Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting Tuesday 6th September 2016

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Liz Brown, Morag K. Chrichton, Mike Costello, Jonathan Elmer, Ann Evans, Odile Fong, Richard Fong, Jackie Levitas, Drew Lowrie, Brendan McKeown, Douglas McMurtrie, Jean Meredith, Jean Rogers, Lesley Rowley, Doug Scott, Simon Squires, Ann Stokes, Sarah Thin, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod
PCSO Steven Bell
2. Apologies for absence:
were received from Alan Doig, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves,
Cllr Nigel Martin
3. PACT (Police And Communities Together) Session
a) PCSO Steve Bell reported: no cycle thefts had been reported on this side of the city in the past month; police had interrupted one apparent attempted burglary; the first two noise complaints of the academic year had already been received (in Laburnum Avenue and the Avenue).
Police had received numerous calls from local residents who had observed young people hanging around the County Hospital site: they were talking to the security company about making it more secure. However, it was hoped that the problem would in any case be reduced now that the school holidays were over.
The Police would be out in force on October 2nd (Freshers' Day) and on the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
b) Drew Lowrie reported that a neighbour claimed to have been told by a PCSO that someone had been exposing himself at the top of Crossgate: Steve had no knowledge of this.
c) Drew also raised, on behalf of his wife Fiona, the concern that traffic, particularly motorbikes, was descending the Avenue very fast. Ann Evans confirmed that she had heard a very noisy motorbike on a regular basis, and would try to get its number. Pedal cyclists also come downhill at a dangerous speed. Steve would ask his Sergeant whether police could run a Speedwatch operation in the Avenue.
d) Priorities: Steve had asked Kay Howarth (Beat Sergeant) about motorists using mobile phones at the Neville's Cross traffic lights; she felt that it was unrealistic and unachievable as a priority.
With the start of term, and the amount of effort this required from the police, it was agreed that student behaviour should be the CCP's sole priority for the coming month.
4. Council Budget Consultation
John Murphy, representing the AAP (Durham Area Action Partnership) encouraged members to engage with the Council's current consultation on their budget: there are details on the Council's website, copies of the questionnaire available from Clayport Library, a series of roadshows (though the Durham event was not yet scheduled) and a session of the AAP on September 20th, to which all were invited. The consultation runs from 5th September to 7th October. John would e-mail this information to Roger for circulation via the mailing list.
5. Minutes
the minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
6. Planning application for 6 Waddington Street
Roger Cornwell ceded the chair to Liz Brown for the discussion of this item.
Jackie Levitas referred to the press coverage of her situation as the last full-time resident in Waddington Street. Estate agents tell her that her house is not saleable as a family house, and she has therefore applied for planning permission to convert to an HMO. The application was opposed by the City of Durham Trust, and the Council's Spatial Policy Team argued that the area was only 68% student houses (on the basis of raw data which they refuse to publish) and that this, in the officer's opinion, did not amount to the degree of saturation which would make the application acceptable.
Members expressed sympathy with Jackie's position. Simon Squires, who is likewise in the last permanent household in his street, was reluctant to see the exemption applied, although Jackie argued that it was an essential part of the Article 4 Directive. The case is listed for decision by delegated powers, and Jackie did not, however, accept Cllr Grenville Holland's offer to ask for the application to be heard by committee.
7. Planning application for 16 Nevilledale Terrace
Planning consent had been granted for an extension, but what had been built was not consistent with the plans: it was substantially bigger, and in different materials. A Planning Enforcement Officer had visited during construction, and strongly advised the builders to stop work, but they had not done so. A retrospective planning application had now been submitted.
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP was aware, and had arranged a meeting on site with the Construction Officer.
Grenville had called the decision to committee; he is not satisfied with the level of enforcement, and will ensure that Terry Collins (Chief Executive) is aware.
THe CCP agreed to put in an objection: Roger and Ann Evans will co-ordinate this. Liz will also act on behalf of the Neville's Cross residents.
8. Planning application for PBSA in Holly Street
Mike Costello intends to object on parking. The NPF has already objected, as has Ann Evans. Roger will draw on Ann's comments to compose an objection from the CCP.
9. Planning application for 3 Laburnum Avenue
An application to grant hybrid C3/C4 (domestic / HMO) status had been approved under delegated powers; now there was an application to convert to an HMO. Grenville would look at this, but thought it should go to committee. Mike and Roger would collaborate on an objection on behalf of the CCP.
10. University / Community issues
It was now public knowledge (although it had not been formally confirmed - press release 21.9.16) that the University intends to transfer Ustinov College (postgraduates) to Sheraton Park. In 2017/18 Ustinov would be divided between the two sites, but from 2018 the transfer would be complete. The present Howlands site would accommodate an expansion of Josephine Butler College and, in the short term, the Stephenson and John Snow Colleges previously in Stockton. Over 10 years, the University plans to bring 5000 extra students to Durham City.
11. Reports from Local Councillors
a) Grenville reported that Bill Free Homes (student accommodation agency) had written to residents of Sheraton Park, suggesting that with the arrival of university accommodation on site, they might wish to take the precaution of applying for C3/C4 status, and offering to help with the necessary paperwork. Grenville regards this as scaremongering; the University is not happy about it.
b) Cllr Richard Ormerod reported that the residents of St Margaret's Court flats were in dispute with the Housing Association, over renovations that were being carried out inflexibly and without proper consultation. The complaints procedure had been exhausted, and he had been called in: it was likely that the Ombudsman would be involved.
The felling of the cypress tree on the riverbank side of South Street would go to committee.
c) The question of speeding on the Avenue, discussed at the PACT meeting, was also referred to local councillors: could a 20 mph limit be introduced? Grenville saw no reason why not, and would explore the possibilities with Dave Wafer (Highways Manager): the main question was how this could be monitored / enforced.
12. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be on Monday 3rd October 2016.