Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 4th September 2018

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Ann Evans, Drew Lowrie, Brendan McKeown, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Liz Brown.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Mike Costello, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Clare Wright
Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Cllr Carole Reeves, Cllr Elizabeth Scott.
3. Minutes
Simon Squires clarified item 6c of the minutes of the previous meeting: Hannah Shepherd was still pursuing the lack of a specific answer to his question asked at the University/residents engagement event held on 21st June. With this amendment, the minutes were agreed as a correct record.
4. PACT meetings
Ann Evans, who has been attending PACT meetings on the CCP's behalf, has no information about meetings for the City of Durham; Roger Cornwell's letter to Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner, had been acknowledged, but no information had been received. Cllr Liz Brown commented that as a County Councillor, she felt that PACT meetings are important. Since meetings for the Neville's Cross are seem to be continuing, Ann will try to attend the September meeting at Sheraton Park, and ask what the position is with the City PACT.
5. Planning Applications
a) DM/18/02369/FPA New County HQ
The meeting was opposed both to the planning application as submitted and to wider elements of the scheme; discussion covered individual shortcomings, and the best way to oppose the development:
  • The development will have a major impact on traffic to the Sands? What are the implications of this on the day visitor economy? Have there been consultations with / comments from bodies like VisitCountyDurham? Roger will seek the views of the World Heritage Site co-ordinator.
  • It was agreed that the CCP should submit an objection to the planning application, and Ann Evans agreed to draft this.
  • Cllr John Ashby responded to comments about flaws in the pre-application process: the County Council might be persuaded to take a step back and hold proper consultations. The Parish Council could look at a legal route to persuading DCC to do this.
  • The County Council as Planning Authority is very much an interested party, and should not be deciding on its own application: should we be asking the Secretary of State to call it in?
b) DM/18/DM/18/02372/FPA Tower Cottage
Liz has called this application in, and has asked for Tree Preservation Orders on the willow trees. She will also ask that the committee make a site visit before considering the application.
Drew Lowrie pointed out that the application made references to his property (Avenue House, opposite the proposed development) which were inaccurate and / or out of date. He also thought that the proposals for parking contained in the application were unrealistic and impractical. He would be submitting an objection.
Roger asked that members objecting to the application should copy their comments to the Crossgate mailing list, to help others who were minded to do likewise.
c) DM/18/02545/FPA 30 Nevilledale Terrace
Sarah Wilkinson described the sequence of alterations to the rear wall of this property: the applicant had previously been denied consent for rendering, and had lost an appeal against that refusal. This new proposal for a thin skin of brick cladding would require replacing the coping stones on top of the wall. The applicant was going to great lengths to avoid rebuilding the wall, though this could be carried out with very good results, as at nos. 20 and 21. The CCP agreed to support Sarah's objection. The application will be on the agenda of the Parish Council's Planning Committee meeting in a fortnight's time: they can ask for the application to be called in, which would only take effect if officers were minded to approve.
6. Meetings at Duresme Court / Rushford Court
a) Cllr Esther Ashby and Hannah Shepherd (the University's Community Liaison Officer) had had a useful meeting with the property manager at Duresme Court, at which they had been able to make some minor suggestions about layout (location of outdoor seating) and other practicalities (for example, it is intended that the gates should be closed in the evenings, but this will increase disturbance caused by delivery vans). They felt, though, that provision for student welfare was inadequate, and were looking at whether this could be supplemented by the University or the Students' Union. They were working towards regular (twice yearly) meetings between the management group and the local residents.
b) Rushford Court had ignored all Esther's approaches, but Hannah had managed to arrange a meeting for herself, Esther and PCSO Rebecca Carey.
c) There was as yet no news from Dun Holm House.
d) There is a leaflet in preparation for residents in the vicinity of New Kepier Court, with information about who to contact in case of problems. It was agreed that something similar would be very useful for all PBSAs.
7. North Road toilets
There are currently offered for sale: should the City (parish) Council put in a bid? It was agreed that there is a serious shortage of public toilets in Durham, particularly in the evenings, but that the position of the facilities in the North Road was not ideal. Nor could the question be answered in the absence of even outline costings and budget.
8. Reports from County Councillors
Liz reported that planning applications for the enlargement of an existing HMO in Prospect Terrace and for a group of new houses to replace Garden Villa (Newcastle Road, near the Johnston School) go to committee on Tuesday, with a recommendation from the officers to approve. Members were reminded that new planning regulations mean that all new HMOs now need permission, regardless of size.
Legislation now obliges the owners of HMOs to keep the exterior in good order; she will be making use of this.
There are two new noticeboards, one at Rushford Court and one at Sheraton Park.
9. Reports from City Councillors
Cllr John Ashby reported that the post of Parish Clerk is about to be advertised.
Cllrs John and Esther Ashby has represented the parish council at the University's ceremonial sod cutting for the new colleges at Mount Oswald.
Esther reported that the Environment Committee had now held its first meeting. Its remit was very wide, but it could co-opt members for specific projects. Initial projects were:
  • to look at improving the A167,
  • to talk to Personnel and Finance committee about employing someone to tackle graffiti,
  • and some sort of competition for the best frontage in the City.
She would take up the issue of antisocial behaviour in Flass Vale with the Community Safety Partnership.
She and Francis Gotto had been looking at sound monitoring equipment to see whether the AAP could help acquire this: their conclusion was that professional equipment would be too expensive, especially if it was to be used in several locations around the City. Low tech monitoring still seems the best option.
Roger reported that the Planning Committee had noticed a number of applications to reconfigure houses built as family homes, in order to cram in more students. These meet the minimum legal standard, but the County Council has discretion to set a local higher minimum. The Committee is setting up a meeting with Students' Union officers with a view to making a joint approach to the County Council.
10. Other business
a) Brendan McKeown asked about the availability of yellow leaflets handed out to students last year at the start of term: these are most effective if delivered at the beginning of the year, so can we ensure they are available at our next meeting? John replied that Hannah is working with Rosemary Zakrzewski on this, and the leaflets are now being printed.
b) Esther reported that St Nicholas' Community Forum has taken a stall for two days of Freshers' Week, and would welcome volunteers: she will e-mail details to the Google group.
11. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Monday 1st October 2018.