Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting 3rd October 2019

1. Attendance
Present: Cllr Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Goshka Bialek, Ann Evans, Francis Gotto, Brendan McKeown, Pat Mussett, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden, Jean Rogers, Simon Squires, Kevin Turrington, Sarah Wilkinson
Keith Evans (Bursar, John Snow College), Louise Fowler (Unite Students), Richard Freeman (John Snow College)
Cllr Victoria Ashfield
Cllr Richard Ormerod
Cllr Roger Cornwell introduced (Parish) Cllr Victoria Ashfield, whose ward includes part of the Partnership's area.
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Lesley Aers, Margaret Jefferson, Malcolm Reed, Ann Stokes
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr John Ashby, Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Carol Reeves
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Elizabeth Scott
3. Minutes
Minute 8c) should read '20 Nevilledale', not 21.
With this amendment, the minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.
4. Move of John Snow College into Rushford Court: Recent updates
Representatives of John Snow felt that overall the move in had gone well, though there some points from which they could learn for the future. Kevin Turrington, one of the closest neighbours, agreed that this was the case: noise levels were occasionally high, and this had been repeated the day before the meeting (a Wednesday) when there had been a lot of noise from the building itself. Noise in the street was generally at acceptable levels. Taxis were waiting in locations which blocked access, including the point at which students from the college cross the road.
Keith Evans had been pleased at the success of the college in keeping traffic moving through the arrival period. The college would, however, be more aware of noise issues in the future (the positioning of speakers, the sign saying "Honk Your Horn!").
Louise Fowler had been very pleased to receive only four complaints on check-in day, of which three were from people who had not received advance information about how the day would work and how long it would go on. She was pleasantly surprised at the responsiveness of returning students, and of the ease of dealing with the college as a body, rather than with individual student tenants.
Roger congratulated John Snow College on the choice of Redhills as a venue for the welcoming event; he regretted that congestion on the day had been exacerbated by the timing of the University's Open Day; and he warned those wishing to drive down South Street that it is closed to repair a gas leak.
5. Policing issues
a) Night-time noise from houses: the police have been arguing that noise from house parties is a matter for the County Council, and Roger had asked our County Councillors what the arrangement is for dealing with noise at night. Cllr Liz Brown had confirmed that neither Neighborhood Wardens nor Environment Health (who have a general responsibility for restricting noise levels) provide a night-time service.
Cllr Victoria Ashfield reported that she had met Belinda Snow, Neighbourhood Warden Manager, to discuss the possibility of the Parish Council funding a Quiet Zone Officer: this would be introduced for a trial period in Whinney Hill.
Discussion followed: is it still possible to call the police on 101? The consensus was that it is, and that while this unlikely to result in action, asking for a case number means that incidents will be logged (though complainants are recommended to keep their own record). Victoria added that the police had recommended using e-mail, and she had an address, which she will circulate.
b) Night-time disturbances in the streets it was pointed out that even if noise from houses is an Environmental / County Council issue, disturbance in the streets is a policing responsibility.
c) Antisocial behaviour conference: Roger reminded members of the conference on ASB which the Parish Council is organising. He will circulate details.
6. Leaflet: Welcome to Living Out, in Durham
1000 copies of this leaflet had been ordered for the CCP area. The University had relet its printing contract, and the leaflets had been delayed, but they should be available very soon. Simon Priestley would pursue this.
7. Planning Applications
a) 24 The Avenue: modifications had been submitted to the plan which had been approved. Roger outlined the changes, and Ann Evans and Simon Priestley supplied details. Roger and Ann would confer to submit an objection on the CCP's behalf.
b) May Street: both n° 30, which is currently an HMO, and n° 27, where the owned wishes to sell what is currently a family home as an HMO. have applied to increase the number of rooms.
c) DM/19/02459/FPA: 13 Mowbray Street: it was proposed to extend an existing 4-bedroom HMO to 7-bedrooms. This is within the Conservation Area, so development should only be permitted if it enhances the Conservation Area. The CCP recommended to our Parish Councillors that the Parish Council object to this applications.
8. Letting Boards: Regulation 7 Direction
The direction, removing the right to display letting boards, has been granted, and will be enforceable from 17th October. Boards displayed after that date should be notified, as ever, to DCC Enforcement Officer Pamela Glaister. It was remarked that there were already noticeably fewer boards than in previous years.
9. Unauthorised sign at Revolution Bar
The sign had been removed, but then replaced. Roger would verify that it was still in position, and then notify the Council.
10. Report from County Councillor
Cllr Richard Ormerod was trying to prevent taxis using the loading bay outside Santander in the North Road as a taxi rank, and then driving up Crossgate: he and Roger had been at a meeting with Maxine Stubbs and Dave Lewis of the County Council. The police had agreed to put resources into enforcing the ban on turning right up Crossgate. DCC had agreed to remind taxi operators that the loading bay is not a taxi rank. The Parish Council is also looking at other ways to monitor the use of the loading bay at peak times. It had been suggested that people were being sent up Crossgate by satnav directions, but the meeting did not regard this as a valid excuse.
11. Reports from Parish Councillors
a) Victoria is Chair of the Parish Environment Committee, and reported on its activities:
  1. the committee has oral agreement for tree planting to replace felling on the Sands (and will plant immediately adjacent to the Coach Park).
  2. it is conducting a project with schools to find ways to recycle things which are generally hard to recycle.
  3. Schools can be put in touch with a UN accreditation scheme for teachers of climate emergence. Anyone interested should contact Victoria via the Parish Council.
b) Roger reported:
  1. that Durham had once again won best Small City in the Britain in Bloom competition.
  2. He gave an update on the fencing off of common land in the Sands. This is illegal, but unfortunately responsibility for prosecuting lies with the County Council.
  3. The Examination in Public of the County Plan starts in two weeks time, in Murton.
  4. the Neighbourhood Plan has now been completed, and has been passed to the full Parish Council for approval.
  5. The County Council is consulting on whether it should have a Cumulative Impact policy on licensing. The training meeting organised by the Parish had provided useful advice for reviewing the licenses of existing licensed premises. Kevin had had a leaflet put through his door promoting a drinking culture, and was asked to pass it to Liz, as County Councillor. Ann had attended the training session and felt as a result of what she had learned there that DCC's licensing process is not legally valid, in that applications are not genuinely available to the public, and licenses have been granted to premises not yet built. It was agreed that this should be pursued.
  6. The Parish is now responsible for organising the Remembrance Sunday parade.
12. Date of next meeting
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 5th November.