Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting 6th February 2012

1. Attendance:
Present: Lesley Aers, Roger Cornwell, Mike Costello, Sarah Elliot (DSU), Ann Evans, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, John Halliday (Neighbourhood Warden), Councillor Grenville Holland, Councillor Nigel Martin, Brendan McKean, John Murphy (AAP), Keith Parkinson (DCC), Janice Spence, Paul Spence, Jeff Young.
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Malgorzata Bialek, Kasper Peeters, Janie Bickersteth, Desmond Evans, Halima Good, Carole Reeves, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, James Good and Colin Green.
3. Roger Cornwell took the chair, and welcomed those present to the meeting.
4. Sarah Elliot, Membership Services Manager for DSU,
explained that since August 2011, the University of Durham had taken over responsibility for the provision of outside accommodation for its students; DSU continues to provide liaison with students. She circulated the meeting with copies of the Guide provided by the University to all Living Out students.
She explained that there were negotiations between the University and landlords to defer advertising and leasing of student accommodation until January; early signing of leases creates problems for her office and the blight of TO LET boards was recognised.
The high rents in the Crossgate area are a problem for postgraduate students who are increasingly occupying University accommodation. The University intends to introduce a 38 week contract for University accommodation, so that students retain their college room over Christmas and Easter but at an increased cost.
There is a Community Liaison group which meets once a term and Matt Deacon is now the University Liaison officer.
5. Keith Parkinson, Streetscene Area Manager (East) for DCC,
explained that the new Twin Bin refuse collection scheme would be introduced according to the time-table set out in the leaflet distributed to residents, but that it had been decided that certain areas of Durham City would continue with the existing collection scheme - a list of those areas was available and would be circulated to members of the partnership.
He realised that there would be problems in the introduction of the scheme, which was designed to increase the level of re-cycling in County Durham, but every effort would be made to reduce problems. The meeting emphasised its support for measures to improve recycling rates.
Keith Parkinson agreed to look into the existing problem of bins not returned to their collection point.
6. Neighbourhood Warden's Report
John Halliday was unable to clarify the future plans for his role.
The problem with refuse in Neville Street was being addressed by the provision of a bulk bin; it appeared that new apartments over shops in North Road had not been provided with bins. It was agreed to write to Keith Parkinson for clarification on the new arrangements.
7. Police Report
No representative of the police was present. In view of the statement by Inspector Anderson, at the recent meeting of the Balanced and Sustainable Communities Group, that a representative of the police would either be present or would send a report to all residents' group meetings, it was agreed to write to Inspector Anderson and ask that this be implemented.
8. AAP Report
John Murphy (AAP) listed the new priorities for the AAP from March as:
  • Support for Voluntary Sector,
  • Activities for Children,
  • City Centre
  • and Village development;
Climate Change would be addressed within each Priority Group. The Housing group would continue until May. The Olympic Torch will reach Durham 16th - 17th June, and there will be celebratory events. The River Bank Ranger service was expected to continue. Small grants of up to £1,000 would continue. The Mobile Cinema was very successful. The Cycle route from Aykley Heads to the City Centre should be complete soon.
There was some discussion on traffic problems in the City especially at morning and early evening peak times.
Discussion of agenda item 10(f) was taken at this point. John agreed that some funding could be available from the AAP to replace the play equipment which had been removed without warning from Allergate Park. It was agreed that the CCP should contact Stephen Howell to enquire as to whether Halfords, as sponsors of the Cycle Race, would be willing to give financial support to the reinstatement of the play equipment. Councillors Grenville Holland and Nigel Martin could also make funds available and the CCP could make a (small) contribution.
9. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record, with the addition of the name of James Good to those present.
10. Matters arising
(a) Stuart Timmiss had agreed to speak to the next meeting of the trustees of the City of Durham Trust on the progress of the County Durham Plan; Roger Cornwell would report back to the next meeting of the CCP.
(b)There was widespread dissatisfaction about the closing of the TIC as evidenced by letters in the Durham Times. Ann Evans had collected some leaflets from the Town Hall only to find that they were for 2011. Grenville agreed to look into the new arrangements and report back.
(c) The meeting confirmed the appointment of Simon Squires as CCP Treasurer.
(d) It was agreed that the Voluntary Code of Practice on Letting Boards in Durham City was not satisfactory. The trial period lasts until March 2013.
(e) The Article 4 direction was again delayed. There was strong criticism of DCC's failure to implement this: the City of Oxford had already put one in place. Roger Cornwell reported that the Balanced and Sustainable Communities Forum Meeting held the previous Friday had agreed to form a Shadow Neighbourhood Planning Group for unparished wards. The first task of the Group will be to carry out a Character Assessment of the City using the Oxford City Council Toolkit, as an evidence-base for later submission to the County Council. There will be a public meeting to launch the Character Assessment project.
11. Planning application to demolish the bus garage in Waddington Street and to build 20 houses
The proposals would be on view on Thursday 16th February at Waddington Street Church 3.30 - 6.30 pm. Members were urged to attend the event.
12. Local Councillors' report
A second round of consultation about the setting up of a Town Council will offer three options:
  • Keep the status quo;
  • A single Town Council for the unparished areas of the City;
  • Two Town Councils - one for the City and the other for Newton Hall.
Households will be contacted and asked to vote.
13. Any Other Business
There was no other business
14. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 6th March 2012.