Agenda item


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1            This report provides an update on the Alleygate Phase V Programme and the DFC Funded Alleygate programme for the Holyland.


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       Members are asked to note the contents of this report.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       The Notice of Intention for those streets meeting the threshold will be advertised for the period of 30 days on 7th February, for representations and objections. Following this a paper will be brought to Committee seeking enactment of the legislation.


3.2       The terms and conditions for a local inquiry have been agreed should there be substantive objections received to the Notice of Intention. Should this occur it is proposed that those streets objecting to the installation of Alleygates will be removed from the proposed gating order whilst the inquiry is being held, to enable the progression of those locations where no objections have been received.

3.3       The canvassers are being recruited for the consultation exercise and Members will be informed when letters are posted to the streets being consulted. Several community sessions will be held at centres close to or within the consultation areas. This will enable residents to have any questions clarified or receive help in completing the consultation form. Members will be informed of these as well.

3.4       Once the consultation is completed and there are no substantive objections it is proposed that these locations move to public notification.

3.5       Members will be aware that Department for Communities have funded a further Alleygating scheme within the Holylands to complement the existing gates. During the consultation a high number of objections were received to the proposal (108 returns to the Holylands consultation, 27% of the properties surveyed. Of these returns there were 61 objections to the gates). Most of these objections came from Landlords and Letting Agents, concerned with the use of the alleyways post gating.


3.6       Officers met with a delegation representing the objectors.  The objectors are not objecting to the installation of gates but rather to any potential alleyway transformation schemes following gating. Citing ‘Wildflower Alley’ they raised safety issues and access problems that would occur should transformation schemes go ahead.


3.7       Members will be aware that Cleaner neighbourhood legislation sets out the process Council’s must follow when implementing an alleygating scheme.  There is no legislation that regulates Alleyway Transformation schemes and that such a scheme can take place without an alleygate being in place Members will also be aware that there are many examples of this across the city and that Belfast City Council have also introduced criteria that must be met for any Council funded schemes to proceed.     


3.8       In response to the issues raised officers agreed to review the wording of future key holder agreements to include a number to call should gated alleyways become obstructed and to remind of the need to get the support of residents for any potential transformation scheme. Any future alleyway transformation schemes funded by Belfast City Council will require the consensus of those living in and/or owning properties that frontage the proposed area.


3.9       The objectors have requested the opportunity to make a representation to the People and Communities Committee to highlight their concerns.  Members should note that this paper is for noting and no decision is required and that officers have already met with the objectors.  Members should also note that should a substantive objection be received then a local inquiry will be set up.


Financial and Resource Implications


3.9       All associated costs are covered within existing budget estimates.


Equality or Good Relations Implications/

Rural Needs Assessment


3.10        No Good Relations or Equality issues.”

            Following a query, the Neighbourhood Services Manager confirmed that the Elected Members would be informed when the letters had been posted to the streets being consulted about proposed alleygates and added that, as previously requested, consultation sessions would be held at centres close to those streets to provide clarity and assistance to those residents who required it.  He encouraged the Members to contact him directly should they have any further queries about the process. 

            The officer advised that a request had been received from objectors seeking to make a deputation to a future meeting of the Committee.  The Members noted that officers had met with the objectors and their views had been taken into consideration and therefore did not accede to the request.

            The Committee noted the update provided.


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