Agenda and minutes

Contact: Mr. Henry Downey, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item





            Apologies for inability to attend were reported on behalf of Alderman McCoubrey and Councillors Hutchinson, McAteer and Mulholland.





            The minutes of the meeting of 20th October 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 November, subject to the omission of those matters in respect of which the Council had delegated its powers to the Committee.



Declarations of Interest


            No declarations of interest were reported.



Delegated Matters


Applications approved under Delegated Authority pdf icon PDF 519 KB


            The Committee noted a list of applications for licences, permits and Road Closure Orders which had, since its last meeting, been approved under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation.



Applications for the Provisional Grant of an Indoor and an Outdoor Entertainments Licence - Libertine, 10-14 Tomb Street pdf icon PDF 270 KB

Additional documents:


            The Building Control Manager submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       To consider an application for the provisional grant of a Seven-Day Annual Indoor Entertainments Licence, based on the Council’s standard conditions to provide music, singing, dancing or any other entertainment of a like kind and an application for the provisional grant of a Seven-Day Annual Outdoor Entertainments Licence to provide outdoor musical entertainment.


                      Area and Location            Ref. No.                     Applicant


                        Libertine                            WK/2020/01841        Mr. Jim Crawford

10-14 Tomb Street            WK/2020/01846        Elwynn Leisure Belfast              Limited

                        BT1 3AS                                                               149 Lisburn Road

                                                                                                      Belfast, BT97AJ


            1.2       A location map has been circulated.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Taking into account the information presented and any representations received, the Committee is required to consider the applications and to:


a)          approve either or both of the applications for the provisional grant of the Seven-Day Annual Indoor and Outdoor Entertainments Licences, or


b)          approve either or both of the applications for the provisional grant with special conditions, or


c)          refuse either or both of the applications for the provisional grant of the Seven-Day Annual Indoor and Outdoor Entertainments Licences.


2.1       If an application is refused, or special conditions are attached to the licence to which the applicant does not consent, then the applicant may appeal the Council’s decision within 21 days of notification of that decision to the County Court.  In the case that the applicant subsequently decides to appeal, entertainment may not be provided until any such appeal is determined.


3.0       Main Report


            Key Issues


            Provisional Grant of a Licence


3.1       There is provision within the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order (the Order) to make application for the grant of an Entertainments Licence in respect of premises which are to be, or are in the course of being, constructed, extended or altered. 


3.2       If the Committee is satisfied that the premises would, if completed in accordance with plans deposited, be such that it would grant the licence, it may grant the licence subject to a condition that it shall be of no effect until confirmed by the Council.


3.3       This is described as the provisional grant of a licence.


3.4       Should the Committee grant a provisional licence, the Order states that, when it is satisfied that the premises have been completed in accordance with the plans deposited, the Council must then issue the licence.


3.5       Should the Committee be of a mind to grant the licence provisionally, it is requested to consider delegating authority to the Director of Planning and Building Control, in consultation with the City Solicitor, to issue the licence once all necessary technical requirements relating to health, safety, welfare and amenity have been completed to the satisfaction of the Building Control Service.


            Details of the Premises and Proposals


3.6       The premises, formerly known as Fourteen Tomb Street, previously operated as a Nightclub on the Ground Floor and First Floor and held an Outdoor Entertainments Licence for the smoking area located at the side  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Application for the Screening of an Unclassified Film pdf icon PDF 440 KB

Additional documents:


            The Building Control Manager submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       To consider whether to permit the screening of the unclassified 2021 Irish horror film ‘Bring out the Fear’ in the Movie House Cinema City Side, Belfast or in other cinemas within the Belfast City Council area.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested, having considered the information presented, to:


a)        permit the screening of the unclassified film ‘Bring out the Fear’ under Condition 3 of the Cinema Licence, or


b)       permit the screening of the unclassified film under Condition 3 of the Cinema Licence, subject to Council officers viewing a sample of film to ensure its appropriateness and delegating to the Director of Planning and Building Control the right to refuse permission to exhibit it if not deemed suitable (when viewed against the BBFC guidelines) and/or,


c)        refuse the screening of the unclassified film


2.2       Whilst there is a general provision for appeals in relation to the Conditions placed on Cinema Licences, there is no right of appeal in respect of this decision.


