LAT Minutes April 14th 2015

LONDON ROAD AREA LOCAL ACTION TEAM

NOTES FROM MEETING ON 14TH APRIL 2015

1. Welcome, apologies and introductions

Attendees:

Ann Townsend (Chair, London Road Business Association)

Bob Curtis (Treasurer, London Road Business Association)

Marie-Louise Maeder (London Road Town Team)

Phil Faben (London Road Business Association,and Print Shop, Baker Street)

Alan Brigginshaw

Jonathan Ridley (B&H City Council, Community Safety Team)

Katy Bourne (Police & Crime Commissioner, Sussex) spcc@sussex-pcc.gov.uk

Ruth Anslow (HISBE)

Richard Barraball

Eve Collins (Martlets)

Emma Seymour (Martlets)

Justin Blincko (Equinox Drug and Alcohol Outreach Service)

Cllr Ian Davey

Andy Winter (resident & BHT)

Jean Calder (resident)

Christopher Tucken (Sussex University)

Andrew Keeffe (Brighton University)

Penny King (resident – Viaduct Road)

Bob Chilton (resident – Viaduct Road)

Daniel (Publican, The Joker)

Jonathon, (Duke of York Cinema Assistant Manager)

Ruth Muinde (resident and Calvary Church)

Lucy Dunleavy (Vice Chair, LAT)

Philip Wells (Chairman, LAT)

Cathy Reeves (Vic Chair, LAT)

(25 in attendance)

Apologies:

Tony Firmin, Mike Hedgethorne

Sharon Birt (PCSO), Nicola Harrison (PCSO)

Amanda Healey, Tora Colwill (DOY), Julia Fox (St Peters Medical Practice), Charles Dudley (UoS Accommodation), Martin West (Abacus)

Prospective Parliamentary Candidates Simon Kirby (Con), Nancy Platts (Lab), Kevin Smith (UKIP), Graham Cox (Con), Caroline Lucas (Greens), Davy Jones (Greens), Paul Chandler (Lib Dems).

The Chairman reported prospective parliamentary candidates and local party candidates will hold a hustings debate at Calvary Church on Monday 20th April at 8pm. Please email questions in to the Calvary website in advance or suggest questions by 7.30pm on April 20th.

Introductions

Emma Seymour and Eve Collins from Martlets Community Hospice introduced themselves to LAT. Their new store in London Road (formerly John’s Camping), opens on April 20-21st. Eve appealed for volunteers, “Two hours a month to full-time would be epic,” she said. “Please come in and see us. We want to be part of the community down here.” The chair complimented them on the value of the Martlets’ ministry.

2. Minutes of 3rd March 2015

Agreed.

2b. Date of next meetings

5th May, 2nd June and 7th July. The Chairman reported an Annual General Meeting needs to take place within these dates too.

3. Katy Bourne, Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex outlined policing now and in the future taking account of the government’s budget cuts:

Neighbourhood policing in Sussex hasn’t changed for about 12 years. That was when the last review was done. In 2010 about £50m had to come out of the policing budget. We are on target with these savings. Unfortunately another £57m has to come out between 2018 and 2020. East and West Sussex households pay the fourth lowest amount in the country for policing. Surrey by comparison pays the most in the country. Cuts for them (in Surrey) will have a lesser impact.

Giles York, the new Police Chief Constable , was given the task to come up with a plan for how he’s going to deliver policing in Sussex. He took several hundred staff and worked to put this new local policing model together. It’s a new model to help us go through to the future.

Cyber crime wasn’t an issue 10 years ago. Now it is. Everything from local parcels going missing to email hacking, down to bank details being stolen and right up to the high level stuff that takes banks down, malware etc. More banks are coming to the police to say they struggling with cyber crime. For every six people whose bank details have been cloned only one will report it to the police. These are crimes. This is theft. This is fraud.

Child sexual exploitation. Many historical cases are coming forward in Sussex. Police have to investigate that and victims deserve justice. These crimes take a long time to investigate. The workload on the police is increasing. How do they resource that and turn out for burglaries etc?

Policing is changing from 20th century policing to 21st century crimes.

Over five years neighbourhood policing will change. Initially you won’t see much change but we will be working more closely with local authorities and housing trusts.

My job is to make sure I represent your views when the Chief Constable is delivering his model.

