Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 7th July 2015

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell, Jean Rogers, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, Jackie Levitas, Liz Brown, Sandra Smith, James Jordan, David Ramsden, Cllr Grenville Holland, Brendan McKeown, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Ruth Chambers, Clare Wright, Simon Priestley, Alan Doig, Steven Bell, Kevin Turrington.
Sgt Kay Howarth, PCSO Rebecca Carey
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Lesley Aers, Richard Fong, Odile Fong, Cllr Nigel Martin, Barbara Ravelhofer, Carole Reeves, Simon Squires.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) Sgt Kay Howarth gave a verbal report. There had been a drop in cycle thefts, and no burglaries or theft from motor vehicles had been reported in the Crossgate area; however, anti-social behaviour had been very high.
Police had carried out two operations regarding homeless people; a number of people had been referred to organisations who could offer help, and one overstayer from the USA had been referred to immigration (it had been hoped that this would regularise the position, but in fact action was being taken to deport). Police were also taking a robust position on begging, and members were asked to report any harrassment by beggars to the police.
b) PCSO Rebecca Carey (University Liaison Officer) reported that police had attended 22 student parties in the area, including 3 in one house. In October, police would gain the new power to issue a Community Protection Notice: the sequence would then be a warning notice, followed by a Community Protection Notice and a further infraction would lead straight to court. At present, the lengthy sequence means that by the time students incur an actual penalty, they have moved on; it is hoped that the new process will be more effective.
Police will start working with students in Freshers' Week, and will be giving talks in college in October. There will also be a leaflet drop through the city.
c) The police were aware of the problems caused by end-of-year rubbish disposal. Bin-bags were being slashed open by thieves in search of discarded items of value; since this is known to occur overnight, police would urge late-afternoon refuse collections. Next year they will re-time police shifts, to cover the relevant period. In addition, they will urge that the Clean Move Out scheme is run earlier next year, as soon as examinations end.
Jackie Levitas reported problems with rubbish in Waddington Street, where in addition to an infestation of blowflies caused by uncollected rubbish, persons unknown had been flytipping, adding their own rubbish to the pile. Although the problem becomes apparent at the end of term, it is caused by students failing to put out refuse and recycling throughout the year, and building up a large amount to be disposed of at the end of the year. The university should be giving induction courses for livers out. Sgt Howarth explained that the police do offer such courses, and would like to repeat them after Easter, but are turned down because this is the exam period.
Builders refurbishing HMOs during the summer dump their waste in the dustbins and back alleys instead of disposing of it professionally.
Cllr. Grenville Holland stressed the need to take this up through the council's scrutiny process, and to hold landlords responsible. It was suggested that proper waste disposal might be an enforceable condition of the council's Assured Housing Scheme for student landlords, discussed last month.
If rubbish is abandoned on private property, Streetscene collectors can't remove it - but the police can.
d) The 'CSI River Wear' exercise which the police had piloted with a group of Castle students had been very successful: it was expected that this form of restorative justice this would be repeated with other colleges.
e) The CCP had been approached for our views on two licensing applications: one to convert Middleton Design (under the viaduct) to a 'micropub', the other for a drinks license for the Empty Shop (above Ciao Ciao on Framwellgate Bridge). Martin Haigh of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit e-mailed to say that both parties had agreed that the premises license would be surrendered if they ceased trading. Roger Cornwell had suggested that interested parties meet informally with sub-groups of members; Parkside residents would liaise about the micropub, and Liz Brown would organise contact about the Empty Shop.
f) Police had secured funding (with the help of Cllr Richard Ormerod) to put up a 'Cyclists please dismount' sign at the top of Silver Street; they had run an operation in Silver Street stopping cyclists, and were surprised to discover that there were not primarily students.
g) Priorities were agreed to be dangerous cycling, begging and rubbish in back lanes (Roger would e-mail Kay the link he had previously sent to PCSO Steven Bell, to a map showing which back lanes are adopted highways).
