Agenda item


The Director of Planning and Building Control reminded the Committee that, at its meeting held on, 15th June, following consideration of an objection to the application for the 14-day Occasional Outdoor Entertainments Licence for Boucher Road Playing Fields, the Committee had agreed to renew the licence.  She reported that, subsequently, an application had been received for the grantof a 7-Day Annual Outdoor Entertainments Licence to permit the use of this large event space for more than 14 days per year.


            She advised the Committee that a 7-day Annual Entertainment Licence had previously been in place for Boucher Road Playing Fields until 2014.  Currently, Belfast City Council held both a 14-Day Occasional Outdoor Entertainments Licence and a 14-Day Occasional Indoor Entertainments Licence for a marquee in respect of Boucher Road Playing Fields.  Boucher Road had been used as a venue to provide large outdoor concerts for approximately 10 years.


            She advised that the current days and hours during which entertainment could be provided for both Occasional Licences were:


·        Monday to Saturday: 11.30 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. and

·        Sunday: 12.30 p.m. to 11.00 p.m.


            The Director outlined the special conditions which were attached to the licence, along with the measures taken to ensure health, safety and welfare.  She pointed out that no representations had been received in response to a public notice of the application and that both the PSNI and NIFRS had no objections to the application.   


            She advised the Members that pre-event planning meetings would be held with all relevant services, agencies and promoters for all large outdoor music events within the Boucher Road Playing Fields. These meetings would be attended by officers of the Council, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Department of Infrastructure, Translink, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, promoters and their relevant service providers.  In addition, officers from the Council would assess the Event Planning documents submitted by the promoter and carry out site inspections prior to and throughout the events to ensure compliance with relevant guidance in relation to fire safety, structures, access, egress and facilities for all.


            The Director explained to the Committee that promoters of large outdoor events must submit a Noise Management Plan to the Environmental Protection Unit for evaluation in advance of an event taking place and that Council officers worked with promoters in order to assess the noise that might be generated and to minimise the potential for noise disturbance.


            The Committee was also asked to recognise that noise generated by large scale outdoor concerts was likely to lead to some level of disturbance for local residents. Even if guideline levels were met, there was no guarantee that complaints would not be received. Conversely, if a recommended level was exceeded this might not necessarily lead to complaints as people might be prepared to tolerate the event because it would only last for a limited period.  She also asked the Members to note that historically these events did cause some anti-social behaviour on the routes of travel to and from the venue.


            She informed the Committee that the applicant was present at the meeting to answer any questions.


            A Member referred to the fact that she had been contacted by several residents from Lislea Avenue, Lisburn Road in relation to incidents of antisocial behaviour following the Ed Sheeran Concert and she sought an assurance that further liaison would take place with the relevant stakeholders to try and resolve these issues prior to upcoming events scheduled for the end of August.  She highlighted that, whilst Lislea Avenue was some distance from the Boucher Playing Fields, there was a bridge from the Avenue that accessed the Boucher Road.


            The Neighbourhood Services Manager, representing the Council as the applicant, addressed the Committee and provided an assurance that further liaison was currently being arranged.  She advised that residents of Lislea Avenue would be invited to a site visit prior to the upcoming Emerge Music Festival Event at the end of August, along with other stakeholders.  In addition to this, she reported that the event promoter had secured additional security personnel for the upcoming Festival who would be located at the bridge to try and mitigate the previous issues. She further advised that staff from the Community Safety Team and Community Feet on the Street would be present at previously identified ‘hot spots’ to try and ensure the safety and welfare of vulnerable people attending the events.


            The Committee agreed to approve the application for the grant of a 7-Day Annual Outdoor Entertainments, subject to the following special conditions being attached to the licence:


1.     Maximum numbers to be agreed at the discretion of the Building Control Service, it was noted that these would vary depending upon the individual concert set up proposals;


2.     Prior to any event taking place, the promoters would be required to demonstrate evidence of early consultation and have in place a robust system of dealing with any complaints, to be agreed in advance with the Council;


3.     Any requests to provide entertainment later than 11.00 p.m. must be considered by the Licensing Committee and therefore must be made at least 3 months in advance of the proposed event; and


4.     Should an application to provide entertainment beyond 11.00 p.m. be granted and the Council subsequently receive a significant number of complaints regarding noise, or the complaint was of such significant impact, authority be granted to the Director of Planning and Building Control, in consultation with the City Solicitor, to reduce the finishing time for any subsequent nights of the event, in which case the promoter would be required to make contingency arrangements.


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