Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 3rd July 2018

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Margaret Jefferson, Brendan McKeown, Jean Rogers, Ann Stokes, Kevin Turrington.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Lesley Aers, Ann Evans, Paul Jefferson, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Sarah Wilkinson, Clare Wright
Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Cllr Elizabeth Scott; apologies were also received from Cllr Liz Brown after the meeting.
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. PACT meetings
Ann Evans had attended a PACT meeting which had been cancelled at very short notice: the police had apologised.The meeting speculated that police regarded these meetings as a task to be fulfilled, rather than a useful way to engage with the community: it was agreed that Roger Cornwell should confer with Ann about whether it would be helpful to write to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Brendan McKeown reported a conversation with PCSO Rebecca Carey (Police / University Liaison): she reported a dramatic decrease in the number of call-outs to student disturbances this year. Brendan felt that the distribution of yellow leaflets early in the year had been helpful, not just for the content of the leaflets, but in creating a personal contact between students and their (permanent resident) neighbours. Kevin thought that nuisance in the Parkside area was not reduced this year. Roger will contact other residents' groups about any plans they may have for the return of the students.
5. Concerns about Domino's pizzeria
Kevin Turrington explained that Domino's licence permits takeaway sales in the shop until 11.00 pm, and delivery sales only until 2.00 am. He has observed them breaking the terms of this licence by selling for takeaway after 11.00 pm. He is concerned that the nuisance will become worse with the new term, as student numbers will be substantially increased with the opening of Rushford Court (the County Hospital), and fears that Domino's will either continue to infringe their licence or will apply for an extension. He has been in touch with DCC Enforcement Officer Rebecca Young, who has asked for photographic evidence, but has written to Domino's manager, Gary Reid.
Roger suggested that the Council should have CCTV equipment, which would allow them to gather any evidence they required. The new City Council also has a Licensing Committee, which could consider issues around late night catering / takeaways throughout the City.
6. University Community Engagement Task Force
As a result of the University/residents engagement event held on 12 April, the University has set up a Task Force to engage with the community, but this is a purely internal University initiative: outside bodies (including DURF) have not been involved in defining its terms of reference, which state that it will operate "in the context of the University Strategy 2017-27", that is, within the University's expansionist Masterplan. The City (Parish) Council had resolved at its meeting of June 21st not to immediately appoint a representative to attend future meetings of the Task Force. The resolution made was "That before the Council is prepared to participate in the task force, it considers the terms of reference should be redrafted to address the issues associated with the University's Masterplan and the potential impact of the increased student numbers on the amenity of residents and that the council is happy to meet with University representatives to discuss the terms of reference prior to considering its membership." The CCP supported the position taken by the City Council.
Members of DURF had met with Hannah Shepherd, the new Community Liaison Officer (in charge of the Task Force), and proposed Terms of Reference based on addressing 'the amenity of residents' with standing agenda items on volumes/environment (ie traffic, swamping facilities, etc), accommodation (from HMOs to getting more and more in colleges) and nuisance. The meeting discussed whether Hannah Shepherd should be invited to meet the CCP; it was agreed that this item should remain on the agenda for discussion at next month's meeting.
7. The University/residents engagement event held on 21st June
Ann Stokes had been at the meeting, and reported that she found it very similar to the previous meeting, held at the Radisson hotel in April. Although it had been advertised as an event at which the Vice Chancellor would answer questions submitted in advance, it opened with a 25 minute address from the VC, after which questions were taken from the floor, and answered in batches.
8. Request for 'no cyclists' signs on footpaths
Kevin argued that the presence of shared cyclists / pedestrians paths created the expectation that this was the norm, and encouraged cycling on footpaths as a general rule. Signs had been installed at some locations (such as the foot of Claypath) forbidding cycling on pavements: how do we get such signs erected in Crossgate? This was discussed, and also whether signs were effective in changing the behaviour of cyclists. We had in the past repeated used PACT meetings to request that dangerous cycling be treated as a priority by the police: is it time to revive this practice?
9. Reports from County Councillors
A written report from Cllr Richard Ormerod, previously circulated, was read out and noted.
10. Reports from City Councillors
Roger reported that
  • the Interim Clerk to the Council had taken advice and challenged the name change to 'Durham City Council'
  • the Council now has a Planning Committee, which had already exercised its right to address the County Council Planning Committee (successfully opposing plans for a hotel on the Milburngate House site),
  • It also has a Licensing Committee, which has not yet met,
  • and it is in the process of appointing a Permanent Clerk.
11. Other business
There would be a Consultation session on the new County Plan in the Town Hall on Thursday 4th July between 4.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
12. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Monday 6th August 2018.