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Agenda and minutes

Strategic Policy and Resources Committee
Friday, 18th September, 2009 10.00 am

Venue: Lavery Room (Room G05), City Hall

Contact: Mr Jim Hanna, Senior Committee Administrator 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

            Apologies for inability to attend were reported from the Chairman (Councillor Hartley) and Councillor Stoker.

 

2.

Transition Committee Business

2a

Consultation on Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 7th August, it had approved a response to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for the Environment’s consultation on the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.  However, at the request of Councillor Crozier, the Council, at its meeting on 1st September, had agreed that that portion of the response in so far as it related to Part 1 of the Bill, that is, Contracts and Compulsory Purchase, be taken back to the Committee for further consideration.

 

            The Director of Legal Services reported that the request to refer that part of the minute back had been made on the basis of a concern in relation to that portion of the Bill which dealt with the powers of Councils to acquire land, otherwise than by agreement, for the purpose of waste disposal.  In particular, a query had been raised as to whether that would enable, for example, arc21 to compulsory acquire land belonging to the City Council.  The Director explained that he had since spoken to Councillor Crozier who had raised the issue and explained that, although the proposed new legislation would indeed confer a power of vesting, that is, compulsory acquisition, on the sub-regional waste authorities, including arc21, it would not be possible for arc21 to consider the compulsory acquisition of any land belonging to any of its partner Councils.  That was because under the Terms of Reference pursuant to which arc21 was established, any decision of such a nature had to be approved, under the principle of consensus, by all of the partner Councils, including, of course, the Council within whose district the subject land was situated.  In essence, any decision taken by arc21 to vest land in any of the Council areas could be vetoed by any of the constituent Councils.

 

            The Committee noted the information which had been provided and agreed to affirm its decision of 7th August and approve the Council’s response to the consultation on the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

 

2b

Consultation on Planning Reform pdf icon PDF 495 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee deferred consideration of a report in relation to the Council’s response to the Department of the Environment’s consultation on the Reform of the Planning System in Northern Ireland to enable a special meeting, to which the Members of the Development and the Town Planning Committees would be invited, to be held for that purpose.  The Committee agreed also that Party Group Briefings take place before the special meeting for those who so requested them.

 

2c

Planning Seminar

Minutes:

            The Director of Improvement advised the Committee that, in order to assist Members to prepare for the transfer of planning as a Local Government function, the Royal Town Planning Institute would be hosting locally two capacity building seminars during October and November.

 

            Accordingly, he recommended that the Committee be represented at the events by the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Transition Committee and the Party Group Leaders (or their nominees), together with appropriate Council officers.

 

            The Committee adopted the recommendation.

 

3.

Democratic Services and Governance

3a

Political Nominations to the Belfast District Policing Partnership Sub-Group pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the undernoted report:

 

“Relevant Background Information

 

      The Council was required, under Schedule 3 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 as amended by the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003 and by the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill, to establish the Belfast DPP and its 4 Sub-Groups before the expiration of a 3-month period following the Commencement Date for the legislation on 4th September, 2007.  The Council was required to make the appointments so as to reflect the strength of the Parties on the Council.

 

Key Issues

 

      Appointment of Political Members to the DPP Sub-Groups

 

      A meeting was held with the Party Group leaders on 29th August, 2007 and the following political composition of the DPP Sub-Groups was agreed using the Council’s system of proportionality:

 

      Sub-Group Members - 6 Political Members on each of 4 Sub?Groups (24 places)

 

      The breakdown of the total number of political places amongst the Party Groups was Sinn Féin Party 7, Democratic Unionist Party 6, Ulster Unionist Party 4, Social Democratic and Labour Party 4, Alliance Party 2, Progressive Unionist Party 1.

