Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




            An apology was recorded on behalf of Councillor Newton.





            The minutes of the meeting of 12th October were taken as read and signed as correct.


            It was reported that the minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st November, subject to the minute in relation to the Erection of a Dual Language Street Sign at Clifton Street being referred back to the Committee.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillor Verner declared an interest in relation to item 2 (b) on the agenda, Department for Community (DfC) Recovery Funding Update, as a staff member of the Greater Shankill Partnership that was named as a funding recipient.  Alderman Copeland declared an interest in the same item as an organisation which her daughter worked for was in receipt of funding from DfC.  Both left the meeting whilst the item was under consideration.


            Councillor Black and Corr declared an interest in item 3 (e) Community Development and Capacity Building Support in that they were employees of organisations in receipt of funding and they left the meeting whilst the matter was being considered.


            Councillor Smyth declared an interest in item 4 (c) Community Asset Management Pilots, in that he was a Member of Ulidia Playing Fields Steering Committee and he left the meeting whilst the matter was under consideration.



Schedule of Meetings 2022 pdf icon PDF 248 KB


            The Committee approved the schedule of meetings for the People and Communities Committee as outlined below and agreed that all meetings would commence at 5.15 pm:


·        Tuesday, 11th January

·        Tuesday, 25th January – Belfast City Youth Council 

·        Tuesday, 8th February

·        Tuesday, 8th March

·        Tuesday, 22nd March - Housing

·        Tuesday, 5th April

·        Tuesday, 10th May

·        Tuesday, 7th June

·        Tuesday, 21st June – Belfast City Youth Council 

·        Tuesday, 2nd August – Housing (Annual HIP Update)

·        Tuesday, 9th August

·        Tuesday, 13th September

·        Tuesday, 4th October – Belfast City Youth Council

·        Tuesday, 11th October

·        Tuesday, 8th November

·        Tuesday, 22nd November - Housing

·        Tuesday, 6th December



Item referred back from Council - Erection of Dual Language Street Sign at Clifton Street pdf icon PDF 319 KB


            (Ms. N. Largey, Divisional Solicitor, and Mr. I. Harper, Building Control Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Members considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            To consider the dual language street sign application for Clifton Street.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to:


1.      Reconsider the application for a dual language street sign for Clifton Street given the decision of Council on 1st November 2021;

2.      Consider the request for a survey form to be sent to the secretary of the Belfast Orange Hall and agree that one be provided; and

3.      Note that, having reviewed the process for this survey, two further properties are to be surveyed and a further report will be brought back to Committee for final determination.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       At Council on 1st November Members asked for a report on the dual language street sign application for Clifton Street to be brought back to committee for consideration


3.2       The Clifton Street application was considered under the current policy.




3.3       In the introduction section of the policy it states:


            ‘2.0 Introduction


            The legislation requires the Council, in deciding whether and how to exercise its discretion to erect a street name in a language other than English, to take account of the views of the occupiers of premises in the street.


            For the purposes of this policy occupiers shall be taken to be any person whose name appears in the current Electoral Register plus the owners or tenants in actual possession of commercial premises, but not employees in such premises.’


3.4       The procedure within the policy states:


            ‘3.0 Procedure


            The procedures for seeking and assessing the views of occupiers and the criteria to be applied in deciding whether to erect a street sign in a language other than English are as follows:


                                             (i)          Only applications supported by a petition representing not less than one third of the people appearing on the Electoral Register of the street for which the application is made will be progressed.


                                            (ii)          Where the foregoing requirements have been met the Council will canvass by post all people appearing on the Electoral Register of that street and seek their views on the request to erect a street sign in a second specified language. This letter is designed so as to make the expression of views as simple as possible. Reply will be by way of a pre-paid envelope and should be returned within one month of receipt.


                                          (iii)          Where two thirds or more of the occupiers appearing on the Electoral Register have indicated that they are in favour of the erection of a second language street sign, then such a sign will be erected. People not returning a reply will be deemed not to be in favour of the application.’


3.5       The practice is to consider all residential properties within a street, checking for those residents who are on the electoral register, and checking for commercial properties.  In addition, a site  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3a





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following 2 items is 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 Committee meeting during discussion on the following 3 items as, due to their nature, 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.



Request for the use of Falls Park for Féile An Phobail Winter Festival

Additional documents:


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised that the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, at its meeting on 22nd October, had granted to Féile an Phobail the use of Falls Park to hold its “Winter Festival” event, between 26th November and 4th January, subject to the completion of the appropriate Event Management Plans and satisfactory terms and conditions being agreed.





DfC Community Recovery Funding Update

Additional documents:


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services informed the Committee of additional funding that had been received from the Department for Communities (DfC) and proceeded to provide an overview of the recommended approach for the allocation of the funding.


