Minutes – London Road LAT Annual General Meeting 6/10/15
- Welcome and introductions
Apologies: Tim Read, Ayana Knight, UofS and UoB reps, Bob Chilton
PLUS: Alan Briggenshaw (Stanley Road)
P. Wells (Chair), Ruth Muinde (note-taker), Samuel Spencer (Journalism student?) , Andy Winter (resident and BHT), Sally Kennedy (Ditchling Rise), Sandy Crowhurst (NLCA), Sharron Birt (PCSO), Nicola Harrison (PCSO), Lucy Dunleavy Vice-Chair, Francis Clarke-Lowes – NLCA Chair, Sarah Phelan – Duke of York , Ann Townsend (LR Town Team), Richard Barrahall, Bob Curtis (LR Business Assocn), Mike Hedgethorne (Treasurer),Tony Firmin – Kingsbury Road, Kayleigh Crouch, Andy Roberts (Ditchling Rise)
(late arrivals) Ian Brown (Rosehill Residents Assn), Cllr Pete West.
- Minutes and date of next meeting (24th November – Open Evening – to be confirmed)
Minutes okayed contingent on the clarification of the point that the ward Counsellors hadn’t been there for the previous 2 meetings – one apologies received in advance, and the other retrospectively.
A number present forcefully expressed the view that they were very disappointed that the local councillors have not been at recent meetings.
Philip had emailed the councillors and they sent a brief reply in relation to the above.
It was proposed that the guest speaker at the next meeting be Chris Gilbert, who has been involved in development of London Road area – it was suggested that he be asked to speak for 18 minutes.
3. Policing and Licensing
Philip put up the stats for the last 2 years on the projector screen for all present to see. These are also available on the London Road LAT website.
It was noted that, over the Summer months, ASB figures vary but appear to often go up. According to PCSOs there’s nothing particular to note in this regard. Some strange calls are made over this time, like to report that street drinkers are drinking, or calls are sometimes put in the wrong category which effects stats.
It was asked what the category ‘suspicious’ refers to. It includes drug-related incidents and that which does not fit into the other categories.
The police doesn’t have any stats on the Pride weekend but the PCSOs present said that it is relatively safe given the numbers thousands of people who attend.
It was noted that rough sleeping and/or begging is becoming prevalent on London Road.
It was noted that a joint group meets to discuss the trends in rough sleeping – further details unrecorded.
Andy Winter commented that we haven’t had the seasonal migration this summer that we have had in previous years.
There is a message going out to itinerant rough sleepers that it is not necessarily productive to come to Brighton.
Visible rough sleeping is going up. Asking the question of what the nature of rough sleeping is. Lots of begging – many aren’t homeless. Begging in the city is quite lucrative – often not the same people.
CRi’s recent loss of the rough sleeping contract was mentioned – this was won by a new London-based organisation called St Mungos Broadway. The choice of an organisation that is not Brighton-based was described as ‘extraordinary’.
St Mungos Broadway are doing outreach work and using some of the staff from CRi for this. Engagement is quite slow at this stage.
Andy Winter proposed contacting St Mungos and inviting them to send a rep. to the London Road LAT. Andy will forward contact details for St Mungos.
Councillor Pete West intends to come regularly to the meetings and apologised for non-attendance in previous meetings.
It was mentioned by Town Team representatives that rough sleepers were camping out in shop fronts. One shop, it was said, had no problem with this while another wanted the individual to move on. What is correct procedure for the TCLOs in this regard? Can they have numbers for the homelessness services also to discuss such matters?
It was mentioned that individuals ‘bedding down during the day’ is generally a sign that people have somewhere to live, genuinely homeless people tend to be inside in the warm e.g. at “First Base”.
The issue of ‘renting out begging pitches’ was also raised; and a particular dog being used as ‘begging aid’.
The PCSOs confirmed that it is begging which is the offence, but that many people stop begging when they see PCSOs coming and those who alert police to individuals begging generally don’t want to press charges when asked.
It is also an offence to sleep on street when you have somewhere to live, it was noted.
Lots of people on London road are willing to give money to those on the streets.It was mentioned that a man was known to earn several hundred pounds per day begging outside Santander.
There are services open to homeless people throughout the day where they can get food, wash etc. – First Base day centre is the main place for that; also Off the Fence.
The PCSO present said there was no incentive to access such help if individuals are earning money on the street and getting food.
It was mentioned that the most common pattern of behaviour prior to drug-related death is begging and (to a lesser extent) selling Big Issue and rough sleeping. (Source: Coroners reports over 6 years in Brighton). It was commented that giving money to people begging is not necessarily in their best interests.
33 organisations give support to 150-170 homeless people in the city, which is too many organisations, it was asserted.
