Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 3rd August 2015

1. Attendance
Present: Steven Bell, Roger Cornwell, Odile Fong, Richard Fong, Sheila Knowles, Jackie Levitas, Brendan McKeown, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Jean Rogers, Kevin Turrington. Clare Wright
Cllr Nigel Martin
PCSO Steve Bell, Acting Inspector Kay Howarth (accompanied by two visitors from a policy think tank)
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Lesley Aers, Liz Brown, Ruth Chambers, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, Barbara Ravelhofer, Simon Squires
Councillor Grenville Holland
In a subsequent communication, Cllr Richard Ormerod asked for his name to be added to the apologies.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell gave a verbal report. Between 7th July and 3rd August, there had been no cycle thefts, thefts from motor vehicles or burglaries on his beat (the northern side of the city). Police had been called to a noisy party in Hawthorn Terrace but had arrived soon after to find the house in darkness.
A "cyclists dismount" sign has been ordered for the top of Silver Street.
Police action on begging has reduced the number of beggars coming to Durham; one persistent beggar was arrested for breaching his ASBO, and bailed on condition of not entering County Durham. Police ask people not to give money to beggars; if you want to help homeless people, give to homeless charities.
b) Steve circulated a Northern Echo report of the previous Thursday's Day of Action: this was felt to be very successful, and reports of antisocial behaviour at the Bus Station are now at an all-time low.
c) There was discussion of recent accidents with people falling on the steps in the Market Place, and the meeting agreed that it was time to repaint the yellow lines.
d) It was agreed that the existing Priorities of dangerous cycling, begging and rubbish in back lanes should be maintained. Police action on begging was succeeding, and retention of this priority for a further month would be helpful.
e) Acting Inspector Kay Howarth gave advance notice that new legislation allows the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), replacing the existing Designated Public Place order. A PSPO is an order that identifies the public place and prohibits specified things being done in the restricted area and/or requires specified things to be done by persons carrying on specified activities in that area. There will be a six-week consultation period, and Kay will be bringing the consultation questions to the next meeting. This will be very simple, and there will also be a leaflet distributed door-to-door, to which people are urged to respond. Roger Cornwell offered to circulate the questionnaire around the mailing lists, when available.
Cllr Nigel Martin initiated a discussion of how this will affect busking: the police are trying to work towards a new byelaw with the Council and Durham BID, but are hoping the new legislation might be a simpler means to the same end.
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. The County Durham Plan.
Roger was not at liberty to report at this time.
7. Student Accommodation
a) The Council's Cabinet had approved the paper recommending 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 will take effect after one year's delay.
The report also recommended the adoption of an Interim Policy on Student Accommodation, which had been developed from the policies proposed by the objectors at the Examination in Public of the County Plan (including the requirement that the University agree to new developments). This will now go out for consultation, with implementation of the Interim Policy hoped for before the end of the year.
Cabinet also approved the report's conclusion that there is no need for a Regulation 7 Direction on letting boards.
b) Local ward councillors had been given a pre-planning presentation about the future of the County Hospital scheme. Nigel reported that he and Councillor Grenville Holland had attended, as had Councillors Bill Moir and Neil Foster, and three representatives of the developers, and that they had been shown a paper listing the grounds on which the previous application had been turned down. The developers appeared to be asking what was the minimum change they could make to overcome these objections. As a member of the Planning Committee, Grenville remained neutral, but Nigel had made it clear that he would oppose any application to develop the site as student accommodation. It was noted a) that where multiple grounds for refusal are quoted by the councillor moving refusal in committee, these are simplified to a smaller number in the minutes and letter to the applicant, leading to this sort of approach, and b) that policy on PBSAs is shifting, making them less likely to be approved (while the number already approved makes each subsequent project less viable).
Signet claim that they have appealed against the refusal of planning consent for the County Hospital scheme, though no appeal has yet been published by the Planning Inspectorate. If an appeal does appear, we will oppose it.
c) Ruth Chambers had suggested that it might be useful to set up a petition on or elsewhere. She was unable to attend the meeting, but Jackie Levitas spoke in favour of the proposal and was asked to give it some thought and produce a specific suggestion.
8. Redevelopment of The Gates
The application will not now go to Council before September.
9. Riverbanks safety measures
Work has now started on this. Nigel spoke strongly in favour, and emphasised that some of the work will be to update lifesaving equipment, including the replacement of ladders / chains to aid getting out of the river, as were previously in place.
10. Reports from local Councillors
Nigel made no additional report.
11. Date of the next meeting
Tuesday 1st September.