            He advised that the need for the provision of accessible funding, to enable service recovery and promote agile and responsive community development approaches within local areas, had been demonstrated as one of the key and most successful funding mechanisms  introduced during the pandemic. Based on this, Council officers had submitted a high-level proposal to the DfC which had detailed that any additional award would be used to support the provision of Micro and Medium Grants and to allocate grant awards to Strategic and Thematic partners. He stated that it was felt that this approach would help enable the delivery of community development projects to meet a variety of locally identified community needs, in line with previously agreed DfC outcomes.


            The Director then provided the Members with the background to the allocation of the previous micro and medium grant aid funding that had been used to support programme delivery from September 2021 – March 2022.  He explained that this round of funding had provided support for a total of 350 projects across the city, representing a total investment of £990,552 and advised that it was recommended that the Council allocate £631,360 from the confirmed £1,031,360 for general Community Support towards the costs of this grant aid.


            The funding that had been allocated through the August/September rounds would support activity until the end of the financial year. The community and voluntary sector had advised that managing programme delivery in the context of Covid recovery remained challenging and groups did not have the capacity to deliver projects within a short time frame. He explained to the Members that it was felt that it would not be operationally feasible to deliver another open round of funding for micro/medium grants across the city as all activity had to be delivered by 31st March 2022.


            To ensure that additional support could be directed at an area and thematic level towards communities in greatest need, an allocation of £250,000 to the 9-area based strategic partners across the city was being recommended, with a further award of £150,000 to be made to the Thematic partners that had delivered services to the most vulnerable communities of interest across the city.


            He advised that if organisations required short term financial support, they could contact their local community development officer to obtain information on available resources to support local programming.


            In addition, officers were currently developing the grant aid application process for Medium/Micro grants to support programmes running from April – September 2022, it was likely that these would open in early 2022.


            The Director explained that financial inclusion funding was provided by DfC and it was intended to support activity that provided debt, benefit, and financial education/support services. DfC had issued a funding award of £212,350 to Belfast City Council for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Committee/Strategic Issues


Update on Community Planning and work of Living Here Board pdf icon PDF 278 KB

Additional documents:


            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 provide Members with an update on community planning with a specific focus on the work being taken forward by the Living Here Board. 


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note the:


                                             (i)          ongoing work being progressed by the Living Here Board (LHB).

                                           (ii)          alignment and synergies between the Board and the work of the Committee.

                                         (iii)          ongoing opportunities for Elected Members to input and shape the work being taken forward through the Community Planning Partnership, including the refresh of the Belfast Agenda and delivery action plans, over the coming months.


3.0       Main report




3.1       The LHB is co-Chaired by the Council’s Director of Neighbourhood Services and the Health and Social Care Board’s Assistant Director and Commissioning Lead for Belfast. The Board comprises Council officers and a range of its Community Planning Partners, including representation from the Statutory and VCSE sectors. The areas of collaborative focus being taken forward by the LHB, as set out below, clearly aligns with the remit of the Committee and seeks to support vulnerable people and communities as well as creating integrated approaches to improving service provision and support within the city.


            Members will be aware of the ongoing review and refresh of the Belfast Agenda.  Since the launch of the engagement programme in June 2021, we have been continuing the conversation with our city partners and stakeholders, including our delivery boards, to examine the key challenges, opportunities, and priorities for the city for the period 2022-26.  To help inform the new Belfast Agenda a co-production approach was adopted with city partners and stakeholders and is being rolled out in three phases: i) a review of existing priorities, ii) planning what needs to happen next and iii) consulting on our plans. 


3.2       Living Here Board Workshop 7 July 2021


            A workshop was held with members of the LHB as part of the first phase of engagement.  The workshop focused on:


                                             (i)          Shaping and informing the refresh of the Belfast Agenda.

                                           (ii)          Securing collective agreement on priorities and interventions that the Board will drive forward over the next 18 months, to further support community recovery.

                                         (iii)          Considering how the Board could work more effectively (maximise productivity and d partners expertise and commitment). 


            The out-workings of this workshop will combine with other inputs and feed into subsequent engagement phases, allowing us to co-design action plans and a relevant, refreshed Belfast Agenda which will deliver a positive impact for everyone in the city. 


            A detailed report providing an overview of the Board workshop session is attached in Appendix 1.  A number of key overarching areas for Members to note from the workshop discussion include:


ü  General consensus that the priorities identified in the emerging Belfast Agenda delivery framework (2022-26) reflect the key challenges and opportunities for the city.

ü  Recognition of the importance and need for strong collaboration and commitment from all partners,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021 - 2026 pdf icon PDF 325 KB

Additional documents:


            (Mr. A. Curran, Scientific Unit Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues.


1.1       The Committee will be aware that in accordance with the statutory provisions of Part III of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002, and as a consequence of the outworkings of the first round of review and assessment of ambient air quality for the city, completed in 2004, Belfast City Council declared four Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) across the city for a combination of exceedances of the hourly, 24- our and annual mean Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland objectives for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10).


1.2       The four AQMAs were declared in a ‘ribbon’ manner, encompassing the (i) Ormeau Road, (ii) Upper Newtownards Road, (iii) M1 Motorway and A12 Westlink corridor, and (iv) from Cromac Street to the junction with East Bridge Street and then from East Bridge Street to the junction with the Ravenhill and Albertbridge Roads and Short Strand. The AQMAs remain in place.


