Agenda item


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1             The purpose of the report is to:


·        Update members on the findings of the Cherryvale gate anti-social behaviour measures survey

·        Present options as to next steps for members to consider


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the results of the ASB measure survey residents’ survey.

·        Note that this matter was considered by the East Area Working Group on the 31st May 2022 and the feedback from EAWG in paragraph 3.7,3.8 & 3.10. 

·        Consider options in paragraph 3.14 and agree next steps.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Following a request at People and Communities Committee on 3rd March 2020, the Committee agreed to commence a consultation process with immediate neighbours and other stakeholders regarding the potential re-opening of an entrance gate into Cherryvale Playing Fields from Knockbreda Park.


3.2       At the People and Communities Committee meeting on 11 August 2020, officers were asked to arrange a site meeting to allow Elected Members the opportunity to meet with various user groups to discuss any relevant issues regarding the Playing Fields. A site meeting was held on the 3rd September 2020 and involved Elected Members, representatives from Friends of Cherryvale and various sports users of the facility. Belfast City Council Officers provided an update on works that were taking place within the Playing Fields.  Officers also provided an update that 100 households within the immediate vicinity of the gate had been sent a questionnaire asking for their views concerning the potential re - opening of the gate.


3.3       At a further People and Communities Committee meeting, on 8th September 2020, officers were asked to widen the survey to incorporate additional residents. Following discussion, it was subsequently decided to extend the survey scope to a 400 metre radius (i.e. approximately within a 5 minute walk) from the gate.


3.4       The Committee, in reviewing the findings, asked that in an attempt to address the anti-social behaviour concerns, that an assessment be carried out in consultation with adjacent residents who might be affected on the possible options to prevent anti-social behaviour including new lighting options, anti-graffiti paint and anti-climb paint.


3.5       To complete this survey, Belfast City Council officers determined that 61 properties would need to be consulted in which residents who may be affected by any such anti-social behaviour issues would live.  The residents identified live in the following properties;



Property numbers

Knock Eden Pk

1 to 17 odd and even side

Rosetta Pk

16-36 odd and even side.

Knockbreda Rd 

24 - 55 odd and even side.


3.6       Belfast City Council received a total of 18 responses from residents who received letters requesting they be engaged with in person to discuss the potential reopening of the gate and to detail any concerns they may have.  The respondents who had requested interviews which were scheduled for Wednesday 26th May failed to respond to any further correspondence or communication with the Open Spaces and Street Scene Manager.  Interviews with the remaining 15 respondents were conducted over three scheduled days via face to face engagement or via Microsoft Teams.  The respondents were asked to complete a semi structured interview with set questions and an opportunity to elaborate and detail further concerns they have during and after the questionnaire was completed.  The results of the fixed questions are as attached in Appendix 1.  A timeline of all decisions and stakeholder engagement is included as appendix 2.


3.7       Key findings include:


·        60% of residents surveyed are not in favour of opening the gate. 40% are in favour of reopening. (Note that overall, 89% of respondents to the wider consultation were in favour of reopening).

·        67% of those surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed that the opening of the gate will increase the instances of anti-social behaviour in the area.

·        Of the three measures proposed to prevent ASB higher fencing was the most popular, although the majority of those interviewed either disagreed or strongly disagreed that the proposed measures would have any effect on reducing the likelihood of ASB.


3.8       During the course of the interviews, a number of measures were requested if a decision to open the gate was made.  The measures detailed are as follows:


·        The gate to be 12 foot in height in order to prevent youths entering the park during such times the park is closed.

·        Meaningful control measures to prevent dogs running freely and fouling within the park indiscriminately.

·        The erection of extensive two-meter security fencing at the rear of the properties in Rosetta Park to protect their private property from intrusion from people and dogs as well as potential crime.

·        Installation of surveillance cameras (CCTV) in order to closely monitor and deter anti-social behaviour and potential crime.

·        The erection of higher fencing around the substation to prevent youths congregating within the substation.

·        The reduction of foliage and tree coverings within the area inside the gate in order to increase light and to discourage anti-social behaviour.

·        Potential installation of a lighting system to provide light within the area of access the reopening of the gate will allow as a means of security and prevention of anti-social behaviour.

·        Increase dog fouling bins if the gate is reopened to facilitate the increase in dog walkers within the area and access to the park via Knockbreda Road.


3.9       If such measures detailed above were implemented in order to manage anti-social behaviour concerns, the costs would be as follows –


·        Additional Litter bins - £800  

·        Erection of fencing around substation and rear of houses of Rosetta Park - £8,000 - £10,000 

·        CCTV –based on similar CCTV being erected at Girdwood, costs would be approximately £25k.

