Draft Minutes of RACKS AGM 3-Apr-2017





                                                   ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING , Monday 3 April 2017



Elected Representatives present:

Chris Lyttle MLA


Dermot O’Kane, Belfast City Council Planning Department, provided an overview of the proposed Local Development Plan 2035 that will replace the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan. This is currently the subject of a public consultation due to conclude on 20 April 2017.

The consultation document sets out options in key issues facing the city over the next 15-20 years including the requirement for an estimated 37k homes to accommodate an anticipated growth in jobs of 46k and 66k in population. It sets out a focus on “livability” centred around “urban villages”; and on protecting open space (with the Connswater Community Greenway and Comber Greenway cited as examples). It will provide the basis for land use plans, which will review existing Areas of Townscape Character designations. All of this will be subject to public consultation, with any changes not anticipated before 2019 at the earliest.



Ray Farley of the NI Fair Rates Campaign, explained the proposal in a public consultation by the Department of Finance to remove the maximum £3,000 rates bill established under the St Andrew’s Agreement.  He noted that any change would be subject to the decision of a new Minister.

Chris Lyttle MLA explained that Alliance recognised that any property tax (as per rates) is potentially regressive  and has sought assurance regarding mitigation measures for any proposed removal of the cap.

The overwhelming majority of attendees at the meeting expressed their view that the cap should be retained and mandated the RACKS Committee to write to DoF expressing this view on behalf of residents in the area.



Aidan Campbell (local historian) made an appeal for information, photographs etc, for a new book he is writing regarding the RACKS area. All proceeds will go to charity. Aidan’s various books over the past 10 years have raised c £140k.
Aidan can be contacted at: “eastbelfasthistory.com”.



The Minute of the AGM 2016 was accepted.

The 2016 Annual Financial Statement (separate document) was accepted.

The Annual Report on activities by the RACKS Committee over the past 12months (separate document), presented by the Chair, was accepted.

The following officers , nominated by the Committee, were elected for the next 12 months:

Chair: Ian Ratcliffe; Hon Secretary Graeme Hamilton; Hon Treasurer: Peter Barbour; Committee members: Iris Nesbitt, Michael Lockyer, Eileen Logan, Morris Duncan, Bob Malcolm.


Smart Water

Morris Duncan, Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator, outlined the proposal to trial this unique registration system in the RACKS’ area. Interested individuals would be require to register with the Police who would be available at Shandon Park Golf Club between 1900 and 2100 on 10th and 12th April.



The RACKS Committee will continue to lobby Transport NI for a pedestrian crossing on Gilnahirk Road. It was noted that a fall back option might be to provide a crossing at the bottom of Gilnahirk Road at King’s Road.  Chris Lyttle MLA advised that he was happy to lobby on this issue.

Some members noted the recent re-surfacing of Kensington Road as a considerable achievement by RACKS.

Alistair Bell indicated his wish to assist with the RACKS website


APRIL 2017