the venue for the Saturday club in the South of the city.


The current provider is presently reviewing the format of the schools programme to enable opportunity to be offered in areas where historically no schools provision was targeted (south of the city) without adding to the total cost of the programme.  An individual mail out to schools in the South offering single taster sessions has been requested by officers to extend the opportunity across the city for the schools programme.  The type of participation activity in the past year for the programme.


The tender process for the new education programme will include a city wide approach as a pre requisite for future delivery.


1.5       Future programme development


The officer working group  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Facility Management Agreement - Termination of Agreement pdf icon PDF 54 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, on its meeting on 11th August, it had noted a report in relation to annual evaluation of Facility Management Agreements which had set out the current position in terms of compliance for the financial year ended March, 2011.  The Assistant Director had reported that the club which held the existing facilities for the Dixon Park Playing Fields had failed to provide its financial returns and more recent usage figures.  As a consequence, a notice of termination letter had been issued by Legal Services.  It had been reported also that the club was working to meet the stipulated requirements within the dictated time frame approved by Legal Services.  The previous report had stated that any issues of non-compliance would be addressed through the appropriate channels and might result in the termination of the Facilities Management Agreement for the Dixon Park Playing Fields following advice from Legal Services and authority from the Committee.  Council officers had been in communication with the club and had made all reasonable attempts over many months to resolve the situation. 


            The Committee was advised that the key issue was the non submission of annual accounts by the local football club as required under Clause 14.1 of the Facility Management Agreement.  Since 5th July 2010, the Council had issued a number of demands requesting submission of its accounts.  The Assistant Director of Parks and Leisure had met with a representative of the club on 14th June, 2011 to discuss the need to provide the accounts and the club had been informed of the possible termination if those were not forthcoming.  On 19th July, 2011 the Legal Services had written to the club to once more request the accounts and had warned that failure to comply would result in a termination letter being issued and the club being required to vacate the Dixon Park Playing Fields.  To date the club had not provided the required accounts.


            Accordingly, it was recommended that, on the basis that the club was in breach of the Facility Management Agreement at the Dixon Park Playing Fields, that steps be taken to terminate the agreement in accordance with Clause 18(i) of the aforementioned Agreement. 


            The Committee adopted the recommendation but agreed that the club be given until the date of the Council meeting scheduled to be held on 3rd October to submit properly constituted accounts.



Ormeau Park - Floral Display Request pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee agreed that a request which had been received from the Ballynafeigh Orange Hall Management Committee for a floral display in Ormeau Park in the summer of 2012 to mark the 125th anniversary of the Ballynafeigh Orange Hall and Reading Room be referred, in the first instance, to the Centenaries Working Group.



Strangford Avenue New Playing Fields - Joint Unionist Centenary Committee pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee agreed to refer to the Centenaries Working Group a request which had been received from the Joint Unionist Centenary Committee to use the Strangford Avenue Playing Fields to hold a parade in May, 2012 to commemorate the Centenary of the Balmoral Review. 



City Cemetery - Damage to War Memorial pdf icon PDF 55 KB


            The Committee noted the contents of a report in relation to the damage which had occurred to the World War Memorials in the City Cemetery.  The Committee noted also that the Cemetery Manager would be meeting in due course with representatives of the War Graves Commission to examine options to reduce the risk of further damage to those monuments and other war memorials. 



Belfast Zoological Gardens


Mountain Tea House pdf icon PDF 57 KB


            The Committee noted the contents of a report which provided an update in relation to the replacement of the Mountain Tea House at the Belfast Zoological Gardens and agreed that the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman (or their nominees) be authorised to attend an event to mark the reopening of the facility.



Recent Successes and Operational Review pdf icon PDF 56 KB


            The Committee was advised that in the current financial year the Belfast Zoological Gardens had been successful in achieving three significant and relevant industry awards which recognised the Zoo’s role as a leading visitor attraction in Northern Ireland:


·         In May 2011, the Zoo had won the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s Tourism Awards for the ‘Visitor Inspired’ category;

·         In June 2011, the Zoo topped the poll for UTV’s Ultimate Ulster Programme by being voted as ‘The best place to spend a day with the children’; and

·         Also in June, 2011, the Zoo’s website, Facebook and Twitter had won the best use of social media by a tourist attraction category, the first ever Northern Ireland Social Media Awards.


