Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 6th August 2018

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Janet Charlton, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, Francis Gotto, Peter Hayes, Margaret Jefferson, John Knowles, Sheila Knowles, Brendan McKeown, John Pacey, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, Ann Stokes, Kevin Turrington, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Carole Reeves,
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Cllr Elizabeth Scott.
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. PACT meetings
After conferring with Ann Evans, Roger Cornwell had written to Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner, asking what is happening with PACT meetings for Durham City: these are not listed with other PACT sessions on the Police website, but are advertised by means of a notice displayed in the window of the Police Station in New Elvet (Mike Costello reported seeing a notice for a meeting on August 22nd). Cllrs John and Esther Ashby had attended the advertised July meeting, but had found no sign of of any police presence at Elvet Riverside.
5. Concerns about Domino's pizzeria
Kevin Turrington reported that Domino's are currently respecting the closing time imposed by their licence. Cllr Liz Brown had rung DCC Enforcement Officer Rebecca Young, who said that her department was aware of the situation, was keeping an eye on it, and would be grateful if Kevin continued to do likewise.
6. University Matters
a) Roger reported on changes of personnel at the University: Chief Operating Officer Jane Robinson and Chief Financial Officer Sally McGill had both left their posts.
b) Community Engagement Task Force: John Ashby reported that he and Cllr Alan Doig had met with Hannah Shepherd, the new Community Liaison Officer, and gained the impression that the Task Force would be open to discussing the Task Force's 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. However, when they attended the Task Force meeting, the Terms of Reference were not on the agenda, and the City of Durham Parish Council was not prepared to participate in the Task Force on this basis. It was, however, agreed that the CCP should invite Hannah to attend one of our meetings.
c) Answers to questions asked at the University/residents engagement event held on 21st June had been published via a Freedom of Information request, and are now on the University website. Simon Squires was dissatisfied by the failure to give a direct answer to his question, and by the claim that it had been covered by a more general answer. He had been speaking to Hannah Shepherd, who was feeding his dissatisfaction back to those concerned, but felt that this was not something that Hannah should be asked to deal with.
7. New County Council Headquarters
There was a wide-ranging discussion of the proposals offered for "consultation" at Freeman's Quay:
  • John Ashby drew attention to the differences between the proposals now being put forward and the report on the subject presented to (and agreed by) Cabinet in January 2018: something had happened to change option preferred. It was suggested that if there was no record of the process of changing this decision, and the business case supporting it, this might amount to maladministration. Roger suggested that a FOI request might be the way to find out what had happened.
  • The proposed access via Providence Row was completely inadequate, and would exacerbate existing traffic problems there.
  • The City Council had asked the County Council to reconsider this proposal.
  • The County Council could not be a disinterested judge of any planning application for this development: it was agreed that if/when such an application was submitted, the CCP would support asking the Secretary of State to call it in.
8. Regulation 7 control of Letting Boards
The Council has now submitted its application for a Regulation 7 to the Secretary of State. This is one step closer to removing presumed consent for all advertising boards.
9. Drinking and Antisocial Behaviour in Flass Vale
Peter Hayes has observed drinking and antisocial behaviour in Flass Vale, and has been discussing with Val Standen of the Friends of Flass Vale whether the Vale should be subject to a Designated Public Places Order to control drinking there. Liz had e-mailed PCSO about this in July, but the police had not received any complaints, and will not act unless people complain; Kevin had made reports about this, and recommended calling 0345 60 60 365 rather than the widely advertised 101.
10. Parking Bays
The marking of individual bays had been suspended. Differing views were expressed about whether these increased or decreased the number of spaces available, and it was felt that different answers applied in different streets. There was a consensus in objecting to the lack of consultation, and Mike urged members to consider what would work best in their streets, so that when/if the Council does consult, the CCP will be better placed to respond.
11. Duresme Court
Esther has been holding a series of meetings with residents of New Kepier Court, Chapels Heights and Student Castle, and has found the exercise very useful. She has arranged a meeting at Duresme Court; Liz has been trying without success to gain access, and will join her. Esther was asked to add Rushford Court to her list, and agreed to send them her e-mail.
12. Baseline Noise Levels
As previously suggested, Francis Gotto had, with Liz's help, approached the Council about obtaining a baseline level before the beginning of term, to enable comparison. However, the Council does not take this approach, but waits until a problem is reported before measuring noise levels. Esther reported that Hannah Shepherd had suggested the City residents' groups make a joint approach to the AAP, which can provide equipment as part of its remit.
13. Heavy lorries, vibration, noise and air pollution
Margaret Jefferson had noticed that noise from traffic is particularly bad on the early morning. She saw no reason why large lorries cannot be banned from the City, but the County Council say this would be "too difficult". Esther suggested she raise the issue with the Environment Committee of the City Council.
14. Reports from County Councillors
In addition to matters already discussed, Liz had been mainly concerned with the County Durham Plan (again)..
15. Reports from City Councillors
Cllr Carole Reeves reported that
  • the major omission from the County Durham Plan is the lack of housing for older people
  • The functioning of the public participation element of the City Council meetings was disconcerting.
  • Decluttering the streets of Durham was a major undertaking.
  • The Council had been unanimous on a motion opposing planned restrictions on Church Street.
John Ashby reported that
  • He had received a complaint about building materials left at the Bishop Langley pub, and had referred it to neighbourhood warden Stuart Champion, who had acted very swiftly to get it cleared away.
  • The Planning Committee of the City Council is already up and running.
Esther Ashby urged people to look at the County Council's proposals for the Town Hall: Roger would circulate a link to the Council website.
Roger spoke about a number of planning issues:
  • a decision on the proposed hotel on Milburngate had been deferred. He had attended a meeting with the developer, with Roberta Blackman-Woods and other interested parties. He has emphasised that the allocation of housing on this site should not be eroded.
  • The Elm Tree pub have revised their planning application to reinstate level access; he no longer had any objection to the plans.
  • The proposed takeaway on Elvet Bridge has put in for a late licence, which makes it more contentious; the Police have objected strongly.
  • Missoula have applied for a variation of their licence.
  • There is an application to enlarge an HMO on Prospect Terrace, for which the Council's HMO Officer has submitted a detailed list of requirements. Liz has called for this application to be decided by committee.
16. Other business
Mike reported that three sets of windows in Hawthorn Terrace had been deemed illegal, and replaced with wooden ones. This followed the refusal of consent for similar windows in Lawson Terrace.
17. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 4th September 2018.