 

      Since both Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Parties had a proportionate figure of 6.59, it was agreed that the 24th place would be rotated between the two Groups with Sinn Féin having the additional place initially.  The leaders agreed the undernoted distribution for the period from 1st October, 2007 till 30th September, 2009:

 

North

South

East

West

 

2 SF

1 DUP

1 UU

1 SDLP

1 All

 

2 SF

2 DUP

1 UU

1 SDLP

 

 

1 SF

2 DUP

1 UU

1 SDLP

1 All

 

2 SF

1 DUP

1 UU

1 SDLP

1 PUP

 

      As the first two years of the DPP’s term of office will end on 30th September, 2009 it is necessary to rerun the political choices for the Sub-Group membership with the Democratic Unionist Party having the 24th place instead of Sinn Féin.

 

      A meeting of the Party Group Leaders was held on 4th September, 2009 and the undernoted membership of the Sub?Groups was agreed for the period from 1st October, 2009 till 30th September, 2011.

 

North

South

East

West

 

2 DUP

2 SF

1 UU

1 SDLP

 

 

2 DUP

1 SF

1 UU

1 SDLP

1 ALL

 

2 DUP

1 SF

1 UU

1 SDLP

1 All

 

1 DUP

2 SF

1 UU

1 SDLP

1 PUP

 

Resource Implications

 

      Financial

 

      There are no additional financial implications.

 

      Human Resources

 

      None.

 

      Asset and Other Implications

 

      None.

 

Recommendations

 

      It is recommended that the Committee agree to the allocation of political places on the District Policing Partnership Sub-Groups for the period from 1st October, 2009 till 30th September, 2011.

 

Decision Tracking

 

      The Head of Committee & Members’ Services will arrange for the change in Membership to take effect from 1st October.

 

      Due date – 2nd October, 2009.

 

Key to Abbreviations

 

      DPP – District Policing Partnership”

 

            The Committee adopted the recommendation.

 

3b

Policy and Procedures for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults - Training for Members pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 7th August, it had adopted the Council’s amended policy and procedures on the protection of children and vulnerable adults.  In addition, it had authorised the engagement of the Council in the Leisurewatch initiative which aimed to raise the awareness of staff at an early stage to potential sex offenders who might come onto Council premises to gain access to children.  Subsequently, at its meeting on 1st September, the Council had agreed that consideration be given to the provision of appropriate training on the Council’s revised policy for Elected Members and a report thereon be submitted to a future meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

 

            In accordance with the Council’s decision, provision of awareness training on the protection of children and vulnerable adults would be included in the Members’ Training Plan for 2010/2011.  The Principal Committee Administrator pointed out that advice had been received indicating that the delivery of such sessions would best be undertaken early next year as, at that time, the awareness sessions could include details of the related Leisurewatch programme.  Staff training on those issues was the responsibility of the Community Services Section and was undertaken by staff who were accredited child protection trainers.  The proposed Members’ awareness sessions would be co-ordinated by the Members’ Support Unit in consultation with the Play Development Officer, and be undertaken by the aforementioned accredited staff.

 

            It was recommended that the Committee approve the inclusion in the Members’ Training Plan of awareness sessions on the protection of children and vulnerable adults as outlined.

 

            The Committee adopted the recommendation and agreed that a further report on whether Elected Members were required to be screened under the policy be submitted to a future meeting.

 

3c

Requests for the Use of the City Hall and the Provision of Hospitality pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was informed that the undernoted requests for use of the City Hall and the provision of hospitality had been received:

 

Organisation/ Body

 

Event/Date – Number of Delegates/ Guests

 

Request

 

Comments

 

Recommendation

 

Regional Regulatory Peptide Laboratory

International Regulatory Peptide and Neuroendocrine Tumour Symposium

 

6th September, 2010

Approximately 400 attending

The use of the City Hall and the provision of hospitality in the form of a pre?dinner drinks reception.

It is estimated that 400 delegates will be staying in accommodation in Belfast and the conference will take place within the city.

This event would contribute to the Council’s Key Theme of ‘City Leadership – Strong, Fair, Together’.

The use of the City Hall and the provision of a pre?dinner drinks reception in the form of wine and soft drinks.

