Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting 6th August 2012

1. Attendance:
Present: Roger Cornwell, Ann Evans, Carole Reeves, Councillor Nigel Martin, Jean Rogers, Ruth Chambers, Janet Bayat, Simon Squires, Leesa Bennison (Durham Police, City beat team)Leesa Bennison (Durham Police, City beat team).
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Lesley Aers, Councillor Grenville Holland, PSCO Debbie Sadler-Watson, Mike Costello, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, David Ramsden.
3. Roger Cornwell took the chair, and welcomed those present to the meeting.
4. PACT (Police And Communities Together) session
a) A written report had been received from Debbie Sadler-Watson, and copies were circulated. One of the items was "Theft of a shipping container from Ainsley Street"; Roger had already contacted the police to explain the background of this story. The statistics generally suggest a low level of crime, and this was welcomed.
b) Traffic jumping lights at the foot of the Peth: a response has now been received from Maxine Stubbs, Traffic Management, but although this was extremely detailed, it did not really address the Partnership's concerns. The meeting was not satisfied with the explanation that the pedestrian phase only appears to be extremely short, while vehicle lights are actually set to allow pedestrians to complete their crossing after the pedestrian light has turned red; parents were particularly unhappy at explaining to children that in this case it was acceptable to proceed against a red signal. Leesa was asked to invite Maxine to meet some of the group for a site visit.
There was general discussion of traffic issues in Crossgate / Allergate etc, also of cyclists going the wrong way in one way streets / riding on pavements.
c) Community Speedwatch in Margery Lane; Debbie has been unwell, and then on leave, and Carole Reeves has not heard from her, but will e-mail her a reminder.
Nigel Martin reported that the 'speed table' for the entrance to Briardene is in this year's programme of works.
d) Boxers pub in Crossgate: Leesa Bennison had attended a meeting of PubWatch whose members had not been aware of the conversion of this former restaurant into a pub. She will try to get more information from the Licensing authorities.
e) Leesa reported that there had been an incident of disorder at the Bus Station, but that the police had been able to be on the spot very quickly, and arrests had been made.
f) The priority set by the meeting continued to be traffic speed in Margery Lane.
5. Streets Warden's Report
A written report was circulated. Carole Reeves commented on the item in this: "Dog Fouling Monitoring areas (none in Crossgate)" that there is certainly dog fouling in Crossgate: she will contact the wardens about this.
6. AAP report
Nigel and Carole had both been at the recent Forum meeting.
Carole urged people to participate in the AAP, and talked about the useful work done by the Housing Group, of which she is a member. They have recently looked at empty properties, the impact of students on housing, HMO regulations (there are only 320 registered HMOs in the area), the reduction in Council Tax Benefit, Welfare Benefit reforms, the University's accommodation strategy and the advertising of property on the open market. They had made a grant to Action for the Single Homeless which enabled the organisation to secure a major grant.
Nigel agreed that there was a great opportunity for the Council to act and impose Council Tax on empty properties; a paper was going to the Council's Cabinet in the autumn about HMO licensing in the City (and extending licensing to smaller homes); he argued the need for housing of a decent standard.
7. The minutes of the previous meeting
With the addition of Simon Squires' apologies, the minutes were agreed as a correct record.
8. Matters arising
a) Refuse and recycling: garden refuse was not being collected from the Avenue (east side); refuse had not been collected from the Avenue (west side); the calendar which had been distributed to some households was not clear. But people who had spoken to the collection teams found them pleasant and helpful, and there were reports of bins being returned after emptying. Nigel urged people who encountered problems to keep e-mailing the council about them, as the scheme was still in its early days.
Some of the problems of rubbish being dumped in the street arose from student households who actually had no designated bins; this was exacerbated by cleaners sent in by landlords to clean up.
b) Allergate Play Park: Nigel was very disappointed with the Council's progress on play areas, so he and Grenville would consider funding play equipment for the park; the meeting agreed that the CCP would also be willing to make a grant. Nigel and Grenville will progress this, and Ruth will approach the University about contributing to a play area used by the families of graduate students.
c) Reinstallation of the handrail in Crossgate: Grenville has asked for a site visit; it was likely that this would have to be funded by new money, rather than treated as restoration. It was pointed out that new handrails are being installed on Whinney Hill.
9. County Durham Plan
This is now available on the Council's website ((N.B. very large file: 290 page 5Mb PDF). The deadline for consultation is 2nd November.
10. Local Councillors' reports
Neville's Cross noticeboard: Roger is now holding a key on behalf of the group. Non-political community activities can be advertised, and anyone may remove a notice once the date has passed.
Roger was asked to revise his notice with a clear 'next meeting' date.
11. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 4th September 2012.
(Carole Reeves gave her apologies)