Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 2nd July 2019

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Lesley Aers, Robert Banks, Ann Evans, Francis Gotto, Margaret Jefferson, Brendan McKeown, David Ramsden, Malcolm Reed, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, Ann Stokes,
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Carole Reeves, Cllr Elizabeth Scott.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Sue Childs, [Ann Evans], Louise Fowler, Simon Priestley, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod
3. Minutes
Simon Squires pointed out that he had sent his apologies to the previous meeting. With this amendment, the minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. PACT meeting / policing issues
a) No-one from the CCP had been able to attend the most recent PACT meeting, but Cllr Esther Ashby reported that a representative from SNCF had been present, and SNCF had since discussed the implications of PCSO Rebecca Carey's departure on maternity leave: she would be replaced as University Liaison Officer by PCSO Sean Tindale, but responsibility for AntiSocial Behaviour would be taken over by the County Council. SNCF viewed this as a retrograde step, and were considering taking it up with the Police and Crime Commissioner. The matter had also been discussed at SURF (the University / Residents Forum) and it had been agreed that DCC should be invited to a future meeting of the Forum, at which there would be an opportunity to ask them precisely how late night noise would be handled. In addition, Cllr Elizabeth Scott would convey residents' concerns to the police at Neighbourhood Inspector level.
Jean Rogers pointed out that Rebecca's work with students went far beyond dealing with ASB after it occurred, and residents valued this. Brendan McKeown emphasised the need to involve students, who comprise an ever-increasing proportion of local residents. They are inclined to regard late night disturbance as the price you pay for living in the City, but if they realised that this is not just something you have to put up with, the number of complaints reported and recorded would be considerably increased. Roger Cornwell offered to circulated the new Student Code of Practice, which may support this approach.
b) Malcolm Reed had spotted trainers slung over the telephone wires, and identified this as an advertisement for drug dealing in the area. Elizabeth confirmed that police are aware of this, and are dealing with it.
5. Move of John Snow College into Rushford Court
Malcolm had reflected on information given to the previous meeting, and was not happy about the one-way system proposed whereby cars having dropped off students within the college gates would proceed to allocated parking via Back Western Hill. Roger would suggest the college deploy marshalls in hi-vis jackets to ensure traffic found the designated route.
In discussion, the meeting regretted that scheduling of the University Open Day in the same week as Convocation had doubled the traffic problems caused by either event.
6. Disturbances following Castle Ball
Hannah Shepherd had received complaints of disturbances following the event held on the night of 25th June and into the following morning. Roger had circulated her request for further information, and had received some feedback. Having confirmed that the meeting had nothing to add to this, he would now reply to Hannah.
7. Proposed New County HQ on the Sands
a) Roger reported that the judge who was considering the papers for the Judicial Review had decided that the review should not continue. The Parish Council's solicitor felt that this decision was open to challenge on two of the five grounds; but since there were procedural, the Council could go ahead with its scheme by repeating the procedure, but doing it correctly this time. The Parish Council would therefore not pursue this expensive legal procedure.
b) Elizabeth emphasised that the campaign against the proposed new HQ continues: in particular, the Parish is involved in defending the Common land from the County Council's proposed substitution. They have also commissioned a report into the riverbank as a suspected otter habitat.
8. Neighbourhood Plan Consultation
The Consultation period has been extended until the following Friday, as some official bodies had discovered they would be unable to hit the deadline. Since comments received are already being considered, this should not in itself cause any further delay.
9. Unauthorised sign at Revolution bar
Enforcement Officer David Chong now informed Roger that "the applicants have come forward with a revised scheme for consideration and as such, enforcement proceedings have been held in abeyance until such a time that this proposal has been assessed and determined. You will be formally consulted as and when we are in receipt of valid application." This was greeted with a certain cynicism, and Roger was asked to convey to David Chong that he has the support of residents in seeking to enforce.
10. Planning Applications
a) DM/19/01673/FPA erection of two-storey extension, 22 Allergate Durham no made no pretence that the development was not intended as an HMO. Cllr John Ashby explained that DCC relies on properties claiming the student exemption from Council Tax to calculate the percentage of student properties within a 100 yard radius. The Parish Council (and in particular Cllr David Freeman, who has been following the case) anticipates that the Planning Officer will recommend refusal; if this turns out not to be the case, they will call the application in to committee. There is a risk that if the application is refused, the applicant will appeal.
b) DM/18/03785/FPA Erection of 4 dwellings had been approved by the planning committee.
c) DM/19/00855/FPA Erection of detached bungalow adjacent to Flass Bungalow, Flass Vale had been refused.
11. Reports from County Councillors
a) Elizabeth is engaged in discussions at County Hall over the renewed implementation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). The Police are keen on this, but there is resistance at County Hall, source and rationale as yet unidentified. She had been given verbal assurances that resources for enforcement will be increased.
b) Cllr Liz Brown has obtained a new litter bin at the top of the Avenue; she hopes this will stop people dropping litter in the salt box.
The full Council has approved the Submission Draft of the County Plan, which has now been submitted to the Secretary of State.
12. Reports from Parish Councillors
a) Roger talked the meeting through the Parish Clerk's summary of key decisions (document circulated to the meeting).
b) John reported that the Parish Council had made a number of grants; he thanked Cllr Alan Doig for his analysis.
The University was congratulated on its work on the Norman Chapel.
c) Esther reported that the Licensing Committee repeatedly stumbled over the distinction between licensing and planning issues: the two committees ought to work more smoothly together.
The working party on the domestication of the A167 had held a productive meeting, and another meeting will be held soon.
The Council was pleased overall with cleaning work on the North Road; the contractor will return to demonstrate the effectiveness of the dirt-resistant treatment on subsequent dirt.
The Parish Council has set up a new Business Committee, to encourage businesses within the Parish.
13. Other Business: Bins on streets
Francis Gotto was concerned at the unsightliness of wheelie bins left permanently on the street, specifically in Albert Street. He had been pressing the Council to enforce the terms of HMO licenses, which require the owners of HMOs to keep their bins off-street, but without success.
Malcolm pointed out that part of the problem was the working practice of bin men, who move bins to transport rubbish, and do mot return them.
14. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Thursday 1st August.