Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item




            Apologies were reported on behalf of Councillor Spratt.






            The minutes of the meeting of the 11th and 25th January 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 February.



Declarations of Interest


            In relation to item 6.b) St. Patrick's Day 2023 Update, Councillor McCabe declared an interest, in that she was employed by Féile an Phobail, and left the meeting whilst this item was under discussion. 


            The Chairperson, Councillor Murphy and Councillor Duffy declared an interest regarding item 3.b) Business Cluster and Community Grant Programme, in that they had assisted some of the organisations who had applied for the grant programme and left the meeting whilst this item was under discussion. 



Matters Referred Back from Council


Notice of Motion - Support the network of WW2-era Pillboxes pdf icon PDF 230 KB


It was reported that the Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 24th January, had referred the following motion, which had been proposed by Alderman Dorrian and seconded by Councillor Spratt, to the Committee for consideration:



      “That this Council supports the development of culture and tourism and in doing so will supporting the concept of regenerating the network of WW2-era pillboxes and other structures across Belfast and beyond, and engages with other local councils and relevant government departments to develop an Action Plan to promote their regeneration, in partnership with the local communities where they are sited.”


            The proposer of the motion, Alderman Dorrian, addressed the Committee and provided an overview of the motion and described how the Council could incorporate Communities and promote neighbourhood tourism as part of the strategy. He also highlighted that the Department for Communities had recently undertaken a physical audit of structures.  


The Committee adopted the motion and agreed, in the first instance, that a report be submitted to a future meeting on how it might be facilitated, resourced and managed.



Restricted Items


            The information contained in the report associated with the following two items was restricted in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the members of the press and public from the meeting during discussion of the following two items as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.



Zoo Performance Update - Quarter 3


The Committee was provided with its quarterly update on the performance of the Zoo in the following areas:


·        Visitor Services;

·        Education Services;

·        Animal Collection;

·        Marketing and Events; and

·        Financial performance.


The Committee noted the Zoo performance update report for the period October to December 2022.



Business Cluster and Community Grant Programme


(Councillor McLaughlin in the Chair)


            The Committee was provided with an update on the Business Cluster and Community Grant Programme Tranche 3 and the assessment of applications for consideration.


The Committee approved the award of Business Cluster and Community Grants that had been assessed to date for Tranche 3 of the programme as outlined in Section 3.5 of the report.



Request to Present


(Councillor Murphy in the Chair)



Visit Belfast Business Plan pdf icon PDF 233 KB


            The Committee was reminded that Visit Belfast was the city’s Destination Marketing Management Organisation (DMMO) dedicated to marketing Belfast as a city break, conference, day-trip and cruise ship destination. It also, in its visitor servicing role, managed the operation of three gateway Visitor Information Centres (VICs), including Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, the Arrivals Desk at George Best Belfast City Airport and the Arrivals Desk at Belfast International Airport and a range of visitor servicing initiatives on behalf of the Council.


            It was highlighted that the Council was the principal funder to Visit Belfast and, as such, received an annual presentation of their business plan as part of the process to approve annual funding.


            The Committee:


·        Noted the contents of the report and the progress to date; and


·        Agreed to receive a presentation on Visit Belfast’s 2023-24 Business Plan at the Committee meeting in March 2023, which would include a request for Council support towards the work programme for the coming financial year.



Regenerating Places & Improving Infrastructure


Update on the Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel Strategic Priority pdf icon PDF 442 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1             The purpose of this report is to:


·        Outline to Committee the ongoing work across Council and with stakeholders in respect of the Committee’s strategic priority of Access, Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel as set out in the CGR Committee Plan, and alignment into the Corporate Plan and refresh of the Belfast Agenda including the new Connectivity, Active & Sustainable Travel subgroup.


·        Seek approval from the Committee to convene an All Party Round Table regarding Connectivity, Active and Sustainable travel that will provide an opportunity for Members to have a focused and informed discussion around this Strategic Priority.


·        To advise Members of the request from Sustrans to present to a future meeting of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee in relation to their experience of designing and implementing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to:


                                            i     Note the content of this report and the emerging work from the Community Planning: Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel subgroup.

                                          ii     Agree to convene an All Party Round Table regarding Connectivity, Active and Sustainable travel in the city.

                                         iii     Agree to receive a presentation from Sustrans at a future meeting of the Committee in relation to their experience of designing and implementing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.


3.0       Main report




3.1       Members will be aware that Active and Sustainable Travel is a strategic priority of this Committee as set out in the Committee Plan under ‘Access, Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel’, which aligns into the Strategic Priority of ‘City Connectivity’ as set out in the Corporate Plan. Of relevance to highlight is the further synergy to the ongoing refresh of the Belfast Agenda and the priority theme of Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel under the area of City Development. 