Approximate cost £1,600

 

Organisation/ Body

 

Event/Date – Number of Delegates/ Guests

 

Request

 

Comments

 

Recommendation

 

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators

75th Anniversary Dinner

14th November, 2009

Approximately 120 attending

The use of the City Hall and the provision of hospitality in the form of a pre?dinner drinks reception.

This event seeks to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators and to acknowledge its contribution to the general life and well?being of the city.

This event would contribute to the Council’s Key Theme of ‘City Leadership – Strong, Fair, Together’.

 

The use of the City Hall and the provision of a pre?dinner drinks reception in the form of wine and soft drinks.

Approximate cost £480

Chartered Institute of Building

175th Anniversary Dinner

19th February, 2010

Approximately 250 attending

The use of the City Hall and the provision of hospitality in the form of a pre?dinner drinks reception.

This event seeks to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the  Chartered Institute of Building and to acknowledge its contribution to the general life and well?being of the city.

This event would contribute to the Council’s Key Theme of ‘City Leadership – Strong, Fair, Together’.

The use of the City Hall and the provision of a pre?dinner drinks reception in the form of wine and soft drinks.

Approximate cost £1,000

 

            The Committee adopted the recommendations.

 

3d

Minutes of Memorabilia Working Group pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Minutes:

            (Mrs. H. Francey, Good Relations Manager, attended in connection with this item.)

 

            Memorabilia in the City Hall

 

            The Chief Executive referred to the minutes of the memorabilia Working Group of 15th September and the report of the Good Relations Manager contained therein which is set out below:

 

            ‘Relevant Background Information

 

            Members will be aware that the issue of memorabilia in the City Hall was raised at last month’s Strategic Policy & Resources Committee meeting and at the September Council meeting.  This report seeks to set out the relevant background information and clarify key points in relation to this subject so that current concerns are met and our move back to the City Hall can be carried out in a harmonious manner.

 

            Advisory Panel

 

            Members may be aware that in 2002 the Council established an independent Advisory Panel of external experts who provided an informed view on the issue of displays in the City Hall.

 

            All of the Council’s work around memorabilia since that time has been based on the recommendations of that Advisory Panel, which were adopted by the previous Policy & Resources Committee in February 2003. The opening paragraph of this report stated clearly that ‘the items which form part of the fabric of the City Hall – stained glass windows, plaques, sculptures and war memorials – have important historical overtones and should be retained’.  The report went on to state that ‘As the principal public building in Belfast, it is important that the City Hall is as welcoming, appealing and interesting as possible.  Symbolism is extremely important and the current display could be augmented to achieve a better balance and more inclusive representation of the history and heritage of the City.  The contributions of the working class, women and minority communities to life in Belfast should be more adequately represented in future displays’.

 

            Principles

 

            In summary, the principles that have guided our approach in working towards a more balanced and inclusive display are that the City Hall should be:

 

·         welcoming

·         attractive

·         interesting

·         representative of the history and heritage of Belfast

·         representative of the diversity of the city.

 

            It follows also that the displays should be of good quality and in accordance with the status of the City Hall setting.

 

            Progress made

 

            Many of the short-term recommendations of the Advisory Panel have been implemented. The displaying of all the Lord Mayors’ portraits, the re-naming of the Committee Rooms, the installation of works by Conor and Lavery, the commissioning of the Mary Ann McCracken bust, the No Mean City photographic exhibition and the installation of the Dockers’ Strike stained glass window all represent actions taken to ‘balance up’ the current displays.

 

            Following the closure of the City Hall for refurbishment in 2007, a large number of artworks and artefacts were removed from the City Hall and put into storage.  Members should note that not all items were removed i.e. stained glass windows, plaques, large statues and the biggest artworks/portraits were left in situ and cased in for protection.

 

            Report to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3d

4.

Finance

4a

City Investment Framework pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the undernoted report:

 

“Purpose

 

      The purpose of this report is to begin to establish a firm Council agenda in terms of what investment we can support within the limitations of budget, people and political constraints.

