Agenda item


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


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


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members are asked to:


1.      Consider the current updated survey results, noting the one outstanding survey, and either


a)     Make a decision to approve or refuse the application based upon the current survey results

b)     Defer any decision until the full survey results are available


3.0       Main report


3.1       Key Issues




3.2       The Clifton Street dual language street sign application was considered under the existing Street Naming and Numbering policy.




            In the introduction section of the policy it states:



3.3       ‘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.’


            The procedure within the policy states:


3.4       ‘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.’


            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 visit is carried out to check all the properties on the street during the survey.  Commercial properties are included in the survey, with one survey form being provided. The policy states that the method of consultation is to canvas by post. The practice is to hand deliver surveys where possible or post them using Royal Mail where this is not possible.


3.5       For the Clifton Street application, based on the information taken from the electoral register, and site checks of commercial properties, 12 surveys were originally issued, to both residential and commercial properties.  10 were hand delivered.  2 survey forms were posted through Royal Mail as they could not be hand delivered due to no letter box or no one present. 


3.6       On review of the processing of this application, it was noted that two occupiers who had signed the initial petition had not been surveyed as their properties were deemed to be vacant  at the time officers carried out their physical inspection of the street.  However, it now appears they are in fact occupied.


3.7       At the committee meeting on 9th November members agreed to survey these two occupiers and asked that a report be brought back to December committee. Survey forms were hand delivered to these two properties, with an explanation on the survey to confirm the decision of committee, and that these surveys were being carried out without prejudice, pending ratification at December council meeting.  One survey form has been returned and the occupier’s preference is reflected in the revised totals. The other survey form has not been returned to date, however we are still within the standard response deadline. The result from this survey cannot therefore be fully reflected in the percentage totals for and against until a return is made or the deadline for return has passed


3.8       In addition, following the agreement at the committee meeting on 9th November a survey form was also re-issued by post to the secretary of Belfast Orange Hall, a property on the street. This property was originally surveyed by post and was declared a non-return and therefore the occupiers were deemed not be in favour of a dual language street sign in accordance with the policy. This survey has since been returned and is reflected in the revised percentage totals. 


3.9       Application details:



English Name


Non- English








Persons surveyed

Clifton Street


Sráid Clifton


Between Carrick Hill, BT1 and Carlisle Circus BT14

Carrick Hill Residents Association



3.10      The translation was authenticated by Queens University, the approved translator for Belfast City Council.


            Results for survey carried out for Clifton Street


3.11      In accordance with the Council’s policy for the erection of dual language street signs surveys of all persons appearing on the Electoral Register plus owners or tenants in actual possession of commercial premises carried out and the following responses were received.


3.12      A revised number of 14 surveys have now been issued in total, 12 hand delivered and 2 posted using Royal Mail. The revised results are:


·        9 occupiers (64.3%) were in favour of the erection of a second street nameplate

·        1 occupier (7.1%) had no preference either way

·        occupiers (14.3%) were not in favour of the erection of a second nameplate

·        1 occupier (7.1%) did not respond to the survey

·        1 survey is still outstanding within the standard response deadline (7.1%)


3.13      The Council’s policy on the erection of a second street nameplate requires that at least two thirds (66.6%) of the occupiers on the street surveyed must be in favour of the proposal to erect a second street sign in a language other than English.


            Provision of street signs.


3.14      The practice on siting the street signs is to identify those that exist on the street, and these are either added to or replaced to reflect the street name in a second language, as approved.  The position of the street signs on Clifton Street are as follows:


·        Junction with North Queen Street – on metal railings

·        Junction of Westlink on-slip (north) – wall mounted to bridge

·        Junction of Westlink on-slip (south) – wall mounted to bridge

·        A sign on railings at the junction with Carlisle Circus was damaged and is not currently in place.


3.15      There is no street sign on or beside the Belfast Orange Hall building.


3.16      Financial & Resource Implications


            There is a cost of approximately £450 to cover the cost of the manufacturing and erection of the dual language street signs in the current locations. The cost for these street signs has been allowed for in the current budget.


3.17      Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment


            There are no direct equality/rural needs implications.”


Moved by Councillor Magee,

Seconded by Councillor Garrett,


                                                                                                            That the Committee agrees to the erection of dual language street signs.”




            Moved by Councillor Bunting,

            Seconded by Alderman Copeland,


            “If the street signs are to be erected, that the sign at Carlisle Circus on Clifton Street is erected in English only.”


            On a vote, five Members voted for the amendment and ten against, and it was declared lost.




            With no agreement on the substantive proposal, a further amendment was made:


            Moved by Alderman Copeland,

            Seconded by Councillor McReynolds,


      “The Committee agrees to defer any decision until the January meeting of the Committee when the full survey results would be available.”


            On a vote, nine Members voted for the proposal and six against and it was declared carried. 


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