Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, 13th January 2022

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Gillian Banks, Robert Banks, Goshka Bialek, Alexis Cleveland, Catherine Draycott, Theresa Ellis, Ann Evans, Pat Mussett, Simon Priestley, Malcolm Reed, Jean Rogers, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson,
Cllr Liz Brown,
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Margaret Jefferson, David Ramsden,
Louise Fowler (Unite Students),
Cllr Victoria Ashfield, Cllr Carole Lattin

Annual General Meeting

3. The Chair presented the Annual Report
which was approved.
Cllr Liz Brown gave an update on the Mistletoe Street planning application referred to in the report.
4. Accounts
In the absence of the Treasurer, Roger Cornwell introduced the Financial Report (previously circulated, and now included in the Annual Report); the Financial Statement was approved by the meeting.
5. Election of Trustees
Nominations had been received for Roger Cornwell, Ann Evans, Simon Priestley, Simon Squires and Sarah Wilkinson. All were willing to stand, and they were elected en masse.
Liz explained that she was obliged to stand down as a Trustee: she had been informed that she could not sit on County Council Planning Committees if she was a Trustee of any organisation which submits objections to planning applications. She would also be standing down as a Trustee of the City of Durham Trust. The meeting expressed dissatisfaction with this situation.
6. Securing of Future Income
This item had been placed on the agenda as a result of a request made at the previous AGM; the meeting did not feel it was relevant to pursue it in the present circumstances.
7. Any Other Business
No other business had been received.

Ordinary Meeting

8. The minutes of the December 2021 meeting
were approved as a correct record.
9. Antisocial behaviour issues
a) Roger Cornwell had, as instructed by the previous meeting, written to Rebecca Eves (University / Community liaison) about noise in Allegate in the early hours od Thursday morning. The Community Response Team had attended the following week, but heard nothing (possibly because term had ended). However, Gillian Banks told the meeting that she had heard noise of bins being over the previous night, and when she investigated saw a large group of students talking loudly; one of them was urinating in an archway. Roger reminded the meeting that the protocol for responding to AntiSocial Behaviour is to call 101; it was not too late to do this, since this disturbance is a recurrent event. Cllr Esther Ashby asked whether this area has the purple 'Shhh' notices (it does, but not the accompanying orange road markings); the Parish Council will be seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative.
b) Liz had attended the meeting on ASB called by Joy Allen, the new PCC: there was a proposal to appoint an ASB Champion, but this would cover the whole county, so would not focus on student behaviour. Esther had also been present, and found the meeting unsatisfactory: it was badly organised and was largely a rerun of familiar complaints. The Police had insisted that the 101 number did not have adequate resources to respond to all calls, and pointed out that this service, too, covered the entire county. Cllr Alan Doig stressed that it is essential to keep calling 101, to ensure that ASB is recorded in the statistics; it is also necessary to remind the responder that they can refer issues to the Community Response Team.
Liz described the Community Trigger process, which gives victims and communities the right to expect action is taken where an ongoing problem has not been addressed.
10. Planning Applications
a) DM/21/03443/FPA Window replacement with uPVC units at 2 The Grey House Princes Street: the Planning Officer thinks that this is acceptable, but the Parish and the City of Durham Trust are opposed.
b) DM/21/03620/FPA Chimney pots removed (retrospective) at 5 Palatine View Apparently the Conservation Officer favours reinstatement (that is, refusal of retrospective consent). Liz had heard that this was not the only case locally where chimneys had been removed, and would investigate.
c) DM/21/04214/FPA for a two-storey extension at the rear of 2 The Avenue This appeared to be an extension to a family house, but neighbours were not able to confirm this.
11. Rubbish and recycling
Bins not emptied: DCC currently had problems with staff shortages: Liz reported that they were suffering 25% staff shortages because of covid, and were redeploying staff from other duties. She asked members to bear with the council at this time, and hoped that next month would be better.
Cllr Mark Wilkes was in the process of organising a walkabout with Alan Patrickson (Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change) and would invite Roger (as CCP Chair) to join them - and possibly others, depending on numbers.
12. Parking
a) Can upper Crossgate be made 'residents only'? Roger asked whether the stretch of Crossgate from the Elm Tree up to the traffic lights could be given the same status as had been applied to Grape Lane? Liz would pass on this request to Cllrs David Freeman and Richard Orrmerod, who represent the ward. The same problem occurs elsewhere in the area, and Liz queried whether it would be solved by restricting parking to residents because so many student residents had cars: covid had caused a rise in the number of students bringing cars to Durham. Roger suggested that the introduction of free parking after 2.00 pm enabled students to accommodate a third car by deploying visitors' scratchcards, and suggested that the parking concession could be withdrawn from residential areas.
b) Can permits be restricted to council taxpayers only? - deferred.
13. Views obstructed by vegetation
No update available
14. Leaves on pavements
Ann Evans repeated her concern that leaves have not been cleared from pavements since they fell in autumn, resulting in a surface which is quite as slippery as ice. A previous complaint, reported to the Council by Liz, had resulted in staff coming out and sweeping not the pavements but the road. Liz would try again.
It was suggested that the student volunteer teams proposed by the Parish Council might be able to undertake this sort of task, but Esther recounted the problems the PCC had encountered with this approach. She recommended asking student neighbours individually for help.
15. Reports from County Councillors
Liz was distressed at the closure of the Boots pharmacy in the North Road, and the resultant loss of amenity. She asked members to respond to the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment. consultation
16. Report from Parish Councillors
a) As Chair of the Parish Council, Alan reminded members that Council meetings are open to the public.
b) Cllr Grenville Holland emphasised the harmonious working of the Parish Council; the decision to freeze the council tax precept had been widely supported.
The development at Sniperley was an opportunity to build an estate from scratch to the highest standard, but DCC's record did not inspire optimism that it would accept the Parish's suggestions about how this could be achieved.
c) Esther referred the meeting to the written report from Cllr Victoria Ashfield on the Environment Committee.
The long-awaited round table meeting with landlords organised by the Business Committee was about to take place.
After a meeting with Dave Wafer (Council Highways Manager), some of the temporary bus stops in the North Road had been moved; work on this problem was ongoing.
A lot of effort had gone into pre-Christmas events for children but both the weather and the covid figures had been bad, and the City had been empty. She was angry about negative press about Silver Street. The committee was, however, starting to plan events throughout the year to attract shoppers.
The Licensing Committee was considering the expansion of hospitality venues into outdoor service can be continued: is it compatible with access for emergency services?
The Planning Committee has been considering the proposed use of Section 106 money to construct a link between the Riverwalk and Milburngate: the proposals are unsatisfactory in terms of disabled access, but are likely to go ahead regardless.
17. Date of next meeting
Roger thanked Catherine Draycott for facilitating the evening's Zoom meeting;
The next meeting would take place on Tuesday 1st February 2022.