3.2       Members may also be aware that there are a number of existing Notices of Motion relating to Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel currently open across Council, with regular quarterly reporting to the relevant Committee. Sustrans have noted the recent Notice of Motion on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and have requested to present to the Committee on their experience of designing and implementing these initiatives.


3.3       Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel cuts across a number of different stakeholders, including Council, DfI and other Government departments, Sustrans, Translink, communities, businesses and anchor institutions  This includes the work being taken forward by the Community Planning structures via the Connectivity, Active & Sustainable Travel subgroup as part of the Belfast Agenda refresh and via the Climate & Resilience Board; Council led Physical Programme projects; A Bolder Vision and the strategic and large-scale infrastructure projects being led by public and private sector city partners, including Translink, Belfast Rapid Transit, DfI etc.


3.4       Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel are critical cross cutting levers and span across a number of areas including:


·        Policy , including LDP/BMTP etc

·        Strategy, including Bolder Vision

·        Physical Delivery

·        Modal Shift/Behaviour Changing eg Cycle to Work/School etc

·        Climate related.


            There is a need  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Department for Infrastructure - York Street Interchange Review Presentation pdf icon PDF 325 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, in October 2022, the Minister for Infrastructure had published the Placemaking and Active Travel Review report for the York Street Interchange project. It was reported that the Department for Infrastructure and the York Street Interchange (YSI) design team were undertaking engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders, and as a part of this engagement the YSI team would present the findings of the YSI Placemaking and Active Travel Review at the Special meeting of the Committee on 22nd February. Members had been asked to consider if there were any specific issues which they would like to raise in advance with the Department to be addressed at the Special Committee.


            It was highlighted that a copy of the presentation had been received in advance if the Committee (copy available here).


During discussion, the following questions were put forward to be submitted to the Department for Infrastructure for consideration:


·        Are there any financial estimates in relation to the Place Making Review for cycling infrastructure/Belfast Cycle Network; and


·        What was the rationale for the dismissal of the YSI alternative design proposal presented by architect, Mr. M. Hackett (Scenario 2).


After discussion, the Committee:


·        Noted the contents of the report; and


·        Noted the issues raised and that Members would submit any further questions to be compiled and forwarded to the Department for Infrastructure in advance of their presentation to the Committee on 22nd February on the findings of the York Street Interchange Place-Making Review.



Positioning Belfast to Compete


Belfast Bikes Performance Update - Quarter 3 pdf icon PDF 352 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To update Members on the performance of the Belfast Bikes scheme in the third quarter (1st October 2022 – 31st December 2022) of year 7 of operation.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:


·        note the update of the Belfast Bikes performance for Year 7 Q3 (Oct-Dec 2022);

·        note the update to the notice of motion regarding free access for young people;

·        note the progress with regard to phase one and phase two expansion.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background


            The Belfast Bikes scheme was launched in 2015 as part Belfast City Council’s physical investment programme. The Department for Regional Development provided initial capital funding for the scheme as part of their Active Travel Demonstration Projects budget. The scheme launched with a network of 30 docking stations and 300 bikes. The scheme has been operated by NSL continually since inception using bikes and supporting infrastructure from ‘Nextbike by TIER’.  The scheme currently operates with 428 bikes (including those in reserve for new stands) and 51 docking stations.


3.2       Expansion of the Scheme


            At CG&R on 12 May 2021 it was agreed that an additional four Belfast Bikes docking stations would be deployed using DFI Active Travel funding. Installation began in Q1 and current status is as follows:


·        Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre was installed on 7 July 2022 and is operational;

·        Olympia Leisure Centre was installed on 25 October 2022 and is operational;

·        Kennedy Centre installation is currently ongoing and is expected to be operational by the end of January 2023 and is operational

·        Waterworks installation has been delayed due to supply chain issues and is expected to be operational by February 2023.


            Council officers are currently liaising with the operator and supplier to improve the supply chain issues for future installations.


3.3       At CG&R on 9 June 2021 it was agreed to proceed with an additional 15 docking stations. At SP&R on 18 June 2021 members agreed for £500,000 to be invested in the expansion proposal.


3.4       Works is ongoing for the design and installation of eight stations in Phase 1 (to be installed 2022/23):


·        North: Yorkgate and Shore Road

·        West: St Mary’s College and Shankill Road

·        South: Lisburn Road and Malone Road 

·        East: Castlereagh Road, Upper Newtownards Road.


            Seven stations will follow in Phase 2 in the following year (2023/24).


3.5       As previously agreed by the committee, discussion and agreement through Area Working Groups is required to determine exact locations and consider those against the Site Expansion Matrix.  These site options and discussions with Area Working Groups commenced in November 2022. The AWGs have agreed the exact locations in South and North; the discussions in East and West are still ongoing.


