Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 2nd February 2015

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Ann Evans, Lesley Aers, Brendan McKeon, Jackie Levitas, Mike Costello, Carole Reeves, Ruth Chambers, Alan Doig, Ann Lockhart, Cllr. Nigel Martin.
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Liz Brown, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, John Lowe, David Ramsden, Simon Squires, Kevin Turrington, Clare Wright, Alexis Cleveland, Mairi Thompson, Steven Bell, Cllr. Grenville Holland
PCSO Steve Bell.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell had sent his apologies, but had submitted a written report, from which Roger selected some highlights:
On Monday 26th January, between 7.00 and 8.00 pm, Steve and PCSO Rebecca Carey (University Liaison Officer) tried the door handles of 326 properties around the rear of the Bus Station and Hawthorn Terrace areas. They found 50 unlocked (15%) and left each of them a hand shaped warning leaflet about securing against opportunist burglars. They also found one insecure cycle, and a set of keys left in a door, with the car keys attached.
There had been burglaries in Whitesmocks, Nevilledale Terrace and Neville's Cross Bank: there had been several arrests in connection with these.
The police had also attended a number of noisy parties.
Since the last meeting added dangerous cycling to our list of priorities, Steve had personally stopped three people riding on the footpath and given them advice.
He and Rebecca will both attend the March CCP meeting.
b) Steve's report did not mention the recent death of a student in the river Wear, the third such tragic accident in little over a year, nor the even more recent lucky escape of another student. Cllr. Nigel Martin reported on the briefing which had been held for city centre councillors: RoSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) will carry out a safety assessment, probably in March. However, the police briefing to that meeting perceived a noticeable worsening of student behaviour around late night drinking in the last five years. A general discussion was unanimous in agreeing with the arguments advanced by Nigel in his blog, and in supporting the efforts of the police to control excessive drinking.
c) Likewise, there was no follow-up on the raid on the house in Neville Street which had been the source of serious noise disturbance (see press report). Roger Cornwell had attended a restorative justice session at which the two residents had apologised for the disturbance, and promised it would not be repeated. He did not know whether this would be the end of the story; the police at the hearing had emphasised that charges could still be brought.
Jackie Levitas argued that this demonstrated the need for a proper response structure for the university, and it was agreed that this should be taken to the following night's City Liaison Group meeting.
d) The meeting agreed to retain our existing Priorities of student behaviour, dangerous cycling and burglary, promoting behaviour to first place.
4. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
5. Matters arising
A message had been received from Dick Fong, sending apologies for himself and Odile for having to miss the meeting tonight. He had been discharged from hospital about a week and a half previously, but recuperation was proving rather slow.
6. County Hospital
The Citizens' Forum have prepared a pro forma statement: the meeting agreed that the CCP would support this, publish it on our website and invite people to tell the Council they endorsed it when writing their own letters of objection to the council. Other residents' groups will be invite to do likewise. Meanwhile Roger and Ruth Chambers are preparing the CCP's objection, and hope to complete it by the end of this week.
The meeting does not accept Signet's assertion that student accommodation is the only viable use for the historic building and site: we noted that the counter example sent by a member of a company converting old buildings to prestige housing.
Jackie congratulated Roberta Blackman-Woods MP on a very successful public meeting, and added that it was particularly valuable in bringing together all the planning applications for Purpose-Built Student Accommodation, which demonstrated very clearly that the number of beds planned far exceeds the number needed by the University.
7. Berendsen / Sunlight Laundry
Alan Doig reported from a meeting of the Neville's Cross forum earlier that evening:
  • They are in contact with the developers, and will meet them to get their views ahead of a wider pubic meeting.
  • They are encouraging local residents to respond saying that this application cannot be decided until Policy 32 is in place.
  • It is likely that their full response will identify as the main objections a) increased traffic b) the site is adjacent to and overlooks the school and c) issues of size, massing, volume and density.
It was agreed that the CCP should write a letter of objection, and that as a starting point Ann Evans would circulate to Trustees the letter she was writing on her own behalf.
It would be helpful if all Residents' Associations were to agree on a policy on PBSA, and the meeting agreed that the CCP was opposed all PBSAs that do not have a link with the University: where accommodation is not actually developed by the University as a college, it should be run as part of an existing college.
8. Milburngate House
It was reported that a consortium, of which Carillion is a member, have bought Milburngate House, and the local press had asked for our view on its future. There was speculation that it would provide a replacement for County Hall, but given the size of the site and the premium on land in the City centre, this was improbable. The Council was likely to disperse its offices throughout the County, keeping a small presence in the City centre. The present building was unsuitable for modern office use. The meeting felt that the future of this site should be considered in the context of plans for the regeneration of the North Road.
9. University / Community issues
There would be a meeting of the University / Residents group on 23rd February.
10. Reports from local Councillors
Nigel was trying to find the reason for the repeated delays over road closures to allow examination of the viaduct.
He was also trying to find out what the Council is doing to meet the Air Quality order on Milburngate Bridge and Crossgate.
11. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 3rd March 2015 - at our regular venue in the North Road Methodist Chapel.