Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting Monday 1st August 2016

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Lesley Aers, Liz Brown, Jonathan Elmer, Ann Evans, John Knowles, Drew Lowrie, Brendan McKeown, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Jean Rogers, Sarah Thin
Cllr Nigel Martin
PCSO Steven Bell
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Odile Fong, Richard Fong, Jonathan Lovell, Linda Lovell, Pat Mussett, Simon Squires, Clare Wright
Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell reported: in the last month, there had been one cycle theft (from an outhouse in the Avenue); two burglaries (one from a shed in Sidegate, one broken window at the Studio in the Avenue: members were given details who to contact if they had observed anything); offensive graffiti had been removed very rapidly from Castle Chare; two males known to the police were stopped riding a motorbike without helmets - the motorbike was found to be uninsured, was seized and would be destroyed.
b) PCSO Rebecca Carey sent the report that in the last month a single Community Protection Warning Notice had been issued as a result of a noisy party in Hawthorn Terrace.
c) Rebecca also reported on progress on the continuing campaign on rough sleeping: two Warning Notices had been issued for begging.
d) Roger Cornwell asked whether police had noticed any increase in racial abuse. Steve replied that no incidents had been logged. However, Liz Brown had witnessed an incident of verbal abuse, which she had not previously observed.
e) Members are welcome to attend the Durham City PACT meeting, which encompasses all of the City: the next one is Wednesday 24th August at 6pm in the Elvet Riverside Building, New Elvet (opposite Durham City Police Station).
f) Priorities: no feedback was available on our priority of motorists (including HG drivers) using mobile phones at the Neville's Cross traffic lights; nonetheless the meeting agreed to maintain this, and the campaign on rough sleepers, as a priorities, for a further month.
4. Minutes
Cllr Nigel Martin pointed out that planning application DM/16/01389/FPA (to demolish the end of St Leonard's terrace and substitute two houses) had not, as minuted, already been approved at the time of the last meeting. It had subsequently gone to committee and been refused. (The minutes have been amended accordingly).
With this exception, the minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
5. Consultation on the County Durham Plan, issues and options
There was general discussion on the consultation process, and the issues involved:
  • Jonathan Elmer spoke about the inadequacies of the consultation process itself: the formation of the Plan was of great importance, yet most people were unaware that consultation was going on, particularly as the consultation was being conducted during the school holidays. Ann Evans had tried to consult the Plan at Clayport Library, where it was supposed to be available, but persistence was necessary to achieve this.
  • Roger criticised the Council's strategy on employment, which did not take into account the different rates of unemployment for men and women.
  • Nigel pointed out that nothing in the Plan would remedy the lack of affordable housing.
It was proposed that the CCP put in brief comments endorsing the evidence of the City of Durham Trust, but emphasising the need to work towards more balanced communities: this means increasing the supply of affordable housing and decreasing the proportion of student accommodation. Simon Priestley would draw up this submission, and would brief Liz Brown, who would also refer to the evidence of Sidegate Residents.
6. Bus Station redevelopment
Simon Squires had enquired about this, and had received a reply from Project Manager Jeanette Armin that work continued to progress, and that she would be willing to come and speak to the CCP about it, but could not do so until October. The meeting agreed to accept this offer.
7. DURF Conference
Several members had attended this conference, organised by the University / Residents' Forum to bring together similar organisations from university towns across the country. Liz commented that she had found much of interest, particularly in the different interpretations placed by universities on the law on data protection, and their ability to discipline students. Nigel had found Sheffield's policy on HMOs very impressive, and noted that (in contrast with Durham County Council's insistence that a single policy must always be applied county-wide) the policy could be varied to suit circumstances in different parts of the city. Roger noted that the report by Durham Police had been very well received.
8. Reports from Local Councillors
a) Nigel had received a complaint from a resident of Victoria Terrace, about noise from Wharton Park. Members living in the Avenue had heard the closing party of the Brass Festival continuing into the night, but this had been an isolated incident. Nigel would attempt to ensure that in future people were given notice of such exceptional events.
b) Buskers in the City centre will now be licensed to play at specific sites, and there will be a quality test.
9. Planning application for 24 The Avenue
Yet again, a planning application has been received to build three student houses on the garden of 24 The Avenue, previous approvals having expired. The application has been referred to committee. It is clearly contrary to the Interim Policy on studentification, and should have been refused on that ground. Roger will co-ordinate the CCP's response with local residents.
10. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 6th September 2016.