Agenda and minutes

Environment and Regeneration Committee
Wednesday 11 September 2019 4.00 pm

Venue: Guildhall, Derry. View directions

Items
No. Item

ER150/19

Notice and Summons of Meeting

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration read the Notice and Summons for the Meeting.

ER151/19

Apologies

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration completed the roll call and apologies were recorded from Aldermen McCready and Ramsey.

 

ER152/19

Declarations of Members' Interests

Minutes:

Councillors Ferguson and Hunter declared an interest in item 11 – APSE Energy Membership.

 

Councillors Tierney and Duffy declared an interest in item 27 – A2 Buncrana Road Scheme; and item 29 – Ballyarnett Country Park – Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership.

 

Councillors Burke, McCann and Tierney declared an interest in item 34 – Award of Tender – Street Cleansing Waste.

 

 

ER153/19

Deputation - To receive Mark Graham - Co-Ownership - to Present the Roles and Functions of the Co-Ownership Scheme pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

The Committee received Mr M Graham, Co-Ownership and Affordable

Housing, to the Meeting.  He gave a power-point presentation on the roles

and functions of the Scheme highlighting the following:

 

About Us

 

-      Formed in 1978 as a Registered Housing Association

-      Regulated and part funded by the Department for Communities

-      Charity registered by the Northern Ireland Charities Commission

-      Helped 28,000 households into home ownership

-      Over 8,000 homes co-owned

-      1,015 joined the Scheme in 2018

 

Home Ownership and Millennials

 

Presented graph showing variations in the percentage of families owning their home in Northern Ireland since 1984

 

Housing Options

 

Social Housing

Private Rented

Shared Ownership

Home Ownership

 

Affordability

 

Renting

Co-Own

Rent to Own

Buying

 

The Customer Journey

 

Applicant ----------------- Leaseholder ------------- Home Owner

 

Co-Ownership Customers Age Profile

 

<22      23-27      28-32     33-37      38-42      43-47      >48

 

Household Composition

 

39% Single Persons

22% Couples

29% Couples with Children

9% Single Parents

 

Previous Homes

 

Social Housing Tenant - 1%

 

Living with Friends/Family – 50%

 

Rending from a Private Landlord – 49%

 

Impact of Co-Ownership

 

Impact on the Northern Ireland Housing Market 2018/19

 

Value of Properties Purchase - £128M

41% New Build

10% of First Time Buyer Market

 

Co-Ownership Purchases Across Northern Ireland

 

Property Locations Derry and Strabane Council 2018

 

Derry and Strabane Figures

 

-      At the end of December 2018, there were a total of 364 Co-Ownership homes in Derry City and Strabane Council

-      Over the last 5 years, 101 households purchased a home through Co-Ownership in the Derry City and Strabane Council area

-      During 2018, the average purchase price was £133,741

 

Rent to Own

 

Who

Property

Rent

Buy

Funding

 

Shared Ownership for Over 55s

 

>55 – Shared Ownership without a Mortgage

 

Affordable Housing Definition

 

                                                     Social Housing

Affordable Housing 

                                                            Intermediate Housing

 

Local Development Plans and Affordable Housing

 

Access to Land

Capture of Planning Gain

Sustainable Communities

 

Members thanked Mr Graham for his presentation and commended him on the content.  Members then raised the following points:

 

-      Referred to the current housing crisis facing society with increasing numbers on housing waiting lists and homelessness being at its highest rate ever. 

-      Referred to recent reports suggesting that it would take 22.5 years to provide sufficient housing to address the problem. 

-      Welcomed the variation in housing availability. 

-      Suggested that co-ownership was a viable way of getting onto the property ladder. 

-      Referred to the considerably lower percentage of people participating in co-ownership in the Derry and Strabane Council area compared to other areas and enquired if this could be due to a lack of awareness.

-      Reiterated concerns regarding the regional imbalance. 

-      In terms of the percentage share, enquired if a smaller share option was available and if there was flexibility should a change of circumstances arise.

-      Enquired as to what action could be taken to encourage greater participation in the scheme within this Council area.

