Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the General Meeting 4th February 2013

1. Attendance:
Present: Roger Cornwell, PSCO Leesa Bennison, Jean Rogers, Jan Harwood, Janet Bayat, Jackie Levitas, Mike Costello, Councillor Grenville Holland, Richard Coleman, Ann Evans, Councillor Nigel Martin, Walia Kani, Lesley Aers, David Ramsden, Ruth Chambers, Annie Brown, Liz Brown, Jonathan Lovell, Alan Hayton.
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Simon Squires, Janie Bickersteth, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, Jean Meredith and Carole Reeves
and belatedly from Jayne Mills and John Murphy (AAP).
3. Roger Cornwell announced the officers appointed by the Trustees
in accordance with the constitution approved by last month's AGM: Chair Roger Cornwell, Treasurer Simon Squires, Secretary Ruth Chambers (on the understanding that Jean Rogers is willing to continue minuting general meetings).
4. PACT (Police And Communities Together) session
a) PSCO Leesa Bennison explained that from now on she will take sole responsibility for representing the police at our meetings, reporting on behalf of both police areas between which the CCP's area is divided. Leesa agreed to provide a map or a list of streets so people could see which police area their property fell into.
b) Priorities: police action on antisocial behaviour at the back of St Margaret's Church had been effective, and it was proposed by Councillor Nigel Martin that this should remain a priority. It was emphasised that where a strong police presence prevented offences being committed, this should be regarded as a success.
Cllr. Nigel Martin spoke about parking problems in Archery Rise, where obstruction was being caused by people using the street as long-term parking, and asked the police to keep a watchful eye on cars parked there. This was added as a priority. Cllr. Grenville Holland added that parking in back lanes throughout the city impedes access to bins for the refuse collectors: the issue has been raised with Keith Parkinson of Streetscene.
c) Leesa described the Street PACT in the North Road which is enabling the police to engage with people there.
d) She also explained the STOP Campaign which enables shops to report goods they believe to have been stolen. She also distributed marker pens to enable people to mark property invisibly.
e) Licensing Committee Roger Cornwell and Ann Evans had attended the recent hearing in Spennymoor about Boxers Bar, and were very impressed by the video footage derived from the CCTV in the bar, which had lost its licence.
The Jumping Bean café had agreed an operating schedule with the police and CCP as a result of which the objections to their licence had been withdrawn. They still need to obtain planning consent, and the meeting raised no substantial objection to this, though there were criticisms of the visual impact of the decking (which has already been installed).
5. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
6. Matters arising
a) Richard Coleman spoke about continuing opposition to development on the Fred Henderson / Ainsley Street site. He and his family intend to write to the council challenging the decision to grant planning consent. There are two issues:
  • the width of the access lane is inadequate
  • the finding of fact that residential amenity will not be adversely affected is incorrect.
His letter is currently being drafted, and once it has been sent he will circulate it. The Trustees will then write to the Council in support, and will invite the CCP membership to do likewise.
There was some discussion of the University's current intentions about student numbers: Nigel Martin and Mike Costello were about to attend a University Liaison meeting and would ask for clarification.
b) Back Mowbray Street: Roger has received a letter from Student Community Action asking for suitable dates for a clean-up project. Since Nigel is prepared to fund clearance (from his local Councillor's budget) and is in negotiation with Keith Parkinson about this, it was suggested that the SCA effort be directed to other streets in the Crossgate area.
It was noted that there is a continuing problem with the maintenance of back lanes: the old City / district council used to do this, but the unitary authority regards them as private property and denies responsibility.
c) Allergate Play Park: Nigel asked that we wait for the Council to do the work before making financial contributions.
d) Handrail outside the Halifax: Mike Costello had spoken to the manager, who said that a surveyor had visited, but that since the Halifax is currently laying off staff, they were unlikely to offer to pay for a handrail.
e) Neighbourhood Planning Forum: Jonathan Lovell explained that the Localism Act had introduced the power for local people to shape local developments, through a Neighbourhood Development Plan. Since Durham City is not parished, the Neighbourhood Planning Forum cannot be a function of the parish councils, and such a forum is being set up: it needs 21 names, and there have so far been 12 volunteers. Roger will circulate the letter he has received asking for names.
7. Mount Oswald Planning Application
This would be considered by the Planning Committee the following day, and members were urged to attend.
8. Trustees' Report
Ruth Chambers had circulated her letter to the council on Byland Court, and the council's response, which argued that it was not possible to impose the condition that the properties should not become student HMOs. This has been done elsewhere in the city, and the meeting asked the Trustees to write challenging this assertion.
9. Planning applications
The Trustees would object to all the applications listed (21 Lawson Terrace / 4 Mitchell Street / extension of time for 27 And 28 Mistletoe Street). Ann Evans would draft a letter on Mistletoe Street.
10. University Liaison
No representative of the University was present. Mike would be attending a University Liaison meeting the following day, and would ask whether a university representative could give us a schedule of which of our meetings would be convenient for them, so that we could predict when they would be present.
11. Estate Agents' letting boards
Mike had sent Pam Glaister a list of illegal signs. Please continue to pass on to him estate agents' notices where properties are not actually to let ('Let' signs, and 'To Let' signs accompanied by notice in the window explaining that the house is already taken).
12. Census figures
Roger described some of the information available in the newly released neighbourhood statistics from the census data, which he had recently circulated. (Go to and explore from there.)
13. Local Councillors' reports
Following Jackie Levitas's report of a missing seat in Flass Vale, Grenville had spoken to Val Standen of the Friends of Flass Vale. She was strongly opposed to the replacement of the seat, as it would provide a focus for anti-social behaviour.
14. Any Other Business
Jackie's report of blocked / overwhelmed street drains was referred to Streetscene.
15. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 5th March 2013.