Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Colin Green (Treasurer), Simon Squires, Mike Costello, Lesley Aers, Paul Burgess, Desmond Evans, (Cllr) Nigel Martin, Jan Harwood, Paul Harwood, David Wood
Amy Mycock and Adam Offler (Durham Fruit Group)
Apologies for absence:
were received from Dick and Odile Fong, Carole Reeves, Ann Evans, John Halliday (Neighbourhood Warden), Mary Hawgood and Caspar Peters.
Roger Cornwell volunteered to chair the meeting, and Jean Rogers to take the minutes. There is currently no secretary in post.
The minutes of the last meeting
referred to 'Pleskies Park'; this should be 'Peskies'. With that amendment, the minutes were approved as a correct record.
Report of the Neighbourhood Warden:
John Halliday had sent his apologies, but had e-mailed a response to our query about scheduled refuse collections: wheelie bin collections were running two days late in the week of the meeting, but would be back to normal next week. He had no information about recycling collections.
Nigel Martin explained what the schedule was (details of Christmas holiday schedule should still be on the Council's website); but the schedule did not match people's actual experiences.
Durham Fruit Group (grant application)
Durham Fruit Group (website: www.transitiondurham.org.uk/index.php/fruitgroup) plan to plant apple trees on land adjacent to St John's Church, and then to make them available in gardens and community land throughout the area. The meeting agreed to an initial donation of £100, and invited the Fruit Group to return in the autumn, report back on progress and see if we could help further.
The signatories on the bank account have now been changed to reflect the current membership of the group.
Matters Arising from the minutes of the previous meeting
In addition to items listed on the agenda, the following matters arose:
Town Council Progress report: further information at www.towncouncil.durhamcity.org.uk. The aim is to collect signatures by the end of January; there will be another stall in the Market Place on Saturday 22nd January.
To Let signs: Mike Costello reported that the yellow signs fixed permanently to certain properties are not compliant, but that Pam Glaister did not intend to enforce. He would e-mail details to Nigel Martin.
More positively, two major landlords (Hope Estates and Club Easy) seem to have gone over to the less obtrusive A4 notices in windows.
Desmond and Simon had looked into whether the handling of some recent planning applications amounted to maladministration:, and reported that the requirement to exhaust the internal complaints procedure before going to the Ombudsman made the process intolerably protracted; there was also the issue of whether it was necessary for the complainant to have suffered material damage.
Agenda items received from Mike Costello:
The press were reporting a 41% clear-up rate for crime: feedback was invited on this.
Winter maintenance: Mike had tried to get the salt bin in Laburnum Avenue filled and was told that they don't qualify (although there was a salt bin until recently). Pot holes in the road should be reported to the Highways Action Line (
Alcohol licensing: a new application had been made for a late license for the Studio. The County Council has reviewed its licensing policy, with the aim of applying a single policy throughout the county.
The meeting thanked Desmond and Nigel for their work on this issue, and expressed its support for what they were doing.
Satellite dishes in the Conservation area: Pam Glaister is not enforcing the requirement that dishes in the conservation area must have planning consent.
Student Home Zone stickers on lamp posts: enforcement action may be taken over this.
It was suggested that a register of issues of this kind complained of to council - eg rubbish collections, absence of street signs in Hawthorn Terrace, replacement of broken mirror at junction opposite Colpitts) would allow us to track whether issues were cleared up.
Any Other Business
Application to split 7 Allergate (currently a 5-bed property) and double the number of residents.
Simon raised the consultation in progress about the North Road
St Margaret's surgery was due to close, and there is no alternative GP's practice within the area. Many of those present had not been aware that this was a practice for which it was possible to sign up.