 

Background

 

      The Council has stated ambitions of wanting to take a leadership role in the City to improve the quality of life of citizens through place shaping and a number of other measures as set out in our Corporate Plan 2008/11.

 

      The physical aspects of place shaping are contained in some proposals within the Councils Capital Programme; the commitments by Council to a City Investment Strategy; the emerging priorities from the North, South, East, West debates and the various discussions ongoing with other agencies both within and outside of RPA discussions regarding assets and projects.

 

      As always resources particularly money is in short supply and therefore a major limitation on what can be actually be delivered.

 

Key Issues – Ambitions – What does the City need or want

 

·         Capital Programme

 

      The Councils Capital Programme is a mixture of basic facility replacement to enable service delivery e.g. depots or crematoria; people based facilities e.g. centres, pitches and health and safety or investment schemes e.g. Gasworks, North Foreshore, demolition of Grove, Maysfield etc

 

      The current financial position is that:

 

      Committee has committed projects which require loans up to £56m.  In addition, there are a large number of uncommitted schemes which if they all went ahead would easily go beyond a further £70m - £100m of expenditure.

 

      Some of these uncommitted projects can make strong business cases e.g. a heat recovery proposal on the North Foreshore with a short payback period; Woodvale and Dunville Parks which have a large percentage of grant funding or alley gates which are socially and politically viewed as value for money.

 

      Regardless of the merits of each case the bald fact remains that our affordability limit in terms of borrowing is deemed by Financial Services as £45m and hence we have an £11m shortfall on committed projects already.  Never mind any further expenditure.

 

      The advice from Financial Services is that there should be a moratorium on further capital expenditure until finances recover.

 

      Members however, have taken a different view in that they have asked for a review of our Capital Financing Strategy to test the £45m affordability limit and see if it can be stretched.

 

      The bottom line on this means finding further revenue to support new loans from within existing resources. 

 

      Obviously this will raise a political dilemma should any savings be found of where and on what do the Members wish to allocate the ratepayers money.

 

·         City Investment Fund/Strategy

 

      The City Investment Fund/Strategy is a fund based on an annual % rate contribution and capital receipts from asset realisation that is aimed at supporting major iconic projects for the city.  To date, commitment has been given to four projects – Titanic Signature Project; Lyric and Mac theatres and Connswater Community Greenway.  The committed cost to Council for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4a

4b

Peace III : Priority 2.1 Creating Shared Public Spaces pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the undernoted report in relation to the funding of projects under Priority 2.1 of the Peace III Programme:

 

“Relevant Background Information

 

      Members will be aware that Belfast City Council has been participating in the Peace III programme through the Good Relations and EU unit officers.  The Good Relations unit has managed the process to date to develop and secured funding under priority 1.1 of the Peace III programme to provide a multi annual programme of Peace initiatives 2008-2011. 

 

      The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update regarding priority 2.1 of the Peace III programme and seek agreement with regard to current opportunities.

 

      The framework of the Peace III programme 2007-2013 is represented as follows;

 

 

      Members may be aware that in August 2007, the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) opened a call under the Creating Shared Public Spaces Call of the Peace III programme.  From the period August to October 2007 the European unit coordinated a process of identifying and submitting eight council proposals under this call.  Following feedback from SEUPB the council later refined this submission and in December 2007 agreed to the re-submission of the NorthForeshoreBridge proposal as well as the Skatepark project.

 

      Members will be aware that since this time, the Skatepark project consequently succeeded in securing £375,000 and is underway and the NorthForeshoreBridge project was rejected.

 

      Current Situation

 

      In line with the Good Relations Plan and the objective of ‘BuildingSharedCity Spaces’ in the current Peace Plan, the 2.1 capital bids present real opportunities to realise this ambition.  The Good Relations partnership recognises that high quality shared public spaces will be an economic benefit to the city, in terms of reputation, city attractiveness, reducing the costs of duplication and increased sharing across a range of facilities.

