Skip to main content

Rural Needs Impact Assessment Template (RNIA)

Section 1 - Defining the activity subject to Section 1(1) of the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016

1A. Name of Public Authority

Belfast City Council

1B. Please provide a short title, which describes the activity being undertaken by the Public Authority that is subject to the Section 1(1) of the Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016.

DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme

1C. Please indicate which category the activity specified in Section 1B above relates to.

  Policy Strategy Plan
Developing a      
Adopting a      
Implementing    
Revising      
Designing a public service  
Delivering a public service  

1D. Please provide the official title (if any) of the Policy, Strategy, Plan for Public Service document or initiative relating to the category indicated in Section 1C above.

DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme

1E. Please provide details of the aims and/or objectives of the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service.

Background:

  • This is a new policy and is one element of a bigger project to aid city recovery and reopening.  This project forms part of the City Recovery Programme endorsed by the Strategic Resources and Policy Committee (SP&R) on 19/06/2020.  The Recovery Framework was agreed on the 18/09/2020 by SP&R. Officers from across the Council have been working to develop a city recovery plan which is underpinned through by a set of guiding principles.  This project is financially supported by the Department for Communities (DfC). 
  • This project includes physical interventions and streetscape improvements/ reimagining public spaces elements in the city in the following areas:
    • Castle Place Hub: Installation of a ‘hub’ for Castle Place. The proposed intervention includes extending existing pavements into on-street parking areas and a contraflow cycle route on the north side of the street in conjunction with the Department for Infrastructure, and the creation of a new kiosk pavilion with seating, greening and lighting.
    • Cathedral Quarter: Priority interventions for this programme, as identified by the business community, includes pedestrianisation of Union Street, with local access provision, including lighting, canopy, planters and seating to provide an enhanced outdoor public space. This aligns with the Council and Department for Communities (DFC) adopted Inner North West Masterplan and is seen as an early intervention towards a re-imagination and regeneration of this derelict and under-utilised area of the city.
    • Linen Quarter Parklet: It is proposed to have a 25m x 2.1m extended ‘parklet’ installed at Linenhall Street in proximity to the food and beverage outlets. This will be installed in on-street parking bays, thereby creating extended pavements. It consists of a raised high-quality decking area with planting and street furniture. The proposal also includes a customised parklet (covering two or three on-street parking spaces) including planting and street furniture / bike stands and in close proximity to the BBC building on Linenhall Street West.
    • Linen Quarter Boardwalk: It is proposed to have a 25m x 2.1m boardwalk installed at Linenhall Street in proximity to the hospitality outlets Coco, Urban Retreat and Snax in the City. It would be constructed on top of on-street parking bays thereby creating extended pavements that would allow for a livelier streetscape.
    • Installation of 5 x City Wide Parklets: Proposed within areas of on-street parking to provide additional civic space, enhanced connectivity and additional space for business communities to address the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on their businesses. (Parklets within areas of on-street parking to provide additional civic space, enhanced connectivity and provision of additional space for business communities to address the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on their businesses).
    • Adelaide Street enhancement: As part of social distancing measures DfI have extended the pavement area along the western side of Adelaide Street taking over the parking bays. BCC are now progressing an enhancement scheme for this area while also working with DfI to extend the area further at points along the street. This temporary scheme includes shelter structures, incidental play elements, seating, covered bike parking and lighting. It is being designed with various users in mind (businesses, residents, workers, visitors), with a view to trialling ways of enhancing the city centre as a safe, welcoming, liveable place and with accessibility as a focus.
    • Business Cluster and Community Grants scheme: a capital grant scheme launched to provide between £10,000 and £25,000 for business cluster and community organisations to deliver physical interventions /environmental improvements to support business operation and recovery, enhance physical spaces, increase civic participation and a sense of ownership, and encourage people to live, work, visit and invest in local areas.

Project aim

  • The council aims to create an imaginative use of open and civic spaces particularly those in public ownership to support retail and hospitality sectors and give consideration of a temporary use of public spaces in the short-term for cafes, restaurants and outdoor space to facilitate social distancing measures. The council is working with the Department for Communities and the Department for Infrastructure to provide additional public spaces through the re-allocation of road and civic spaces to facilitate social distancing, queueing and for the provision of businesses to operate effectively outside their own footprint.

Project Objectives

  • Encourage footfall levels to key areas and encourage active travel.
  • Signage, branding and dressing - The correct signage, branding and dressing of social distancing measures and temporary interventions will enhance the look and feel of the city as well as delivering confidence to the city users.
  • Given the level of temporary interventions to promote active and sustainable travel, and the additional support required to enable business to trade effectively, it is essential that the city centre remains an attractive, green and safe location to promote economic recovery. Measures include:
    • Enhanced cleansing to ensure high standards are maintained throughout the city
    • Expedite use of additional planting (planters, hanging baskets), with a focus on colour
    • Use of civic spaces and new temporary ‘pop-up public spaces’ in key areas for outdoor space incorporating street furniture, public realm, lighting interventions, pop-up parklets, assist businesses to facilitate social distancing measures and enhanced operation of local businesses;
    • Temporary canopies and covered awnings.
    • Enhanced trial pedestrianisation areas and areas of widened footpaths by providing complementary wrap around services and physical improvements along key routes enabling and supporting business use and active travel

Section 2 – Understanding the impact of the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service

2A. Is the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service likely to impact on people in rural areas?
(If the response is NO GO TO Section 2E.)