 

Whilst being unable to provide a reason for the low uptake within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area, Mr Graham  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER153/19

ER154/19

Confirmation of the Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee held on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 265 KB

Minutes:

The Open Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Committee held on 10 July 2019 (ER126/19-ER149/19) were confirmed and signed by the Chairperson as correct

ER155/19

Street Naming and Property Numbering - Request for Development Name pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to gain Members’ consent to name new developments at Melmount Road, Strabane, Lismore Place, Sion Mills and Skeoge Link Road, Londonderry.              

 

Councillor Dobbins welcomed the local School’s competition in regards to the naming of Mill Court and suggested that similar initiatives be used in respect of the naming of other developments in the future.

 

Subsequently, the Committee

 

Recommended       (a) that approval be granted for the adoption of the name (i) Old School Court for the housing development at Melmount Road, Strabane (ii) Old Mill Court for the housing development at Lismore Place, Sion Mills and Beraghvale, Beraghvale Crescent and Beraghvale Park for the housing development at Skeoge Link, Galliagh, Londonderry.

 

(b) that local School’s competitions be organised in regards to the naming of housing developments throughout the Council area in the future.

ER156/19

Street Naming and Property Numbering - Requests for Installation of Bilingual Signage pdf icon PDF 326 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above

report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the

purpose of the report was to inform Members of the outcome of recent

applications to provide bilingual signage at Carrick Strand, Strabane, The

Branch and Thornhill Park.

 

In response to concerns expressed by the Chairperson regarding a survey

carried out in Thornhill Park wherein differing views were expressed within one

household, the Director of Environment and Regeneration assured that the

survey allowed for differing views to be expressed by the residents of one

property.  There were therefore a different number of responses received from

each individual household to facilitate multiple responses.

 

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control advised that the

report reflected that the number of responses received was greater than the

number of properties surveyed.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that given the outcome of the four plebiscites, approval be granted for the erection of bilingual street signage at Carrick Strand, Strabane, The Branch and Thornhill Park, Derry.

 

 

ER157/19

Action Renewables Association pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He pointed out that the purpose of the report was to seek approval to renew Council’s membership of Action Renewables Energy Association (AREA).

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that approval be granted to renew membership of the Action Renewables Energy Association (AREA) as a Partner Member for an annual fee of £1,000 excluding VAT.

 

ER158/19

APSE Energy Membership pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to seek approval to renew membership of APSE’s Energy Association.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that approval be granted to renewing membership of the APSE Energy Association at a fee of £2,000 excluding VAT.

 

ER159/19

Correspondence Received - Children's Funeral Fund pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to advise and seek Members’ comments with regard to correspondence received from Carolyn Harris MP with regard to a Children’s Funeral Fund for Northern Ireland.

 

Councillor Dobbins welcomed the sentiments expressed in Ms Harris’ correspondence and suggested that Council express their support for the proposal.  She enquired as to the definition of child.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration said she understood that child referred to a young person up to 18 years old.  She explained that the fund would cover funeral and associated costs which Council had agreed to waive but not the cost of repatriation.

 

Councillor Ferguson expressed her wholehearted support for the proposal pointing out that this was a small gesture at such a traumatic time for those involved.  She also suggested that Council write to the Permanent Secretary expressing its support for the proposal.

 

In response to a query from Councillor Jackson, the Director of Environment and Regeneration explained that she understood the recommendation was to write to the Permanent Secretary in the Department for Communities and the Secretary of State petitioning to have a similar scheme brought forward for Northern Ireland.  She suggested that copies of this correspondence are forward to Carolyn Harris MP advising her of Council’s support.

 

Following some discussion the Committee

 

Recommended       that (i) Council write to the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities and the Secretary of State requesting that they bring forward a similar scheme as the Children’s Funeral Fund for Northern Ireland; (ii) that Carolyn Harris MP be advised of Council’s support for her proposal.

