A-Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

What does it mean for the council?

Local government reform will bring many opportunities for our council. 

We will become one of 11 new council districts. The others are:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey District
  • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon District
  • Causeway Coast and Glens District
  • Derry and Strabane District
  • Fermanagh and Omagh District
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh District
  • Mid and East Antrim District
  • Mid Ulster District Newry, Mourne and Down District
  • North Down and Ards District

Belfast District, as it is currently known, will:

Increase in size

We anticipate that our population will increase from around 281,000 to 334,000 as residents from parts of the existing Lisburn and Castlereagh councils become part of the new Belfast council. 

A small part of North Down will also become part of the new area, and we will become home to around 21,000 extra households and hundreds of new businesses. 

You can view maps of our new boundaries, as well as the wards the new council will include, by clicking on these links: 

To help with our increased size, we will gain an extra nine councillors (from 51 to 60). 

The increase means we have lots to consider, including: 

  • how we communicate with our new ratepayers and explain what the new Belfast council will offer them
  • how existing services will cope with our extra numbers
  • where we need additional services, for example, more bin collection routes or new addresses to deliver our residents' magazine to
  • whether we need additional facilities to cater for extra demand, for example, more recycling centres.

Have additional responsibilities 

Many key functions will transfer from central to local government as part of the reform programme. These have been confirmed by the Minister for the Environment, who is leading the process. 

Here are the responsibilities we will gain from 1 April 2015:  

New function Where is the responsibility transferring from?
Planning (including development of area plans, processing planning applications and planning enforcement responsibilities)  Department of the Environment 

Urban regeneration and community development (including environmental improvement schemes, neighbourhood renewal and some community development programmes for the voluntary and community sectors). Please note that these functions will transfer in April 2016.

Department for Social Development 
Regulatory housing responsibilities (including the registration of multiple occupancy houses and the issuing of repair and demolition notices). Please note that the transfer of these functions has been delayed and won’t take place in April 2015.
Department for Social Development
Part responsibility for local roads (including off-street parking, but not Park and Ride facilities)  Department for Regional Development
Local economic development (including the Start a Business Programme, youth entrepreneurship schemes and neighbourhood renewal funding relating to enterprise initiatives)  Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Local tourism (including business start-up advice and customer care schemes)  Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Authority to draw up local lists of buildings of architectural and historic interest  Department of the Environment
Rural development  Department for Rural Development 

Work is underway to decide how best we will manage these extra functions in line with our current duties.

Be citizen-focused

We will put our residents at the heart of what we do, and be better equipped to respond to the needs and concerns of communities. Two new areas of responsibility will help us to do this:

1. Community planning

Community planning is a new council-led duty aimed at improving the quality of life for people, communities and neighbourhoods. It will provide a framework for councils, central government departments, statutory bodies, the third and business sectors, and other relevant agencies to work together and engage with communities to develop a shared vision for promoting wellbeing.

2. General power of competence

This power will enable us, in broad terms, to act with similar freedom to an individual, unless there is a law to prevent us from doing so. It will give us the ability to act in our own interest and develop innovative approaches to addressing issues within our area. 

Work has begun to decide how to manage these new responsibilities. Ultimately, these new powers will result in a more responsive, flexible and inclusive council which is able to respond to the needs, aspirations and concerns of local neighbourhoods. 

Provide value for money

We recognise that times are tough and households and businesses are struggling.

We have already introduced the Investment Programme 2012-2015, a package of balanced investment measures to stimulate the local economy, improve quality of life and provide opportunities for all.

Central to the Investment Programme is a pledge to create efficient and effective services, and local government reform offers a renewed opportunity to reaffirm this commitment, particularly as we become home to new ratepayers and businesses. 

Have partnership working at its heart

Local government reform presents an opportunity for us to work together with partners to shape our city, at all levels. 

We are already committed to partnership working through our Investment Programme 2012-2015, where we have teamed up with the private sector, government, local communities and other agencies to promote the economy, support neighbourhoods and invest in physical projects which will make a real difference to people's lives. 

As we take on additional responsibilities, previously held by central government departments, we will be called upon to work more closely with others, particularly on areas which cut across different agencies, including health and wellbeing and community safety.