No

2B. Please explain how the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is likely to impact on people in rural areas.

N/A

2C. If the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is likely to impact on people in rural areas differently from people in urban areas, please explain how it is likely to impact on people in rural areas differently.

N/A

2D. Please indicate which of the following rural policy areas the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is likely to primarily impact on.

   
Rural businesses  
Rural tourism  
Rural housing  
Jobs or employment in rural areas  
Education or training in rural areas  
Broadband or mobile communications in rural areas  
Transport services or infrastructure in rural areas  
Poverty in rural areas  
Deprivation in rural areas  
Rural crime or community safety  
Rural development  
Agri-environment  
Other (please state)  

(If the response to Section 2A was YES GO TO Section 3A)

2E. Please explain why the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service is NOT likely to impact on people in rural areas.

Areas of Belfast outside the main urban area, including the three rural settlements are within relative proximity to the urban service centres within the main metropolitan area, and to the city centre.  There are 1,484 rural residents (0.43%) out of a total 339,579 residents in the Belfast City Council area - Hannahstown (4km west of Belfast City Centre), Loughview 6.5km south east of Belfast City Centre and Edenderry 8km south of Belfast City Centre.

This policy will not have any major impact on people living in rural areas as it has a city centre focus on business recovery to increase footfall and sustain businesses and jobs.  An equality screening exercise has already been carried out on the DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme (physical interventions and streetscape improvements/ reimagining public spaces elements) to better understand and tackle inequalities in relation the range of S75 groups.  This work ensured that any potential differential impacts are identified, and any necessary mitigations/alterations included within more detailed action plans, programmes, strategies and policies as they are developed. 

Note: This is a separate project from the Pavement Café Licencing Initiative and Business Grants elements but is complementary in aiding business recovery.


Section 3 – Identifying the Social and Economic Needs of Persons in Rural Areas

3A. Has the Public Authority taken steps to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas that are relevant to the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service?

No   If the response is NO GO TO Section 3E.

3B. Please indicate which of the following methods or information sources were used by the Public Authority to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas.

Consultation with rural stakeholders  
Consultation with other organisations  
Surveys or questionnaires  
Published statistics  
Research papers  
Other publications  
Other Methods or Information Sources (include details in Question 3C below).  

3C. Please provide details of the methods and information sources used to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas including relevant dates, names of organisations, titles of publications, website references, details of surveys or consultations undertaken etc.  

N/A

3D. Please provide details of the social and economic needs of people in rural areas which have been identified by the Public Authority

If the response to Section 3A was Yes go to Section 4A.

N/A

3E. Please explain why no steps were taken by the Public Authority to identify the social and economic needs of people in rural areas?

Research and engagement as part of the DfC Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme has not identified any specific issues for people in rural areas.  The nature of this programme is to focus on the city centre to encourage footfall and protect livelihoods.

There are 1,484 residents (0.43%) out of a total 339,579 residents in the Belfast City Council area - Hannahstown (4km west of Belfast City Centre), Loughview 6.5km south east of Belfast City Centre and Edenderry 8km south of Belfast City Centre.  Engagement with stakeholders and residence and the evidence gathered to date has given no indication of any likely significant adverse rural impacts.


Section 4 – Considering the Social and Economic Needs of Persons in Rural Areas

4A. Please provide details of the issues considered in relation to the social and economic needs of people in rural areas.

This policy will not have any major impact on people living in rural areas.  The project is designed to ensure survival of city centre businesses and the people they employ.   Informal consultations were held with city centre stakeholders including business representative groups, community and voluntary groups, trade unions and statutory bodies during the development of this Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme.  The programme will be monitored on an ongoing basis to identify and address gaps in service delivery in order to mitigate against any adverse impacts.  


Section 5 – Influencing the Policy, Strategy, Plan or Public Service

5A. Has the development, adoption, implementation or revising of the Policy, Strategy or Plan, or the design or delivery of the Public Service, been influenced by the rural needs identified?

No.

If the response is NO GO TO Section 5C.

5A. Please explain how the development, adoption, implementation or revising of the Policy, Strategy or Plan, or the design or delivery of the Public Service, has been influenced by the rural needs identified?

N/A

5C. Please explain why the development, adoption, implementation or revising of the Policy, Strategy or Plan, or the design or the delivery of the Public Service, has NOT been influenced by the rural needs identified.

There is no specific rural needs or disadvantage emerging. The focus of this Programme is to aid city centre businesses to safeguard businesses and jobs, given that footfall has dropped by 43 percent since the start of the pandemic.  We will keep engaging with and listening to stakeholder groups and residents and should we find evidence of disadvantage, delivery will be adapted accordingly.


Section 6 – Documenting and Recording

6A. Please tick below the confirm that the RNIA Template will be retained by the Public Authority and relevant information on the Section 1 activity compiled in accordance with paragraph 6.7 of the guidance.

I confirm that the RNIA Template will be retained and relevant information compiled.
Rural Needs Impact Assessment undertaken by: Nora Quigley
Position / Grade: Business, Research & Development Officer
Division/Branch: Place and Economy
Date: 30.11.20
Rural Needs Impact Assessment approved by: Sean Dolan
Position / Grade:  
Division / Branch:  
Date:  
Read aloud icon Read aloud