Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 7th August 2017

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Alan Doig, Ann Evans, Margaret Jefferson, Paul Jefferson, John Knowles, Sheila Knowles, Ann Lockhart, Brendan McKeown, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, Sarah Wilkinson, Clare Wright.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Alexis Cleveland
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Richard Ormerod
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. Redevelopment of St Margaret's Student Flats
Several members had attended the exhibition and met representatives of the developers: these included residents of Allergate, but not from the St Margaret's development itself. Nick Rippin, assistant to Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, had attended the exhibition, and Roberta is aware of the plan.
Ann Evans commented that while the property needed refurbishment to meet the requirements of today's students, she saw no need for demolition and rebuilding.
It seemed that while Allergate residents had received notification of the "consultation", houses on the site itself had not. Buildings in the immediate vicinity include a nursing home, a children's nursery, housing association properties at Hanover Court.
The proposed schedule was that responses to the exhibition should be received by Friday 18th August; a planning application would be submitted this month. Construction is planned for June 2018 - September 2019, with the first students moving in for 2019 - 20.
Roger had copies of the display boards, and had asked whether we might post these on our website, but not yet received an answer. We should, however, circulate the questionnaire, although this was criticised for its leading questions.
The meeting discussed the questions asked in the questionnaire. There was specific criticism of the design: the roofline, in particular, was felt to be ugly and out of context. While the meeting welcomed the principle that students should not be encouraged to bring cars to Durham, the removal of existing parking spaces raised the question of who currently makes use of them: this is an amenity which has been enjoyed over the past quarter century.There was much concern about how the building work can be carried out: it was suggested that a weight limit be imposed on lorries serving the site, and that the developer be required to provide parking for builders working there.
It was agreed that the Jeffersons would investigate whether Hanover Court and the nursing home have been included in the consultation, Sarah Wilkinson would do likewise for Brass Thill and St Margaret's Garth, and Roger for the Crossgate Centre and the doctors'. He would also contact the Council and ask for a meeting to discuss how any building work would be managed. He had already talked to local journalist Rachel Conner, and would put a notice on the new board outside the Elm Tree.
5. Visit to County Hospital
The CCP had been invited to see the renovation work at the old hospital building: Roger, Ann, Liz Brown, Steve Bell and Simon Priestley had been accompanied by Martin Roberts. Ann reported that the visit had been very thorough, and that a good job had been done of renovating a lovely building. It was unfortunate that residents' view of this will be obscured by buildings which look like cornflake packets. Roger was impressed that many internal features had been maintained, including the high ceilings and original rooms. The upper floors had views of the World Heritage Site. On the new building, the cladding was being changed from that specified in the original application (although this had complied with the planning regulations in their present state).
Roger would write a letter of thanks for the visit.
Clare Wright objected to the use of the hoarding as an advertising display: no planning application had been submitted for this. She was advised to bring the question to the attention of the Council's Enforcement Officer, Pam Glaister.
6. Police Information and PACT meetings
An e-mail had been received from PCSO Phil Raine, informing us that the decision has been made by head of command that police attendance at Parish Council / residents meetings, and requests for written reports ahead of these meetings will always be considered, but will no longer be routine practice. Instead, police would like to make use of other, existing forums to share information and encourage people in our communities to tell us about their concerns. These include PACT meetings (Police And Communities Together), AAP meetings (Area Action Partnerships), or by visiting police website and Facebook pages. He invited CCP members to attend the next Durham City PACT meeting, to be held on 9th August 2017 at Durham University Elvet Riverside building.
This confirmed what the Partnership had already understood to be the position. Jean Rogers had been putting details of forthcoming Durham City PACT meetings on the CCP website, and would continue to do so; members who attend these meetings are encouraged to feed back their experience to the CCP.
7. Resurfacing / redesign at the Neville's Cross junction
This will cause major disruption over the summer, and residents have no choice but to live with it; Cllr Liz Brown is keeping an eye on it. In discussion, it emerged that members do not have a clear idea of the changes proposed to the junction, and Alan Doig offered to ask Liz whether a diagram of the planned junction is available.
8. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 5th September.