Present: Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Laura Fleming, Anna Carver, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, Liz Brown, Mary Sales, Mike Williams, Lesley Aers, Kevin Turrington, Mairi Thompson, Steven Bell, Ruth Chambers, David Hirst, Shirley Hirst, Sheila Knowles, John Knowles, John Moran, Clare Wright, Dot Patterson, Barbara Ravelhofer, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Olav Jonnsen, Esther Dutton, Esther Ashby, John Ashby, Alison Allington-Smith, Jean Meredith, Cllr Grenville Holland (late arrival)
PCSO Martin Haigh (AHRU: Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit), PSCO Debbie Sadler-Watson
Roger Cornwell informed the meeting that the Trustees had decided that the existing officers should remain in post, with himself as Chair, Ruth Chambers as Secretary and Simon Squires as Treasurer.
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Carole Reeves, David Ramsden, Simon Squires, Drew Agnew, Cllr Nigel Martin and Cllr Grenville Holland (for lateness)
PCSO Steve Bell
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Martin Haigh consulted the meeting about the license application for a new Sainsbury's in the North Road: the Police and NHS were concerned that this would lead to price-cutting wars between Sainsbury's and Tesco. The meeting shared this concern but thought it would not be practical to limit Sainsbury's to more restricted licensing hours than those of Tesco. Martin invited anyone who wish to comment further to contact him directly (e-mail:
as soon as possible; the deadline is February 27th).
b) In the absence on holiday of PCSO Steve Bell, PSCO Debbie Sadler-Watson gave a verbal report. She warned people that the area is currently experiencing a spate of opportunist burglaries, and that the burglars target homes which are in darkness, assuming them to be unoccupied. Timer switches can be obtained from provided by the police; contact Steve Bell (
) if you need one.
c) It was noted that young people congregating at the Bus Station on Saturday mornings were causing an obstruction of the pavement: the police are aware of continuing issues at and around the Bus Station.
d) Review of Priorities In the circumstances, the meeting decided to maintain the existing priorities.
a) 51 The Avenue: The Area Planning Committee on Tuesday 14th January had given consent for new dormer windows, but had refused restrospective consent for the demolition of the front wall (to permit parking on what had previously been the garden). However, the Planning Department was not currently acting to enforce this decision, as they understood that the applicant intended to appeal.
Mike Costello added that he had sent photographic evidence to the Highways department, but that they would not act against residents driving across the pavement unless they actually observed them doing so: the presence of cars parked in the front garden was not sufficient.
In addition, Mike had been informed that the house did not require licensing as an HMO because the attic was boarded up, and the house was therefore not being occupied on three storeys.
b) A Planning application for the County Hospital site has now been submitted. Trustees had been told by Peter Herbert, the relevant Planning Officer, that he had asked the applicant to submit better drawings / visualisations of the completed development: the deadline for submissions would be extended to allow the public to comment on these. Nonetheless, the Trustees would submit comments based on the draft circulated and the comments of the meeting, before the published closing date.
The applicant's claims about community involvement were challenged: people who have received consultation documents were urged to read them carefully, and if appropriate comment.
Parkside residents were particularly concerned about the potentially very large groups of students moving along the North Road, especially late at night. The developers offer reassurances about installing CCTV, but their concern is to secure the perimeter of the site: residents are asking for CCTV to monitor behaviour in the surrounding area. There was also general concern at the (pedestrian) traffic implications of basing a large number of students on the far side of town from the University. There are already problems with crowds in Margery Lane heading to morning lectures, and these will grow worse. In addition, the redevelopment of the Bus Station and associated traffic system will mean the route from the site to the University crosses a major traffic flow.
There was discussion about how local residents can engage with the University, to discuss how and where the City can accommodate the increased student population, and whether there is a limit on how many students it can absorb. Can the University Council be persuaded to involve itself? It was reported that the University had failed to send a representative to the recent meeting of the NPF (Neighbourhood Planning Forum) which discussed these issues. Roger and other Trustees would be talking to Radio Newcastle, and would comment on the University's refusal to engage with the community. Jean Meredith suggested that the CCP's objection to the County Hospital plan shoud be sent to the University and to our MP.
Barbara Ravelhofer proposed that we need leaflets, and templates for objections which highlight the different grounds on which people might object. Roger undertook to make the CCP's submission available through the website, and if people copy their objections to him, those too can be made available as models for others. Ann Evans emphasised that the basic grounds for objecting are simple; although objections must be related to valid planning issues, the public are not required to quote planning law.
Given the history of Sheraton Park / the Neville's Cross College site, Roger proposed that any development which was approved should be required to start with the preservation of the original County Hospital building, and only then move on to associated development.
c) There is now an advertising board at the Neville's Cross Social Club, but there is nothing on the website of the advertiser (Bradley Hall), and the firm had been unable to provide Liz Brown with any information.
d) the problem of taxis making an illegal right turn up Crossgate has been temporarily solved by the changes in access rules during the excavations to repair the gas pipes. The view was expressed that the resultant reverse flow of traffic was actually an improvement, as it was agreed that more opinions on this could be sought through the e-mail list.
6. James Lee, Waste Operations Manager
is willing to attend our March meeting. Roger suggested that this should be preceded by a walking tour of some refuse collection hotspots, and members were asked to e-mail suggestions about points to be included on the itinerary.
7. Reports from Councillors
Richard Ormerod has been primarily occupied with the Gilesgate part of his ward this month.
Grenville Holland pointed out that he is a member of the Committee which will decide whether to grant the Planning Application for the County Hospital site, and must therefore remain neutral, but emphasised that he is listening carefully to the discussion.
Grenville is also working with Mike Costello to put pressure on Terry Collins (DCC Director of Neighbourhood Services) over the blockage of back lanes.