Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 4th April 2019

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Lesley Aers, Gillian Banks, Robert Banks, Mike Costello, Ann Evans, Brendan McKeown, Pat Mussett, David Ramsden, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Elizabeth Scott,
Louise Fowler, Unite Students
PCSO Steven Bell, PCSO Kirsty Lawrence
Cllr Roger Cornwell welcomed the Police presence at the meeting.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Margaret Jefferson,
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Grenville Holland, Cllr Richard Ormerod, Cllr Carole Reeves.
3. Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. PACT meeting and Police update
a) PCSO Steven Bell apologised that he had not had a chance to review the incident log in advance of the meeting. The only incident which stood out in his recollection was a single 'sneak-in theft', and he reminded residents to keep doors and windows locked by day as well as overnight. Cllr Esther Ashby asked whether police were hampered in identifying thieves by the fact that CCTV is monitored centrally rather than locally, but Steve explained that although monitoring takes place at a central location, each person monitors the same location on a regular basis.
b) Ann Evans had attended the City PACT meeting. There had been a number of burglaries of commercial premises in the City, with a clear-up rate of 50%.
c) Notice had also been given that the order permitting police to confiscate alcohol being consumed in designated streets would lapse in October unless renewed by the County Council. Esther added that the Parish Council was minded to ask for renewal, and would appreciate support from the CCP. It was agreed that Ann should draft a letter to this effect.
5. Planning Applications
a) DM/18/02369/FPA New County HQ: The Secretary of State has declined to call in this application, citing the Localism Act, and Stuart Timmiss has signed the planning consent. The Parish Council have been told by their solicitors that the strongest grounds for challenging the decision is the effect of the development on traffic. The Parish Council has called a Special Meeting on April 10th to decide how to proceed: this will include time for public participation, but most of the meeting will be held in closed session.
Cllr John Ashby added that other considerations included the possibility of a complaint about maladministration to the Ombudsman.
b) DM/18/03671/FPA - 22a Allergate, DM/19/00442/FPA and DM/19/00443/LB - 22 Allergate: this application would come before the Planning Committee on Tuesday, with a recommendation from the officer to approve; Cllr Grenville Holland would oppose it on behalf of the Parish Council. Robert Banks pointed out an error in the officer's report, which described 22A as an unlisted separate building, rather than an annex to 22, and therefore included in its listing. He was encouraged to take up his right to address the Committee. Cllr Roger Cornwell would check how the building was treated on the database made available to Parish Councillors, and ensure that Grenville was aware of the issue.
c) DM/18/03785/FPA - Erection of 4 dwellings behind the club in Crossgate: Roger reported that this application had been submitted by Lee Smurthwaite, and that the Parish Council would oppose it as overdevelopment.
d) John reported that Tuesday's Planning Committee would also consider an application for illuminated signage on the student development at the foot of Claypath. He would oppose this, speaking against the illumination and also for the choice of the name "Student Castle".
6. Licensing issues
a) Former Walkabout / Robins Cinema: This had been discussed at the March meeting of the CCP, and would go to the Licensing hearing in Spennymoor on Tuesday. Roger would oppose it on behalf of the Parish Council, and Brendan McKeown as a local resident. Parish Councillors Carole Reeves and Victoria Ashfield also planned to attend.
b) County Council review of Licensing Policy points emphasised in discussion were the undemocratic nature of the process, with the obstacles placed in the way of residents seeking information; there was also a need to resist, and indeed reverse, the creeping later of the terminal hour. Esther outlined the points in a report to be discussed by the Parish Council, including the possibility of a policy on the cumulative impact of licensed premises. There was discussion about how the Parish Council could best pursue this, in the light of the County Council's insistence on a single policy for the entire county: would it be useful to consult with the rest of the County's Town and Parish Councils, to establish whether local factors exist elsewhere? and is it possible to identify the special circumstances which affect the City (e.g. density of licensed premises) without reference to the geographical location?
7. Durham University / Residents' Forum
a) Roger and John had attended the DURF meeting held on 3 April. A draft had been circulated of a leaflet for 'livers out', which was designed to contain information which applied to all students living out, and a space for information about specific neighbourhoods (local residents' group, refuse collection etc). The University will print this, but residents' groups would have to co-ordinate distribution. Lesley Aers volunteered to provide text for the Crossgate section.
b) John reported that the sub-groups of the Engagement Task Force had now all met, and were preparing a report.
c) The Police were represented at the meeting. PCSO Rebecca Carey had reported that, as we already knew, there had been a remarkable reduction in notices issued to households, but there was a corresponding increase in street noise, and she had no powers to deal with this.
8. Reports from County Councillors
a) Cllr Elizabeth Scott reported on behalf of Cllr Liz Brown that the steps at 24 The Avenue were now fenced in.
Enforcement action was being taken on signage at MunCheese café in Neville Street.
b) Elizabeth was working with the Highways department on obstruction in Back Western Hill caused by bins and parking.. The former RWD Motor Body Repair shop in Back Western Hill had been nominated as a Community Asset: the nomination is considered by a panel of three council officers (the Parish Council are consultees only) - and see below.
She would be meeting Roberta Blackman Woods, MP, the following day.
9. Reports from City Councillors
a) Esther reported that the Environment Committee would like to take action to improve the appearance of empty shops. They would be meeting with BID, but where also looking at low-tech solutions (placing a notice board inside shop windows).
They hoped to renovate the small "park" area above Highgate, below the viewpoint.
They were talking to Britain in Bloom about funding the 'Bishop's mitre' display, but hoped next year to be in time to work on year round planting.
b) John reported on the Parish Council meeting held in St Leonard's school.
c) Roger reported that the Council would oppose an application to build seven four-story town houses on the RWD Motors site in Back Western Hill.
He had pointed out to Pam Glaister that time had run out for Revolution bar to appeal against refusal of Planning consent for their illuminated sign; she was giving them another week before enforcing.
The Licensing committee had objected to the application for 76 North Road, but a revised operating schedule (with reduced hours) had been submitted, and they might reconsider.
10. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 7th May.