Present: Roger Cornwell, Richard Fong, Odile Fong, Ruth Chambers, Annette Keelty, William Hunter, Simon Priestley, Clare Wright, Lesley Aers, Carole Reeves, Brendan McKeon, Liz Brown, Jean Rogers
PCSO Steve Bell, PCSO Rebecca Carey, PCSO Amanda Cooper
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Steven Bell, Mike Costello, Alan Doig, Ann Evans, Cllr. Grenville Holland, Cllr. Nigel Martin, Jackie Levitas, John Lowe, David Ramsden, Barbara Ravelhofer and Simon Squires
Cllr. Richard Ormerod for lateness.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell gave an oral report: it had been overall a quiet month, though there had been a couple of bicycle thefts in the Avenue and Neville's Cross. The police had noticed that there was a trend towards the theft of only top quality bikes, that is, they are being taken for resale rather than scrap. Steve also emphasised the need for premises to be secured: in one case of burglary from an unlocked house, the thief had proceeded to steal a car using the keys which had been just inside the door.
b) Rebecca Carey, University Liaison Officer, was welcomed to her first meeting of the CCP. She reported that she had been notified of three house parties: she had subsequently visited and taken the names of all housemates; these had been referred to Durham County Council Anti-Social Behaviour team. They then send out the warning letters and keep the names on file so they can br monitored them under the ASB escalation process. There had been two cases of drunk and disorderly. One household has agreed to sign an unacceptable behaviour order, five households are on a second warning and 65 students have received warnings.
University security will no longer attend house parties, and if called will now refer the matter to the police.
From May onwards there will be additional refuse collections, as students begin to move out of rented accommodation.
During the vacation, Rebecca had been working on underage drinking in the city.
c) PCSO Amanda Cooper, of British Transport Police, spoke about her work: BTP is a national force covering all train companies and funded by the railway companies. Cable theft has been reduced by the use of cameras at hotspots, and also by the regulation of payments for scrap metal.
Liz Brown reported that the fence was broken down between the railway line and the cemetery in Redhills Lane.
People wishing to contact Amanda can e-mail
d) Priorities continue to be student behaviour, dangerous cycling (as a danger to the cyclists themselves as well as to others) and burglary.
There were no matters arising not already on the agenda.
6. The County Durham Plan: (absence of) progress report.
The Council had met with the Planning Inspectorate, and a briefing on that meeting had been given to some but not all Councillors immediately before the Planning Committee meeting the previous Tuesday. No report has yet emerged either of that briefing or of the meeting itself. The Inspectorate have promised to provide Roger Cornwell with minutes of their meeting with DCC, once these are available - the minutes are being prepared by the County Council.
There was some discussion of the Council's success in promoting its version of the story in the press. Simon Priestley asked: how do we promote a positive view of opposition to the CDP throughout the County? One way to do this might be through the Neighbourhood Planning Forum, which needs to be meeting more often and making more progress with its plan.
It was agreed that the question of a Town Council should be placed on the agenda of the next meeting.
7. Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSAs)
a) The County Hospital development has been refused planning permission. Anita Parker has contributed a number of useful papers, including a noise report, all of which she has financed herself. Jean Rogers moved that the CCP offer to contribute 50% of the cost of the noise report (a contribution of £120), Liz Brown seconded. The motion was carried nem. con.
Steven Bell had suggested that individuals might also wish to contribute to Anita's costs on a personal basis, and he was himself willing to do so. This was discussed but no further volunteers came forward. CCP is happy to pass on any contributions.
It is understood that Signet may appeal.
b) Liz reported that there had been a meeting earlier that day with the developer of the Berendson's site: although she had not been present, she understood that there had been major changes to the proposed application (in particular, reduced numbers and massing) and they were hoping to submit the plan in the coming week.
c) The Lower Claypath scheme had been granted planning approval; the objectors were trying to get it called in.
d) Appeal against refusal of planning consent to convert the Kingslodge Hotel: the Planning Inspector will make a site visit on April 20th.
e) The Gates: the City of Durham Trust will be meeting James Taylor, representing the developers; Liz will attend the meeting on behalf of the CCP.
8. Letting Boards: Voluntary Code of Practice
This had been placed on the agenda because Pam Glaister, the council's enforcement officer, had intended to produce a report in March assessing the effectiveness of the scheme. She had now deferred the report until May, and discussion was likewise deferred.
9. University / Community issues
Ruth Chambers had attended the previous week's meeting of the University / Residents' Forum. She felt that these meetings were becoming more useful.
There had been a discussion about PBSAs, and about the University's plans post-2020 (these were not certain, but it was pointed out that expansion is limited by teaching capacity, not by the availability of accommodation). There had also been discussion of whether PBSAs have a pastoral plan, and to what extent this meets the University's duty of care.
Residents who call the police out to disturbances were asked to note down the incident number, so that statistics can be compiled.
10. Reports from local Councillors
Richard Ormerod thanked everyone who had contributed to the consultation on parking / waiting outside the Santander bank. The Council's officers will now attempt to draw up a solution which satisfies all parties, failing which the matter will go to the Highways Committee in May or June.
He has also confirmed that cycling down Silver Street is a traffic offence.