Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 7th February 2019

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Lesley Aers, Bob Banks, Gillian Banks, Steven Bell, Susanne Braun, Janet Charlton, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, [Francis Gotto], Ann Lockhart, Brendan McKeown, Pat Mussett, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Jean Rogers, Lee Smurthwaite, Ann Stokes, Kevin Turrington, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Alan Doig,
Hannah Shepherd (the University's Community Liaison Officer), Keith Evans (Bursar, John Snow College), Mike Teasdale (Unite Students)
PCSO Steven Bell, PCSO Kirsty Lawrence
Cllr Roger Cornwell introduced the guests to the meeting, and welcomed all new attenders.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Margaret Jefferson, Drew Lowrie, Fiona Lowrie, Simon Squires,
Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Cllr Carole Reeves, Cllr Elizabeth Scott.
3. Relocation of John Snow College
Keith Evans explained that John Snow College accommodates both undergraduate and postgraduate students. It had moved from Stockton-on-Tees to Howlands, and will be moving into new buildings in Durham, but since these will not be ready for autumn 2019, it will for one year only occupy Rushford Court, currently a PBSA run by Unite Students. The Stockton premises are in the centre of a residential area, ten minutes from campus, and the college has experience of coexisting with full-time residents.
The October intake will consist of 350 students, across all University departments, which it is hoped will minimise mass departures and returns to the same lectures. In Stockton the college has had a high proportion of international students, and this will remain the case but to a lesser extent. He anticipated that the level of foot traffic to and from the site will continue much as it has been in the current year.
There will be no on-site catering service: all the student flats and studios have kitchens, and are self-catering; Hannah Shepherd and Cllr Esther Ashby have talked to all PBSA managements about encouraging students to cook, and to shop locally. It was recognised that supermarket deliveries to gated properties created problems which would have to be solved.
There are no plans to run a bar. There is less shared social space than in the traditional colleges, which makes it unlikely that Rushford Court will host end-of-year parties.
The college sets high standards of behaviour and a disciplinary system if standards are breached.
Students cannot be prevented from bringing cars to Durham, but this is strongly discouraged. On the other hand, the college has a large number of bike stands, and a supply of bike lights to hand out.
Hannah circulated leaflets prepared for residents of New Kepier Court, with the help of local residents; we could prepare something similar for Rushford Court.
The changeover from the current residents to the new John Snow intake would start with the arrival of the international students in the first half of September.
She had hoped that the JCR President would be at the meeting, and would encourage him to attend future meetings.
4. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
5. PACT meetings
a) PCSO Steven Bell explained that the duty rota allowed him to attend CCP meetings when they fall on a Thursday, and he will attempt to do so. He is now deployed on the Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me beat, which includes Rushford Court - although any concerns about student behaviour should be referred direct to PCSO Rebecca Carey. The main issue of which he was aware was bike theft, and he recommended the purchase of a solid D-lock.
Asked about taxis congregating in an unofficial taxi rank outside Rushford Court, he said this was not something in which the police could intervene. But if he observed parking on the pavement when on duty in that area, he would offer advice.
b) Cllr John Ashby had attended the Durham City PACT meeting, and reported that PCSO Rebecca Carey will be taking maternity leave later this year. There was no news yet of her replacement. Meanwhile, Rebecca had reported that police action on house parties meant that these were now less of a problem: she had not had to return to a single house. On the other hand, police recognised that there is now a problem with noise in the streets. She is also working much of the time on homelessness.
6. Bus Station
The consultation is now live on DCC's website and runs until Thursday 21st March. Roberta Blackman-Woods MP has called a public meeting on Friday 1 March 2019 from 5.30pm to 7pm at Alington House, 4 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3ET to discuss the bus station and licensing issues in Durham,and Roger was asked to circulate this information to the GoogleGroup, for the benefit of those not at the meeting.
Cllr Liz Brown expressed confidence in the Council's desire to respond to public opinion by consulting from the ground up; and John Ashby added that the openness of the questions asked allowed for submissions calling for more radical changes than those pictured on the web page.
7. NORA (National Association of Residents' Associations
A request to renew the CCP's membership of this body had been received, and Simon Squires (CCP Treasurer) had already paid it. This action was approved by the meeting.
8. Short term lets
Mike Costello reported that as HMOs begin to stand empty, landlords are moving to marketing them as Airbnb lets. This is not currently controlled by the Council, though it would be possible to control this use through the Sui Generis use class. The meeting favoured adoption of this policy.
9. Planning Applications
a) DM/18/DM/18/02372/FPA Tower Cottage: The application has been withdrawn, though it may be resubmitted in a modified form.
b) DM/18/02369/FPA New County HQ: the application has been reopened to representations, until 23rd February. Despite this, the Planning Officer responsible still expects the application to be considered by the Council's March Planning Committee. Meanwhile, an EGM of the Parish Council has agreed on Consultants on the traffic and pollution implications of the scheme, and will submit their report.
c) DM/18/00291/FPA 24 The Avenue: Liz had taken this up with Pam Glaister. Enforcement are now sending out a letter about the uPVC windows; they are also writing to the householder about the dangerous drop.
d) DM/18/02983/FPA Farnley Tower: the Planning Officer had referred the application to the Coal Authority, who have asked for reports. This reopens the consultation period, and Liz has taken the opportunity to call the application in to committee.
It was noted that the Indian restaurant Club Mumbai is currently "temporarily closed" "due to unforeseen circumstances".
10. Reports from County Councillors
Liz reported that salt and grit had been distributed to the kerbside bins (and already put to use).
She and Cllr Elizabeth Scott were organising 'flower towers' for the A167.
Elizabeth had had the gulleys in Ainsley Street cleared: they had been full of builders' rubble.
She was trying to organise local consultations on the County Plan.
11. Reports from City Councillors
a) Liz reported on behalf of the Licensing Committee that Bar 33's variation of licence had been approved; the application for a 24/7 deliveries licence was withdrawn. She had learned of another firm operating an alcohol delivery business, and had informed the Alcohol Harm Reduction Unit.
Lee Smurthwaite (Loft / Studio licenced premises, North Road) outlined his plans for the future: his current premises on upper floors are being converted into student accommodation, and he would like to move into the ground floor space of the adjacent former Robins cinema. He is applying for a licence as a restaurant / night club.
b) John circulated a written report.
c) Esther emphasised that the Council's licensing policy is currently under review, and consultation is in progress. The Environment Committee had set up two working parties, one on the domestication of the A167, the other to investigate the possibility of employing someone to fill in the gaps in the Council's Clean and Green team.
d) Roger repeated that Parish Council meetings are open to the public, and urged people to attend.
The Council has now set its precept for the coming year: this is the same as that set for the initial year by Durham County Council. Despite this, the Council had been able to transfer the recommended amount into its reserve. As the number of properties in the Parish has increased, by keeping the tax at the same level as this year, there should actually be a slight increase in the amount received.
12. Other business
Ann Evans circulated publicity for Encounter 2019, an art event on Saturday, 2 March between 4pm - 7pm at Sheraton Park.
13. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 5th March.