As of 1st April I became responsible for victims services across the county. It used to be Victim Support. Back then little outcome was measured. Now the money has been split in to 41 pots. Surrey and Thames Valley wrote a framework and any organisations that support victims of crime could bid for money. We’ve offered that framework to other police regions up and down the country. It’s a huge piece of work. About £300,000 is available – we’ve taken measures to make the money go further. We awarded it to Victim Support who came up with the best offer to manage those funds. At the end of three years we will know how that money is being spent.

Restorative Justice: Brings offenders and victims together and allows the offender to understand the impact (their crime) has had on their victim. It gives the victim the chance to get their sense of justice back and tell them (the offender) how they feel. Victim Support now offers restorative justice.

Richard Barraball questioned police resources spent on cyber crime. “I think you’re nannying us. It’s up to the person to use common sense. Cyber crime is up to people to look after their own internet safety.” Katy Bourne rejected this but said “80% of hacking could be stopped if people put the software on their computers. I’m a great believer in giving people the tools to help themselves.”

Andy Winter asking how emergency calls would be responded to.

Katy Bourne insisted police will still respond to emergency call outs, but explained police are looking to use their budgets more effectively: People with mental health shouldn’t be in cells but are put in cells but because there’s nowhere else to take them. We are working together with other agencies eliminating the need to ‘double up.’ Its going to take a while to change peoples attitudes but I know all the organisations are open to discussion.

Ian Davy: What will policing look like on the streets especially London Road and the PCSO’s?

Katy Bourne: If you are in an emergency situation the police will be there.

80% of budget goes on pay and pensions. Over five years there will be 500 less officers and 300 less police staff and another couple of hundred in collaborative working.

We are trying to manage wastage without making people redundant. A hand-held set will be given to each officer. It will keep them out in the field, reducing doubling up of work when they get back to the station.

A new resolution centre will triage calls to respond to calls that aren’t necessarily an emergency. This week we are reviewing all police supplier contracts. We will be asking for a discount for settling invoices early.

Jean Calder said she’s worried about pensioners cashing-in their pensions and vulnerable older people being scammed (PPI etc). “What’s going to happen if families put pressure on older people to give up those pensions? Are police thinking about implications of it?

Katy Bourne revealed an ‘elders commission’ of people aged 60+ has been set up. “We’ve got fantastic representatives from the older population who will meet to decide their priorities. Financial coercion is high on their priorities list. They will be having talks with people of their age in the community.”

Philip Wells expressed concern the local area would want to lose its PCSO’s (as well as its Town Centre Liaison Officers, whose funding had now run out).

Katy Bourne responded the policing model was there to adapt to local concerns and residents, insisting PCSO’s are an operational matter decided by the chief police officer.

In concluding the Commissioner invited residents to contact her via by email: spcc@sussex-pcc.gov.uk or via LAT.

4. Policing and Licensing

The Community Safety Summit (held on 12th March)

Philip Wells reported back that 40-50% of crime is committed by people already in the criminal justice system. It was also reported that BME (“black and minority ethnic”) people were “keeping their heads down” – which seemed a sad state of affairs.

Review of Policing Priorities

Resolved the policing priorities remain as:

  1. Prevention of shoplifting in London Road.
  1. Surveillance for and prevention of any resurgence of drug-dealing, street drinking, anti-social behaviour on The Level.
  1. Prevention of intimidating behaviour on London Road.

Francis Street

Some residents in Francis Street previously reported the street benches were a draw for street drinkers and some anti social behaviour had been developing.

Richard Barraball appealed for the benches in Francis Street to remain in place.

Jonathon Ridley (B&H Council) acknowledged the council had received some reports and concerns from LAT. The council has been speaking with the police and Equinox to make a combined response to deal with individuals concerned. It’s ongoing with those individuals to get to the nub of those issues.

Ian Davy reported Simon Bannister is involved and work is ongoing coordinating the feedback for LAT.

Justin Blincko from Equinox said the recent warmer weather was resulting in seeing the more worrying sides of drinking etc., at The Level. Local teams to tackle the problems were involved and he was confident the teams knew the individuals concerned. However, an influx of people with no connection to the town were more difficult to manage, because nobody knew them and their particular issues. He said they tend to access (support) services after a while and that agencies were working closely together.

Jonathon Ridley said people whose names kept coming up would be worked with and enforcements kept in place.