 

      It is important the economic and social value of sharing is more explicitly promoted and ‘designed in’ when planning, delivering and managing shared spaces in the city.  The SEUPB will rigorously test the ‘shared’ aspect of any bid.  Based on initial discussions and relevant research, the Good Relations Partnership recently recommended to Council that a working definition for shared space is:

 

·         Welcoming – where people fee secure to take part in unfamiliar interactions, and increase an overall sense of shared experience and community.

 

·         Accessible – well-connected in terms of transport and pedestrian links within a network of similar spaces across the city and managed to promote maximum participation by all communities.

 

·         Good quality – attractive, high quality unique services and well-designed buildings and spaces.

 

·         Safe – for all persons and groups, trusted by both locals and visitors.

 

      Importantly, it must  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4b

4c

Minutes of Meeting of Audit Panel pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting of the Audit Panel of 2nd September and adopted the recommendations contained therein.

 

4d

Authority to Seek Tenders pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

            (Mr. G. Wright, Head of Facilities Management, attended in connection with this item.)

 

            The Committee granted authority for the commencement of tendering exercises for the supply and delivery of the following goods and services:

 

Goods/Services Sought

Estimated Annual Value (£)

 

Total Duration

Protective gloves

55,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

Marquees for BelfastCity Council Events

115,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

Porterage services

120,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

 

Goods/Services Sought

Estimated Annual Value (£)

 

Total Duration

Broken stones and screening

115,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

Promotional items

130,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

Protective footwear

35,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

Plumbing supplies

45,000

One year plus two year optional renewal

 

            The Committee noted that the tenders would be evaluated using pre?determined criteria.

 

            (In the absence of the Deputy Chairman, the Committee agreed that Councillor Convery take the Chair.)

 

(Councillor Convery in the Chair.)

 

 

4e

Request for Funding - Be Your Best Foundation pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            (Mr. G. Wright, Head of Facilities Management, attended in connection with this item.)

 

            The Committee was advised that a request for financial assistance had been received from the Be Your Best Foundation in respect of the Belfast Rock Challenge 2010, a drug crime prevention event which was scheduled to be held in the Belfast Waterfront Hall. 

 

            The Committee was advised that legal opinion had been sought and that the Council could, if it so wished, use Section 115 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 to make financial contributions of this nature.  Accordingly, it was recommended that funding in the sum of £3,000 be awarded to the Be Your Best Foundation.  It was pointed out that, if it was so minded, this would be the third year the Council would be supporting the event and, in light of the financial pressures facing ratepayers, it was recommended also that this be the final year in which financial assistance be provided.

 

            The Committee adopted the recommendations and

 

      Resolved – That funding of £3,000 be approved in respect of the aforementioned event under Section 115 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, it being the opinion of the Committee that the expenditure would be in the interest of, and would bring direct benefit to, the district and the inhabitants of the district, with the Committee being satisfied that the direct benefits so accruing would be commensurate with the payments to be made.

 

5.

Human Resources

5a

Standing Order 55 - Employment of Relatives pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Minutes:

            It was reported that, in accordance with Standing Order 55 and the authority delegated to him, the Director of Corporate Services had authorised the appointment of a number of members of staff who were related to existing officers of the Council.

 

6.

Asset Management pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

6a

Ormeau Business Park Lease, Gasworks Estate pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the undernoted report in relation to the Ormeau Business Park Lease at the Gasworks Estate:

 

“Relevant Background Information

 

      At its meeting of 19th June 2009 the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee deferred consideration of a report in relation to rental payments due to Council from Ormeau Business Park (OBP) under the terms of their Lease for a development plot in the Gasworks Estate.

 

      OBP have indicated that the impact of imposing an equity rent, effective from December 2009, would impact on their ability to deliver on the objectives of their organisation whilst located in the Gasworks Estate. They have requested that Council consider not charging OBP any rent to continue their occupation in the Estate.