3a. Policing and Licensing – continued
The Yellow Book made a licencing application. They agreed that they would sell food and alcohol. There are not supposed to be additional ‘off-sales’ on London Road (meaning only buying alcohol).
Sussex Police are looking again at the PCSO role in the Brighton area. Earlier in the year they created a crime reduction team, PCSO’s continuing doing what they were doing. It was noted that there is uncertainty as to what the PCSOs job role would become next year.
Creation of a Resolution Centre was mentioned – which will involve ringing up to report a crime and weeding out low level jobs which can be responded to over the phone. Triaging of jobs in this way meaning that police energies are not wasted as much will be done over the phone. At the moment, police time is wasted. The idea is to save on resources.
This latter plan might be happening in July 2016. A general sense of uncertainty in the police force was noted, with many changes being discussed.
4. AGM matters
- Chair’s report (SEE WEBSITE)
A question arose about the other LATs in Brighton and the future of them:
Peter Castleton – who is now a council officer is quite behind the LATs – Cllr Emma Daniel chair of “Equalities, Community and Neighbourhood” committee had been present at two consecutive LAT chairs’ meetings.
How many LATs are there in Brighton and Hove? ~14 (Andy Winter pursued this enquiry by Twitter)
Consensus that the London Road LAT has contributed very positively to the local area.
It was agreed that these LATs are a good thing and we should really cling onto them, and will be increasingly needed as future cut-backs take hold.
- Treasurers Report
The London Road LAT has a balance £94.65 available. But Invoice from the church has yet to be raised, and there is uncertainty about how much money we would get back from Brighton and Hove City Council. The invoice relates to 15 months hire charges. The charge is £15 rental costs per session for the church premises was noted, so total owed is £225.00. Thanks to the generosity of the church for the use of its premises at such a low rate.
If the invoice were to be recouped from Council funds then the total amount would be greater than this i.e. current Balance is £319.65
Proposed Newsletter – costs: no need for distribution costs (thanks to volunteer Tony Firmn). A simple production of coloured piece of paper with black print was proposed.
2 weeks notice was suggested in advance of the Open Evening i.e. distribution beginning 14th November.
Phil and Mike will meet to discuss the budget and production of the pamphlet.
- Note-taking – we hope Lindsay Debach will be able to do this in future months.
- Election of officers: Cllr Pete West took the chair for the nominations and voting.
Philip Wells, Lucy Dunleavy, Mike Hedgethorne – all unanimously voted in for another year and all were thanked for their work with a particular thanks to Philip for his hard work and excellent chairmanship over the last year.
5. Plans for next meeting and newsletter
- Production: hopefully Lindsay Debach will be able to help PW and LD
- Items to be included in newsletter?
- from Police
- from Councillors
- from head of Communities/Equalities
- local business association/Portas
- other local organisations (DRARA, Greenway, Communities of the Level)
- The view was emphatically expressed that the achievements of the LAT in past years should be celebrated.
- Open Evening: format … food? nibbles? Timing? Comment: often food gets wasted at events like this
Open Evening: suggestions and ideas
How will we showcase what the LAT has done? It was proposed that we have a main speaker (~20minutes) then other items to be discussed further.
It was suggested that film students could interview various people in the locale about the improvements along and around London Road. Madeleine Carey could be asked about filming – who is a member of Ditchling Rise Residents Association.
It was also proposed that LR LAT request dishes for the catering from different local food outlets.
It was agreed that there will be a business meeting happening the week following the social event.
- There will be a British Heart Foundation shop being installed next to Nisbets.
- Phil will invite Cityclean to the December LAT meeting.
- Launch for 3-space on Friday 9/10. This is a charity which has taken on the lease for the next ~18 months (though this was unclear). Facilities inside will include: hot-desking space, private meeting rooms, art spaces – all of which can be rented out.
- Shall we ask for feedback in December meeting from Highways/Matt Gest etc. Yes
7. Any Other business
Richard asks for discussion of traffic flowing north onto London Road around St Peters – it was agreed that this is a big topic and so it was agreed to put this into the agenda for a future meeting.
Re. the above, concerns were raised about the backlog of vehicles outside Aldi (London Road/York Pl). It was proposed that London Road be only for public transport and taxis.
It was suggested that the previous (1980s?) plan for traffic in London Road area had been unsatisfactory in many ways and had never been completed, and it is now too late to take the private transport out of the northbound transport flow.
Richard noted that the Council had promised to look into this ‘pinch-point’ issue outside Aldi.
Phil will put this matter on the December agenda to see whether we really wish to pursue it.
Andy Winter’s proposal: LR LAT acknowledged the passing of Jill Sweeting, who died recently from pancreatic cancer. She did a great deal to contribute to the running of the city and in her role as Mayor. She lived on Argyle Road and was described as a good public servant.
8. The meeting closed at around 20.00