1.3       Source apportionment studies undertaken for the AQMAs indicated that exceedances of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) objectives were principally associated with road transport emissions. It should be noted that exceedances of the particulate matter (PM10) objectives occurred only within the M1 Motorway / A12 Westlink corridor and that this AQMA was revoked for particulate matter (PM10) exceedances in 2014, due to the relevant objectives being achieved over a number of preceding years.


1.4       Part III of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 requires that where an AQMA has been declared, a council shall subsequently prepare an Air Quality Action Plan containing mitigation measures that the council and its Competent Authority partners intend to implement in pursuit of the achievement of air quality objectives within the AQMA.


1.5       Accordingly, Belfast City Council, Competent Authorities and other partner organisations published the first Air Quality Action Plan for the city in 2006. A further Air Quality Action Plan was published in 2015. With the conclusion of the 2015 Air Quality Action Plan in 2020, the Council and partner organisations have now developed a new 5-year Air Quality Action Plan, covering the period 2021-2026, that is designed to address the few remaining nitrogen dioxide (NO2) hotspots within our AQMAs and to improve ambient air quality generally for the city.


1.6       Although aspects of the new Air Quality Action Plan, including proposed mitigation measures, have already been considered by Committee during the Plan development process, this paper serves to present the completed Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2026 to Committee for consideration and approval.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Review and approve the Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2026 and;

·        Agree that the Belfast City Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2026  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Air Quality Monitoring - update on Belfast sites pdf icon PDF 405 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       At the meeting of the People and Communities Committee of 12th October 2021, and subsequent to consideration by Committee of a local air quality management update report, Members agreed that a further report would be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee providing a detailed breakdown of ambient air quality monitoring across the city, including specific detail regarding the west and outer west.


1.2       This report serves therefore to provide a background to the various statutory local air quality management requirements for ambient monitoring, established via the 2007 Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Volumes 1 and 2, local air quality management policy guidance documents including LAQM.PG(NI)09 and supporting technical guidance documents such as the April 2021 edition of LAQM.TG(16).


1.3       This report also serves to provide an overview of the approach to ambient air quality monitoring employed by Belfast City Council for those pollutants prescribed in the above-mentioned local air quality management documents, together with a detailed breakdown of current ambient air quality monitoring across the city, including specific detail regarding the west and outer west.


1.4       Members are reminded that in November 2020, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) undertook a public discussion exercise into a Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland, advising that the discussion document formed part of a two-stage approach to developing the first Clean Air Strategy for Northern Ireland. The Department further advised that all of the stakeholder responses would be carefully considered and would be used to shape future policies for Ministerial consideration. Options for ambient air quality monitoring, including expansion of the existing monitoring network, targeted monitoring based on population size and the introduction of low-cost air quality monitoring equipment were considered as part of the public discussion exercise.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the contents of this local air quality monitoring report.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       The UK Government has previously advised that in relation to ambient air quality, the primary objective is to ensure that all citizens should have access to outdoor air without significant risk to their health, where this is economically and technically feasible.


3.2       The 2007 Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland therefore established a series of air quality objectives, which are policy targets, often expressed as a maximum ambient concentrations not to be exceeded, either without exception or with a permitted number of exceedances, within a specified timescale. In setting these objectives to safeguard human health, the UK Government and devolved administrations took account of economic efficiency, practicability, technical feasibility and timescale for achievement. The Strategy document advises that the objectives do not have direct legal force, but their existence and attainment have to be borne in mind in designing and executing mitigation measures.


3.3       The Air Quality Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 do however establish a series of statutory short and longer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Food Service Delivery Plan 2021-2022 pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of City Services advised the Members that the Food Safety Unit worked with local businesses to build compliance and to ensure that food produced and sold in Belfast was safe.


            The Committee was advised that The Food Hygiene Rating Act (NI) 2016 required businesses to display their food hygiene rating, improving the opportunities for consumers to make informed choices and encouraging improved compliance. This also enhanced the reputation of Belfast as a safe place to visit, with at least 95% of food businesses rated as 3, 4 or 5 (broadly compliant or better).


            The Director advised that Brexit continued to pose a major challenge for the service, with the potential for additional checks on the import and export of foods. She reported that the Council was working closely with the Food Standards Agency, DAERA, government departments, local businesses and other stakeholders to plan for reasonable worst-case scenarios and to ensure that adequate arrangements were in place to facilitate trade and to protect consumers.


            In addition, she advised that it was estimated that around 2 million people living in the UK had a food allergy, this required officers to ensure that food businesses provided the required (allergen) information to enable consumers to make informed choices. Recent cases of severe allergic reactions, including the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse after eating a Pret a Manger sandwich, had highlighted concerns regarding the adequacy of labelling requirements for food that was prepacked for direct sale (PPDS).  She advised that new labelling legislation which had came into force on 1st October 2021, required any business that produced PPDS food to label it with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients to be highlighted within the list. She reported that these additional legal requirements necessitated officer time to support, monitor and ensure compliance and were likely to impact significantly on the unit.


