Present: Jean Rogers, Roger Cornwell, Liz Brown, Ruth Chambers, Mairi Thompson, Steven Bell, John Knowles, Sheila Knowles, Sam Hillyard, David Ramsden, Jean Meredith, Ellis Judson, Anna Conyer, Barbara Ravelhofer, Jonathan Elmer, PCSO Steven Bell, PCSO Martin Haigh (Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit)
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Lesley Aers, Ann Evans, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, Mike Costello, Carole Reeves, Annie Brown, Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Nigel Martin and Simon Squires.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) Martin Haigh (Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit) invited feedback from residents about the success of operations during Freshers' Week, which will inform planning for next year's Freshers Week (planning starts straight after Christmas). Members reported increased noise and disturbance during Freshers' Week, although since the students involved were living out, they were less likely to be Freshers themselves.
One resident of the new houses on the Byland Lodge site complained of constant noise: she had called both the police and the university's liaison unit. She had also written to the Vice Chancellor, who denied that the disturbances were caused by university students. She would not be renewing her tenancy at the end of the month.
A report had been received from a resident who had found a young man comatose in the back lane behind Harrison's organ factory.
Martin emphasised that the university had done some positive things. He had worked with four colleges where the Freshers' reps were proactive in the town; the Christian Union had also been helping students home from drinking establishments. The president of Josephine Butler College JCR would like to attend a meeting of the CCP.
Martin asked that people continue to keep him informed of specifically alcohol-related problem (general anti-social behaviour should be reported to beat teams); he also asked to see letters in which the university denied responsibility for problems. Roger Cornwell undertook to e-mail the mailing list asking people to contact Martin.
It was agreed that a future PACT meeting would focus on alcohol-related problems; Martin would attend and would be accompanied by the president of Josephine Butler College JCR.
Police had been called out to, and dispersed, noisy parties.
The efforts to combat graffiti were having results; one offender has been identified, and will probably be sent out with the anti-graffiti team, as a form of restorative justice.
c) Review of Priorities Ruth Chambers raised problems of traffic on Crossgate, with taxis coming up Crossgate and cyclists coming down. The police are working with the council on the regulation of taxis, but this is too large a problem to be tackled as a CCP priority. It was agreed that Ruth should write to the Council's licensing officer about taxi problems on Crossgate.
a) 51 The Avenue: Ruth Chambers had recently written again to the council, as agreed at our last meeting, but had not yet received a reply. It was agreed that we should ask the local councillors to progress this.
b) Reinstatement of play area in Allergate Park: work was visibly in progress.
c) The proposed Sainsbury's Local at the Pot & Glass: will go to the Planning Committee shortly; Roger would circulate the date and time of the committee meeting.
d) County Hospital site: the Neighbourhood Planing Forum had been trying to arrange a meeting with Signet Planning; Roger had been asked, as a member of the NPF, about his availability, and had said that he saw no point in attending a meeting to be given unreliable information, and which Signet were liable to misrepresent. Residents immediately neighbouring the County Hospital were very keen to be included in any meeting, and it was agreed that Roger would suggest he attend the meeting accompanied by one of the local residents who would be most directly affected. He would also circulate the mailing list asking for brief comments on the scheme which he could quote to the meeting.
e) The plans for Neville's Cross Social Club had been placed on the agenda at the request of someone who was not at the meeting; no-one present had anything to add to last month's discussion.
f) Voluntary code of practice on letting boards: members are asked to report infringements of the new code of practice to Pam Glaister (the council's Senior Enforcement Officer) on 03000 263 966 or
6. The CCP's response to the County Durham Plan
Jonathan Elmer suggested that much of the time, the question is simply which to endorse of the bodies with whose response we are in agreement: for example, he is currently working on documents for both the Green Belt Campaign and the Green Party, Roger is working on the City of Durham Trust's submission.
Jean Rogers suggested that the CCP's main focus should be on the issue which affects us most locally, that is the problem of studentification and the need for balanced communities. At this stage we need not simply to say why we disagree with the council's plan but why it is unsound. Failings include the absence of any policy on private purpose-built student accommodation blocks; the absence of control over (and problematic definition of) Houses in Multiple Occupation, resulting in a shortage of family homes; no spatial consideration of where new colleges would be appropriate.
Barbara Ravelhofer agreed to liaise with Jonathan to produce a draft response for the CCP to consider at our next meeting; Roger will mail the list asking people to email her with their contributions.
Of the other topics suggested for consideration, we might hope to be able to back the Green Party's submission on transport, the City of Durham Trust on the Duty to Cooperate and the Green Belt campaign on the Green Belt.
Jonathan emphasised that the more people who point out inconsistencies in the foundation of the plan, the better; residents should not be intimidated by the formal nature of the process.
7. Councillors' Reports
Richard Ormerod had had no further news on the loading bay outside Hopper House but had had a good response to his enquiries..