Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the General Meeting 4th August 2014

1. Attendance:
Present: Jean Rogers, Roger Cornwell, PCSO Steven Bell, Alexis Cleveland, Cllr. Nigel Martin, Mary Sales, Simon Squires, Carole Reeves, David Ramsden, R.W. Banks, Clare Wright, Liz Brown, Ann Evans, Jackie Levitas, Cllr. Richard Ormerod, Dick Fong, Odile Fong.
2. Apologies for absence:
had been received from Ruth Chambers, Mike Costello, Alan Doig, John Knowles, Sheila Knowles, Simon Priestley, Steven Bell, Mairi Thompson, Cllr. Grenville Holland, Jean Meredith, Annie Brown.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steven Bell was welcomed back to the meeting.
b) His police report was circulated. With the departure of the students there had been a decrease in the number of opportunistic burglaries, and also in the number of thefts of cycles from the street, though cycles were still an item stolen in the course of burglaries.
c) Carole Reeves had been told of people being seen trying to break into a garage; in these circumstances it would be appropriate to dial 999 (and note the registration number of any vehicle involved).
Alexis Cleveland had seen people going through bins, and had told them to bin the rubbish they were discarding: it was agreed that while this might technically be theft, people were more concerned about resultant littering.
Clare Wright had seen young people hanging out above Broken Walls, at the foot of the castle walls, and was concerned for their safety; Steve was aware of the use of Moatside Lane as an escape route by shoplifters, but had not seen this, and would include the location in his patrol.
Jackie Levitas reported that a number of street signs had been found in the back gardens of Mowbray Street - Steve would pass this on to the Street Wardens team, who would arrange collection.
d) University Liaison Officer: Phil Raine would not now be attending our September meeting, as for internal reasons he is moving back to beat duties; he will be replaced, and the post is being advertised internally. The meeting expressed its appreciation for all the hard work Phil had put into the rôle of University Liaison officer, and asked Roger Cornwell to convey its thanks both to Phil and to the appropriate senior officer (Paul Anderson). Roger was also asked to emphasise to the police the need for a smooth handover.
e) Noise and nuisance from the Fred Henderson site: could the police intervene in this matter? Jackie reported that in the absence of student residents, lorries were now able to park in Waddington Street, but that vehicles reversing on site were constantly beeping and the noise was intolerable. She had raised this with Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP. Cllr. Nigel Martin advised that noise should be reported to Environmental Health, and that if they were reluctant to intervene he would pursue the matter.
f) Review of Priorities: it was agreed that fly-tipping and littering, and the resultant mess caused by people scavenging in bags of waste, should continue to be a priority. Obstructive parking in Waddington Street was not currently an issue, but the problems would arise again when the students returned, so this should be removed from the priorities but reviewed in September.
4. Clare Wright's name was added to the list of those present in the minutes of the previous meeting.
With that amendment, the minutes were were agreed as a correct record.
5. Matters arising
a) 51 The Avenue: an appeal has been lodged against the refusal of retrospective planning permission for the demolition of the front wall; Ann Evans has responded, and will circulate her response to the group.
b) Work continues at Neville's Cross Social Club as if planning permission for conversion to students accommodation had been granted (it was refused). The property was being advertised as "Ward Court" though this address had not been approved. Pam Glaister (the council's Senior Enforcement Officer) was threatening enforcement to prevent people moving in; at the time of the meeting it was still being advertised by Harringtons. Nigel would liaise with Pam Glaister about this.
The same landlord, Andrew Ward, has applied to extend the properties above Yates' Wine Bar in North Road, very recently rebranded as the William Hedley (DM/14/01778/FPA). The plan is to add a ground floor extension for the British Heart Foundation shop, to free up their first floor storeroom as a student HMO, and to add a first and second floor extension over the back of Yates' to create a new student HMO. The meeting was generally sympathetic to the use of the upper floors of shops to provide student accommodation, but noted that the increased population density resulted in additional refuse to be disposed of, often without adequate (or any) bins being provided, and with nowhere to put those which were provided. This problem must be addressed at the planning stage, as it cannot be solved retrospectively. There was considerable discussion on this point, and it was suggested that we schedule a further discussion of the bin problem.
Jackie would open the discussion in the mailing group, and Roger would contact James Lee, Area Waste Operations Manager, for his views.
c) Planning consent had been refused for the County Hospital development: the meeting thanked all those who have worked so hard to achieve this result: Nigel Martin and Jackie Levitas for speaking persuasively to the committee, and Barbara Ravelhofer whose leafleting campaign had contributed to the large numbers of supporters we were able to claim, Roger Cornwell and others. Appreciation was also expressed for the part played by the Planning Department, and in particular Peter Herbert, lead officer on the case.
d) Application to convert Kingslodge Hotel to student housing: there was no news about whether this would be affected by refusal of consent for the County Hospital scheme. Nigel has clarified whether his position in the Rotarians (who meet at the hotel) constitutes a conflict of interest, and has been informed that as he is not a member of the planning committee, he will be permitted to speak as a local councillor.
e) Jean Rogers spoke to her previously circulated draft paper on the North Road Regeneration scheme: she did not consider the redevelopment of the Bus Station, since the council's revised plans were, despite expectations, still unknown, and in any case, unless it could be demonstrated that this would be beneficial to the North Road. In the discussion, the following points were raised:
  • Nigel Martin described presentations which had been made to the Council, indicating that the decline of the High Street is systemic and irreversible, and that the future of shopping is in the precincts. The Council did not accept this, and thought the decline in shopping streets could be cured. In his opinion, Silver Street was a worse problem than the North Road.
  • He argued that quite apart from the merits or otherwise of the taxi rank, pedestrianisation would create major problems for access to buses.
  • Carole Reeves said that many shops in the North Road found their customers among people coming into the city by bus. They perform a useful service.
  • Jackie Levitas spoke of the regeneration of parts of London through the creation of artists' quarters: this was also happening in Newcastle, in the Ouseburn.
It was agreed that a further document should be prepared, incorporating this feedback, in advance of the reopening of consultation. Roger would try to find out when this might be, and attempt to persuade the Council to engage with us before finalising its plans.
6. Redevelopment of The Gates
Roger had been approached by James Taylor, formerly of the Planning Department, now working for a consultancy whose clients include the new owners of The Gates. He would like to speak to use about the proposed redevelopment (as reported in the press). It was agreed thar Roger should first establish the format of any meeting (Roger, Ann and Jackie should undertake the initial discussions).
7. County Durham Plan: Examination in Public
The CCP has the right to appear at the EiP, because we previously submitted comments, but we must submit a request, specifying which sections we wish to comment on. In the absence of Ruth Chambers (the Secretary), Simon Squires will put in the request on behalf of the Trustees.
8. Other Business
Alexis told the meeting that the University has now purchased the land at Mount Oswald for which there is outline planning permission for student accommodation. There is a covenant that no other student accommodation be built at Mount Oswald for 30 years.
9. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 2nd September 2014.