Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 3rd April 2017

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Lesley Aers, John Ashby, Lucille Butler, Alan Doig, Ann Evans, Peter Hayes, Jackie Levitas, A. Lockhart, Brendan McKeown, Simon Priestley, Jean Rogers, Sarah Thin, Sarah Wilkinson
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Liz Brown, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Simon Squires, Ann Stokes, Clare Wright,
Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Nigel Martin
8. Business Rates for Student Lets
Item brought forward at the request of John Ashby
John Ashby had stood in for Mike Costello at the AGM of NORA (National Organisation of Residents' Associations) of which the Crossgate Community Partnership is a member. The AGM had unanimously passed a motion: "That NORA and its members write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the chairman of the Local Government Association and MPs to request that councils should be given powers to bring all HMO including Purpose Built Student Accommodation within the scope of Business Rates in the same way that hotels, self-catering and holiday lets are within the scope of Business Rates." John urged the CCP to write such a letter, and Roger was asked to do so, drawing on the letter sent by SNCF (Saint Nicholas' Community Forum) as a model if required.
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. Pavements: Cleaning and Repair
Ann Evans described the state of pavements as "atrocious"; leaves were still lying from last autumn. This was related to the additional, city-wide, problem of blocked drains. Ann had raised the matter with a local Councillor and been told that there is a rota, and that all streets should be cleaned regularly, but had observed a street sweeper turning back before completing the Avenue. She would draft a letter on behalf of the group, and Roger would research who best to contact at the council (following advice previously e-mailed by Mike Costello).
5. Building work at the County Hospital
Jackie Levitas reported on developments. She had been assured, at a meeting held at her house, that when piling was completed the problems would end. However, vibration had recommenced, and she had contacted site manager Michael Johansen, who explained that stone rolling was now in progress. She was pleased with the outcome of a site meeting on 31st March with Senior Planner Andrew Inch, Mark Anslow, Senior Environmental Health Officer, and the builders on the County Hospital Site. As a result of EHO intervention, the construction company had agreed to run the rolling machine at half speed to reduce the level of vibration which was affecting property in Waddington Street and Mowbray Street. Cllr Grenville Holland's remark on the geology of the terrain (that this part of Durham is built on sand) was also helpful.
The CCP agreed to maintain a watching brief as work continues, and noted for future reference that EHO intervention can be more effective than Building Control.
6. 16 and 24 Nevilledale Terrace
a) Sarah Wilkinson reported that work has still not started at no. 16, although it must be completed by 10th April to comply with planning requirements, although the house has been empty for two weeks. Sarah will write to Stephen Reed, with copies to local Councillors, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP and Paul Taylor (Chairman of the Planning Committee which imposed this condition).
b) Although the landlord of no. 24 has asked for her appeal to be decided on the documents, the Council expect it to go to a hearing, since it is contested. Nonetheless, neighbours intend to submit comments to the planning portal, to be on the safe side: Sarah has already done this, and Morag Crichton will do likewise.
Roger agreed to write to the Council on behalf of the CCP and, if appropriate, the NPF,expressing concern at this result of the Interim Planning Policy on Studentification.
7. Wharton Park Footpath.
Peter Hayes described his attempts to get the footpath from the North Road reinstated: he had initially assumed it was closed during building works in the park, but in fact the Council wanted to close it permanently, claiming that a path which started adjacent to the public conveniences was not a suitable introduction to the park. He had submitted a Definitive Map Modification Order, been turned down and appealed; the Planning Inspectorate had found in his favour, and the Council had in turn appealed. This will now go to a two-day local inquiry in July, and he is appealing for evidence from people who have made use of the footpath in the past. It was agreed that this appeal should be circulated to the mailing list.
9. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 2nd May.