3.0       Main Report


Key Issues


3.1       The Council licences cinemas and other venues under the Cinemas (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 for the exhibition of films.  The main functions of the legislation relate to technical matters such as structural stability and fire safety and, as such, the powers to issue licences are delegated to the Director of Planning and Building Control.


3.2       Unlike Entertainments Licences, Pavement Café Licences and Amusement Permits, there is no public notification and representation process for Cinema Licence applications, hence there is normally no involvement of the Committee with Cinema Licensing.


3.3       When issuing Licences, the Council establishes Conditions of Management on each Licence regarding the general running and administration of the premises.  One such Condition is that only films which have been classified with a certificate issued by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) may be shown.


3.4       The BBFC is an independent body which classifies all films on behalf of local authorities, and they have strict guidelines and criteria in awarding films a classification. The BBFC categories and criteria guidelines have been circulated.


3.5       This system is used by all authorities within the United Kingdom and all commercial films will have been classified through this process.  Independent films, shorts and features that have not been classified through the BBFC tend to be shown in private clubs and societies and are not exhibited in commercial cinemas licensed by the Council.


3.6       It has been rare for a licensed cinema to seek permission to show a film that has not been through the BBFC process.  However, with the development in the local creative industries and filmmaking sector here it is apparent that more films, in particular low budget short films, are being produced locally. Many are unclassified but the demand for them to be screened in local cinemas is growing.


3.7       There are various reasons for companies not to submit their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


HMO Licences Issued Under Delegated Authority pdf icon PDF 251 KB


            The Committee noted a list of licences for Houses in Multiple Occupation which had, since its last meeting, been issued under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation.



Application for the Renewal of a Licence to Operate a House of Multiple Occupation - 12 Curzon Street pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 20th October, it had considered an application for the renewal of a licence to operate a House in Multiple Occupation at number 12 Curzon Street, which the HMO Unit had recommended for approval.


            Having heard from two of the objectors and from the applicant, the Committee had agreed to defer the application until its next meeting to enable officers to obtain up-to-date information on any complaints of noise and/or anti-social behaviour associated with the property and had agreed also that the objectors and the applicant be permitted to submit any relevant information.


            It was reported that Mr. S. Byrne and Mr. B. Gardiner-Crehan, the objectors who had attended the meeting on 20th October, were in attendance and they were invited to provide details of any further complaints.


            Mr. Byrne drew the Members’ attention to a complaint which he had made to the applicant on the night of Sunday, 30th September. The complaint had related primarily to noise from the slamming of doors. He had informed the applicant that his tenants had kept his family awake on several nights immediately preceding that one and that his family had, on one occasion, been forced to sleep in a relative’s house. Mr. Byrne had suggested to the applicant that he use soft closing fittings as a way of limiting the noise from doors and had been informed by the applicant that he would deal with the matter. Mr. Byrne added that he had made no complaints since that night.


            Mr. Gardiner-Crehan confirmed that he could not comment upon Mr. Byrne’s complaint and that he had nothing further to add.


            Mr. MacDermott, the applicant’s legal representative, explained that, following Mr. Byrne’s complaint of 30th September, the applicant had met with his tenants to remind them of their responsibilities under the tenancy agreement around limiting noise and respecting their neighbours. He pointed out that this was the first complaint which had been made against these tenants and that the applicant had felt that a warning was sufficient on this occasion. The applicant had also arranged for modifications to be made to the doors of the property to reduce noise nuisance.


            Mr. MacDermott went on to state that the objections to this application had been based primarily on the argument that the applicant was not a fit and proper person. He stated that the applicant had dealt responsibly and appropriately with all issues which had been raised in relation to noise nuisance and antisocial behaviour and concluded by pointing out that the HMO Unit had recommended that the licence be renewed.