 

      Members wanted to obtain further legal advice and, following which, to receive if necessary representatives of the Board of Ormeau Business Park.

 

Key Issues

 

      The Policy and Resources Committee (Economic Development Sub-Committee) of 29th January 1997 approved the Lease terms entered into with OBP (formerly Ormeau Enterprises Ltd) which provided for a capital payment in lieu of rent for the initial 10 years of the 125 year term. Thereafter the Leases provides for an equity rent of 10% of gross rental income received from OBP’s occupational tenants. The equity rent provisions are similar to all other Leases in the Gasworks Estate. There is no obligation on OBP to pay an equity rent to Council on unlet and vacant accommodation. Currently the business park is 91% occupied with only two unlet units.

 

      Legal Services have advised that it is doubtful if any successful legal challenge by OBP could be mounted against the existing Lease terms given the length of time they have taken benefit under same and due to the fact they had legal representation at time of entering into the Lease.

 

      Legal Services have also advised that each of the four options contained in the previous report could legally be agreed between the Council and OBP. Some of these options will require approval from Department of Environment and be the subject of further conditions prescribed by Council’s Economic Initiatives.

 

      To recap the options that can be offered to OBP are as follows:

 

      Options:

 

1.      to maintain relativity with other tenants in the Estate and seek an income stream from this Plot through payment of an equity rent as provided for and agreed by both Council and OBP as set out in the existing Lease

2.      extended ‘rent free’ period for a further 10 years subject to payment of a further capital premium to be agreed

3.      extended ‘rent free’ period for a further 10 years without the requirement to pay any capital premium, this would require Council to seek approval from the Department of Environment to effectively dispose of this Plot at less than best value

4.      accept a reduced level of equity rent (currently 10%) again this would require Council to seek approval from Department of Environment to effectively dispose of this Plot at less than best value  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a

6b

Connswater Community Greenway Update pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the Council, as part of the City Investment Strategy, had agreed to co-ordinate the acquisition of lands to enable the Connswater Community Greenway Programme to proceed.  The Council would secure rights over the land needed for the Greenway and would be responsible for the management and maintenance of that land and any aspects of it.  The Greenway would have to be accessible for forty years to comply with the Big Lottery fund letter of offer, although the intention was to secure rights for longer if possible.

 

            It was reported that there were two portions of land which had been identified as being required to complete the Greenway route and associated landscaping.  The first was 1.227 acres of land stretching from the Beersbridge Road through Elmgrove Hollow, including the Conn O’Neill Bridge, along the KnockRiver to Dunraven Avenue and along the Loop River adjacent to Linen Gardens.  Council officials had agreed, subject to Committee approval, to purchase that area of land at a cost of £45,900.

 

            The second involved the proposed route of the section of the Greenway from the Castlereagh Road to the Council-owned Loop River Open Space which was along the West Bank of the Loop River and adjacent to private houses at Loopland Court.  Committee approval was being sought to purchase nine small plots of land at Loop Land Court for £750 each, with negotiations ongoing in order to acquire an additional two plots on the same terms.

 

            The Committee granted approval for the purchase of the lands as outlined.

 

6c

Suffolk Community Centre - Interactive Outdoor Play Area pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was advised that the Suffolk Community Centre was a directly?managed facility which had been opened officially on 27th February, 1999 and was the hub of community activity in that area.  The Suffolk Community Centre Committee had actively contributed to successful partnership approaches to provide a broad-based programme of activities at the Centre.  The Centre Committee, in seeking to develop and improve services, had been exploring possibilities to develop a vacant site to the rear of the Community Centre.  The site was within the perimeter of the Centre and was owned by the Council.

 

            The Director of Improvement reported that the Centre Committee had now been awarded funding from the Groundwork Northern Ireland Alpha Programme in the sum of £48,890.50 which would finance all capital costs associated with the development of an interactive outdoor play facility.  The facility would be accessed via the Community Centre and would therefore be subject to supervised use at all times.