            The Director then drew the Members’ attention to the Service Delivery Plan that detailed the activities, techniques and approaches to be taken during the year to support businesses in ensuring food safety, food standards and to promote informed healthy choices available here. She advised that the Plan provided the basis on which the Council’s regulatory activities were monitored and audited by the Food Standards Agency and it was a requirement that it was presented to the Council for approval, to ensure local transparency and accountability.


            The Food Standards Agency (FSA) had a key role in overseeing local authority regulatory activities to ensure that official controls were delivered. Powers to enable the FSA to monitor and audit local authorities were contained in the Food Standards Act 1999. A detailed Framework Agreement on local food law enforcement had been produced by the Agency, in conjunction with local authority representative bodies, to provide guidance on how regulatory service plans should be structured and what they should contain. Service plans developed under these arrangements provided the basis on which local authorities were monitored and audited by the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Community Development and Capacity Building Support pdf icon PDF 340 KB


            The Committee considered the following report.


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


            The purpose of this report is to update members on the types of support available from within the Community Provision section it the City and Neighbourhood Services Directorate in Council which local groups can avail of, and members can promote, to groups that they are working with or who approach them for advice or assistance. 


2.0       Recommendations


            The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the contents of the report.


3.0       Main report




3.1       Following an amendment to the minutes of the P&C Committee meeting held in September 2021 at the full Council meeting held on 4th October 2021. Members had asked for a report to be brought to the next P&C committee meeting which outlined ‘capacity building and potential further funding for other groups.’ In response, officers have outlined within this update the community development and capacity support services that are currently provided by Belfast City Council’s Community Services Unit as well as several other service areas within Community Provision.  It is however worth noting that staff within Community Provision can, and often do, link in with wider Council services both within City & Neighbourhood Services Directorate (e.g. Environmental Health/Open Spaces and Street Scene/Wase Collection) as well as in other Departments across Council who can also offer a range of support services to groups and individuals.


3.2       The Community Services Unit


            Council’s Community Services unit sits within the wider Community Provision team. The Unit continues to provide a range of services to support community activity and community development across the city. Many groups and organisations require support to plan and deliver programmes, particularly in the context of Covid recovery. Council has 27 community centres with dedicated staff attached to them who will support groups to access for bookings and programmes.


            Staff within the CSU are able to support groups via three main areas outlined in more detail below.


1.               Direct financial support through grant aid


            Funding of approximately £2 million is made available annually to 100+ Belfast-based community and voluntary organisations under two main funding streams – Community Capacity and Facilities Support. Members agreed at October Council meeting that awards for 21/22 would be rolled over into the 22/23 financial year. Officers will develop a new multi annual bid that will open for applications in Autumn 2022.


            During the Covid response and recovery period, a number of previous funding streams were combined to create a more accessible, less bureaucratic process to access support with smaller micro and medium grants of up £1,500 and £5,000 respectively allocated to community projects and events. Council allocated almost £1million to 350 projects in August/September 2021 for delivery until 31 March 22. Applications for both these funding streams will open again in January/February 2022.


2.               Advice and information


            Council officers in the Unit can provide specialist support in relation not only to funding but also in relation to issues such as safeguarding, volunteering and child/youth development. They will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Physical Programme and Asset Management


Coláiste Feirste: Review of Operation of Community Access to Sports Facilities pdf icon PDF 244 KB


The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to advise Committee of a request to provide financial support to An Spórtlann, Coláiste Feirste to enable the continued provision of leisure and recreational services on the site of the former Beechmount Leisure Centre, Falls Rd and ask for Members’ consideration in undertaking a review as detailed in the unexecuted SLA.



2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to consider if they wish to give authority for the post first year of operating review of public use provision at An Spórtlann, Coláiste Feirste (in the spirit of the unexecuted SLA) to take place to determine the scope of any financial consequences arising from public use provision at the facility and to make recommendations to the Council as to the legal liability of the Council for those consequences.


3.0       Main report




3.1       In 2009, following a strategic review of Council indoor leisure facilities, completed in 2004, the transfer of the site at Beechmount Leisure Centre to Coláiste Feirste/Fobairt Feirste was agreed, subject to detailed terms, which included public use. The transfer was initially to be at no charge, but officers subsequently negotiated a price of £2.325 million subject to appropriate terms to be included in a legal agreement to be prepared by the Director of Legal Services and agreement on the detailed terms of a service level agreement also to be prepared by the Director of Legal Services. The proposal was developed on the basis that the Council would not incur operating costs following transfer.