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.
Simon Henig had expressed willingness to meet residents' groups in September, though no date had yet been fixed.
7. The County Durham Plan.
a) Roger Cornwell told the meeting that the four week suspension of the judicial review ended the following Friday. Groups named by the Council as "interested parties" had been invited to County Hall the following day for a meeting, at which they expected to learn what was happening.
8. Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSAs)
a) A report to the next meeting of the Council's Cabinet recommends the adoption of an Article 4 directive to remove permitted development rights for change of use from dwelling houses (Class C3) to small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) (Class C4) in parts of Durham City. This would take effect after one year's delay. The report also recommends the adoption of an Interim Policy on Student Accommodation, which has been developed from the policies proposed by the objectors at the Examination in Public of the County Plan. If it is approved by the Cabinet, it will go out for consultation. We should press the council to act as fast as the legal procedure permits.
b) The Berendsen Laundry PBSA scheme has been approved by the planning committee: the City of Durham Trust and Neville's Cross Residents' Forum have asked the Secretary of State to call it in.
c) Peveril Securities have given Peter Herbert to understand that they have appealed against the refusal of planning consent for the County Hospital scheme, though no word has yet been received from the Planning Inspectorate: an appeal is likely to be by public enquiry. Meanwhile, Peveril will be giving a presentation to councillors in two weeks time. The CCP confirmed that, quite apart from specific problems with the Peveril scheme, it does not think that student accommodation is an appropriate use for this site.
d) Empiric Development, who own St Margaret's Flats, now have an option on a site behind Diamond Terrace, and are planning to site a PBSA there.
9. Redevelopment of The Gates
The City of Durham Trust has put in an objection; on the basis of this as outlined, the meeting was minded to write saying we agree with the Trust's objection. Roger will circulate the Trust's letter as soon as possible, bearing in mind the deadline for objections.
10. Neighbourhood Planning Forum
The public meeting / consultation in the Town Hall was so well-attended that people had to be turned away. It would be repeated. The Forum had received a large amount of feedback, and their next step is to build this into a plan, on which they will consult. A mailing list is being set up which will enable the NPF to update people who gave contact details for this purpose. Steve Bell suggested that there were people for whom Facebook and / or Twitter were better modes of contact, and said he would look into this.
11. University / Community issues
a) Friday's meeting of the Liaison Group will be attended by the Liaison Officer of Reading University; Durham University has no equivalent post, and members are hoping to learn how it functions.
b) There are plans for a Community Groups stall during Freshers' Week.
12. To Let Boards: report from Pam Glaister
Pam Glaister's response to Grenville's enquiry implied that she had forgotten that she had previously promised a report on the effectiveness of the voluntary scheme for March, and again for June. It was hoped that her report to Stuart Timmiss would be a written one, which could be viewed by local residents.
Members challenged her assertion that there were at present few offending boards, and that no complaints had been received. They were asked to send Grenville a list of complaints.
It was noted that agents who had declined to enter the voluntary scheme were the ones advertising on the new advertising boards on roundabouts.
13. Reports from local Councillors
a) Cllr Richard Ormerod reported that signs were now up saying 'no waiting' outside Santander Bank at the foot of Crossgate, but taxis were still waiting in this area. He was consulting with (Police and Crime Commissioner) Ron Hogg about how to deal with it.
The Cathedral has applied for planning permission to build four executive houses on the land currently occupied by garages at the top of Pimlico: this would result in a loss of amenity for local residents, and the Trust has objected.
The Grape Lane project has now been completed, creating a new flowerbed which had been entered for the Royal Horticultural Society's 'It's Your Community; award.
He was asked about the promised yellow lines at Priory Orchard, and would follow this up.
b) Cllr Grenville Holland reported that there is Section 106 money available to fund works of art in the Neville's Cross division; this includes both Neville's Cross and Crossgate, and anyone with a project for an artwork for Crossgate should contact him.
14. Date of the next meeting
Monday 3rd August.