Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 1st October 2018

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Ann Evans, Francis Gotto, Margaret Jefferson, John Knowles, Sheila Knowles, Drew Lowrie, Brendan McKeown, Jean Rogers, Ann Stokes, Kevin Turrington, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Cllr Carole Reeves, Cllr Elizabeth Scott..
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Lesley Aers, Mike Costello, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Simon Squires
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland.
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. PACT meetings
Ann Evans, who has been attending PACT meetings on the CCP's behalf, had no news of any City Centre PACT meetings. She had been unable to attend the September meeting for Neville's Cross, and would not be available for their October meeting either. Sheila Knowles volunteered to attend the meeting (on October 18th at Ustinov College) on our behalf, and attempt to find out what was happening about City Centre meetings.
Meanwhile, Roger Cornwell would remind Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner, that we were awaiting a response to his earlier letter.
5. Planning Applications
a) DM/18/02369/FPA New County HQ
Roger reported that sufficient new material had been added to the file about this development that the application had been readvertised, and the deadline for comments extended. There was, however, still no report from the Environment Agency about the Flood Risk Assessment.
John Ashby had raised issues of air pollution with Dave Wafer (Council Highways Manager): he had been referred to further documentation (with which he was "totally unimpressed").
b) DM/18/DM/18/02372/FPA Tower Cottage
The Coal Authority has objected, and asked for a proper survey to be carried out.
In discussion of the traffic implications of this scheme, it emerged that Club Mumbai's social media are promoting their takeaway service. This would need a separate late refreshment licence if they were serving after 11.00 pm, and the meeting was not aware of one being applied for.
c) DM/18/02545/FPA 30 Nevilledale Terrace
Seems to be in hand, and moving towards determination, with a deadline later this month.
d) The City Council Planning Committee meets fortnightly, with the next meeting on Friday 5th; Carole Reeves pointed out that the public are entitled to attend, and encouraged people to do so. In addition to applications already discussed, the committee would consider proposed signage at Rushford Court: designs were circulated, and members generally thought them inappropriate (too large, and promoting the management company rather than informing of the name of the development).
e) Kevin Turrington asked whether there were any proposals about the old buildings in Back Western Hill, which are falling into disrepair: there are not, but members living nearby would discuss the situation.
f) Ann pointed out that windows and doors being installed at 24 The Avenue were plastic framed, which is not consistent with the Article 4 / Conservation Area standards. In addition, the fence which fell down in the last high winds has still not been replaced, and there was an unprotected drop to the garden. Roger would take this up with Cllr Liz Brown, who has been following this case.
6. DURF (Durham University / Residents Forum) meeting
a) John Ashby reported that the meeting had been well-attended. In particular he welcomed the attendance of representatives from DSU (Durham Students' Union), and of Alex Hopkins, Head of the Student Conduct Office. The Office have a Code of Conduct, which they are prepared to share with residents.
There had been an impressive presentation from Van Mildert College about their voluntary work.
The Community Engagement Task Force is considering the wording of its terms of reference, and may yet come up with a formulation which makes possible the participation of community representatives.
PCSO Rebecca Carey gave a presentation on her activities planned for Freshers' Week. It was pointed out that the University is now funding a warranted police officer (i.e., with powers of arrest, which Rebecca as a PCSO does not have).
b) New regulations for HMOs are now in force, but these are minimum standards (Roger will circulate a link). The Parish Council and DSU are jointly seeking a meeting with Durham County Council to urge them to use their power to set higher minimum standards (in particular, with respect to minimum room size).
7. Leaflets for students and residents
As reported at our previous meeting, Rosemary Zakrzewski has been working with Hannah Shepherd (the University's Community Liaison Officer) to produce a more student-friendly wording than that previously used. The University is prepared to print the leaflets, and the CCP has been asked how many copies we want. Roger had calculated that our maximum requirement was over 1200, if we could find enough volunteers to distribute them. Distribution was most effective if volunteers were able to speak to the recipients, but all volunteers were welcomed.
8. Newly opened PBSAs
a) Students were already arriving at Dun Holm House (The Gates), although work is still in progress; they had been observed making their way through the traffic on Milburngate to gain access to the site. Richard Ormerod had spoken to the Duty Manager, who had assured him that the opening had been signed off by both the Council's Building Control department and McAlpine's Health and Safety. There is a safe approach to the building, and once students have made contact with management, it is pointed out to them. Tenants are second year students, and will continue to arrive through the week.
Esther and Hannah had met the Dun Holm management team (in their offices, not on the site) and been favourably impressed by their management team.
The Parish Council had requested representation on DCC's Safety Committee, and been refused; they were pressing for this to be reconsidered.
b) As anticipated, the locked gates of Duresme Court (the Berendsen Laundry) were creating problems with supermarket delivery lorries, which sound their horns in the hope this will give them access, and which then back down the drive onto the A167.
c) Students are now moving in to Rushford Court (County Hospital), and this seemed well organised, and was very promising. Francis Gotto was, however, apprehensive that large numbers of students leaving simultaneously for lectures would overwhelm the pavements nearby. Also, see below, item 9.
9. Unofficial taxi rank at Rushford Court
Kevin Turrington had observed taxis waiting in the vicinity of Rushford Court in the hope of custom. There seemed to be a divide between Uber drivers, who favoured Waddington Street, and conventional taxis who wait directly outside Rushford Court, blocking the bus stop and parking on the pavement. Taxis are also occupying residents' parking spaces, and at night the headlights shine into houses. Kevin has taken this up with (County Council Highways officer) Danny Harland, but anticipates problems increasing as the accommodation fills up. This was noted, and there was discussion of whether bollards at the pavement edge would help, and if so, whether the Parish Council could help provide these.
10. Observer article
The recent article was noted, and the meeting thanked Mike Costello for his excellent contribution.
Esther pointed out a recent report in the Northern Echo that Ernest Place, the 362-bed PBSA next to Tesco Extra, has been sold to Ahli United Bank (UK) Plc, which is based in Bahrain.
11. Reports from County Councillors
a) Richard is working on getting some of the older salt bins in the ward replaced with new ones in time for winter.
b) Elizabeth Scott reported that Sainsbury's at the Pot and Glass have finally agreed to construct a promontary with bollards, to guide traffic into a safer access route.
There are new notice boards ant Ustinov College and Rushford Court.
There are advances in the plans for a community centre, and an application has been made for Section 106 money.
There were reports of an intruder in at least two houses in the Neville's Cross area. Police were treating this as a mental health problem, rather than a crime, but residents were urged to make sure their homes were secured.
Merryoaks WI welcome non-members to their meeting on 9th October, at which Emma Goding will talk about the work and services provided by Harbour Support Services, a specialist charity funded by Durham County Council to help residents who have been affected by domestic abuse.
12. Reports from City Councillors
a) Esther has discovered a miniature camera apparently capable of providing private CCTV: she will investigate further.
She has an appointment to spend Thursday morning on a guided tour of Bill Free Homes.
SNCF (Saint Nicholas' Community Forum) will be at Freshers' Fair tomorrow (Tuesday).
b) Roger reported that the City Council is investigating setting up a number of information boards about themed walks in the parish, including the Neville's Cross Battlefield Walk; he had been able to contribute the report he and Ann Evans had produced seven years ago for the CCP.
13. Dates of future meetings
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 6th November 2018, and our December meeting on Monday 3rd, as advertised.
However, in 2019 our meeting room will not be available on Mondays. Members were asked whether they would prefer meetings to be held on Tuesday every month, or to alternate between Tuesday and Thursday: it was agreed that the question should be put to the mailing list, in the hope of opening meetings to those who could not attend on Mondays.