The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 Committee is asked to note that Midland Boxing Club premises will be closed for re-development from June 2022 until March 2023. This project is being funded by the Belfast Investment fund and will be delivered by the council’s Physical Programme department. Council officers are currently working with the club to identify suitable alternative premises for interim use to enable them to continue to deliver their boxing programme to their 60+ members.
1.2 Outside of boxing, they also support the delivery of youth outreach programmes in North Belfast and their premises are normally used for hosting interface diversification activities in summer months. This has helped to strengthen good relations with other clubs from across the interface and tackle anti-social behaviour in periods of peak tension.
1.3 The club currently train 5 nights a week Monday to Friday, 5pm – 9pm and some Saturday mornings. While their premises are closed during the redevelopment, they require a suitable building with toilet and changing facilities that can be used for boxing activities and the delivery of other youth activities.
1.4 The club is also used by Midland Social & Recreational club who deliver a day-time programme Monday to Friday for older people in the local community. Ideally the club would like to find a suitable temporary premise to cater for the social and recreational club as well.
1.5 Woodvale bowling pavilion, which is situated in Woodvale Park, has been identified as a possible temporary home for both clubs. The bowling green and pavilion has not had a resident bowling club or interest from casual bowlers for over 5 years. This would offer an opportunity for community usage of the facility and could be the catalyst for local interest when the boxing club return to their own premises.
2.1 The Committee is asked to
· Grant authority for officers to repurpose Woodvale bowling pavilion as a temporary home for Midland Boxing Club and Midland Social and Recreation Club whilst their premises are being redeveloped.
· Officers have met with the club on site and the facilities are considered to be suitable. Committee is further asked to grant authority for a key handling arrangement to be drafted between Council and Midland Boxing Club to enable the clubs to access the facility without the need for Council staff.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Officers have explored the option with representatives from Midland Boxing Club and confirmed that Woodvale bowling pavilion is a suitable venue to house their range of activities. A meeting took place with the club on site on Thursday 31 March 2022. The building is sizeable with a main hall, a side room, large kitchen facilities, toilets and changing rooms. The interior ceiling is pitched, so the height is suitable for the boxing ring to be erected on one side of hall.
3.2 There are adequate parking facilities within the park so it is not envisaged that increased usage and traffic at the site will cause any disruption to local residents or existing park users.
3.3 Following due diligence, it is likely that a level of training will need to be carried out with representatives from the clubs who have responsibility for facility management. Midland Boxing Club successfully manage their own premises and therefore with adequate training around health and safety, security and fire evacuation procedures, officers are confident that the club should be able to manage the building via temporary facility management and key handling arrangement.
3.4 Midland Social and Recreation Club are in receipt of a Council revenue grant. It is envisaged this grant will be transferable to cover some running costs of the temporary venue.
3.5 Financial and Human Resource Implications
Midland & Social Recreation are currently in receipt of a £4500 revenue grant which could be transferred over to cover eligible costs at the interim facilities.
BIF capital budget also included scope to cover storage of boxing equipment during the period of redevelopment.
3.6 Asset and Other Implications
Council officers will carry out adequate training with representatives from Midland who have responsibility for facility management. A temporary facility management and key handling agreement will be drafted by legal services.
3.7 Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
There are no known implications.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.