            While those were significant achievements and demonstrated improvements

which the Zoo has made in recent years, there was now a need to examine the Zoo’s business model to improve how it operated and to develop a business model for the future.  A review of the management of the Zoo had been completed in June, 2011 by FGS McClure Waters which highlighted a number of issues which should be addressed, including the need for a long term business strategy, the need to develop an income generation plan to support its strategy and a review of its resources and structure.  In this regard, work would commence to develop a strategic plan for the Zoo whilst an operational review was being undertaken by the Councils’ Organisational Development Unit.  Some of the key issues which the operational review would cover would include:


·         Management/leadership responsibility for future development of the Zoo

·         Strategic development and business planning

·         The delivery of park services within the Zoo

·         The role of the education unit

·         Income generation

·         The customer experience

·         Levels of overtime and agency staff, and

·         Working practices


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided and commended staff of the Zoo on the three awards which had been achieved to date.



Westfield Health British Transplant Games, Belfast 2011 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of Parks and Leisure advised the Members that correspondence had been received from the Transplant Games Team Manager which had provided an update on the tremendous performance of athletes from Northern Ireland at the recent Westfield Health British Transplant Games, Belfast 2011.  The team representing the Belfast Regional Transplant Unit had fielded a total of 67 athletes from all over Northern Ireland – 52 adults and 15 children – all of whom had received life saving organ transplants. 


            It was pointed out that the Council had granted free Boost membership and the use of its leisure facilities to Transplant Sport NI athletes in the past and the Team Manager had indicated that access to the leisure centres had undoubtedly related to the recent success, which had resulted in at least 22 of the Northern Ireland athletes being selected to represent the United Kingdom at the World Transplant Games in Durban in 2013.  Accordingly, he had requested that the Council consider allowing the membership to continue on an annual basis between February and August each year in order to allow athletes to be provided with the best preparation for future games. 


            The Director reported that the costs associated with granting 58 adults and 15 under 15 free Boost memberships for a 7 month period annually would be £14,869 in potential lost income.


            The Committee approved the request for free leisure centre use for the Northern Ireland Transplant athletes for the period from February til August each year, renewable on an annual basis.



Refurbishment of Dunville and Woodvale Parks - Quarterly Update pdf icon PDF 57 KB


            The Committee noted the contents of a report in relation to the progress which had been achieved regarding the refurbishment of the Dunville and Woodvale Parks.



Cavehill - Community Archaeological Dig pdf icon PDF 56 KB


            The Committee was advised that a request had been received from the Belfast Hills Partnership to hold an event on the Cavehill for the purpose of carrying out an archaeological dig at Ballyagahagan Cashel between 17th and 26th October, 2011.


            The Assistant Director of Parks and Leisure reported that during that time local schools and community groups would be invited to the event to have a ‘hands-on’ experience of a small dig and to survey the Cashel by measuring and drawing its features.  An open day for the general public would also be undertaken.  Following that a report on the findings would be produced, together with graphics which would be summarised on an interpretative panel to be erected on the site.  The basic archaeological investigation was designed to engage and connect communities, particularly children, with their joint heritage.  The unique experience would spark a greater interest in Belfast’s rich heritage and the importance of the Cavehill Country Park.


            She explained that the Belfast Hills Partnership was about to embark on a landscape partnership scheme, which had a strong heritage theme, encouraging people to learn more about the past history of the hills, and therefore, wanted to look after them for future generations.  That fitted in with the Partnership’s aim to look after the hills, wildlife and people, which in turn would add value to the Cavehill Country Park.  The proposal was important as it would be the first heritage event in its new landscape partnership scheme and would assist in raising the profile of the work it hoped to undertake throughout the scheme.  It provided also a means to bring various people together in a joint interest as well as enabling the Partnership to work more closely with the Council, therefore raising both profiles positively.


            The Belfast Hills Partnership would be responsible for all public liability and other insurances associated with the dig.  There would be minimum disturbances to park users.  It was proposed that two trenches, approximately 0.6 metres wide by 2 metres long, would be excavated to allow large groups of children and others to be divided into teams.  Access would be gained from the car park at the Hightown Road.  The dig would be carried out by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency Built Heritage and the Queen’s University of Belfast Field Centre on behalf of the Partnership.  All relevant permissions had been obtained. The Cavehill Conservation Group had been consulted and would like a briefing and input as the dig was taking place.  The site would be secured each evening using temporary fencing and the reinstatement of the grounds would be carried out by the Partnership on 27th and 28th October.