3.2       The terms of a service level agreement (SLA) in respect of the public use were negotiated with the trustees at the time, to provide for the provision of public use by the trustees at the agreed times, however, that SLA was not signed by either party meaning it has not been legally executed. Following concerns about the financial viability of sustaining the public use expressed by the trustees at the time, Committee agreed the SLA should include a clause providing for a review after the first year of operating, and every three years after. The SLA was drafted to provide that should the public use prove to be uneconomical for the trustees after the review, the Council would have the option to either provide financial support to the trustees to safeguard the public use, or to release the trustees from their obligation to provide it. It did not commit the Council to the provision of any funding. The SLA was not signed by either the Council or the trustees and has not, therefore, been legally executed.


3.3       Despite early discussions in relation to an SLA, sale of the site was only agreed in 2011, with redevelopment commencing in 2017 and completing in 2018. The sporting facilities comprise of:


·        one full sized 3G GAA floodlit pitch;

·        one 3G floodlit pitch for soccer and GAA sports;

·        3 no. MUGA [multi use]  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12a


Preferential Use of Blanchflower pdf icon PDF 412 KB


            The Committee considered a report seeking approval to offer a Preferential Use Agreement to Glentoran Football Club at Blanchflower Playing Fields for limited access to the site for a period of two years.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that, the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, at its March 2018 meeting, had asked officers to undertake research into the provision of pitch facilities for Glentoran Football Club, including its youth academy. The Committee had further accepted the East Areas Working Group’s recommendation that a proposed capital programme to install a 3G pitch with floodlighting at King George V playing fields be replaced on the capital programme with a 3G pitch at Blanchflower playing fields.


            In addition, at its meeting in March 2019, the People and Communities Committee, had agreed to upgrade the facilities at King George V Playing Fields and to offer a Preferential Use Agreement for five years to Glentoran Youth Academy.


            The Director advised that the King George V Playing Fields were subject to a Deed of Covenant with Fields in Trust. The Council had been advised that local residents had written to Fields in Trust in opposition to the planned development of the site and management of bookings. Local residents had approached Council officers both formally and informally to protest about the proposal on a number of grounds, including traffic management, Fields in Trust requirements and floodlighting. Northern Ireland Water had also advised that it would require a section of the site for a prolonged period in relation to works on their water treatment plant nearby.


            The Members were advised that, during this period, significant investment had taken place to the football facilities in east Belfast, particularly at Blanchflower Playing Fields where the Council had developed two full size floodlit synthetic surface football pitches.  He reported that one of these pitches would be directly managed by Harland and Wolff Welders Football Club and the other by the Council.


            In summary, the Committee decision of March 2019 regarding the upgrade works at King George V Playing Fields had not been fulfilled, however, the availability of a new synthetic surface pitch at Blanchflower was imminent.


            The Director reported that Glentoran FC had written to the Council seeking approval for the previously approved Preferential Use Agreement at King George V Playing Fields to be transferred to Blanchflower Playing Fields. He reminded the Members that officers had previously been directed to present research into the provision of suitable and convenient pitch facilities for Glentoran Football Club, including its youth academy. This report presented an option which was not available to officers at that time and therefore needed to be considered on that basis.


            The Council was currently completing development of synthetic surface pitches in east Belfast including the pitches at Blanchflower playing fields and Avoniel Leisure Centre. It would likely take two years to understand the impact of these developments and how demand would be balanced across greater east Belfast. For this reason, it was proposed that the preferential  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Community Asset Management Pilots pdf icon PDF 273 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To seek committee approval for a number of pilot projects across the city using a draft community asset management framework and toolkit to identify future management models to maximise community benefits and ensure community management council facilities can deliver on the outcomes of the Belfast Agenda.


            The sites identified below cover a range of asset types currently being managed within the community.


·        Clarendon Playing Fields;

·        Ulidia Playing Fields;

·        Hammer Pitch, changing rooms & community space;

·        Willowbank Multi Sports Facility;

·        Tullycarnet Park Boxing Club;

·        Former Upper Ardoyne Youth Centre;



2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Approve pilot projects at the 6 proposed sites and move forward with the agreed work streams under our draft Community Asset Framework, working with the existing groups and through a procured partner to support the development of community benefit plans and business case proposals to determine the most appropriate future management model for each of the sites.  The outcomes of this will be used to update our draft framework and the development of a new Community Asset Management policy.   Committee will be kept updated at all stages and any next steps will be subject to Committee sign-off. 


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       The Council has a long history of supporting community groups and third sector organisations to deliver services, doing so by permitting community management of council assets. It is believed that communities benefit not only from overall outcomes achieved but also through their direct involvement in the management and programming of community facilities.  The community benefit is generally considered to be greater when achieved via this model than when the council is the direct delivery agent, however community benefit remains unmeasured in most instances.  The ambition of Members in this area is also recognised and therefore it is proposed to conduct a series of pilot projects to measure and evaluate that community benefit. The pilots will cover a range of asset types with differing functions, management models and end user demographics.  


3.2       The pilot projects will utilise a previously untested draft framework and assessment toolkit developed for Council by DTNI. Learning achieved through the application of this work to live examples will inform a future Community Asset Management Policy.  It is recognised that with increasing emphasis on inclusive growth, resilience and wealth building in communities, requests for long term access to council assets will only grow in number. There is now a strong impetus to test the previous work and assess it value as a decision-making tool.