Ann Townsend reported dope smoking and anti social behaviour is developing in the car park under Vantage Point (New England Road/New England Street/Circus Parade area). A shop keeper is concerned as there is a children’s play shop in Circus Parade. Jonathon Ridley urged reports of it to be rung in to the city council on 01273 292735. Katy Bourne urged such reports to be rung in to the Police on 101.

Licensing

3A York Place North Laine Community Association (NCLA) was concerned about this. licensing application was understood to be past its deadline date for comments.

Providence Place / Beatnik Warehouse roof line – LAT is generally supportive of the minor proposed changes to its roofline.

Wetherspoons

Philip Wells reported Wetherspoons has twice been invited to engage with the local community at LAT but hasn’t been able to do so – originally because they had “no legal interest in the site”, but this situation has been different for some weeks. Apparently currently the person dealing with this is on holiday till 20/4/15. However Wetherspoons has now made a formal planning application for a change of use from A1 (retail space) to A4 (public house) at part of the former Co-op building. Without the presence of Wetherspoons would LAT like to take a view?

Jean Calder: “I’m totally opposed to this. There are quite enough public alcohol units in London Road. I think they should stay as retail units. We need retail outlets, various shops that we don’t already have.”

Andy Winter said: “It has to stay a retail unit to keep the right balance of the street. We don’t want more and more night-time economy. I think to have a pub on this site would be a retrograde step given all the investment (in London Road) and to move it in the right direction in the last few years. We need to develop retail.”

Ann Townsend said: “I think it would be just so harmful to London Road to see those lovely little café shops go under. It would be a grave, grave, mistake.”

Christopher Tucker reported noise and disturbance issues around the university’s accommodation on Kings Road. He said: “I have great concerns over issues with anti social behaviour. I don’t think Wetherspoons would be a very good neighbour in respect of anti social behaviour, bottle collections and servicing of a large pub.”

The publican of the Joker, Daniel Wright said that in his view “Wetherspoons business model is built around targetting particular areas because there’s money to be made. A lot of their money is made during the day time by under-cutting businesses around them, eg £1 for a coffee.”

He stated that in his view “They’re similar to a Tescos supermarket – of the beer world. I’m not concerned from a business view but from a residents’ point of view.”

He said that in his view this would add to anti-social behaviour.

Daniel added that The Branch pub is being refitted in the next 6-8 weeks and will target a new clientele. “Again, that brings up the area.”

Cllr Ian Davy added: “There’s been a significant loss of retail space on London Road. The density of eating and drinking establishments – there are enough of both.”

In a show of hands LAT voted unanimously to oppose the change of use A4 application made by Wetherspoons. There were none against and no abstentions.

Philip Wells mentioned the consultation list includes the student block of Abacus House. Chris Tucker said he would advise the resident students to take the opportunity to make their views known.

Marie-Louise Maeder questioned whether LAT’s opposition would negatively or positively affect future retail applications.

Justin (Equinox) added: “We like to encourage diversity of trade. As an organisation we don’t take a position but having a large, cheap boozer is not good for the diversity of an area.”

The chair was thus mandated to write a letter of objection to the Planning Department.

5. Viaduct Road

The HMO licensing team to be invited to LAT on 5th May.

Measures to improve and uplift Viaduct Road are ongoing and will be updated on 5th May LAT meeting.

6. Updates and news

The timing on pedestrian crossing on London Road opposite Baker Street is being investigated. An email has been sent to Austen Hunter.

A-boards outside shops on London Road. Cathy to report back on 5th May.

Valley Gardens – progressing.

London Road improvements – the pavement outside the Duke of York cinema is due to be finished on 20th April.

It was noted a car drove over the pavement (to jump the traffic queue) using the dropped kerbs outside the cinema. This will be reported to the council to see what can be done to prevent it happening again. (P.W. to contact Jim Mayor)

London Road Traders Association working with the Town Team is now known as London Road Area Business Association.

The paving works in Providence Place is taking longer than expected and will not be completed before June 2015.

Southdown Rise Residents Association reported at their meeting on 12th March that LAT’s work was “inspiring.

AOB – Daniel reported the former Barclays Bank building at Preston Circus may become a small batch coffee shop and that a planning application was underway. He asked what if anything was being done about the squatters.

The meeting concluded at about 20.10

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