 

 

ER160/19

Derry City Centre - Proposed Design of Revitalisation Streetscape Enhancement Scheme pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Minutes:

The Regeneration Manager presented the above report, a copy of which had

previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to

update Members in relation to the proposed development of a Revitalisation

Streetscape Enhancement Scheme for Spencer Road and Carlisle Road areas

and to seek authority to proceed with securing external funding for the design

and capital delivery phases.

 

Councillor Jackson welcomed the report.  He stated that this was a much anticipated scheme for the Spencer Road area.  He pointed out that he was in regular contact with traders from the area who acknowledged the success of the previous scheme.  He looked forward to receiving a further detailed report on the progress of the scheme and stated that he had been engaging with City Centre Initiative in relation to the scheme and the much needed regeneration of the area in question.  He pointed out that he had been contacted by traders from the area located in Chapel Road who were concerned that the scheme would not extend to their area.

 

The Regeneration Manager explained that the scheme would incorporate the bottom of Chapel Road and Dungiven Road as there were properties included in the area which required upgrading.  He confirmed that the scheme would extend from Craigavon Bridge up to Dungiven Road.

 

Alderman Devenney also welcomed the scheme acknowledging the number of derelict buildings contained in this area.  He also welcomed the refurbishment works carried out at Abercorn Road and Strabane town centre.

 

The Chairperson said he understood the works referred to by the previous speaker were all nearing completion.

 

The Regeneration Manager advised that the Abercorn Road scheme was at the final stage with only a few remaining commercial properties awaiting completion.  He pointed out that this scheme had been funded through the Urban Villages Initiative.  He stated that the Strabane project was currently at design stage and work had taken place with traders in Butcher Street together with the appointment of an Architect and work would progress towards securing funding for the capital investment stage.

 

Members welcomed all of the schemes being carried out and acknowledged the impact on the surrounding area.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended        that Members approve the ongoing development of funding applications for the development of Revitalisation schemes to Spencer Road and Carlisle Road and for Officers to undertake the necessary procurement of a design team and contractor for the respective phases – subject to receipt of external funding.

ER161/19

Green Infrastructure Plan Public Consultation Report pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to present Members with the updated Derry and Strabane Green Infrastructure (GI) Plan 2019-2032, following the public consultation process and the associated GI Public Consultation Report.

 

Councillor Duffy welcomed the report.  She stated that the Green Infrastructure Plan was very impressive and acknowledged the considerable work involved of which Council should be proud.  She referred to the economic benefits this could bring for the entire Council area.

 

Councillor Duffy then referred to a piece of work in which she had been involved with Derry Bee Keepers’ Association.  She stated that the Association had been organising events with local Schools regarding their anticipated goals.  She also referred to a considerable amount of work which had been carried out in other areas in regards to making Northern Ireland a Bee Conservation Area.

 

Councillor Duffy suggested that in terms of the Green Infrastructure Plan Council review Planning policy to ensure that all plants used throughout the Council area were Bee friendly plants and incorporate this into the Green Infrastructure Plan.  She also requested that the Lead Legal Services Officers undertake to ensure that the work currently being carried out with Christ Church in regard to the acquisition of land are progressed.  She stated that the Bee Keepers’ Association had aspirations for a piece of land for educational purposes in terms of the preservation of Bees.  However, issues regarding ownership of the land in question had yet to be resolved.  She also referred to the role of urban Bee keepers and requested a report on the issue.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration suggested, with Members’ agreement, to invite representatives of the Bee Keepers’ Association to address a future Meeting of Committee.

 

The Parks Development Manager referred to the importance of Bees for the environment and referred to lengthy discussions which had taken place with the Bee Keepers’ Association.  He referred to a number of events organised by the Association who were very active and currently endeavouring to create a Bee Keeping facility at Brooke Park.  He continued that in terms of strategic planning Council were very excited and specific in regards to the Green Infrastructure Plan and in particular the Pollenating strategy and how to care for Bees.  He stated that in relation to land acquisition, work was ongoing with Christ Church.  It was hoped that this would be expedited in the near future.

 

In response to a query from Alderman Guy regarding the provision of a Dog Run, the Parks Development Manager pointed out that his team were working pro-actively with Officers from Council’s Environmental Health Section who were considering the implementation of the Dog Control Orders which provided legislation regarding the management of dogs on Council sites.  He pointed out that there was a Greyhound Dog Run in Ballyarnett specifically for Greyhounds. 