3.3       Pilot sites have been chosen to reflect the existing variety of management models specifically, Leases, Facility Management Agreements and Partner Agreements. The scope includes assets already managed within the community and new or vacant assets. The range of functionality includes community programming, sports development and youth and community support.   


            The Proposed Pilot sites


            Ulidia and Clarendon Playing Fields


3.4       Council is currently in receipt of requests for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Finance, Procurement and Performance


Belfast Healthy Cities - Value for Money Review pdf icon PDF 282 KB

Additional documents:


            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 update members on the outcome of the Value for Money Review that has recently been completed by Copius Advisory Services/Consulting of partnership funding provided annually by Belfast City Council, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Public Health Agency to Belfast Healthy Cities.  It was previously agreed that this review would be undertaken separate to the broader Partnership Funding Evaluation Review given the 4-way partnership funding and monitoring arrangements.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Given the conclusions of the review outlined in section 3, alongside the recent redesignation of Healthy Cities status for Belfast to 2026, it is recommended that Committee:


·        Agree in principle to fund Belfast Healthy Cities at the same level for the 2022/23 financial year (£81,294), subject to the completion of the 2022/23 revenue estimates process;


·        Agree for council officers and partner organisation representatives to undertake a series of facilitated discussions between Nov 21-Mar 2022 namely with BHDU staff, BHC staff and Board alongside key health and community planning leads to develop and agree health priorities for Belfast to be progressed as part of the Belfast Agenda Refresh, Belfast’s Phase VII plan and the emerging ICP structure and planning process for Belfast;


·        Note that this process will include agreeing the governance structure and resources anticipated/required to progress the priority actions and will therefore take account of, and incorporate, the review’s recommendations in relation to BHC in terms of being one of the key resources/delivery agents;


·        Note a further report to be brought to Committee, as well as via the Belfast Community Planning Partnership structures, for consideration and approval.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background


            Belfast’s membership to the WHO European Healthy Cities Network is facilitated by Belfast Healthy Cities (BHC), an independent partnership organisation, recognised as having charitable status by The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. Belfast Healthy Cities is governed by a Board of Directors, elected annually and representing the public, university, voluntary and community sectors.


            Members approved the completion of an Expression of Interest for Belfast to re-designate as a WHO Healthy City and participate in Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network at the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 17th August 2018.  Members then approved the application for submission in September 2020.  On 21st May 2021 Belfast Healthy Cities confirmed that the City of Belfast had been successful in its application, has been designated in Phase VII, and thereby extended to April 2026.


            Council are one of four core funders to Belfast Healthy Cities, along with the Public Health Agency (PHA), Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) and Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).  Annual funding amounts to over 300k of which BCC contributes £89,586.


            Officers engaged with the other funding organisations to outline the decision of Council and in the spirit of ‘collaborative gain’ as set within the Belfast Agenda, it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Update on Review of Partnerships Evaluation pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was provided with a comprehensive update on the outcome of the review of partnership funding and asked to consider future funding for those organisations within the scope of the review. 


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that the City and Neighbourhood Services Department worked in partnership with a number of organisations that shared common strategic objectives and that some of this work had developed through the provision of annual financial support to deliver against agreed outcomes.  Many of the partnership funding arrangements were historical and had been rolled on from year to year and were not dealt with as part of a mainstreamed open call or other funding process.


            As such, the Committee, at its meeting held in June 2019, agreed to review the funding arrangements, with a focus on alignment with the Council’s Corporate Plan, the Belfast Agenda and overall value for money. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the completion of the review had been delayed significantly and, in February 2021, Members had agreed to carry forward the funding at the same levels as previously to the organisations within scope of the review.  As follows:




Belfast Hills Partnership


Lagan Valley Regional Park


Outdoor Recreation NI (promotion of mountain bike trails)


Keep NI Beautiful (Live Here Love Here and Eco Schools Project)


Mary Peters Trust


Bryson Energy (previously Play Resource)*





* Note – Play Resource Warehouse was no longer in existence and had merged with Bryson Energy.


            The Members were advised that, as instructed, an extensive review had been undertaken with all of the above partnership funding arrangements and he drew their attention to the summary of the outcomes of the review against the specification and he proceeded to summarise the main recommendations, as follows:



1.     Continue funding


Given the evidence of strategic alignment, added value and value for money, it was suggested that all of the partnership funding arrangements be agreed, in principle, at the same level for 2022/23, subject to the completion of the 2022/23 revenue estimates process.  It was further recommended that any future review of these arrangements would be tied to the Council’s overall review of community provision (which would include funding arrangements).


2.     Set SMART targets and an increased focus on outcomes


Funded partnerships to work with the Council to design up-to-date targets/deliverables and mechanisms for monitoring, evaluation, and reporting purposes.  This would include SMART targets, increased focus on outcomes and a standardisation of the contractual arrangements.  All of this would improve future measurement of impact.


