- In these bye-laws:
- ‘City Centre’ means the area shown in Map 1.
- ‘Council’ means Belfast City Council.
- ‘Permit’ means a Permit issued by the Council in accordance with these bye-laws.
- ‘Permit Holder’ means a person who holds a Permit issued pursuant to these bye-laws.
- ‘Primary Retail Core’ means the area shown in Map 2.
- ‘Prohibited Place’ means an area [tbc] within 100 metres of any place of public worship or public entertainment or other place of public assembly in which person or persons so assembled, after being requested to desist by an authorized Council officer or police officer.
- ‘Public Place’ means any area open to the public including any street, road, footpath, open space, park, cemetery, green space and amenity areas.
- ‘Permit’ means a Permit issued by the Council to carry out the activities in the City Centre which are described in these bye-laws.
- These bye-laws apply to the City Centre as shown in Map 1.
- Notice of the effect of these bye-laws shall be given by signs placed in such positions as the Council may consider adequate to inform persons of their existence.
- A person may not conduct or take part in any amplified performance (whether vocal or instrumental), dance, concert or other such performance in a public place in the City Centre (including the Primary Retail Core) without a valid Permit issued by the Council.
- A person may not use amplification devices in a public place, whether as part of a performance or otherwise, in the Primary Retail Core without a Permit issued by the Council permitting the use of said device.
- A person may not erect, place, maintain or otherwise be responsible for a stand, stall, or vehicle with promotional literature or information (whether connected to a business, charity, political or any other non-commercial purpose) in a public place in the Primary Retail Core without a Permit issued by the Council. This provision does not apply to those vehicles which are within the said area solely for the purposes of delivery to or collecting goods from business premises.
- An application for a Permit must be accompanied by payment of the relevant fee and on the production of evidence of identity and address together with two recent photographs of the applicant.
- The cost of a Permit is to be confirmed
- The Permit will be subject to such conditions as the Council believes necessary and proportionate.
- Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (9), the following standard conditions may be specified in a Permit issued by the Council to carry out the activities in the City Centre which are described in these bye-laws:
- Permits may only be used by the performer named on the permit, and shall not be used by, or transferred to, any other person.
- A Permit granted by the Council will be valid for one year from date of issue or such lesser period as may be considered appropriate by the Council.
- A Permit shall not normally be granted for activity between the hours of 11pm and 11am.
- A Permit will only allow the permitted activity in a specific location for a maximum of TWO hours. After this period the person must re-locate to a different place not within 100 metres of his/her previous location and may not return within 100 metres of any previous location until the following day.
- A Permit holder is only permitted to perform in the Primary Retail Core for a maximum period of ONE hour. After this period they must relocate to a different place not within 100 metres of their previous location and may not return within 100 metres of any previous location until the following day.
- The maximum performance periods set out in these bye-laws shall include any time spent setting up and packing up.
- The Council may designate areas in which specific types of instruments or amplification is prohibited.
- A Permit Holder will comply with a request from an authorised officer to cease their activity or move on where in the opinion of the authorised officer the activity is endangering public safety or causing an obstruction.
Behaviour and conduct of permit holders
- A Permit Holder must not obstruct the public’s access to and egress from any premises or interfere with the free and safe movement of pedestrians.
- A Permit Holder must comply with the standard conditions of Permit and any Code of Conduct issued by the Council, which may be amended and reissued throughout the period of the Permit.
- The Permit Holder must also comply with any additional special conditions attached to their Permit.
- These bye-laws shall not apply to the following activities:
- Those activities taking place in a public place which are organised by the Council;
- Those activities taking place in a public place with the consent of Department of Infrastructure or the relevant landowner;
- Any procession which has been authorised by the Parades Commission;
- A cash collection in a public place which has been authorised by PSNI pursuant to The Charities Act (NI) 2008.
- An official picket pursuant to Article 98 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (NI) Order 1995.
Power to remove equipment, stalls, stand, vehicles.