3.6       Operational Performance




            Following the ongoing challenges sourcing replacement bike parts, the number of bikes on the street have decreased during Q3.  The average daily bikes on the street during Q3 was 294.


3.7       An additional 180 bikes have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


St. Patrick's Day 2023 Update pdf icon PDF 460 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1             The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on St Patrick’s Day 2023 to include:


-       Detail on procurement (design award) and duration

-       Outline programming plans


2.0       Recommendations



·        Members are asked to note details of the report specifically the outlined programme.

·        Note that a report will be brought to Committee to update Members on the post event evaluation and the proposed creative commissioning process for 2024 and beyond.

·        Members are asked to approve the allocation of up to £30,000 from the Extended Cultural Programme agreed by SP&R on 18th February 2022 to support the development and delivery of the described programme by Féile an Phobal during 1st – 17th March.

·        Approve a £15,000 contribution in this financial year from existing and approved departmental budgets  for the Gradam Ceoil Bursary Scheme in partnership with Duncairn Arts Centre, Red Shoe productions and TG4.

·        Approve the financial allocations at 3.6 of £100,000 to Beat Carnival, £50,000 to Feile and Phobal and £80,000 to Duncairn Arts


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background


            It was agreed by Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in January 2021, that a different approach would be taken to the future development of St Patrick’s Day. Officers designed an open and competitive process to support applications for creative development awards for St Patrick’s Day (SPD) 2022. This opportunity was published in the Council’s cultural database, promoted on social media and via Council’s website as well as through partner organisations and networks.


3.2       Detail on procurement (design award) and duration


            Building on the strong foundation of recent years, Council agreed to develop an ambitious approach to St Patrick’s Day in the City. This opportunity was designed to allow space for real innovation and experimentation and genuine co-design with the people of the city.?Rather than commissioning an external consultant to review the event it was agreed to?test a different approach by?directly investing?in?the local sector through Creative Development?Awards that could then be progressed to a next stage commission for March 2022. As a result of this process, four organisations were awarded funding in 2022: Duncairn, Beat Carnival, Maywe and Feile.


3.3       2023 Approach


            At September 2022 Committee, it was agreed that organisations who had the opportunity to pilot ideas in March 2022 with ‘testing’ in real time would be taken forward to full delivery in 2023. Officers believed that as per 2022, all four pilots merited support in 2023. Retrospective approval was granted for the 2022 procurement process, which did not include a ‘Contest Notice’ or an ‘Award Notice’ as per the Public Contract Regulations 2015.


3.4       It was further agreed that a new Design Contest would be run in a timely manner for any required service contracts to support the delivery of St Patrick’s Day in 2024 and beyond. This would be conducted with the support of CPS to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations.


3.5  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Belfast Zoo – Supported Charities amendment pdf icon PDF 278 KB


            The Committee was reminded that, under the terms of the zoo licence issued by NIEA, Belfast Zoo was required to demonstrate that it supported in situ conservation projects. The Parks and Leisure Committee, in January 2015, had approved the support of several local, national and international conservation organisations. These projects would be financially supported by Belfast Zoo by distribution of donations received from visitors. The zoo received donations from visitors who could either choose to add a set donation amount to their admission ticket, or provide donations of any amount via website, cheque, over the phone on in-person at the zoo.


            The conservation projects previously approved included:



It was reported that three of the previously selected conservation programmes could no longer be supported:


·        Francois’ langurs – the Fauna and Flora International Species Conservation Programme no longer oversees conservation efforts for Francois’ langurs;

·        White-tailed sea eagle program was originally a short-term project run by the Golden Eagle project which is no longer in existence;

·        Asian Elephant - The Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), a not-for-profit charitable trust, is required by Indian law to obtain prior permission from the Government of India to receive funds from foreign sources on a case-by-case basis or through a prescribed license. They do not have the required license therefore are unable to receive donated funds.


            However, as, the zoo was currently in the process of building a new lion habitat which was scheduled to open for Easter 2023, to highlight and complement this major new development, the zoo would like to support the conservation programme. It was devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 species of wild cats, including lions, and the vast ecosystems they inhabit.


The Director of Economic Development highlighted that the supported projects would be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they remain suitable for support and meet the required criteria.


The Committee:


·        Noted that three conservation projects could no longer be supported; and


·        Approved a new project to be supported, namely, the conservation programme.  



Additional Item


Cultural Mapping for Culture, Arts and Heritage


 In agreement with the Chairperson, Alderman Dorrian requested an update on when the Phase One report on Cultural Mapping would be submitted to the Committee for reconsideration.


The Committee noted that the methodology of the Phase One report on Cultural Mapping was being considered further and an updated report would be submitted to the Committee in due course.