Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 4th July 2017

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Janet Charlton, Alan Doig, Ann Evans, Ann Lockhart, Brendan McKeown, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Richard Ormerod.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Mike Costello, Morag Crichton, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson, Clare Wright
Cllr Elizabeth Scott
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. DURF (Durham University / Residents' Forum)
Simon Priestley had represented the Partnership at the reconvened DURF meeting on June 21st. This meeting was told that the University had commissioned a report on student accommodation; this was still a work in progress, but would report to the September meeting of DURF. The University had also learned that the Neighbourhood Warden post to which they contribute 50% funding is not a designated City post, but covers the entire county: they will be taking this up with the County Council. Simon felt that he had observed a genuine commitment to make things work.
In view of this report, the meeting agreed that agenda item 9a) (Possible strategy to build cooperation with the Council and the Police) was for the time being satisfied by continued involvement with DURF. It was suggested that this involvement could be widened if the minutes of DURF meetings were published, and Roger agreed to ask DURF Secretary Mike Costello whether this was possible.
5. Registration and monitoring of HMOs
Ann Evans had attempted to obtain information about HMOs from the Council's online register. The details for 53, The Avenue were at least 10 months out of date (i.e. the details shown were those of the previous owner): could she therefore rely on the information that it was licensed for 10 occupants (as one of next year's tenants had told her they would be 12 residents)? It was pointed out that the register holds personal information and is therefore subject to the Data Protection Principles (under the Data Protection ACT): information must be accurate and up to date. Ann agreed to write on behalf of the CCP to the officer responsible for the HMO Register, reminding them that the DPA applies.
Cllr Liz Brown, in response to an earlier enquiry, had spoken to an officer of the Council who had confirmed that there are no HMOs licensed in Archery Rise.
6. Progress towards a Section 7 Regulation on lettings boards
Cllr Richard Ormerod confirmed that this topic is not on the agenda for the Council's next Cabinet meeting, and would therefore not go to Cabinet before September. It was understood that objections had been received from some lettings agents, and the matter would have to go to the Secretary of State (in practice, this means determination by the Planning Inspectorate). Liz would ask Pam Glaister (Council's Enforcement Officer) what progress had been made so far, and what the Council plans to do to control boards in the coming academic year.
Roger Cornwell felt that the involvement of the Secretary of State in this process was anomalous, given the reluctance to call in quite major planning applications. Surely localism legislation meant that a Section 7 Regulation was the sort of issue to be decided locally. It was agreed he should ask Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP, to take this issue of process up with the Minister.
7. Bus Station
As a result of a Freedom of Information request by Tim Clark of the City of Durham Trust, a large amount of correspondence between the Council and AECom consultants had been obtained. This was still being examined, but one interesting document had been identified, from February 2017 (the point at which the planning application, which had been anticipated for March 2017, failed to msterialise). Volunteers were invited to help with this process, and Simon Squires offered to participate.
8. County Hospital Redevelopment
a) Clare Wright had written that she had paid the Council to deal with rats, which she thought had been driven off the County Hospital site by building works: had anyone else had similar problems? There was some recollection of complaints at the start of works, and more recently teams of pest control officers had been seen at work in the Mitchell Street / New Street area. Is this associated with the County Hospital, or is it just a normal end-of-term issue?
b) Roger and Ann had asked about the cladding which was specified in the plans for the new blocks, and Liz had taken this up with Stuart Timmiss. The Council is looking into the specifications of all cladding used in the County. He would report back when the information is available.
9. Failure of communications / liaison between different agencies and residents
Roger read out an e-mail which he received from Goshka Bialek in the course of the meeting, withdrawing her request for these issues to be placed on the agenda.
Liz pointed out that some of these issues had been touched on in the report of the DURF meeting (item 4 above), and that ensuring that students have the correct bins for refuse and recycling is the responsibility of their landlord.
10. Reports from local Councillors
a) Cllr Richard Ormerod reported that an application had been received for a glass roof to enclose the outdoor terrace of the Bishop Langley public house. It was pointed out that this would drive smokers onto the highway.
b) Parking charges in South Street are being increased.
c) Simon Priestley asked him to look into the state of the handrail at the bottom of Crossgate; Ann reported a loose and rocking paving slab at the end of Hawthorn Terrace.
d) Liz reported that the 850 bed student accommodation at Mount Oswald has been approved.
e) More road works are planned at the Neville's Cross traffic lights; this includes enlarging the refuge to accommodate increased pedestrian flow from the PBSA on the laundry site.
f) She and Elizabeth Scott are trying to arrange a meeting with Stuart Corbridge (Vice Chancellor); it was suggested she ask the mailing list whether people would like them to raise any particular concerns.
11. Other business
Roger had asked PCSO Rebecca Carey for a report on antisocial behaviour by students: she had responded to calls, 7 houses had been identified, and 4 warning notices and 3 notices issued. 2 urinating tickets had been issued.
She also reported on thefts (3 bikes stolen) and burglaries (2 males arrested for trying door handles in the area, 1 male arrested for going equipped to steal, and one was waiting for a court appearance.)
There had been two complaints of driving/parking at Dominos; and 3 people are awaiting a court date in relation to begging offences.
12. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be held on Monday 7th August.