Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 7th December 2015

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Lesley Aers, Ann Evans, Dick and Odile Fong, John Knowles, Sheila Knowles, Jackie Levitas, Brendan McKeown, David Ramsden, Jean Rogers, Clare Wright
Cllr Grenville Holland
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Alan Doig, Laura Fleming, Simon Priestley, Barbara Ravelhofer, Carole Reeves, Simon Squires
Cllr Nigel Martin and Cllr Richard Ormerod,
PCSO Steve Bell, PCSO Rebecca Carey.
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
In the absence of any any police representatives, Roger Cornwell summarised the written reports which had been sent in by PCSO Steve Bell and PCSO Rebecca Carey.
a) PCSO Steve Bell's report included the theft of a bicycle from an insecure back yard and the theft of an expensive watch through an open ground floor window.
b) PCSO Rebecca Carey's report covered her work as University Liaison Officer. In the last month
  • 16 Community Protection Notice warnings had been issued, 12 of them in the Crossgate/Viaduct area,
  • In two cases, the next step had been taken and Community Protection Notices had been issued, both in the Crossgate/Viaduct area,
  • A leaflet had been distributed in most areas, reporting on her actions so far this term,
  • 44 leaflets were delivered to houses that have not had lights on in the dark nights.
  • An e-mail has been sent to all University students, relating to ASB and safe cycling, urging students not to ride on the footpath (and to follow the Highway Code).
Discussion in the meeting confirmed that Rebecca's intervention early in the term seemed to be having the desired effect: Neville Street / Crossgate was quieter, and parties in the gardens between the Avenue and May Street stop at the 11.00 pm curfew. Groups in transit between locations are still noisy, but do respond to requests for quiet.
Members also asked for news of Rebecca's appointment, the day following the November meeting, to issue 16 tickets (for littering) to rugby players who had been urinating or deliberately throwing up in the street.
c) Priorities are dangerous cycling, student behaviour at end of term and combatting burglary by better security.
d) Roger would also speak at the forthcoming DURF (Durham University / Residents Forum) meeting about proper disposal of rubbish at the end of term.
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. County Hospital appeal
The appeal (against refusal of planning permission) would be heard the next day, on Tuesday 8th December, in Waddington Street church; members were encouraged to attend.
7. Letting Boards: Voluntary Code of Practice
Cllr Grenville Holland had escalated to Stephen Reed the inadequacy of regulation of lettings boards, and received the reply that the question of moving from voluntary to compulsory regulation was not closed: he and colleagues would shortly be reviewing the impact of the present Voluntary Code. Following this internal consideration, they would advise how they intend to move forward in this area; and at this point Grenville, as a local councillor, would be informed. The meeting thought this unsatisfactory, and Grenville agreed to write again to Stephen Reed saying so. It was emphasised that a) it was desirable for local residents and their elected representatives to have input before a decision was taken and b) no scheme which permits advertising in the autumn term, whether voluntary or compulsory, would be acceptable. This point had been made at the previous DURF meeting, and had the support of DSU.
8. Councillor's report from Cllr Grenville Holland (brought forward at his request)
a) Grenville reported that although nothing was emerging from the County Council about the County Plan, the County Council was pressing ahead; their intention was to get the Plan through by early summer, partly by deferring the controversial elements for a further 12 months. Members were surprised by this schedule, pointing out that the process could not be completed without a further period of consultation, and an Examination in Public in front of a Planning Inspector.
b) There would be a debate at Wednesday's full Council meeting about the closure of the DLI Museum and Art Gallery.
9. Proposed development of the Companions' Club
Jackie Levitas had been meeting the developers. The scheme has unsatisfactory aspects: in particular, the height of the new build at the rear of the Club building, and its proximity to the boundary of the site, and therefore to adjacent streets and garden (this aspect is not shown by the computer generated model).
The developers claim that they are entitled to proceed on the adjacent Elliot site, on the basis of planning consent granted in 2005. However, David Ramsden has received an email from Lisa Morina in the Planning Department confirming that this has now lapsed..
Roger suggested that one way to ensure the developers adhere to their stated intention of building for permanent residents rather than for student lets would be to grant planning consent without permitted development rights. This could be done for a new development ahead of the proposed Article 4 Directive (removing those rights generally within the Conservation Area). But if what is being built is flats rather than houses, would this help?
The meeting confirmed what Jackie has been telling the developers, that we wish to see a proper consultation exercise, at which it is possible to examine the plans. It was confirmed that Jackie was acting on our behalf and she was asked to continue to do so. Jean Rogers was asked to minute this, and to write to Jackie when the minute was published.
10. Neighbourhood Planning Forum
Roger reported that the NPF has now appointed a project manager. Ros Ward is a well-qualified chartered planner with a wealth of experience. (More information on the NPF website).
11. University / Community issues
Students needed to be aware that bin men do not return wheelie bins where they come from; refuse collectors need to be aware that students may not be in residence to collect their own bins. Roger would raise this at the next DURF meeting.
12. Councillor's report from Cllr Richard Ormerod
Richard Ormerod had sent in a written report, which had been circulated: he has made the council aware of the poor state of the road surface in Back Tenter Terrace; congratulations to the Grape Lane gardens project, which had won a further award, this time in the County Durham Environment Awards Community Partnership section, for "an outstanding contribution to the improvement of the quality and appearance of the local environment, and for strengthening community links."
13. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be our AGM on Tuesday 5th January 2016.