 

In regards to the provision of allotments, the Parks Development Manager advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER161/19

ER162/19

Nominations to Member Working Group on Graffiti pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to seek Member nomination to sit on the Graffiti Working Group.

 

Following some discussion the Committee

 

Recommended        that Aldermen Guy and McCready and

Councillors Cusack, Ferguson, Burke and McCann be nominated to sit on the Graffiti Working Group.

 

 

ER163/19

Maintenance of Trees - Marlborough Street pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to seek Council authority to adopt the avenue of trees on Marlborough Street as part of Council Tree Management System.

 

Councillor Burke welcomed the report and given Council’s Climate Policy referred to the need for all necessary action to be taken to ensure the preservation of trees.

 

The Committee

                                   

Recommended       that Council adopt the avenue of trees along Marlborough Street as part of their Tree Management System.         

 

 

ER164/19

Natural Capital Account pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to seek Members approval to create a Natural Capital Account (NCA) for Council owned green and blue spaces.  This is an action from the Green Infrastructure (GI) Plan 2019-2032, which will assist Council to place a value on and to manage its green and blue spaces.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Members support the creation of a Natural Capital Account for Council owned green and blue spaces.

 

 

ER165/19

Audit of our Rural Heritage in the Sperrins and Faughan District Electoral Area pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Minutes:

The Regeneration Manager presented the above report, a copy of which had

previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to

seek approval from Members to procure external consultants to carry out an

audit of rural heritage in both the Sperrins and Faughan DEA’s.  The audits will

encompass the built, natural and cultural heritage assets and will identify the

opportunities to sustainably develop and enhance our rural heritage.  This is a

pilot programme with the view delivering similar audits across the remaining

DEA’s.

 

Various Members welcomed the report and the proposed Audit and acknowledged how this would maximise the potential of the rural area.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that Members approve the request to commit a sum of £8,000 from the joint Derry City and Strabane District Council/Historic Environment Division budget to procure consultants to carry out the audits as part of this initial pilot initiative.

 

ER166/19

SMART Grid Ireland pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Minutes:

 

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to seek approval to join SMART Grid Ireland Industry Collaborative Network.

 

The Committee

 

Recommended       that approval be granted to joining the SMART Grid Ireland Industry Collaborative Network for a General Membership fee of £5,000 excluding VAT.

 

ER167/19

SONI - North South Interconnector Project pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on correspondence received from SONI in relation to the North South Interconnector Project.        

 

Councillor Jackson acknowledged Council’s support for the North South Interconnector Project.  He referred to the impact of decarbonisation in terms of assisting climate change.  He said it was Sinn Fein’s opinion that an all-Ireland electricity network would protect electricity supplies, particularly with the potential of Brexit.  He referred to a number of consultation events highlighted by SONI and suggested that Council write to the Department for Infrastructure expressing Council’s support for these events and requesting that they place significant importance on the views and needs of those people living in the area surrounding the proposed interconnector.

 

Subsequently the Committee

 

Recommended       that Council write to DfI requesting that they place significant weight on the views of residents living in the vicinity of the Interconnector.

 

 

ER168/19

Building Control Applications pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Minutes:

The Head of Capital Development and Building Control presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  He advised that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of applications processed under Building Regulations (NI) between 1 June 2019 and 31 July 2019.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

ER169/19

Update on the Implementation of the Circular Economy/Zero Waste Strategy pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members with regard to actions taken to support the implementation of Council’s Circular Economy/Zero Waste Strategy.

 

Members noted the content of the report.

 

 

ER170/19

Climate Change Update pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on progress with regard to activities across Council to address climate change.