·        Resurfacing of the small unadopted land situated outside the gate between 36 Rosetta Park and 36 Knockbreda Road - £4,000

·        Installation of security lights within the proximately of the gate  - £51,800


3.10      During the course of the resident interviews, a number of items of note were discussed:


·        The funeral parlour at the junction of Knockbreda Road and Knock Eden Park was, according to the residents, refused permission by Belfast City Council to hold funeral services within the premises.  This was due to concerns around congestion and parked cars, which according to the residents would constitute the same issues as opening the Knockbreda Road entrance into Cherryvale Park and residents have questioned should the P&C committee not have a consistent approach to the Planning committee.


·        If parking restrictions are implemented within the area, this will de value properties within and change the areas character.


·        The residents interviewed have requested a consultation meeting with either the elected members of Lisnasharragh DEA or members of the P&C committee.


3.11      This matter was considered by the East Area Working Group (EAWG) at their meeting dated 31st May 2022 and they


·        noted the update provided

·        noted that a triangle of land exists between the gate and the footpath which officers had not yet been able to identify ownership of and the issue had been referred to Legal Services

·        agreed that after the funding options have been explored further and the matter considered by this committee that Members representing the Lisnasharragh District Electoral Area would seek to have a meeting with any concerned residents.

·        requested a more comprehensive ASB profile for the park would be provided to the People and Communities Committee in August.  Colleagues in Community safety team have confirmed that they have had no reports of ASB in this area with the exception of 2 incidents reported in relation to the Kingspan stadium.  The PSNI have also been contacted and officers are awaiting information from them. 

·        requested that should committee agree with option 2 that the proposed safeguarding measures such as the installation of higher fencing around the electricity substation and to the rear of the houses in Rosetta Park which abutted the Park should be completed before the gate was opened.

·        requested that officers would engage with NI Electricity to request that they would consider permitting the Council to connect to the substation within the park in order to reduce the proposed cost of £51,800 for the security lighting.


3.12      Officers have met on numerous occasions with Department for Infrastructure officials to discuss any implications on traffic, parking and crossings in regard to the gate. The road service has stated that no additional lighting is required. Parking restrictions lines would not be added prior to the gate opening; however, this would be monitored and if lines are required there would be no cost to the council.  


3.13      The Department for Infrastructure have identified their preferred option for a traffic light system on Knockbreda Road.   Funding has been assigned to the project by The Department for Infrastructure and we are awaiting confirmation from the department on timescales.


3.14      The committee is asked to agree upon one of the following options and consider next steps:


1.     The gate remains closed: the overall consultation results support the re-opening of the gate.  However, concerns have been expressed by both those in favour and those against, of opening the additional pedestrian access. 


2.     The gate is opened taking into account the matters raised by the EAWG. This decision would be subject to the completion of an equality and rural needs assessment and funding being found to fund the costs listed in 3.9 above. The majority of initial wider consultation returns (89% of those indicating a preference) would support this option. 


            Financial and Resource Implications


3.15      Operational arrangements can be accommodated within existing budgets. The funding for the proposed measures listed at 3.9 within the report are not within existing budgets.  Should members agree to proceed with option 2 this will be subject to funding being identified to complete the work.


            Equality or Good Relations Implications /

            Rural Needs Assessment


3.16      An Equality & Rural Needs impact assessment of the proposal has been completed and no implications have been identified.


            Legal Implications


3.17      A triangle of land exists between the gate and the footpath which officers had not yet been able to identify ownership of.  The issue had been referred to Legal Services and is subject to further investigation in relation to title.”


            A Member asked the Committee to consider reopening the gate and requested that a letter be forwarded to the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) seeking it to proceed with the installation of the pedestrian crossing prior to the actual reopening of the gate, to address the obvious safety concerns.


            A further Member stated that whilst he had no specific objection to the gate being reopened, he did have concerns about the possible cost of some of the proposed measures identified to manage potential anti-social behaviour concerns, highlighting the antisocial behaviour issues that were already prevalent in other parks throughout the city.  



            During discussion a Member acknowledged that he felt that some of the proposed measures were excessive and he suggested that the Committee agree to the reopening of the gate ‘in principle’ and in the interim a meeting of the Lisnasharragh Elected Members would be held to seek agreement on the necessary measures.


      The Committee:


·        agreed ‘in principle’ to reopen the gate at Cherryvale, subject to a further meeting of Lisnasharragh Elected Members to agree the final remedial measures to be implemented to try and mitigate against anti-social behaviour, with a report detailing the proposed measures to be submitted to Committee prior to final approval; and

·        agreed to write to the DfI asking it to proceed with the installation of the pedestrian crossing prior to the gate being reopened.  


Supporting documents: