Present: Jonathan Roberts, Lesley Aers, Annie Brown, Councillor Nigel Martin, Liz Brown, Jean Meredith, Councillor Grenville Holland, John Murphy (Durham AAP), Jackie Levitas, Ann Evans, Mike Costello, Carol Reeves, Janet Bayat, Jonathan Lovell, Simon Squires, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, Alan Hayton, Keith Parkinson (Streetscene Manager, Durham County Council), Jean Rogers, PCSO Deborah Sadler-Watson, Roger Cornwell.
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from David Ramsden, Ruth Chambers, Malgorzata Bialek, Michelle Crawford (University), PSCO Leesa Bennison.
3. Roger Cornwell took the chair, and welcomed attenders to the meeting.
4. PACT (Police And Communities Together) session
a) A written report had been received from Debbie Sadler-Watson, and copies were circulated.
b) Community Speedwatch in Margery Lane; Traffic officers have been patrolling Margery Lane, and with this visible presence traffic speeds were within legal limits. The police asked if the meeting was content for the patrol to be withdrawn.
Jonathan Lovell expressed the thanks of residents of Briarville for this operation.
The meeting discussed alternatives to a permanent police presence on Margery Lane: would the police support calls for a permanent speed advisory device? Debbie Sadler-Watson agreed to refer this to traffic management officers. Ward councillors were asked to investigate this possibility, and also whether the Council would use its powers to impose a 20 mph limit.
The meeting agreed that traffic speed on Margery Lane should continue to be a PACT priority.
c) Traffic jumping lights at the foot of the Peth: uniformed police patrols did not observe any motorists jumping the red lights. Again. this was probably a result of the deterrent effect of visible police officers.
d) Boxers pub in Crossgate: Tim Robson (Alcohol Harm Reduction Officer) was pursuing issues of sale of alcohol to underage persons (both here and at Yates).
Janet Bayat asked if anything could be done about the open van which was regularly parked on double yellow lines and / or pulled up onto the pavement at the door of Boxers - but enforcement of yellow lines is no longer a police issue.
Janet also talked about the very large number of cigarette ends in the gutter outside Boxers, and this was referred to Keith Parkinson, Streetscene Manager.
e) Jackie Levitas asked for more information about the Wednesday night patrols in the viaduct area, referred to in the report; Debbie will ensure that the officers involved contact Jackie.
5. Streetscene Report
Keith Parkinson reported on the implementation of the new refuse and recycling scheme: this had generally gone smoothly, but there were particular problems in Crossgate. In particular, on-street parking in narrow streets could reduce access and make it difficult for refuse teams to empty the bins. Grenville Holland raised the problem of unregulated parking in unadopted back lanes: Debbie pointed out that even here, a vehicle causing an obstruction was a matter for the police, but that it would be necessary for the driver of the refuse waggon to ring the police (on 101; or the council) to report the obstruction.
Student households which are not supplied with all the appropriate bins by their landlord can contact Streetscene, which will supply the bins - but there is a charge for this.
Some road surfaces are very damaged: potholes should be reported to HAL (the Highways Action Line - e-mail
or telephone 0191 370 6000) with photographs if possible.
Back Mowbray Street is overgrown, to the extent that residents are unable to leave their bins there: Keith undertook to investigate this.
6. AAP report
John Murphy urged people to attend the AAP Forum meeting on November 19th, at which the AAP would set its priorities for the coming year (more information on the Council's website). There was discussion about how the setting of priorities works.
7. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
8. Matters arising
a) Allergate Play Park: Nigel Martin reported that he expects the Council to approve reinstating the play area with equipment for younger children. St John's College had promised a contribution of £300, and the CCP agreed to match this.
b) Reinstallation of the handrail in Crossgate has been completed: Grenville reported that there had been a slight compromise in order to get the work done quickly.
Members with contacts at St Margaret's church will ask if the cotoneaster can be cut back where it overhangs the handrail; can action also be taken on the wheelie bins which are being left as a permanent obstruction on the footpath?
Roger will write to the Halifax to ask whether they will install a handrail on their side of the road.
c) Nigel had put in an objection to the proposed development on Fred Henderson's old site.
d) 24a-c The Avenue: there are now two statutory notices displayed at the site - Roger will contact the council to ask what this means.
e) Mount Oswald development: Roberta has received hundreds of letters objecting to this development.
Mike Costello reported on a recent meeting of the Balanced Communities Forum: there was no University representative at the meeting.
Representatives of the Council's Planning and Conservation departments had reported that their consultants saw no need for an Article 4 Directive. This was very badly received, and they agreed to reconsider.
In the absence of a Town Council, Roberta was asked to set in motion the establishment of a Neighbourhood Planning Forum. Jonathan Lovell thought it would be useful to know more about this, but recognised that Roberta is unlikely to be able to attend one of our regular meetings, given our Monday / Tuesday schedule. He will put together a proposal to put to the next meeting.
11. Report from AAP Housing subgroup
Mike reported that the expansion of the University had been a central theme for the group. The University appeared to be open to the idea of accreditation of student landlords: this would be a non-statutory licensing scheme. It was recognised that the voluntary control on To Let signs was not working.
12. University Liaison
Mike was asked to continue in his attempts to persuade someone from University Liaison to attend one of our meetings.
13. Planning application for the Fishtank
Roger reported that the Fishtank / fish and chip shop in Neville Street want to expand into a basement restaurant. He suggested that the plan should include somewhere to keep their waste bins, and the meeting agreed.
14. Formalising the CCP's structure
Carole has a copy of our constitution. The Charity Commission no longer permits the registration of very small charities, and our turnover is too low to qualify, so a simpler constitution will be adequate, and Roger will attempt to produce a simpler version.
15. Local Councillors' reports
Local councillors gave a progress report on Wharton Park.
The Gentoo application to develop the old bus garage goes to the Planning Committee next week.
16. Other business
Once again, Janet raised the problem of dangerous cycling, in particular cyclists going down Crossgate (ie, the wrong way) often with no lights. Phil Raine (Police University Liaison Officer) is aware of this.