Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the General Meeting 7th April 2014

1. Attendance:
Present: Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Jackie Levitas, Alexis Cleveland, Ann Evans, Mike Costello, Liz Brown, Carole Reeves, Lesley Aers, Doug Hollingworth, Cllr Nigel Martin, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, Ruth Chambers, Dot Patterson, Mary Sales, Jean Meredith
PCSO Martin Haigh
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Drew Agnew, Cllr David Freeman, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Amy Mycock, David Ramsden, Clare Wright, Annie Brown, Simon Squires
PCSO Steve Bell, PCSO Debbie Saddler-Watson, PC Claire McNaney
Cllr Grenville Holland (for lateness)
5.1 Lorries in Waddington Street
This item was brought forward at the request of Jackie Levitas, to allow her to leave the meeting early (for family reasons). She referred to the report she had circulated by e-mail on April 2nd: the suspended parking bays were still not being used, as the lorries are too wide to use them and still leave a middle channel between them and the cars/vans parked opposite. Waddington Street is too narrow for this proposed solution to operate. Instead, the lorries and wagons have come up with the solution of parking on the double yellow lines where they are matched with double yellow lines opposite. Goods are then transferred to a small pick up vehicle. The suspension of the parking bays has done something to ease the passage of traffic, but at the price of leaving Waddington Street without adequate on-street parking. Site workers who had previously parked vans in the bays were now parking in Mowbray Street. The situation was only sustainable because so many of the students who live in the street are absent during the Easter vacation - a better solution is needed before their return. The CCP will propose that the parking bays in the North Road be suspended during the working week, when they are not much used, and lorries be directed to wait there until they can gain access to the development sites.
There is a general problem that planning consent was given for developments without any consideration of supply access. Cllr Nigel Martin would raise this with Building Control, with reference to the current situation in Waddington Street, and also with the proposed development at Neville's Cross.
Jackie was encouraged to submit a formal complaint to the Council, detailing the financial loss caused to her by damage to her property, as well as the general nuisance, with a view to referring the case to the Ombudsman if she did not receive a satisfactory response.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) In the absence of the Beat Team, PCSO Martin Haigh gave a brief verbal report: there had been 11 cycle thefts, and six people had been arrested in connection with these; there had been three opportunist burglaries in Hawthorn Terrace, in which the burglar had gained entrance to student households through unsecured windows; criminal damage had been done to a car in the Neville's Cross area. Nigel reported a problem in Redhills Lane, where cars were being parked facing downhill (i.e. against the permitted direction of travel on the steep one-way section): Martin would pass this on to the Beat Team.
b) The Thai restaurant in Crossgate is now preparing to open, with the terms of the licence as agreed last September, and therefore due for review in September 2014. The Police feel that six months of operation will be insufficient for them to judge how well this is working, and will therefore ask for the same conditions to be imposed for a further year.
c) The Police have asked Durham County Council to review the premises licence of the Tesco Metro in Durham Market Place, after it failed two test purchases, selling alcohol to an underage purchaser. (Northern Echo report)
d) Martin confirmed that the Neville's Cross Club could not be reopened as a pub under the existing licence, which allows it to operate as a club.
e) He will be meeting in late April with the students who organise Freshers' Week activities. At a subsequent meeting, he would like to involve a representative from each residents' group. Many of the colleges are being very co-operative, and students who persistently behave in an anti-social manner are being disciplined. Martin hoped that the new Vice Chancellor would oversee further improvements in relations. Student behaviour is gradually improving, and the police are looking at new powers to shut down houses which are centres for anti-social behaviour (analogous to the powers to shut down 'crack houses').
f) Roger Cornwell reported an application to licence 76 North Road (the former City Attic shop) as an ice cream parlour / wine bar. The meeting was sceptical about the viability of this venture, particularly in this location. It was agreed that Roger, Ann Evans and Jean Rogers would meet the applicant and Police to discuss this,
g) Dot Patterson reported that late the previous Saturday night, a group of young people had been throwing the safety barriers surrounding the gas works in the North Road into the trench: Martin would look into this.
h) Review of Priorities In view of the reported incidents, the meeting decided to retain the existing priorities of cycle thefts and burglaries. It added the policing of parking so as to cause obstruction, particularly in Waddington Street.
4. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
5. Matters arising
a) 51 The Avenue: Cllr Grenville Holland has asked the Council to enforce the refusal of retrospective consent for the demolition of the front wall, but has received no response. Meanwhile, an application has been received to convert to an HMO housing 9 students. This is currently listed to be decided by delegated powers, but at the meeting's request, Nigel will ask for it to go to committee. The CCP will oppose the application, and Roger and Ruth Chambers will confer about who is to write the letter of objection.
b) Ruth had received an e-mail from Peter Herbert, case officer in the Planning Department for the County Hospital development, saying: "Unfortunately things remain in abeyance between Signet and my office and discussions continue as to what might be acceptable." Nigel will ask Stuart Timmiss what is going on, and will press for the application to be rejected.
c) Neville's Cross Social Club: Liz Brown had met with John Mcgargill (Highways Development Manager) and Barry Gavillet (Senior Planning Officer) about the speed with which scaffolding had been erected and work started in advance of planning consent. According to John Mcgargill the Highways department feel that 8 parking spaces will be sufficient, as their research shows that only 15% of students have cars; however the research is private and has not been published. The planning application will go to the May Committee meeting, and Liz will speak on behalf of the objectors.
Build work is already under way, and does not entirely match the plan submitted. The advertisement board for Workwear Express has been removed.
Flats are already advertised on propery websites as available from 1st September 2014.
d) Vehicles blocking back lanes: the proposal to install bollards was generally welcomed.
e) Proposed Action Day / Spring Clean: Mike Costello reported that the only date suggested by Student Community Action was Saturday 3rd May. This is the Saturday of a Bank Holiday weekend, and many group members will be unavailable. Roger proposed that voluntary action might be linked to the Grape Lane / Britain in Bloom initiative described in Cllr Richard Ormerod's report, and this suggestion was agreed.
6. Engagement with the University: PCC's meeting
The meeting called by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, has a long invitation list. However, no representative from DSU will be able to attend, since it clashes with NUS Conference. There was also a clash with an AAP meeting, but this had been cancelled. It was expected that the Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellor Graham Towl would be present.
A proposed constitution followed closely the suggestions of the five City residents' groups, but had not yet been formally adopted. In the interim, there was no indication that this was not an open meeting.
The view of the residents' groups was that the meeting was not a substitute for engagement between the University and City residents.
7. Waste Management
James Lee, Waste Operations Manager, was unable to attend the meeting because of childcare committment. However, he and Bob Coates from the Council's Waste Management section, had met Roger, Mike and Liz to walk about the area. Liz and Roger both saw rats, in different places. Thanks to everybody who had emailed in highlighting problems, a 2-page report had been produced and passed to the Council officials. Members were able to show examples of the ongoing problems and in return received explanations for some of them: in several cases recycling had not been collected because it was contaminated or because items had not been sorted, e.g. glass and plastic together. A further clear-up has since taken place, and participants agreed that we should have these walkabouts periodically.
8. Reports from local councillors
a) Richard Ormerod had sent a written report: there will be a drop-in session for council members on 14 April (2 - 4pm at County Hall) to look at plans for the development of North Road and the bus station. It was not known whether this was open to non-councillors, but our councillors will attempt to clarify whether representative from the CCP can attend, but Ann, Liz and Jean Meredith were asked to represent the CCP if possible.
b) Grenville Holland commented on the appearance of advertising boards on roundabouts, and this was discussed.
The draft County Plan which had been approved by the Council was "deeply flawed". The Council was also pulling back from insisting that new build be energy neutral, because this is unpopular with developers.
9. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 6th May 2014.