Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the General Meeting 6th October 2014

1. Attendance:
Present: Jean Rogers, Ruth Chambers, Ann Evans, Liz Brown, Jean Meredith, Annie Brown, Mike Costello, Doug Hollingworth, Jill Hollingworth, Sandra Spark, Robert Weil, Jane Weil, Olav Johnsen, William Hunter, Kevin Turrington, Adrian Wight, Alan Doig
PCSO Chris Dunn, PCSO Steve Bell
Roger Cornwell apologised for his late arrival, and Cllr. Grenville Holland for even later arrival.
2. Apologies for absence:
had been received from Cllr. Nigel Martin, Lesley Aers, Alexis Cleveland, Jackie Levitas, Mary Sales, David Ramsden, Simon Squires, Clare Wright, Carole Reeves, Dick Fong and Odile Fong.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
PCSO Steve Bell gave the meeting an oral report.
a) A leaflet, written primarily with students in mind, had been circulated to all residents in areas where there were a high proportion of student households. Additional copies were available at the meeting.
b) There had been a slight increase in one cycle thefts in the last month, and one arrest.
c) There had been fewer burglaries, and again, there had been one arrest.
d) There had been a number of complaints about noise, from noisy parties and also of noisy groups in the streets. Chris Dunn (University Liaison Officer) notifies all of these to the University. He has also been visiting addresses at which there have been noisy parties the morning after the party, knocking on the door until he gets a response and ensuring that the residents clear up the mess from the street.
Livers out have a contract with their college, and this can be enforced by a disciplinary hearing, resulting in fines or community service orders (within the university). Chris had spent the day sitting in on disciplinary hearings.
Many students claim to have been told by their landlords that they are in an all-student area, and need not worry about disturbing neighbours.
e) Steve receives complaints from residents of Sidegate about nuisance from vehicle meeting in the car park: he is not finding evidence to support this. He has asked CCTV to monitor the area, and will call in all parties to discuss how this can be resolved.
f) As a result of complaints about parking problems in Redhills, the Council are considering making the area residents only.
g) Review of Priorities: the meeting agreed to reinstate cycle theft as a priority alongside the existing priorities of burglary and student behaviour.
4. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
5. Matters arising
a) Examination in Public of the County Plan: Mike Costello thanked Roger for his work at the Examination. Roger reported on progress.
Jean Rogers asked about the conduct of the enquiry: Why is it being conducted at the Cricket Club rather than at County Hall (and what is this costing)? and why is the Council retaining a barrister (and what is this costing)? Mike has submitted a Freedom of Information request along these lines - meanwhile, these questions could await the arrival of Cllr. Grenville Holland.
b) The Village @ the Viaduct: is now expecting to complete on October 18th. There had been an application to continue using the storage space beyond the permitted time, and building work continued to be carried out beyond the permitted hours. The Council's position is that they will take enforcement action "eventually".
c) Parking Zones in Viaduct Area: Kevin Turrington had had a meeting with Danny Harland, the council's parking services team leader, to try to reduce the problem for local people. He and Mike will walk Mr Harland around the area to show him the problems.
d) Neville's Cross Social Club: Alan Doig reported that the appeal against refusal of planning permission will not be heard for six months. Meanwhile, there are students living on the first and second floors: the planning officer says that Mr Ward has permission for this, although objectors to the original planning application were not notified.
The new Neville's Cross Residents' Group had held a meeting, attended by some 60 people (including both Councillors). They will publicise the group further through St John's church newsletter.
e) Affiliation to NORA: National Organisation of Residents' Groups - we have paid our subscription but are having problems logging on to the NORA website.
f) Sainsbury's (Neville's Cross) car park: Jean Meredith had written to Sainsbury's; she had also had a meeting with the store manager, and demonstrated the problem to him. While she was at the store, a survey was being carried out in the car park, and she had been able to feed her concern in to this, but she had gained the impression that Sainsbury's was less concerned with safety than with enabling more people to park while they shopped.
g) King's Lodge / Finbar's: petition against conversion to student accommodation circulated.
6. Wharton Park
Jill Hollingsworth spoke on behalf of the Friends of Wharton Park: the Council has secured £2.45 million lottery funding for the renovation of the park, which will allow the renovation of the park to include: the creation of a new heritage centre and café; new play and fitness areas; development of a new events and activities programme; and restoration of existing features of the park including the amphitheatre and battlements. The Park will be closed from spring 2015 until 2016, to allow the work to be carried out. Jill invited everyone to become involved in this project, and gave contact details:
7. The Gates
Liz Brown and Janet Gill (of the City of Durham Trust) had met James Taylor of consultants Nathaniel Litchfield. Their plan for the Gates consists of two phases: Phase 1 is the original 1970s building, zoned for retail, phase 2 the new student accommodation and cinema. No change is planned in the provision of retail, and Wilkinsons will remain (but may reduce the size of their store). A public consultation exercise will be held in the Gates in the first week of November.
8. Possible study on Student Accommodation preferences
Ruth Chambers explained that in their third year, geography students carry out a survey-based project, and would be looking for suggestions. It would not now be possible to do anything on this topic until next year.
9. Encouraging student residents to join the CCP
Apparently there are student representatives with responsibility for liaison for students living out (one per street): is there any way we can contact these, or ask Chris Dunn to contact them on our behalf? Mike is meeting a journalist from student newspaper Palatinate, and will raise the issue. It was also reported that Laura (student representative at the City Liaison Group) was keen to attend residents' meetings, and this was welcomed.
10. Residents' Groups meeting with University
Graham Towl has proposed a meeting with residents' groups on October 22nd.
11. Reports from local Councillors
Grenville reported that a further planning application for Neville's Cross Club would go to committee on October 21st.
He was optimistic that the latest policies on Green Belt would be helpful in opposing the Council's plan at the EiP. He felt that the use of the Cricket Club could be justified on the grounds of availability of parking, but that the engagement of a barrister was an implicit admission of the inadequacy of Council officers.
12. Other Business
a) Garden Waste Scheme: Jean Rogers reported that with the changes to the Garden Waste Collection scheme (now a paid service, but with different areas included) she had initially been informed that her address was still not eligible for the service; a query via the website had established that this was incorrect. Others who wished to be included might find it worthwhile challenging their exclusion.
There was also a query about the application of the scheme to Quarryhouse Lane, where residents had previously negotiated that a smaller collection vehicle would permit access to collect garden waste.
b) Ann Evans spoke about the Durham City Neighbourhood Planning Forum, which is producing a Neighbourhood Plan that will enable the local community to choose where we want new homes, shops and offices to be built and have our say on what those new buildings should look like. It is seeking input from individuals and community groups via its website; as well as a survey, anyone can add comments to individual posts on the site.
13. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 4th November 2014.