- Where the Council is unable to identify or contact the owner or person responsible for an unattended equipment, stall, stand or vehicle after conducting reasonable enquiries, it may cause the said equipment, stall, stand or vehicle to be so removed.
- Where the Council has exercised its powers under Paragraph 18 it may recover from the owner and/or the person responsible for the said stall, stand or vehicle the costs reasonably incurred by the Council in removing and storing same.
- Any charges incurred by the Council in removing and storing the stall shall be payable by the owner before the return of the stall, stand or vehicle.
- Where it is not possible to contact the owner, the Council may dispose of the item after 28 days from the date of seizure.
- The provisions of Paragraph 18-21 are without prejudice to the power of the Council to take other enforcement action for any breach of the conditions of Permit arising from the failure to remove the item.
Revocation, refusals and appeals
- The Council may vary or revoke a permit where, in its opinion, a Permit Holder fails to comply with a condition of their Permit or a Code of Conduct issued pursuant to the provisions of this bye-laws.
- The Council may temporarily revoke a permit or restrict the area to which permits applies in order to facilitate the construction, development, maintenance or repair of a public place or part thereof or for other infrastructural work thereon or such work on adjoining private property or for other operational reasons.
- Where the Council refuses to grant a permit or revokes an existing permit the applicant may appeal that decision to [tbc] within 14 days of the decision.
- Where the Council has granted a permit with special conditions imposed upon the applicant, the applicant may appeal such special conditions to the Magistrates Court within 14 days of the granting of the permit.
- Any person who contravenes any of these bye-laws shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500.
- A person who obstructs or impedes or refuses to comply with a request of an authorised person acting in the exercise of the functions conferred on an authorised officer shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500.
- Where an authorised officer is of the opinion that a person is committing or has committed an offence under either of the two preceding bye-laws the authorised person may demand the name and address of such a person and if that demand is refused or the person gives a name and address which is false or misleading, that person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500.
Fixed payment notice
- Where an authorised officer of the Council has reason to believe that a person has committed an offence under these bye-laws, the officer may give that person a notice offering the person the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for that offence by payment of a fixed penalty to the Council.
- Where a person is given a fixed penalty notice under these bye-laws:
- no proceedings shall be instituted for that offence before the expiration of the period of 14 days following the date of the notice; and
- the person shall not be convicted of that offence if the person pays the fixed penalty before the expiration of that period.
- A notice under this section must give such particulars of the circumstances alleged to constitute the offence as are necessary for giving reasonable information of the offence.
- The Fixed Penalty Notice shall specify the name and address of the alleged offender and in general terms the nature of the contravention alleged to have been committed; and the date and place of the alleged contravention.
A map showing Belfast city centre, with a black line to denote the area considered to be the city centre boundary. The map shows that the boundary runs from behind the Odyssey Arena and across Middlepath Street, along the Short Strand and Albert Bridge to the far side of Ormeau Embankment towards Ormeau Park, then back across the River Lagan towards McClure Street. From there, it cuts through Botanic Avenue, towards the bottom of University Road and Lower Crescent, through the Donegall Road and turns westwards over the Westlink, following the route of the M1 motorway over Divis Street, Peter’s Hill and Clifton Street. From there, it turns towards Great George’s Street and over the M2 motorway towards Nelson Street and Corporation Street, through Pilot Street and across the River Lagan to begin again behind Odyssey Arena where it meets Abercorn Basin.
A map of Belfast city centre streets, with a black line to denote the area considered to be primary retail core. The map shows that the primary retail core follows a route from Chichester Street to Donegall Square North and Wellington Place, following to Queen Street, extending west towards College Avenue and Millfield, towards North Street and Royal Avenue, onto Donegall Street and Bridge Street, before heading onto High Street and Church Lane, before heading back to Chichester Street, via Victoria Street. The primary retail core therefore includes the main retail outlets and pedestrian areas along Donegall Place and Royal Avenue, banks and professional offices within Royal Avenue, Wellington Place and Fountain Street and civic buildings, cafes, pubs and restaurants between Ann Street and High Street and off North Street.