            The Committee granted permission for the archaeological dig at the Cavehill Country Park on the terms outlined, subject to the event organisers meeting all statutory and legal requirements.



Family Festival at Falls Park pdf icon PDF 58 KB


            The Committee was advised that the Inclusive Neighbourhood Project had commenced in March, 2009 following approval of funding from the Peace III Programme which was managed on behalf of the Special European Programmes Body by the Community Relations Council/Pobal Consortium.  A partnership between Corrymeela and the Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers had been developed to foster the integration process between the host community and the growing refugee community in Northern Ireland by creating opportunities for the development of positive relationships and good relations.


            The Director explained that the overall aim of the project was to bring about a real change in attitude and create understanding, within both the host and the refugee community, of the issues and fears associated with living in a post-conflict society, whether as someone who had lived through the conflict or as someone who had recently arrived.  In facilitating that attitudinal change, the project intended to create a firm platform upon which a shared neighbourhood could be built, imbedded with the principles of Equity, Diversity and Interdependence.


            He advised the Members that the Inclusive Neighbourhood Project had submitted a proposal to use the Falls Park as a location to provide an opportunity for refugee community groups to engage with local community groups to provide a better understanding of each other’s cultures.  The event was scheduled to take place on 25th September and he provided details of the event schedule.  Entry to the festival would be free of charge as would all activities.  The event organisers would be required to resolve all operational, statutory and reinstatement issues to the Council’s satisfaction.  Accordingly it was recommended that the Committee grant authority for the holding of the event on the condition that:


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


·         an appropriate legal agreement, to be prepared by the Town Solicitor and Assistant Chief Executive, be completed


·         the event organisers meet all statutory requirements, including entertainment licensing; and


·         the event organisers ensure that all health and safety requirements were met to the Council’s satisfaction, including risk assessment.


            The Committee adopted the recommendation.



Drumglass Park - Festival pdf icon PDF 64 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1        Relevant Background Information


South Belfast Partnership Board has been successful in securing funding to host another arts festival in Drumglass Park.  The events are scheduled to take place on 8 October 2011.


The positive impacts and achievements from the first Drumglass Art Festival in 2009 included: 


·                     The festival provided an opportunity for all of South Belfast’s varied neighbourhoods and communities of interest to come together and engage with local traders from the Lisburn Road – an area of South Belfast with good public open space that has the potential to make a greater contribution to the economic progress of the city as a whole.

·                     The artists and the audience were given the opportunity to come into contact with a wide range of mediums including live music, an arts exhibition, fashion showcase and food and drink supplied by local businesses.

·                     Local traders benefited from the increased footfall and economic benefits.

·                     Arts and crafts entrepreneurs who are often marginalised from enterprise opportunities were given the opportunity to trade at a low cost venue, with 20 stalls, 4 for students, drawn from various areas in N. Ireland.

·                     The event created a shared space by bringing communities together from across Belfast to attend the festival.

·                     The atmosphere at the event was child friendly and it also had an appeal of being non-commercial which promoted this open space in a very positive way to approximately 1,400 people.


The 2011 Arts Festival on 8th October 2011 will build upon the success of the previous festivals and will include visual exhibits, food market, circus performers and a range of live performances.  It is intended that the festival will raise the profile of the arts and music scene in South Belfast, whilst bringing economic benefits to the community and surrounding businesses, thus meeting a number of the South Belfast Partnership Board’s strategic objectives set out in their Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF).  It is hoped that the festival will stimulate local interest in the arts and encourage a new audience at community and business level in the area, especially for families and young people.


The proposed festival forms part of a wider programme of arts and cultural development activities, including an Amateur Arts Competition, in conjunction with Belfast Media Group, and a community art programme that seeks to stimulate buy-in to the festival and art competition through a series of workshops aimed at promoting access and involvement in the arts in some of the most deprived communities of South Belfast.  Entries to the art competition will be displayed and judged during the proposed festival and will subsequently be toured around several galleries in Belfast.  In addition a piece of art has been commissioned to enhance the Lisburn Road by covering dereliction at the junction with Tate’s Avenue.  This will be unveiled during the festival.


