Present: Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Jean Meredith, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, John Murphy, Jonathan Elmer, Cllr Grenville Holland, Michael Barton (Chief Constable), Insp. Claire Hargreaves, Ruth Chambers, Ann Evans, Liz Brown, Mike Costello, David Ramsden, Simon Squires, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Yenyi Huang, Carole Reeves, PCSO Steve Bell and PCSO Martin Haigh.
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Jackie Levitas, Cllr Nigel Martin, Annie Brown and Lesley Aers
Ruth Chambers apologised for lateness.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session, report from PCSO Steve Bell
a) PCSO Steve Bell had been occupied by a serious crime investigation; he apologised for the resultant delay in circulating his report, which is available online. He talked the meeting through its main points.
b) Cllr Grenville Holland commented on incidents reported in the North Road and around the Fighting Cocks; this is the point as which many visitors enter Durham, and does not create a good first impression. Steve clarified that the Fighting Cocks is not the only pub which is causing problems - it features in his report because it is in Crossgate. Three alcoholic, homeless men are identified as being responsible for many ASB offences in North Road; they will be barred from the City.
c) The meeting discussed the news report circulated about the jailing of John Peter James: is there no support structure in place to prevent people reoffending immediately on release from prison? Carole Reeves spoke from her experience as a JP, seeing the problem from the other end: magistrates seek to give sentences, whether in prison or in the community, to help offenders get off drugs.
d) PCSO Martin Haigh reported on current licensing issues:
The proposed Thai Restaurant (replacing Boxers pub) has accepted the imposition of strict conditions. The police have now accepted a late night extension for New Year's Eve. The meeting expressed approval of the outcome (details previously circulated by Roger Cornwell by e-mail).
The Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit will be working with the local beat teams during the events of Freshers' Week; they are liaising with the University to get college bursars to circulate alcohol awareness messages.
Police are aware of problems at the Fighting Cocks - but note that some of the incidents recorded are "in the vicinity of" rather than in the pub itself.
e) Review of Priorities:
The police are already prioritising Antisocial behaviour in the North Road.
Since the new term (and academic year) is about to start, the priority at present is encouraging responsible behaviour among students
f) The Chief Constable was invited to speak briefly to the meeting. He explained that in addition to being a local resident, he was trying to visit all the PACT teams and introduce himself. His aim was to turn the police into a listening organisation, to bring about a cultural shift in the police.
g) Additional Priorities: the meeting agreed to retain the theft of scrap metal as a priority, since police reports show that this is still an issue. People who see anything suspicious are requested to inform the police (telephone 101).
Roger asked from the chair that this also be passed on to Debbie Saddler-Watson and the Framwellgate Beat team.
a) County Hospital site: Roger had contacted the Council to request the development brief and seek a meeting with planners, but had not yet received a reply.
b) 51 The Avenue The applicant claimed that the garden wall had been demolished because it was falling down: Ann Evans reported that the only reason it was falling down was the the builders had been hitting it with a sledgehammer, and that we should respond to the applicant's letter to the council, saying so. She was asked to write the letter, with additional information from Liz Brown.
c) Clean and Green Move Out: Cllr Nigel Martin had contacted the University over the absence of follow-up on this, and been told that no liaison meeting had been held as the university did not know who the newly elected councillors were. The meeting hoped that this had now been remedied, and the meeting would take place. It was agreed that we should also send Matt Deakin dates of all the CCP's future scheduled meetings, with an invitation to attend, or to send a representative from the university.
d) Allergate Park: Cllr. Richard Ormerod had been told that this will now be reinstated before the end of the year. Installation of play equipment is taking place at other sites elsewhere in the county. Richard will ask for a timetable.
Mike Costello had been told that the boat was to be removed from Peskies Park. Cllr Grenville Holland knew nothing of this - the council's position on Peskies Park is that there is to be "no investment": he will investigate.
e) Proposed Sainsbury's Local at the Pot & Glass: Grenville confirmed that Sainsbury's application has been withdrawn, but that this may simply be to permit redrafting and resubmission. Meanwhile, the Planning department will be pursuing the continuing unlicensed car wash on the site.
6. Shifting the Balance of Durham City housing availability
Jonathan Elmer introduced his paper: the document circulated is a first draft, and he welcomes comments on it (
). The aim is to work across all the residents' associations towards a letter calling on the Chief Executive of the Council and the Vice Chancellor in the name of all the city's residents to address the negative impact of the runaway growth of HMOs on the City housing market.
7. Green Belt Campaign / County Durham Plan
Roger has exchanged e-mails with Gavin Scott at the council, who says the Special Council Meeting to approve the Submission Draft of the Plan will be on September 18th; the papers (including the Submission Draft - link to 12 megabyte download) will be published by the 11th. Subject to minor changes, the draft as approved by the Special Meeting will go out to public consultation.
At that point, Roger suggests the CCP crowdsource its response, i.e. aim to bring together members' views on individual sections.
8. Councillors' Reports
a) Richard Ormerod reported on the ongoing problem of taxis on Crossgate itself: he is liaising with council officers on this.
He is also pursuing the possibility of a handrail at the foot of Crossgate.
b) Grenville had received a request for the installation of handrails in the Market Place (Mike Costello has been trying to get the yellow safety strips on the steps replaced). There are also plans to erect a DLI Memorial in the Market Place (a copy of the statue in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.).
9. Any Other Business
a) Roger will write to thank the Chief Constable for his visit.
b) Liz Brown repeated that the The Shell garage site on Newcastle Road is being neglected, and that people are fly-tipping there. Grenville says there is some hope of movement on this, and on the maintenance of Neville's Cross itself, and that he will report back on this to the next meeting.
c) John Murphy gave notice that the AAP Meeting on October 26th will be a Forum event at County Hall. He informed the meeting that Carol is now a public representative on the AAP Board.