Crossgate Community Partnership: Minutes

Minutes of the meeting, 7th June 2022

1. Attendance
Roger Cornwell (in the Chair): Joan Adams, Lesley Aers, Emma Backhouse, Ann Evans, Margaret Jefferson, John Knowles, Brendan McKeown, Pat Mussett, Malcolm Reed, Jean Rogers, Ann Stokes, Sarah Wilkinson,
Cllr Esther Ashby, Cllr Alan Doig,
Cllr Liz Brown
2. Apologies for absence
were received from: Gillian Banks, Robert Banks, Morag Crichton, Chris Hugill, Drew Lowrie, Vicky Mattless, Simon Priestley, David Ramsden,
Cllr Richard Ormerod,
Cllr Victoria Ashfield, Cllr Carole Lattin.
3. The minutes of the May meeting:
were approved as a correct record.
4. Update from Rushford Court
While on maternity leave, Louise Fowler, who lives in Northumberland, has Unite Students' Newcastle sites. Her replacement in Durham is Jon Nicholls, who hopes to attend future meetings of the CCP. Roger Cornwell expressed the Partnership's thanks to Louise for all her help during her time in Durham; he would write to pass this on to her, and to management.
5. Change of Treasurer - update
Roger has gathered together all the required signatures, and put them in the post to the bank; Sarah Wilkinson, our new Treasurer, has not yet heard back. Malcolm Reed, who has experienced this process with another organisation, thought this was normal.
6. Hawthorn Terrace "Platty Jube" (Platinum Jubilee) Street Party on 4 June
A student resident of Hawthorn Terrace had been granted a road closure and a REN (Temporary Event Notice licence) for a Jubilee Street Party, and had benefitted from the 'light touch' regulation recommended for such events. Since local residents had not been consulted about / invited to the event, which had however been advertised well beyond the immediate area, this was not necessarily appropriate, and local residents were extremely apprehensive in advance of the event.
Cllr Liz Brown reported that she and Cllr Elizabeth Scott had visited Hawthorn Terrace immediately on leaving the Jubilee service in the cathedral. She was confident that the numbers present were substantially in excess of those permitted by the TEN, and had written to the Licensing Department to say so. There was a huge police presence. [Mike Costello was understood to have submitted a Freedom of Information request about the cost of this: this was now understood not to have been the case.]
Cllr Esther Ashby had visited at about 7.30 pm (toward the end of the licensed event) and had spoken to police officers who told her there had been some boisterousness, but nothing that they felt warranted intervention. The following morning she had been impressed at how well the street had been cleaned - but this may owe something to local residents - Emma Backhouse had spent over an hour sweeping up broken glass on Sunday morning.
Emma had walked through the event at 3.00 pm to reach her house, and had found it intimidating; it looked like a rave rather than a street party. It had been landed on local residents, who had not been consulted at any point.
Lesley Aers returned home at 6.00 pm, at which point the party seemed to be fizzling out: this was probably achieved by turning off the music until the crowd dispersed.
Roger read out the letter from Durham County Council to Cllr Alan Doig as Chair of the Parish Council in response to his letter to them. In Roger's opinion, the road closure should not have been granted, since the application, in promising that neighbours would be informed, made it clear that they had not been consulted.
Alan estimated that attendance had been 1200 people. He invited the CCP to draw up a brief summary for the Parish Council, setting out which requirements had been breached, and what problems had arisen. It was agreed that Roger should do this, in consultation with those living on the spot.
7. Planning applications: DM/22/01148/FPA (Oaklea)
This application was still in play. Numerous letter of objection had been submitted by residents of the Avenue and Farnley Hey Road; Roger had not yet written on behalf of the CCP, but Simon Priestley would now do so, endorsing the points made by local residents and emphasising the potential for disruption where student households have parties in extensive gardens.
The Parish Council has provisionally called the case to committee; however, it was likely to be refused under delegated powers.
8. Proposal to restore Peskies Park
Esther spoke to her paper, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting. She was aware that Peskies Park was already a source of noise and nuisance to local residents: is this a reason to leave it alone, or is there potential to improve it so that it gives something positive to the area? She had been moved to look at the project because there is a history of interest from the AAP, and potential funding; the AAP's involvement brought in a landscape architect from DCC. Key features included using the boggy area of the park as a positive factor, encouraging biodiversity - but genuine community consultation is a necessary first step.
Emma thought that the plan was a good idea in theory, and that it would be of benefit to the few families with small children in the immediate locality: but to achieve this, the plan must be centred on families; there is nowhere for children to play, and they need a play area. If the design is intended for students, it will not be used by families.
Brendan McKeown asked whether access to the park along adjacent footpaths could be improved.
Margaret Jefferson stressed the need for a strong stakeholder group, to include both the University, though its voluntary action organisation, and local families who might wish to be involved.
On the basis of this discussion, Esther undertook to think further about the project, and to tell the AAP not to write it off.
9. Relationship to DRIVA (Laburnum Avenue / Byland Close residents)
Emma, as a representative of this organisation, expressed herself content with the present situation.
10. Durham University and Residents Forum (DURF)
a) The meeting of DURF to be held the following Thursday would discuss the proposal from Inspector Dave Clarke for increased Police resources and funding (previously circulated): Ann Evans felt that this made a very strong case for a dedicated University policing team, and that the sums suggested seemed reasonable. Pat Mussett agreed, with some hesitation over the short-term nature of the University's approach.Alan though it likely that the Parish would part-fund such a team. Roger was asked to tell DURF that the CCP unanimously supported option a.
b) The draft 'livers out' leaflet was circulated: the main reaction was that students needed to be told about dealing with rubbish and recycling.
c) The meeting asked whether DURF could take up the issue of student parking: Roger would ask for this to be added to a future agenda.
11. Reports from County Councillors
a) Liz is now a member of DCC's Central and East Planning Committee; Netomnia plan to put telegraph poles in Briardene.
Durham had not won its bid to become UK City of Culture, but some useful contacts had been made.
There was an early spotted orchid on Observatory Hill.
b) A written report from Cllr Richard Ormerod had been circulated, and was discussed.
12. Reports from Parish Councillors
a) A written report from Cllr Victoria Ashfield was circulated. Roger had written to her, expressing the CCP's support for her, and the Parish's, work on sustainable housing.
b) Alan reported that the most recent Parish Council meeting had been mainly concerned with administrative issues, setting a budget and introducing the ability to co-opt members to committees.
At the previous evening's Parish Meeting, Roger had been one of the recipients of the Council's new Good Citizen Awards.
c) Esther also spoke about the Parish Meeting, which had been addressed by two very good speakers.
The Business Committee had been entirely occupied by the Jubilee. and the resultant events had been amazing; Liz added that all credit for this was due to Esther.
She continued to try to contact all local student landlords, and persuade them to participate in a Round Table.
13. Date of next meeting
The next meeting would take place on Thursday 7th July 2022, at Rushford Court.