2          Key Issues


South Belfast Partnership Board have informed officers that they will endeavour to ensure the festival does not cause a nuisance, annoyance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


High Hedges Fee Legislation pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1        Relevant Background Information


1.1       In December 2009, the Department of the Environment (DoENI) launched a consultation on the draft High Hedges Bill.  A council response, to which the Parks and Leisure Department contributed, was prepared by Health and Environmental Services, and approved by the Health and Environmental Services Committee at its February 2010 meeting. 


1.2       A High Hedges Bill was introduced in the NI Assembly on 26th April 2010 and the Bill received Royal Assent on 3rd May 2011 becoming the High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 – to be made operational once subordinate legislation is in place.


1.3              The Act will provide a means of redress for people who are suffering because of a high hedge on a neighbour's land acting as a barrier to light, and will provide district councils with certain powers to deal with complaints about high hedges.


1.4              DoENI proposes the following subordinate legislation in order to make the High Hedges Act operational: 


§                     The (Draft) High Hedges (Fee) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, and

§                     The (Draft) High Hedges (Fee Transfer) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.


1.5       The regulations will, in summary:


(i)    allow councils discretion to charge a fee for investigating high hedge complaints, and

(ii)   facilitate the transfer of the charge to ‘hedge owners’, meaning that hedge owners will bear the costs of investigation in cases where hedges are found to be a problem and a remedial notice takes effect.


2          Key Issues


2.1       DoE NI is currently undertaking a public consultation on the proposed subordinate legislation, outlined above.  The consultation documents are provided at Appendix 1.


2.2       With regard to the (Draft) High Hedges (Fee) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, the consultation seeks views on the ‘maximum’ complaint fee that councils can charge for dealing with a high hedge complaint.  With regard to the (Draft) High Hedges (Fee Transfer) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, it seeks views on the mechanism of the ‘fee-transfer’ from the complainant to the ‘hedge owner’.  The consultation also seeks views on impact assessments carried out by DoENI with respect to its proposals, in particular a partial Regulatory Impact Assessment.


In summary, the consultation asks for responses to four questions:


1.                  What should the maximum level of fee be?

2.                  Do you agree that the fee should transfer to the ‘hedge owner’ when remedial notice takes effect?

3.                  What circumstances should the Department prescribe for a refund of the ‘transferred fee’?

4.                  Are there any other comments which you would like to make on the proposals?


2.3       Our consultation response will primarily be based on the response given by the Northern Ireland Chief Environmental Health Officers Group and from consultation with colleagues across the Council for approval by Members.


3          Resource Implications


3.1       Financial

DoENI’s proposals mean that councils would charge complainants a fee (in order to cover the costs of dealing with the complaint, and to deter  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Cavehill Paths - Rural Development Programme pdf icon PDF 60 KB


            The Director of Parks and Leisure submitted for the Committee’s consideration the undernoted report:


“1  Relevant Background Information


      The Committee is reminded that at its meeting in August 2010 it was informed that an application had been submitted to the Rural Development Programme for funding to promote access and recreation within the Belfast Hills.  The purpose of this report is to update Members’ on the current position.


      The current position is that the council in partnership with BHP, UWT and NT has submitted applications in August 2010.  These applications related to Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013, Axis 3 – Improving the quality of life in rural areas and diversifying the rural economy; one application has been made under the sub heading Axis 3.3, Encouragement of Tourism Activities, and the other under Axis 3.6, Conservation and Upgrading of the Rural Heritage.


      The application submitted under Axis 3.3, Encouragement of Tourism Activities was submitted in April 2011 for approximately £250,000 is currently being considered.  Belfast City Council will benefit from £65,000 of this:


·         Create a new pedestrian path to be constructed through the quarry area which will link the Estate Trail to the Cave Hill Trail. Currently this is a well used desire line for visitors to the site wishing to reduce the time and distance of their walk.  A new pedestrian path incorporating steps in some of the steeper gradients would allow for easier movement throughout the site and prevent erosion.

·         Develop a new path through Ligoniel Park.  This will create a new walking route linking Ligoniel Dams, Ligoniel Park and Cave Hill Country Park and provide a quality walk through sections of Belfast Hills.