 

            There would be no capital cost implications to the Council as these would be met in full by funding from Groundwork Northern Ireland.  However, on completion, the project would be owned by the Council and therefore it would be the Council’s responsibility to manage and maintain the facility.  This would be undertaken by the Parks and Amenities Section at a cost of £4,000 per annum, which would not include the replacement of damaged equipment.

 

            The Director pointed out that the Members would be increasingly cognisant of the pressures on resources and within this context it was proposed, whilst not wishing to discourage local communities seeking to improve service provision, that all such schemes in the future be discussed by the Asset Management Group prior to a decision being taken by the Principal Committee.  That would enable a more robust discussion around the strategic fit of the proposal, existing provision and the associated financial implications.

 

            The Committee granted permission for the construction of an interactive play area at the Suffolk Community Centre, subject to all statutory approvals being maintained and to the Council having an acceptable input in relation to the practical completion arrangements, handover and defects list.  The Committee agreed also that, in future, similar schemes be discussed in the first instance by the Asset Management Group.

 

7.

Good Relations and Equality

Minutes:

            (Mrs. H. Francey, Good Relations Manager, attended in connection with these items.)

 

7a

Minutes of Meeting of Good Relations Partnership pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting of the Good Relations Partnership of 11th September and adopted the recommendations contained therein, including:

 

            Peace III Procurement –

            Cultural Diversity in Sport Programme

 

            The Committee approved the acceptance of a tender in the sum of £266,400 which had been received from Belfast Community Sports Development Network for the procurement of a Cultural Diversity in Sport Programme under Action 3.3 of the Belfast Peace Plan.  The Members noted that the tender exceeded the budget which had been approved by the Partnership, at its meeting on 17th April, and ratified subsequently by the Committee but was within the resource allocation for Action 3.3 which had been established in the Plan.

 

7b

Notice of Motion - Re Racist Attacks pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 1st September, had agreed, in accordance with Standing Order 11 (e), that a Notice of Motion in relation to Racist Attacks be referred to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee without debate.  The Committee was advised that the Council had established the Good Relations Partnership and, since the issue fell within its remit, it was felt that it would be appropriate for the matter to be referred to that Group in the first instance.  In addition, since the Partnership had been established as a Working Group of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, all recommendations of the Partnership would be subject to the agreement of the Committee and ratification by the Council.

 

            The Committee agreed that the matter be referred to the Good Relations Partnership, with a view to a report thereon being submitted to the Committee in due course.

 

8.

Cross-Cutting Issues

Minutes:

            (Mr. W. Francey, Director of Health and Environmental Services, attended in connection with these items.)

 

8a

Consultation on a Strategy Promoting the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems within Northern Ireland pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the undernoted report:

 

“Relevant Background Information

 

      Across Northern Ireland, the historical approach to managing disposal of storm and foul water has been the combined sewer system, which has been used to transport both types of effluent to a treatment works. In recent years however, the practice has been to install separate drainage systems within new developments for each type of effluent. Accordingly, foul sewage is now typically collected in a dedicated sewer for transportation to a treatment works whereas storm water is normally channelled into a convenient watercourse with little or no treatment. A large number of combined sewers still remain in operation, particularly in built up urban areas where population growth and the loss of permeable surfaces has meant that these sewers are increasingly unable to cope with the volume of waste water being generated. This issue has been exacerbated further by both the legal requirement to comply with the provisions of the Water Framework and Floods Directives and the intermittent intense rainfall experienced across Northern Ireland over recent years.

 

      In order to address these issues and in response to sustainable drainage system commitments articulated within the Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy, government has developed a Strategy for Promoting the Use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) within Northern Ireland. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are hard and soft engineering solutions designed to mimic closely natural catchment processes in the management and treatment of stormwater. Source control SuDS seek to reduce stormwater discharge from developments by dealing with run-off close to source whereas permeable conveyance SuDS slow the velocity of run-off and then reduce its volume via filtration, infiltration and evaporation. An established benefit of SuDS is that the engineering techniques are easily scaled from for example, good housekeeping measures and soakaways for individual premises through to the use of infiltration devices, storage tanks, basins and wetlands for more significant developments.