            In relation to a point which had been raised by a Member around the potential for refusing the application on the grounds of the overprovision of Houses in Multiple Occupation in that locality, the HMO Unit Manager confirmed that, under Section 20 of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016, the Committee was not permitted, when considering an application for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Non-Delegated Matters


Licence Fees for Sex Establishments pdf icon PDF 51 KB


            The Building Control Manager informed the Committee that, under Article 4 and Schedule 2 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, the Council had powers relating to the licensing of sex establishments.


            Whilst the Order stipulated that a person applying for the grant, renewal or transfer of a licence should pay a reasonable fee, as determined by the Council, it differed from the Street Trading Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 and the Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014, in that it did not specify a procedure for the Council to follow in determining that fee.


            He reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 15th June, 2016, it had agreed the following schedule of fees for the licensing of sex establishments and that they should be reviewed on an annual basis:


Application Fee




Renewal Fee




Transfer Fee




Licence Fee



            He explained that the fees, which had been reviewed by the Committee on 16th December, 2020, were deemed to be in keeping with the cost of processing and administering a Sex Establishment Licence and, accordingly, he recommended that they should again remain unchanged.


            The Committee adopted the recommendation.



Schedule of Meetings 2022 pdf icon PDF 62 KB


            The Committee approved the following schedule of meetings for the Licensing Committee for 2022 and agreed that it should continue to meet at 5.00 p.m.:


·        Wednesday, 19th January


·        Wednesday, 16th February


·        Wednesday, 16th March


·        Wednesday, 13th April


·        Wednesday, 18th May


·        Wednesday, 15th June


·        Wednesday, 17th August


·        Wednesday, 21st September


·        Wednesday, 19th October


·        Wednesday, 16th November


·        Wednesday, 14th December.



Department for Communities Review of Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Scheme pdf icon PDF 154 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 had come into effect on 1st April, 2019, following the transfer of the Houses in Multiple Occupation registration scheme from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to councils, under a new licensing regime.


            The HMO Unit Manager explained that the Department for Communities had, as part of the transfer arrangements, undertaken to review the licensing regime within two years of its implementation. The Committee had, at its meeting on 10th March, approved a response to an online questionnaire which had since been issued by the Department, and had made an additional submission highlighting legislative anomalies and omissions, with suggested amendments, to improve the delivery and administration of the HMO licensing scheme.


            He reported that the Council had, in June, received from the Department for Communities a copy of the initial feedback report on its review of licensing scheme. Annex B of that report had contained comments on the administration of the scheme, to which the NIHMO Unit had been invited to respond. He explained that eighteen themes had emerged from those comments and that those had been incorporated into a draft response for submission to the Department for Communities. Accordingly, he recommended that the Committee approve the following response and pointed out that the Department had confirmed that it would, upon receipt of responses, move to the next stage in the process by outlining its recommendations for action:






Response to each of the Major Themes

raised by the Feedback Report


A number of themes have emerged from the responses to the DfC consultation on the Houses in Multiple Occupation Act (Northern Ireland) 2016. This report gives Belfast City Council’s response to each of the major themes raised.


1.     Cost

A number of respondents to the DfC referred to the perceived high cost of the scheme. The Council does not accept that these costs are high in comparison to the income from operating an HMO.  Furthermore, this is a different type of scheme so it is inevitable that it will cost more than the previous registration regime.


The legislation requires the licensing regime to be self-financing whereas the old registration scheme was not operated on a cost recovery basis.


The HMO Unit continual review and refine its processes to ensure operational effectiveness with the objective of automating as many processes as possible to reduce costs.


2.     Guidance

The Council has enhanced and restructured its online guidance to make it more user friendly.


The Council’s website in addition providing advice and guidance to HMO owners and managers, also details tenants’ rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, the website also permits the public to view the current register of licensed HMOs and make representations on open applications.


The Council is continuing to develop further enhancements to the public register to allow ease of access with an improved search function.


Members of the public can also report incidents of antisocial behaviour associated with HMO properties via the website, by phone or email.



3.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.