·         Develop the sport of orienteering within Cave Hill Country Park (CHCP) by creating new routes.

·         Erect data counters to establish user numbers for CHCP.


The application submitted under Axis 3.6, Conservation and Upgrading of the Rural Heritage, has been successful and approximately £56,000 has been awarded.  Belfast City Council will benefit from £34,000 of this. 


·         £30,000 will upgrade the pedestrian path from McArt’s Fort down to the cattle grid on the eastern side of the Cave Hill. This is the final stretch of pathway which will complete a continuous network from Belfast Castle around the Estate Trail to the summit of Cave Hill. With the increasing number of tourists and visitors to the site, a new single track would guide walkers to the summit, prevent erosion and enhance the area.

·         £4,000 has been set aside to create heritage interpretation panels; these will be located at Ballyhagan fort and Carrs Glen.


Members should note that these projects are included in the Cave Hill Country Park Action Plan 2007-2011 and would contribute to achievement of the 2010-2011 plan, specifically with respect to contributing to the protection and promotion of Belfast Hills and Lagan Valley Regional Park, and maintaining the path infrastructure within our parks and open spaces.


2    Key Issues


      The key issues for the Committee to note are:


1.      The application under Axis 3.3 is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Conservation Volunteers - Big Green Weekend pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1  Relevant Background Information


1.1The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) is a charity which was set up in 1959, and has a successful history of environmental conservation volunteering throughout the UK and around the world. Conservation Volunteers is the Northern Ireland operating name for BTCV.


1.2Conservation Volunteers are the leading environmental volunteering charity with 28 years of experience of working with people across NI each year to enhance and protect our natural environment.  To date they have worked with over    21.000 people in the region. The head office is in Belfast where they deliver a busy timetable of Conservation Action Team tasks, Environmentally Active Citizens and Green Gym projects.  With Belfast City Council being a major land owner they have worked in partnership with the Council on a number of projects in recent years. 


1.3Their most significant project is the Ballysillan Community Garden and Allotment project, engaging people in North Belfast who have experienced long term health and social disadvantage in regular practical tasks for personal, community and environmental benefits.  They also work on small projects in Ormeau Park completing seasonal projects with the Saturday Green Gym Project, Victoria and Orangefield Parks, and Cregagh Glen through the Connswater Project.  In 2008 their Conservation Action Team completed access repair, drainage improvement and a native planting project on a section of Cavehill.


1.4Conservation Volunteers have requested the use of Ormeau Park for a Big Green Weekend event in Belfast. The Big Green Weekend, 21st - 23rd October, is a new event which encompasses BTCV Green Hero Awards, showcases their UK and international work and provides a platform to engage with new people and raise funds.  The letter of request is attached at Appendix 1.


1.5The weekend kicks off with the Annual Green Hero Awards, RBS Bishopsgate London.  On Saturday and Sunday there will be 9 UK volunteering events in key locations (London, Chester, Manchester, Kent, Belfast, Edinburgh, Essex, Leeds, Hull) and 9 European volunteering events (Greece, France, Romania, Holland, Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria, Iceland, Germany) celebrating 'all things green'.


1.6Green Hero Awards are the annual UK wide awards recognising outstanding contribution made by individuals and groups across 7 categories.  This year Conservation Volunteers are delighted that the Ballysillan Community Garden and Allotment Project has won the Partnership of the Year Award.  This award recognises the contribution of Belfast City Council, Ballysillan Allotment Holders, Salvation Army and Belfast Conservation Volunteers Team in getting this project off the ground, overcoming a number of hurdles to make it a success in just 18 months.  Working together this partnership has established a valuable community resource within the heart of North Belfast.


2    Key Issues


2.1Big Green Weekend Belfast Event - Ormeau Park, Sunday 23 October, 12 - 3pm will comprise:


·         a family fun day with a combination of volunteering opportunities (identified in partnership with the Park manager), environmental education activities, information stands and product stalls. 

·         a bulb planting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Support for Sport - Small Development Grants and Hospitality Applications pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee noted a schedule of Support for Sport applications in relation to small development grants and hospitality applications which had been approved by the Director of Parks in accordance with the authority delegated to him.


            A copy of this schedule was available on the Council’s website.



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