Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting Tuesday 1st March 2016

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Robert Banks, Liz Brown, Ann Evans, Dick & Odile Fong, J & S Knowles, V. McGuinness, Brendan McKeown, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires
Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod
PCSO Steve Bell, PCSO Rebecca Carey
Anthony Bimbi, Tim Robson, PCSO Martin Haigh
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Mike Costello, Alan Doig, William Hunter, Kevin Turrington, Clare Wright
Councillor Nigel Martin,
Subsequently received from Steven Bell and Mairi Thompson, Jackie Levitas
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell gave his report; this showed 2 cycle thefts in the last month, plus one report of people observed removing bikes and cycling off, but this had not been followed by any bikes being reported missing.
There had been two opportunist burglaries in John Street, and a known offender had been detained.
An iPhone had been stolen from an unlocked car.
A 64 year old man was stopped for drunk driving and would be prosecuted.
b) Steve repeated the invitation to sign up with the police information system at
c) PCSO Rebecca Carey reported:
  • In the last month, 10 Community Protection warning notices had been issued (a total of 61 since the start of the academic year).
  • 1 Community Protection Notice had been issued (a total of 7 since the start of the academic year; there had been no breaches of these notices).
  • 18 people had been fined for urinating in the street (on Palace Green)
  • 13 alcohol seizures
  • Alcohol awareness workshops were being conducted with selected groups of students.
d) Priorities remain unchanged: dangerous cycling, student behaviour and combatting burglary by better security.
4. Proposal to apply for a licence for the basement of the Fish Tank, Neville Street.
Tim Robson, now a licensing consultant, introduced the application: building work in is progress underneath the Fish Tank and Stantons Fish and Chip shop. This is an underground space, with no windows, accessed by a flight of stairs. The intention is to run it as a bar with food; there will be music but this is not the primary function. The fire department have set the maximum occupancy at 100, and the plan was to run comfortably below this maximum.
Proprietor Anthony Bimbi described the premises as a historic arched space, older than Neville Street itself, previously serving as a covered vegetable market. He was working closely with the Jumping Bean café opposite, and planned to offer a very similar daytime menu. This would create between 8 and 14 part-time jobs. The opening hours would be less than those of the fish Tank (possibly until 2.00 am rather than 2.30). Rubbish would be bagged and taken out for collection in the morning: the present arrangement with the Durham Company was not satisfactory, and as soon as that contract could be ended, the fish and chip shop would also be transferred to a bag collection system. The three levels of the premises are, and will remain, unconnected. The proposal was for acoustic music, with no drumkits, in keeping with the vegan / alternative food style; the drink on sale would be similar to that at the Head of Steam.
5. The minutes of the previous meeting
were agreed as a correct record.
6. Proposal to apply for a licence for the basement of the Fish Tank, Neville Street (further discussion).
It was generally felt that the type of business described did not entirely add up: a food and drink centred business should not require the proposed door staff and late opening.
THere was already a major problem with rubbish: the system of bagging waste for collection was not functioning as described.
Planning consent has been granted for the application, but there might be issues with Building Control: it was, for example, unclear how disabled access would be provided.
Ann Evans, Liz Brown and Brendan McKeown will continue to liaise with PCSO Martin Haigh on this application.
Martin recommended The County Council's new (2014) licensing policy (draft approved without amendment by the Council meeting Wednesday 29 October 2014).
7. Durham City Neighbourhood Plan
The NPF has asked for help to identify sites suitable/not suitable for development. There was general discussion including the status (and condition) of Peskies Park, the former petrol station on the A167, the building yard in John Street, the gap adjacent to 24 The Avenue. Simon Squires offered to participate in pulling suggestions into a coherent form, and it was agreed that Mike Costello should be asked if he wished to join in. We should start by asking the NPF what they already have for the Crossgate area, then members could be invited to supplement this by writing to Mike / Simon.
8. University / Community issues
Durham University / Residents' Forum had met the new Vice Chancellor, and been told that the University plans to repurpose Queen's Campus (Stockton) by establishing an international foundation college, and pulling the academic side back to Durham / Ushaw. John Snow and Stephenson Colleges will be brought back to Durham. Expansion will continue on the same trajectory as over the past ten years; the collegiate offer also continues. The Vice Chancellor is aware that the proliferation of HMOs distorts Durham's housing market: his staff tell him they can't find anywhere to live or can't afford to live in Durham, and live in Gateshead instead. The University has offered to contribute to the funding of the Neighbourhood Warden.
9. Reports from Local Councillors
a) Cllr Grenville Holland spoke about the appointment of Terry Collins as Chief Executive of the Council; he was likely to be better than his predecessor.
b) At the Companions' Club, the extant planning permission granted in the past for part of the site is being treated by the Council as valid, although no substantial development has taken place within the statutory period. This is legally dubious.
c) Saint Leonard's School is applying for Academy status.
d) Parking problems are being caused in, for example, Back Nevilledale Terrace and Back Western Hill because more permits are being issued than the available spaces can accommodate. As a result, access to garages and dustbins is blocked.
e) He is continuing to seek action over derelict buildings in Back Western Hill / Shell garage site.
f) The County Council continues to accumulate cash reserves while raising Council Tax / cutting services.
g) Cllr Richard Ormerod reported that the Council has successfully bid for funding to re-lay the York Stone paving and kerbs in the North Road. Work is due to start in October.
h) The yellow lines at the Priory Orchard road junction have been extended, with the intention of keeping the junction clear.
i)Like Grenville, he had been consulted by Saint Leonard's School about applying for Academy status; he too felt this was a decision for the school to take. Consultation is being carried out via the school's website.
j) Neighbourhood Services is distributing an information sheet to taxis as they renew their licenses, insisting they comply with parking / waiting restrictions.
k) He is continuing to press for notice boards, and welcomes suggestions about where the Crossgate one should be positioned. He has been informed that they require planning consent (but Roger points out that a single permission should cover all boards within his ward).
10. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 4th April 2016.