Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 2nd October 2017

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Robert Banks, Alan Doig, Ann Evans, Paul Jefferson, Margaret Jefferson, Ann Lockhart, Drew Lowrie, Brendan McKeown, Jean Rogers, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Richard Ormerod.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Lesley Aers, Steven Bell, Michael Costello, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Clare Wright, Carole Reeves, Simon Squires
Cllr Elizabeth Scott
3. The Council's refuse and recycling scheme: how can we help our new student neighbours to understand this?
Speaker: Victoria Burrell (Durham County Council Waste Strategy Team Manager)
Roger Cornwell introduced the guest speaker, whose visit arose from Goshka Bialek's initiative. Victoria Burrell outlined the structure of waste management in County Durham, and emphasised that no waste now goes to landfill: kerbside recycling is sorted by O'Brien's in Washington, refuse goes to an energy-from-waste scheme. She recognised that access problems in the City mean that there can be no standard pattern of collection. Keeping the City clean and tidy imposes huge costs on the Council, especially at student Move Out time. The Council was currently sending out recycling assistants to knock on the doors of student households, talk to student residents and give them an explanatory leaflet. There is also a "Durham Student Life" app (available for download).
Residents were urged to report any issues to the StreetScene phone number (03000 261 000). Among the specific issues discussed were:
  • Cllr Liz Brown complained that the issue of dustbins with green lids was causing confusion, since people associated green with recycling.
  • Waste from halls of residence: this is trade waste, and collected by private contract.
  • The accumulation of waste in yards and areas (light wells) should be reported to neighbourhood wardens, who can take action.
  • Failure to return wheelie bins into the property after emptying is a nationwide problem. Some councils fine people for not using the service correctly, but DCC does not intend to do this, preferring to work through education.
  • Durham University's Green Move Out initiative has been shortlisted for a Green Gown Award. In 2017 the Council collected 350 - 400 purple bags, double last year's total; they are working with the University to enable reuse of discarded items.
  • When a recycling bin is contaminated with food waste, the collection team sticker it, and log the information so that a letter can be sent out.
4. Neighbourhood Protection
Paul Rutherford, Neighbourhood Wardens Team Leader, sought the view of the meeting about the removal of the picnic tables from the end of the North Road (the space adjacent to the church / bus station), which had become a focus for antisocial behaviour). The church had had 8 windows broken (according to the caretaker, by bottles filled with pebbles); in a survey of shopkeepers asking what improvements they wanted, North Road shopkeepers were unanimous in asking for the removal of the benches. CCP members do use the benches, often to rest before proceeding uphill. The meeting suggested that the existing picnic tables, which encourage large groups to gather, could be replaced with one or two simple seats, more widely spaced. Liz asked why this problem had arisen from nowhere in the last few months, and Paul recognised that it was probably a result of a previous meeting place being disrupted: dispersing people from North Road meant that many of them would go elsewhere, but it was hoped that some would disperse. At present the numbers gathering at this location are growing.
Paul also gave the Neighbourhood Wardens perspective on waste disposal: it is possible to issue a notice under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act (1990) to determine how householders present their waste. The team plan to issue these, initially for May Street, to make landlords responsible for disposal of waste from houses they own. Brendan McKeown raised the problem of properties, as in Neville Street, which have no space in which to keep a bin, so that wheelie bins must be kept permanently on the pavement.
5. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record. In addition to items listed separately on the agenda, the following matters arose:
  • 6. No representatives from Student Welfare had been present at the DURF meeting, so it was not possible to ask about support for students who find themselves living in illegal accommodation.
  • Regulation 7 control of letting boards had not yet come to Cabinet. Liz reported that Council Enforcement Officer Pam Glaister believes it still to be in process, but cannot give a timetable. It was agreed that this item should be kept on the CCP's agenda.
6. PACT meeting
Ann Evans reported that PACT meetings for Durham City are scheduled every four weeks. The most recent meeting had heard that a) there had been a small spate of burglaries. b) Police had intervened to manage traffic of arriving students the previous Sunday, holding cars at Belmont Park and Ride until there was room for them to proceed. c) As requested, Ann had raised the CCP's concern about dangerous cycling. The police were happy to enforce good practice, and pointed out that the signs prohibiting cycling in Silver Street, which had been displaced by an accident, were now back in position.
Roger asked that the next PACT meeting be asked for a report on this year's start-of-term parties.
Ann also spoke about Fruitful Durham (on Facebook) who are currently pressing apples on Monday and Saturday at the Old Church in Sacriston.
7. Proposal to site an electricity substation on Waddington Street (ref DM/17/00974/VOC)
Roger spoke to the e-mail he had previously circulated: this was not a full-blown planning application but an application for a variation of conditions, which the Council was treating as a minor material amendment. The original planning application for the County Hospital, which was approved on appeal, included a new electricity sub-station which would be tucked behind the wall at the end of Waddington Street and accessed through the gates at the junction of Waddington Street and Sutton Street. When planning application DM/17/00974/VOC was submitted at the end of March this year the substation was to remain where it had been sited. Then on 7 September an amended drawing was added to the public access file and this shows the substation relocated to half way down Waddington Street, opposite 4 Waddington Street and just to the right of the existing substation. This revised proposal would require the demolition of the wall in front of the new substation. Because it was not included on the application at the time when the application was published, the application had not been opposed. Roger argued that its insertion at this late stage was an abuse of process. He thought should be removed from the planning application and submitted as a separate full planning application. Hr also noted the absence of any application for conservation area consent to demolish the wall, which would appear to be a pre-requisite to gain access to the substation.
The meeting endorsed this approach, and asked Roger to write the appropriate letter on our behalf.
Liz added that as local Councillor she had asked for the application to be considered by committee, although she would withdraw this if the substation was removed from the application.
8. Retrospective applications for planning permission.
a) Rounton, Fieldhouse Lane: garage converted to living accommodation (ref DM/17/02776/FPA) Roger and Liz will confer about this one.
b) 30 Nevilledale Terrace: rendering on boundary wall (ref DM/17/03035/FPA) Sarah Wilkinson, who lives in Nevilledale, described what had been done. The rendering was neither necessary nor effective. Since this is within the Conservation Area, a better solution would be to repair the wall with matching multicoloured bricks. Ann Stokes had objected. Roger will write supporting the views of the neighbours, on behalf of the CCP.
c) 11 Brierville: uPVC windows (ref DM/17/03034/FPA) - Roger will write and object.
9. Yellow notices for student households
Rosemary Zakrzewski has asked for volunteers to help with this DURF initiative, distributing notices of information / advice to student households, designed to be pinned to communal notice boards, but also to create an opportunity to engage with student households. Brendan had participated in this exercise last year, and thought it was worthwhile. Other volunteers were Drew Lowrie, Sarah Wilkinson, and Cllr Richard Ormerod.
10. Reports from local Councillors
a) Richard had seen the application for new signage at Café Rouge, in the name of clothing store Psyche.
b) Liz asked people to continue to report breaches of the Voluntary Code on Lettings Boards to Pam Glaister.
She had attended a briefing on Lumiere, and thought it sounded good, but warned that security would be very tight.
11. Dates of meetings in 2018
The suggested dates - Tuesday 9 January (as the 2nd is the day after the New Year holiday); Monday 5 February; Tuesday 6 March; Monday 9 April (2nd April is Easter Monday); Tuesday 1 May; Monday 5 June; Tuesday 3 July; Monday 6 August; Tuesday 4 September; Monday 1 October; Tuesday 6 November; Monday 3 December - were agreed, subject to availability of the meeting room.
12. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 7th November.