 

Councillor McCann Proposed, Councillor Durkan Seconded and the Committee

 

Recommended        that (a) Council notes that the Trades Union Council at its annual Conference in Brighton this week declared support for the school students’ strike set for September 20th demanding drastic action to slash CO2 emissions and thereby help save the planet from climate breakdown;

 

(b) Council welcomes the initiative of school students in the Council area to organise local action as part of this wider mobilisation;

 

(c) Council hopes that students taking part in local action will not suffer any disciplinary action as a result;

 

(d) Council encourages Council workers and other workers in Derry City and Strabane to take part in the September 20th action; and

 

(e) Council notes that the TUC has called for a half hour stoppage or meetings at lunchtime on the 20th or any stronger action which students or workers democratically agree on.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration pointed out whilst an earlier Notice of Motion passed by Council referred to proposed Strike action on September 20, Councillor McCann’s proposal provided greater clarity on the matter.

 

In response to a request from Councillor Durkan, the Director of Environment and Regeneration stated that as Members were aware all Committee recommendations must be ratified at the Monthly Council Meeting.  However, the September Council Meeting would take place following the proposed day of strike action.  She said it would be possible for management to advise staff of the events that were taking place in the district in respect of climate change on 20 September.

 

Councillor Burke welcomed the progress which had been made by Council following the initial meeting of the Climate Working Group which she considered most informative.

 

ER171/19

Proposed Provision of Disabled Parking Bays Across the District pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of correspondence received in June and July 2019 from DfI Network Development Section regarding proposed disabled parking bays across the district.

 

Councillor Dobbins enquired if it would be possible to contact the relevant Department with regard to the possible introduction of heftier penalties in respect of unlawful parking in disabled parking bays.  She stated that in the Republic of Ireland such offences resulted in a fine together with penalty points against the offender.

 

It was agreed that such a request to the Department be deferred until the Department present their Autumn/Winter Statement to Committee.

 

ER172/19

Play Plan Update pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Minutes:

The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated.  She advised that the purpose of the report was to present Members with an update of the development of the Play Plan 2020-2032 and receive a presentation from Alan Herron, Director of Service Delivery and Development, Playboard.

 

Mr Herron gave a power-point presentation addressing the following areas:

 

Agenda

 

1.    Why Play?

 

2.    Play Plan Development Process

 

3.    Policy Context

 

4.    Play Value Audit

 

Ballyarnett Country Park

Rossdowney

 

5.    Next Steps

 

Members thanked Mr Herron for his detailed presentation and then made the following points:

 

-      Welcomed the approach being adopted by Council in regards to play provision.

-      Referred to the number of areas which did not have any play provision.

-      Acknowledged the importance of play for both young and older children and the need for the provision of inclusive facilities which cater for the needs of both.

-      Referred to concerns regarding the presence of large groups of teenagers at children’s play facilities.

-      Referred to the need to encourage play for older children.

-      Welcomed the approach being adopted in terms of the consultation with local communities, residents and elected representatives to obtain the widest sample of views of what is required which was key to making the correct decision in terms of play provision.

-      Enquired as to what steps were being taken in regards to inclusive play provision for children with disabilities.

-      Welcomed the excellent work which had been carried out in regards to the delivery of play provision throughout the Council area.

-      Referred to the numerous outdated play facilities which required updating.

-      Expressed concern that the findings obtained by a public survey may not provide a wide representation of views.

-      Pointed out that in areas of high deprivation residents would welcome the opportunity to express their views through a public survey.

-      Welcomed the proposed consultation within the DEAs which would provide the public with an opportunity to voice their opinions on play requirements for their particular area.

-      Expressed concern at the lack of specific play provision in the rural area and referred to the possibility of providing one play park for a specific DEA rural area.

-      Referred to a possible health and safety issue in Council play facilities which had become outdated and ill-maintained.

-      Enquired if there was a procedure through which such facilities were deemed unfit for purpose.

-      Expressed concern that in many of the areas where there was currently no play provision, Council did not own land making it difficult to address the problem.

-      Referred to the need to consider the viability of purchasing land in respect of play provision.

-      Referred to concerns expressed by the residents of Prehen and Victoria Road regarding the lack of play provision in that area.

-      Expressed concern at the number of new private housing developments which had no play provision.

-      Enquired if the Board  ...  view the full minutes text for item ER172/19