3.     Link deliverables to Belfast Agenda and other funding partners


It was important that future deliverables/ targets aligned to the funding arrangements were

explicit in their link to the Belfast Agenda.  This would ensure that collective successes of the various funded partnerships built on the Community Plan aspirations to the benefit of all Belfast City Council residents. It was also advised, for the higher value contracts, that the Council would liaise with other funders of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Operational Issues


Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) BCC and Cavehill Mountainbikers Club pdf icon PDF 267 KB

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            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1       North Area Working Group had previously instructed officers 2019 to proceed with a number of actions in relation to taking forward a mountainbiking pilot in Cavehill Country Park in partnership with Cavehill Mountainbikers Club.  In December 2020, officers secured the services/support of Outdoor Recreation NI via a quotation exercise to assist them in developing and implementing the pilot project.  A Project Oversight Group has been established and a number of key actions have been achieved over the past ten-month period – including the drafting of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) document included at Appendix 1 – which if agreed by Committee/Council will enable the pilot to proceed as planned.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


1.     Note the contents of the proposed MOU document which has been drawn up following a series of focussed discussions and engagement with lead officers in CNS and Legal Services, with specialist advice provided by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, and input from Cavehill Mountainbikers Club re. same.  The document has also been shared with the Cavehill MTB Project Oversight Group which also includes membership from Belfast Hills Partnership and Cavehill Conservation Group.

2.     Agree the terms of the MOU.


3.0       Background


3.1       At a meeting of the North Area Working Group in March 2019, members agreed that Council officers should take forward a number of actions in relation to mountain biking on Cavehill. 


3.2       At the reconvened North Area Working Group meeting held on 29 January 2020 members were updated in terms of progress to date against each of these actions outlined in the table below.


Agreed action



Identification and mapping of mountain bike club proposed trails


Lead officers externally commissioned commercial trail designers and mountain bikers identified and mapped trails currently in use at Cave Hill.


The Council’s Outdoor Recreation & Education Officer completed a desktop survey and mapping exercise. This was compiled into a report reflecting the extent of mountain biking and cycling at Cave Hill. The trails identified through the report were confirmed by the mountain bikers.


Field visit held with Outdoor Recreation NI (ORNI) 10th January 2020.  ORNI have provided advice to Council in relation to potential next steps.

Externally facilitated discussions with residents group


A meeting between senior CNS officers and those residents opposed to mountain biking on Cave Hill was facilitated by an external consultant.

Environmental  assessment by consultant

Completed for the Middle Trail

Allen and Mellon Environmental Assessment completed for the Middle Trail – no significant environmental risks identified.

Engagement with key stakeholders


Engagement to date has included: 

  • Cavehill Conservation Group
  • Cavehill Mountainbikers Club
  • Cycling Ireland/Ulster
  • Local residents

Committee approval of routes identified as suitable by environmental consultant

Recommendation accepted at NAWG meeting on 29 Jan 20

NB Proposal is to proceed with adopting ‘The Middle Trail’ as an initial pilot – with work to be overseen by an external agency.

Public consultation –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Proposal for naming new streets and the continuation of existing streets pdf icon PDF 252 KB


            The Committee approved an application for naming new streets and the continuation of existing streets, as set out below:


Proposed Name             



Hazel Link

Off Hazel Close, BT17

Toland House Properties

Hazel Pass

Off Hazel Close, BT17

Toland House Properties



Proposed Continuation of Existing Street



Hazel Drive

Off Lagmore Avenue, BT17

Toland House Properties

Hazel Close

Off Lagmore Avenue, BT17

Toland House Properties

Cairnmartin Crescent

Off Cairnmartin Road, BT13

Choice Housing



Winter Preparedness Update pdf icon PDF 431 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was provided with a comprehensive update on the measures being implemented by the Council and its multiagency partners to support the people of Belfast over the winter period, specifically in terms of emergency planning and Age-friendly Belfast. 


            The Members noted that all local community resilience groups in Belfast had re-engaged with residents over the summer months to ensure that their contacts details had been updated and that the existing community emergency plans had been refreshed. This had also included awareness raising within the communities regarding existing resources, including sandbag containers and equipment to help assist during adverse weather, particularly during incidents of flash flooding.


            The Members were advised that sandbag containers would continue to be replenished by multiagency partners including NIW, DfI Roads and DfI Rivers in preparation for the winter period. The sandbag containers had combination locks to improve the speed of access by Council staff and/or community volunteers when required. The locations of the sandbag containers were available on the Council’s website, available here


            DfI Roads were currently restocking the community grit boxes in preparation for winter. The Committee was reminded that there was an ongoing agreement between DfI Roads and the Council, permitting Council resources to be used to treat predefined areas when a prolonged cold period was expected or experienced. The agreed areas included arterial routes into the city and streets in and around the city centre.


