Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting, 1st February 2022

1. Attendance
Present: Roger Cornwell (in the Chair), Gillian Banks, Robert Banks, Morag Crichton, Catherine Draycott, Ann Evans, Pat Mussett, [Simon Priestley, part of meeting only], David Ramsden, Malcolm Reed, Jean Rogers, Ann Stokes,
Cllr Liz Brown, Cllr Richard Ormerod,
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr Alan Doig, Cllr Grenville Holland
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Lesley Aers, Alexis Cleveland, Simon Squires, Sarah Wilkinson.
3. The minutes of the January meeting and AGM
were approved as a correct record.
4. DU/DCC Enhanced Warden Service
The CCP had received a request from Rebecca Eves (University / Community liaison) for feedback on the Enhanced Street Warden service funded by the University. She particularly invited comments on four aspects of the service, and these were discussed individually, although not all were of equal relevance to members. It was agreed that, given the imminent deadline, Roger Cornwell would reply on behalf of the CCP, in the light of the discussion which followed. Overall, members (including both Parish and County Councillors) were unclear whether the service referred to was a specific addition to the Street Warden service, or an overall enhancement of that service. There did not appear to be any way that as residents we could make directly contact with wardens providing an enhanced service. If there is such a way, we would be grateful to be advised of it; the meeting discussed the limitations of Durham County Council's Do it Online contact point, which does not give feedback about whether work done results from that referral, let alone whether this was done by the regular warden service (as is provided in the rest of the County) or by an enhanced service, funded either by the University or by the Parish Council. Consequently our comments related more to the quality of the service provided than to how much this resulted from any enhancement. People would welcome a direct interface with wardens, possible at residents' meetings or at meetings of DURF (Durham University and Residents' Forum).
a) Waste & Recycling: Problems inevitably arise around multi-person households generating large amounts of waste, and the difficulties of collecting this from the narrow back lanes of the City. Wardens may have carried out general liaison with student residents around good practice, correct use of waste receptacles, collection days etc., but there continues to be too much side waste, and too many recycling bins which cannot be emptied because they have the wrong contents. Cllr Esther Ashby pointed out that the Parish Clerk spends much of his time fielding complaints about refuse collection, which is not his responsibility, and urged residents to take problems to the landlords where possible.
b) Educational Initiatives: Issues listed under this heading included "peer-to-peer liaison around anti-social noise": we did not know what this referred to. Other topics seemed to relate to communication with students, of which we had no direct knowledge. Esther commented that she thought both the Green Move Out and the introduction to Durham for Freshers had been well organised this year, but did not know who deserved the credit for this.
c) Neighbour / Landlord Liaison: Topics under this heading included issues of liaison within County Hall and with students, of which we had no knowledge. However, the reference to "[Managing] incoming complaints from non-student residents in relation to waste / bins / untidy gardens at a neighbouring student property" implied that non-student residents have a direct line to the relevant wardens. This is not the case.
d) Amenity of residents: This topic invited feedback on the success of the enhanced service in working alongside the Neighbourhood Warden Team to manage neighbourhood issues such as fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, littering, dog fouling, etc. Members were appreciative of the efforts made by the warden service in general, but unable to evaluate the contributions of the enhanced and standard service(s).
5. Late night refreshment licence for 11 North Road ("Krave")
This establishment had been licensed to serve food until 3.00 am (having originally applied for 4.00 am) despite the opposition of the Parish Council. The late hour was required by a business model of serving food to customers leaving the adjacent night club at closing time. The applicant's barrister had made much of the absence of residents' objections, and Roger was working with the Parish Clerk about how best to alert neighbours to future licensing applications: meanwhile he urged people to be vigilant and look out for blue notices. Not for the first time, the meeting agreed with Cllr Liz Brown that a portal for licensing applications, similar to the one maintained for planning applications, would be very helpful. In addition, the absence of a cumulative impact policy makes it impossible to oppose applications which are not in themselves worse than others, but which increase problems to an unacceptable level.
6. The Durham Seven Hills Trail
Members were invited to help publicise a leaflet produced by the Parish Council describing A new trail linking seven of the hills that cradle the historic City of Durham. It was agreed that door-to-door delivery would not be appropriate, but leaflets were available to be placed at appropriate distribution points.
7. Reports from County / Parish Councillors
a) Cllr Richard Ormerod reported: that the loose cobbles on Crossgate were to be relaid, which should reduce the traffic noise; he was looking for funding from the AAP to ensure the best quality.
Work has now resumed on the Bus Station.
Improvements are to be carried out on the Allergate play area / Wharton Park roundabout.
b) On Parish matters, Richard added that the Parish Council is trying to help the owner of the Rocking Horse Studio on Frankland Lane to continue to provide a valued community resource despite the impending development of the site.
c) Liz reported that storms had made it a busy weekend for the County Council, and that clearing up will take some time.
The AAP is consulting on community priorities.
The County's City of Culture bid would be submitted the following day.
d) On Parish matters, Liz added that the Parish was trying to bring together the owner and manager of Rocking Horse Studios together with the developers.
She was aware of planning enforcement issues on Palatine View.
The next Parish Council meeting would be attended by Andrea Patterson, recently appointed by the Police and Crime Commissioner as anti-social behaviour champion; the meeting is open to the public.
8. Report from Parish Councillors
a) Cllr Grenville Holland reported that the Council had been unanimous in its decision to freeze the Parish'd precept on council tax.
He spoke about the relationship between the Parish Council and the Charter Trust: the Trust had outlived the purpose for which it was set up in 2009, but had somehow not been abolished. He hoped that the new County Council would address this anomaly, and that it would enable the Parish to make its base in the Town Hall.
b) Cllr Alan Doig reported that the Planning Committee continues to see applications to convert C3 dwelling houses initio C4 and larger HMOs. The University continues to grow.
The Parish had set its budget for the coming year.
Work continues on Anti-Social Behaviour: there is a report on the Parish Council's website. No single agency is willing to own the problem.
Cllr Victoria Ashfield had prepared a paper on Section 106 money.
c) Esther reported that the Hallow Green project continues to progress slowly.
The long-awaited round table meeting with landlords organised by the Business Committee had brought together DCC, the University and BID, but the only representative of the rental sector was Peter Smith, who is about to retire from it. Nonetheless, it was felt to be useful, and would be repeated.
Banks were resuming development work at Mount Oswald: this phase was expected to include the promised shop / community facility and linear park.
The full Council had agreed to support the Right to Food movement.
The future would be much occupied with preparation for Jubilee celebrations.
9. Other business
Esther reminded people to complete and return the questionnaire about the Lowes Barn community centre.
10. Date of next meeting
Roger thanked Catherine Draycott for facilitating the evening's Zoom meeting;
The next meeting would take place on Thursday 3rd March 2022.