 

      In developing the Sustainable Drainage Systems Strategy, government convened a working group comprised of representatives from Northern Ireland Water, Department of Regional Development Roads Service, Department of the Environment Planning Service, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Rivers Agency, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, DoE Planning and Environmental Policy Group, Department of Finance and Personnel Central Procurement Directorate, the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute and Belfast City Council. Mr. Reg Maxwell (Area Manager) represented BelfastCity Council on the working group with the Council’s Sustainable Development Manager joining in the latter stages of the strategy development.

 

Key Issues

 

      In publishing the SuDS Strategy for consultation, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has included a range of questions for consideration by consultees. The attached draft Council response addresses these questions where applicable.

 

      Of particular relevance to BelfastCity Council however, is a strategy recommendation that local authorities, post Review of Public Administration implementation, should be given responsibility for maintenance, subject to funding, of vegetative and soft-engineered SuDS features meeting the criteria for adoption into the public realm.

 

      Arising from the Environment Minister’s Statement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8a

8b

Consultation on a Draft Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the undernoted report:

 

“Relevant Background Information

 

      In 2004, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment published its first Strategic Energy Framework, which tasked government with reducing Northern Ireland’s energy costs relative to other UK/EU regions, building a competitive energy market, enhancing the sustainability of Northern Ireland’s energy and maintaining a reliable energy supply.

 

      A performance review of the 2004 Framework was completed during 2008 and concluded that the abovementioned four objectives should remain key priorities for Northern Ireland. DETI subsequently sought Assembly approval for the development of an updated Strategic Energy Framework, which would also take account of the increasing need to tackle climate change and ensure security of energy supply, set against a backdrop of supporting continuing economic development.

 

Key Issues

 

      The 2009 Strategic Energy Framework describes its main objectives under the four interrelated themes of competitiveness, security of supply, sustainability and infrastructure. Key actions under these themes are summarised as follows:-

 

      Competitiveness - DETI will continue to promote the Single Energy Market with a view to securing the lowest wholesale electricity price and will encourage more companies to enter the energy supply market. DETI will also encourage greater links with other European regional energy markets. Within Northern Ireland, DETI will continue to extend the gas network, encourage investment in combined heat and power, improve ‘smart’ metering provision and promote greater energy efficiency within industrial and commercial sectors.

 

      Security of supply – DETI will work with partners to strengthen the electricity grid and will maximise the consumption of indigenous renewable electricity and heat. DETI will also investigate the feasibility of establishing underground gas storage facilities, of utilising compressed air energy storage and of maintaining oil stock in Northern Ireland.

 

      Sustainability – DETI will improve electricity grid infrastructure to enable 40% of electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2020. DETI will also implement the Strategic Action Plan for offshore wind and marine-based renewables and will increase the amount of heat from renewable sources to at least 10% by 2020.

 

      Infrastructure – DETI has committed to strengthening the electricity grid, identifying opportunities for installing district heating systems, investigating opportunities for distributed generation and encouraging a shift from oil to gas for domestic heating.

 

      The Framework also outlines a range of actions for encouraging better engagement and for fostering collaborative working between government Departments and NIAUR. Finally, the Framework considers the financial implications of developing the electricity grid, generating renewable electricity and extending the gas network.

 

      In publishing the draft Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland 2009 for consultation, DETI has included a range of questions for consideration by consultees. The Council has sought to respond to questions where applicable by way of its consultation response. The draft response is detailed in Appendix A.

 

Resource Implications

 

      Financial

 

      N/A

 

      Human Resources

 

      N/A

 

      Asset and Other Implications

 

      N/A

 

Recommendations

 

      The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee is invited to endorse the attached consultation response in respect of the draft Strategic Energy Framework for Northern Ireland  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8b

 

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