Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 5th September 2017

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Angela Cook, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, Paul Jefferson, John Knowles, Graeme McLearie, Simon Priestley, Jean Rogers, Doug Scott, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Elizabeth Scott.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Goshka Bialek, Morag Crichton, Alan Doig, David Ramsden, Carole Reeves, Simon Squires
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
Roger Cornwell had written to the developers, giving the views of the CCP as expressed at our August meeting; he had circulated this letter to the mailing list. He had posted a notice on the notice board (outside the Elm Tree). He had also asked the developer for an update that he could bring to the present meeting, and had today received a letter from Laura Roddy, the planning consultant acting for Empiric Student Properties, which he had circulated.
The letter says that as a result of the feedback received, a Construction Management Plan (CMP) is currently being prepared. 145 additional letters have been sent out (and members confirmed that these have gone to Brass Thill, but not to Hanover Court) but that the exhibition held on 2nd August was a voluntary exhibition, not a mandatory requirement, so no additional consultation events would be held ahead of the submission of a planning application. It does not acknowledge feedback querying the need to demolish (rather than to modify) the existing building - the meeting felt that a key element in our opposition to the plan was the disruption caused by demolition and the proposed excavation of a basement.
The meeting formally approved the letters written by Roger on our behalf.
Empiric's display boards include the phrase "after pre-application consultation" with the Council, but Cllr Liz Brown had been unable to find anyone at the Council who had talked to them. The meeting felt that residents should also be having pre-application consultations with the Council, and agreed to ask the ward councillors (Cllr Richard Ormerod and Cllr David Freeman) to arrange this.
5. August and September PACT meetings
Ann Evans has been attending Durham City PACT meetings, and reported that at the August meeting, most of those present were from the Church Street / Hallgarth Street area, concerned about traffic.
She was concerned about the reappearance of ex-offenders selling door-to-door. Although the police have in the past expressed disapproval of this scheme, and advise people not to buy from door to door vendors, they say that since this is not illegal, they cannot ask those responsible to desist. However, if Ann (or other members) are able to obtain contact details for the organisers of the scheme, we could write to them.
Ann will continue to attend PACT meetings when possible, and it was agreed that this item should be kept on the CCP agenda. It was hoped that next month would bring information about plans for the start of the academic year.
6. Appeal: 24 Nevilledale
The meeting congratulated Sarah Wilkinson, Doug Scott and (in absentia) Morag Crichton on their success in opposing permission to convert 24 Nevilledale to HMO. Since receiving the Inspector's decision, Sarah had spoken to David Chong at the Council, and reported that the news was particularly encouraging as the Council will now take action on the 10 - 12 other analogous cases currently pending - although enforcement is still awaited on n° 28. She had also asked about enforcement of the refusal of retrospective planning consent on the uPVC windows, but the Council is awaiting the result of the appeal on n° 2.
Since n° 24 appears to be let for the coming year, despite refusal of change of use, what is the position of the students who will be living in illegal accommodation? Can the University, or Student Welfare service, intervene in any way? The meeting requested that this question be put on the agenda of the forthcoming DURF meeting.
Residents praised David Chong, who has been professional and supportive throughout, and the meeting asked Roger to write on our behalf to Stuart Timmiss and say so.
7. Milburngate House site
Members had reported that demolition seemed to have slowed, but it was confirmed that work was still in progress. However, Roger had learned that approval of a substantial part of the plan was subject to the conclusion of a Section 106 Agreement and that, ten months later, this had still not been resolved. This was duly noted.
8. Retrospective Planning Applications in Hawthorn Terrace
Retrospective planning applications had been submitted for uPVC windows at 37, 38 and 51 Hawthorn Terrace; Mike Costello reminded people that such windows are not permitted in the Conservation Area under Article 4. If members see them, please report it to Pam Glaister on the Council's enforcement team.
9. Planning application for single storey rear extensions at 7, 8 and 9 Juniper Way
Liz has called these applications in to committee. The applicant (Robinsons) is claiming that Juniper Way houses are C4 not C3, although at the time their construction was approved residents were assured that these properties were not suitable for multiple occupation (so there was no need for any covenant to prevent it).
10. 24 The Avenue
The application to build 12 C3 ("not for students") flats comes before the planning committee on 19th September. Ann will represent the CCP in opposing. Roger, Ann, Jean Rogers, Simon Priestley and Cllr Elizabeth Scott will pool their ideas once the case officer's report (at the time of the meeting still in draft and with the lawyers) becomes available.
11. Tidying up after roadworks
Simon reported that the top of the Avenue is scarred where roadbuilding equipment has been parked during works, and pavements are uneven. Is the work now finished? Liz confirmed that works are still in progress, and that there will be a period of fine tuning. After this, if the clean up is not satisfactory, she will intervene.
12. Request received from Goshka Bialek
Goshka had asked for help "to organise an order with bins before new students arrive". Unfortunately, she was unable to be at the meeting to discuss what help she wanted, and when, but she had told us that she was in touch with Ian Hoult at the Council, and Roger was asked to contact him about what was being proposed.
The general problem of students' difficulties with refuse and recycling was referred to DURF. What can residents do to help? Apparently it is not possible to require landlords to provide bins marked with the house number.
13. Reports from local Councillors
a) All issues Liz wished to raise had already been covered.
b) Elizabeth reported that a number of her fellow Lib Dem councillors have used their neighbourhood budget to buy defibrillators and offer training to people on whose buildings they were fixed. Would the CCP welcome her doing likewise, and if so, where should defibrillators be sited? Opinions were generally favourable, but people asked for data about most effective locations. It was suggested that Elizabeth should ask the advice of the Health Authority.
14. Other Business
By chance, seats for the meeting had been arranged at right angles to our usual practice, and the meeting was asked whether we preferred this: we did not.
15. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be held on Monday 2nd October.