Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 3rd March 2015

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell, Liz Brown, Ann Evans, Barbara Ravelhofer, Ruth Chambers, Rebecca Coulson, Simon Squires, Dick Fong, Odile Fong, Brendan McKeon, Jackie Levitas, Mike Costello, Kevin Turrington, Steven Bell, Olav Johnsen, John Ashby, Alan Doig, Jean Rogers, Cllr. Grenville Holland, Cllr. Richard Ormerod
PCSO Steve Bell
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from John Lowe, Cllr. Nigel Martin, Clare Wright, Carole Reeves
PCSO Rebecca Carey.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell gave an oral report on behalf of PCSO Rebecca Carey, University Liaison Officer, who had been obliged to take a day's leave for personal reasons: one arrest had been made for harrassment after a noisy party. In addition, six parties had resulted in people being given a formal warning.
Two tickets had been given out to students for littering (one for urinating in the street, one for throwing a bottle of alcohol).
There is now a dedicated Neighbourhood Warden with responsibility for the City; Mike Costello will try to organise a walkabout session for him and Rebecca, and Ann Evans expressed an interest in joining them.
The case involving the noisy household in Neville Street had been closed by the restorative justice session which Roger and Ann had attended.
b) Steve then gave his own report. Although the arrests at Maiden Castle had been followed by a period with no cycle thefts, these had now resumed, and it was believed that bicycles were being stolen for scrap.
Steve has repeated the exercise of trying the door handles of properties around the rear of the Bus Station and Hawthorn Terrace areas, and again found a substantial proportion unlocked (13.9%). There had, however, been no actual burglaries
Steve was asked about dangerous cycling: he had observed cyclists riding on footpaths, and where he is able to stop them (without having to pursue on foot), he does so, and finds that they are willing to dismount when asked to do so. Members present at the meeting reported unnerving encounters with cyclists on pavements, and in Silver Street, which is a pedestrian area for much of the day. It was suggested that a sign be erected on Silver Street, pointing out that this includes cyclists, and Cllr. Richard Ormerod agreed to look into it.
Roger invited members to an Open Meeting of the City of Durham Trust on Saturday 14th March, at which Michael Phillips would speak on 'Durham: A City for Cycling' - there would be an opportunity to ask questions (details on the Trust's website).
c) 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
There were no matters arising not already on the agenda.
6. The County Durham Plan: the Inspector's Interim Report
Roger reported that he, John Ashby and Sue Childs (as representatives of objectors City of Durham Trust, Friends of Durham Green Belt and Neighbourhood Planning Forum respectively) had attended the surgery of Roberta Blackman-Woods MP on Saturday morning. They had agreed to seek a meeting with Councillors Simon Henig and Neil Foster, to discuss how the Plan could be made acceptable within the time available, and to offer help in achieving this. Their letter had been delivered to County Hall ahead of the debate in Westminster Hall called by Phil Wilson (MP for Sedgefield). The meeting requested that the CCP be added as a signatory of the letter, confirming its support for this approach.
Cllr. Grenville Holland added that senior Councillors would be meeting Sir John Hall and Chancellor George Osborne: he and other Councillors had written to the effect that the Council's view of the situation was not the only one.
The meeting expressed disappointment that the local press had repeated the Council's assertions uncritically, and that the story had not reached the national press. It was agreed that a press release should be issued, saying that objectors to the original Plan want to help, and are seeking a meeting with the Council. John Ashby agreed to produce a draft of this.
7. County Hospital
20 new documents have just been added to the Council's Planning Portal, but Jackie Levitas complained that many of these do not noticeably differ from the previous versions, and that they still include no accurate elevations showing the proportions of the new build in relation to existing houses in Waddington Street.
It was agreed that the CCP should ask for this application to be withdrawn as invalid; it should never have been validated by Planning Officers, because the plans submitted were not, and are still not, complete.
Local residents reported activity on the site, with windows being boarded up and 'keep out' signs attached to the fencing.
Increasingly, the CCP is of the opinion that there are not enough students to justify the proliferation of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation. These developments are not building to let, they are building to sell to unwary investors (with an eye to the imminent release of pensions).
If the local planning process is unable to prevent this, we should campaign to have all PBSA applications called in. The University has already asked for this; Roberta could be asked for her support. Ruth Chambers explained the refusal of the Inspectorate to call in applications en masse, as requested by the University, but if the Council is minded to approve the County Hospital development, we could ask for it to be called in. Roger will consult the CoDT's Douglas Pocock about the procedure for doing this.
8. Kingslodge Appeal
The deadline for objections is March 18th; Ann Evans has written a letter of objection, and will circulate it to help others draft their own objections.
9. Milburngate House
Several people had attended the exhibition about the developer's proposals, but this was felt to be too early in the 'outline' stage to be informative. Grenville felt that plans for access and egress were inadequate, and if accepted would cause problems.
10. Taxis on Crossgate
Richard Ormerod had been trying to reduce the nuisance caused by the number of taxis driving up Crossgate at all hours, and had found Council officers reluctant to intervene. The Council is about to consult on parking, and this will include a proposal to make the area outside the Santander bank 'no waiting': he asked members to support this, as it would deter taxis from picking up there. He will notify the CCP when the consultation starts.
11. Reports from local Councillors
Grenville has been encouraging officers to view the period of disruption which will result from works on Milburngate Bridge as an opportunity to try different approaches to traffic management. He has met with little interest, but will persevere.
12. Date of the next meeting
Monday 13th April - a week later than usual, as 6th April is Easter Monday.