Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 1st June 2015

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Sheila Knowles, John Knowles, Ruth Chambers, Clare Wright, Kevin Turrington, Carole Reeves, Brendan McKeown, Annette Keelty, Mike Costello, Liz Brown
Sgt Kay Howarth
Cllr. Grenville Holland (late arrival).
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Ann Evans, Richard Fong, Odile Fong, David Ramsden, Simon Squires, Jackie Levitas, Lesley Aers
Cllr. Richard Ormerod, Cllr. Grenville Holland (for lateness)
PCSO Steven Bell.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) Sgt Kay Howarth gave a verbal report. Police had received several complaints of noise and disturbance from rough sleepers; those responsible had been spoken to. Young people were still gathering in St Margaret's churchyard, despite the felling of the tree which had been their meeting point; the police were aware of this issue. There had been an increase in begging - it was believed as a result of Durham becoming seen as a profitable site for begging - and police would be clamping down on this. There were renewed reports of a flasher on Prebends' Bridge.
b) Police had attended six student house parties, and issued 15 warning letters. They had distributed leaflets around the Crossgate area, telling residents how to contact the police in case of disturbance, and this had resulted in several complaints. She described a CSI-type exercise which the police would be piloting in the post-exam period with a group of Castle students: the aim was to educate those who had been involved in alcohol-fuelled excesses. If successful, this would be repeated with other colleges.
c) There would be a multi-agency operation to deal with rubbish generated by students moving out of HMOs: this would start in the following week.
d) At a meeting with colleagues from Newcastle, Durham police had been briefed on the dangers of nitrous oxide; they have since seen leaflets circulating in Durham offering doorstep deliveries of this legal high. No offence is committed here unless the purchaser is under age.
e) At a licensing hearing earlier that day, Klute nightclub had retained their license , but had agreed to stop selling quadruple measures of spirits.
f) Gypsies on the way to Appleby horse fair had arrived in Co. Durham earlier than expected, and would not be allowed into Cumbria until the fair started, but police were proceeding to obtain injunctions.
g) From next month, ASBOs will be discontinued: those already in force will run their course, but no new ones will be imposed. Durham police had found ASBOs useful, as Durham has a good CCTV camera system, but were trying to involve civil lawyers from Durham County Council to help them adapt to the new civil sanctions.
h) Priorities were agreed to be student behaviour, dangerous cycling (as a danger to the cyclists themselves as well as to others) and begging.
4. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
5. Matters arising
No matters arose other than those already appearing as separate agenda items.
6. Meeting being sought with Simon Henig.
Ruth Chambers had received no reply to the letter she had written on behalf of the CCP seeking a meeting with Simon Henig. She was asked to write again, making it clear that her letter was being copied to the membership.
7. The County Durham Plan.
a) Roger Cornwell told the meeting that the Council was seeking to challenge the Inspector's interim report through a judicial review. It had named seven "interested parties", including several developers and three local amenity groups (the Friends of Durham Green Belt, the City of Durham Trust and CPRE Durham). As we understand it, the process has two stages: the judge must first decide whether the case "has merit", and only if this is the case will it go before the court in Leeds. The meeting resolved that the CCP supports the local amenity groups named as interested parties.
b) Additional papers have been uploaded to the Examination Library, including some FAQs: Roger will circulate a link to these.
c) There has still been no response (beyond the initial acknowledgement) from Councillor Foster to the request for a meeting with the objectors. It seems unlikely that one will now be forthcoming.
8. Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSAs)
a) Planning consent to convert the Kingslodge Hotel to student accommodation had been turned down on appeal: some of the Planning Inspector's remarks about the scope of existing policy were particularly helpful.
b) John Ashby had written to the Department of Communities and Local Government asking when it would decide whether to call in planning applications for PBSAs in Durham, and been told "soon".
9. Neighbourhood Planning Forum
Roger explained the process which the NPF must follow in drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan: a leaflet / questionnaire has been printed, and volunteers are requested to circulate this to all households in the Plan area. The Forum will then draw up a plan based on responses to this, and will then proceed to a more formal consultation on the proposed plan. There will also be a public meeting / consultation in the Town Hall at 7.00 pm on Monday 29th June.
10. University / Community issues
a) The County Council has launched a voluntary Assured Housing Scheme for student landlords. Details of the scheme can be read on the Council's website.
b) The Liaison Officer of Reading University will be visiting Durham in July.
11. Reports from local Councillors
Cllr. Richard Ormerod had provided a written report, which had been circulated to the mailing list.
Cllr. Grenville Holland reported that the decision to seek a judicial view on the County Durham Plan had been taken by senior officers and the policy holder Cllr. Neil Foster: there had been no further consultation with councillors, and no democratic input. A number of councillors were dissatisfied that the Council was pursuing this route, rather than working with objectors to produce a viable plan.
He had also been urging the council, without success, to take steps to minimise the disruption to traffic during the roadworks on Milburngate Bridge.
Jean Rogers asked whether the report on the effectiveness of the Voluntary Scheme on Letting Boards (originally promised for March, then deferred until May) had yet appeared: Grenville will pursue this with Pam Glaister.
12. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 7th July.