            The Members were also reminded of a previous agreement regarding the provision of salt for the Members’ use in communities during prolonged severe winter weather, where small quantities of salt would be made available in Council owned premises. Existing stocks of salt (25kg bags) would be made available at the appropriate Council community/leisure centres or other Council sites. In addition, higher elevated residential areas would also be prioritised.


            In terms of information and outreach, the Committee was advised that links were in place with Age-friendly Belfast’s multiagency group and homeless support groups to raise awareness when weather warnings were issued.


            The Committee was advised that a briefing paper, ‘Elected Member Information on Major Emergencies’ would be emailed to all the Members, this would include a hotline number for Members’ use during an emergency.  They were also advised that winter emergency information was available on the Council website, which also contained a link to the NI Direct page available here. Corporate Communications also had specific winter advice pages, which would be highlighted on the website and via the Council’s social media channels as required.


            In terms of Age-friendly Belfast, it hosted two interagency winter planning meetings in August and November each year, where Partners from community, voluntary and statutory organisations shared their plans for the winter, raised any issues of concern and updated their contacts for the communication of information in extreme weather. 


            The following key projects to support older people over the winter were then highlighted:


·        National Energy Action (NEA) were co-ordinating winter warmth packs provided by the Public Health Agency for Belfast. Referrals  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Communities Committee NIA - Private Tenancies Bill pdf icon PDF 440 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1            To provide an update to members regarding the Department for Communities draft Private Tenancies Bill which was introduced by the Minister for Communities on 6 July 2021. The Department for Communities Committee has indicated that they are keen to receive a written submission from Belfast City Council before the end of November. (Appendix 1)

2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the draft proposals and comments and agree to submit the response, including a request for the resource implications for District Councils to be evaluated, to the Committee for Communities.

·        Note the response will be issued by the deadline of 30th November as a draft and will remain subject to Council approval.


3.0       Main report


            Key issues


3.1       The Bill has now reached its Committee Stage, and the Committee for Communities has responsibility for the Committee Stage of the Bill.


3.2       The Committee has issued its call for written evidence and views on the Bill, which is due to close on Friday 29th of October 2021.  The Bill consists of 11 substantive clauses and three schedules. The stated aim of the Bill is to make the private rented sector a safer and more secure housing option for a wider range of households. The Bill introduces a series of amendments to The Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, which is the main legislative framework for the private rented sector in Northern Ireland.


3.3       Belfast City Council has a very long tradition of involvement in the private rented sector, primarily through its role as a regulator of housing standards but also in respect of its statutory duties under the Public Health Acts.  The enhanced powers recently devolved to district councils under the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006 (PTO) along with the transfer of  the regulation of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in 2018, confirms the importance of the evolving role that district councils have in regulating the private rented sector.  The Council therefore has been seen as a key consultee in this process.


3.4       Following on from this Committees call for evidence, the decisions taken by the Department  relating to areas that impact in the  development of a long term strategy for the private rented sector, will have a significant impact on the existing and evolving regulatory and advisory roles of the Council  and other stakeholder in relation to its statutory housing functions.


3.5       The Department’s landlord registration database has indicated that one third of the privately rented sector properties in Northern Ireland are located in the Belfast City Council area. Belfast City Council also has 70% of all HMOs in Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council coordinates the delivery of the HMO function for all 11 district Councils.


            In summary the Bill contains the following provisions:


·        Re-introduction of a written statement of tenancy terms for tenants

·        Tenants to be provide with rent receipt if payment in cash

·        Tenancy deposit to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


ITV 1 Million Minutes Bench at C.S. Lewis Square pdf icon PDF 344 KB


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services informed the Committee that a request had been received from ITV Good Morning Britain and the Eastside Greenways Teams seeking the Council to support the ITV 1 Million Minutes Campaign.


            He explained that the 1 Million Minutes Campaign worked with charities to help combat the national pandemic of loneliness, this campaign did not ask for money but for people’s time.  Throughout December there would be a pledge button on the ITV website where people could commit their time to volunteer. 


            ITV had sought permission to place a temporary wrap to an existing bench in front of the visitor centre at CS Lewis Square in East Belfast from 6th – 31st December, after which there would be the option to leave or remove the wrap.   


            The Committee approved the application of a temporary wrap to a bench at CS Lewis Square in support of ITV’s 1 million minutes campaign.



Permission for drone filming at Cavehill pdf icon PDF 245 KB


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services informed the Committee that a request had been received from a company called Piranha Bar seeking permission to film a commercial  on behalf of Tourism NI at Cavehill Country Park, using a SUA (Small Unmanned Aircraft/Drone), week commencing 15th November 2021 from 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.


            Accordingly, he recommended that the Committee grant permission to Piranha Bar to film on the aforementioned dates.


            The Committee agreed that, due to timescale, and date of the next Council meeting, that the decision of the committee would be implemented with immediate effect, on the condition that the event organisers:


·        resolve all operational issues to the satisfaction of the Council;


·        meet all statutory requirements, including those relating to Public Liability Insurance cover, health and safety and licensing; and 


·        adhere to Government Covid-19 Regulations in place at the time of the event.