LAT Minutes 13 January 2015 – (unapproved)
1. Welcome, apologies and introductions
apologies from PCSOs, Andy Winter, Amanda Healey (Head Teacher – St Bart’s), Karen Ashdown (resident and chair of governors St Bart’s), Sandy Crowhurst (North Laine Community Association), Steve Hutchinson (City College), Martin West (Abacus), Jonathan Ridley, Community Safety Caseworker, Partnership Community Safety Team
Tom Lines – Resident
David Bolton – Crossover Brighton: A charity opening at 82 Preston Road in February 2015. Working with Lewes Prison and NACRO in mentoring and supporting ex-offenders to get back in to work, find housing and claim benefits. Crossover will be providing a mobile kitchen Saturday and Sunday mornings (when other outreach food sources are closed).
James Horn – Crossover Brighton
Chris Tucker – University of Sussex
Andy Keefe – University of Brighton
Tony Firmin – Local resident
Ruth Muinde – Local resident
Penny King – Local resident
Tora Colwill – Duke of Yorks cinema Rep
Richard Barraball – Local resident
Ian Davey – Ward councillor
Ben Alltimes – Calvary Church, resident
Tobias – Local resident and alcohol support worker:
Chris Sevinck – DRARA Chair: London Road LAT feeds in to DRARA’s activities. Explained DRARA is involved in various partnership activities including gardening, allotments and resident issues in the roads bordered south of the railway station eg. Ditchling Rise, from Ditchling Road down to Beaconsfield Villas/Preston Road and Viaduct Road.
Lucy Dunleavy – Vice Chair LR LAT
Matthew Guest – Enforcement, BHCC
Cathy Reeves – Vice Chair/Notes LR LAT / Resident
Philip Wells – Chair LR LAT/ Resident
Marie-Louise Maeder – London Road Town Team
Matthew Gest – firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Heath – Road Safety Team Manager
late arrival: Mike Hedgethorne, +unknown lady
During the introductions one of the participants expressed concern about heroin use at a named locality. It was commented that the police and substance abuse representatives were not present and that the resident would be contacted with appropriate details after the meeting.
2. Minutes of the last meeting (held 9th December 2014)
2b. Dates of next meetings
3rd February. Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is asking to reschedule to Tuesday 14th April. [after-meeting note: she agreed to this]
Philip Wells advised London Road LAT collaborates with other local groups, eg. DRARA (Ditchling Road Area Residents Association), the Portas Town Team, to bring issues for debate/discussion and working in partnership.
3. Policing and Licensing
Agreed to keep policing priorities as:
Prevention of shoplifting in London Road.
Surveillance for and prevention of any resurgence of drug-dealing, street drinking, anti-social behaviour on the Level.
Prevention of intimidating behaviour on London Road.
Philip Wells advised policing priorities can be altered if it is felt a problem is growing, eg. enforcement of traffic speed, graffiti, etc.
The Beatnik Warehouse: Planning approved.
Wetherspoons: There has been speculation that Wetherspoons is planning to take one of the units underneath the old Co-op building.
Philip Wells reported their Acquisions Manager, John Chapman, said he could ‘neither confirm nor deny that Wetherspoons has an interest in London Road.’
There was a general discussion whether Wetherspoons were in negotiation to secure one of the units I.e., the unit cornering Baker Street. The builders seemed to think that they were.
Presuming: (the old HSBC bank on London Road). Has it applied for a music licence?
4. Viaduct Road – Road safety presentation / Planning and enforcement presentation / Scrutiny Panel information
A scrutiny panel has been set up to look at the role of the Private Rented Sector
[ explanatory note: The panel will look at the private rented sector in Brighton & Hove, in order to:
Understand the current private sector housing market in the city and how it has changed since 2011
Consider the best ways of managing private sector housing, building on good practice and improving standards in this sector
Consider how the relevant actions identified for private rented housing in the Draft Housing Strategy 2015 relate to the evidence gathered by the panel. ]
LAT experience of liaison with Letting Agents in connection with Viaduct Road has been forwarded to the panel. A personal testimony from a representative is sought by the panel for 23rd January 2015.
Road safety presentation
Martin Heath, Road Safety Team Manager at Brighton and Hove City Council, gave a presentation as to how Viaduct Road could be improved.
He included photographs, alternative landscaping, aerial and road maps.
He explained that although there is ‘no money’ to carry out improvements, certain works could be carried out alongside a bid for funding longer term solutions:
“These are ideas, not proposals,” he said. “We don’t have any money. We have to build a case. We have to make sure how important it is to everyone and make proper business case. It will compete with other very deserving cases elsewhere”.
Key points include:
Gathering as much data as possible.
What is the road’s function? Is it the road to our home, where we work or where the kids play? Maybe you would like a road where the kids can play?
Viaduct Road functions in a strategic way. We have to respect its function. “The idea of closing or reducing it or take it out as a strategic link means something else will have to take its place.”
Upper Lewes Road has had changes made, wholly maintaining its strategic link (as an example of what can be done with a strategic road). Changes there include slowing traffic by creating parking/loading bays on the eastern side of the road.
Land Use: Understanding who is using the road is very important like the fire station, commercial establishments, residential homes and the business centre at the top. The purpose in the way people use it is different. Some might use the road to get somewhere else. Others might use it because they live there. That’s the difference.
There are 11,200 vehicles per day using Viaduct Road. It’s quite a high flow. How much of that traffic needs to use that route? Is it habitual? There could be quicker ways to travel.
Traffic speeds 30% > 20mph: 50% > (over 30mph). Some travel at over 40mph and 50mph. You will hear them before you see them.
For every proposal we put forward (to improve the road), there will be objections from somewhere else.
People speed up on Viaduct Road because they may see a green light at the end. Some drivers adjust their speed to catch these lights ‘at the right time’.
Traffic from Beaconsfield Road is already at speed. We try and capture entry speed all the way along and the only way we can do that is by keeping controls in place. It is faster eg. 25mph faster from Beaconsfield Road to Viaduct Road. There’s no sense of interruption.
There have been 10 injuries in 9 years – one was serious. Five at the Preston Circus end and five at the junction at the top of Viaduct Road . These are ‘reported’ accidents. We have to be careful not to put something in place that creates an accident.
Reduce speeds. Reduce flow and through traffic. Reduce HGV’s. Improve safety. Improve the streetscape. Change perceptions and encourage sustainable travel.
Penny King appealed for cyclists not to not cycle on the pavements.
Speed reduction: We need to get people to slow down by, possibly, putting something at regular intervals up Viaduct Road.
Alignment and capacity: In terms of options it’s a wide road with a narrow footpath. If you want people walking up and down it, you need wider pavements.
Wheelie bins and cyclists. Let’s not block footpaths with other stuff. One of our objectives would be to change the lanes so that it doesn’t look like an open road, or reduce the road width a bit on the left and the right. You could plant trees on one side (or both) and reduce speed to around 20mph. This might also create a space for communal bins.
Horizontal options: Create a build-out of the pavement – shown on illustration in bue – (interspersed with trees on one side, or both).
Vertical options: You could create build-outs but you need to decide what they are and if you want to create a screen (to reduce speeds).
Create road humps or gentle build-ups (to calm traffic) but these also create noise and problems for vehicles getting over them (eg fire engines).
“You need to help us. You need to think about the constraints, the facts, the figures and options for ideas. Do you want vertical, width or horizontal things included? Objectives can be done on a step-by-step basis: to work out what works and then get funding to build it up over time. It’s for you to decide.”
Cllr Ian Davey commented Viaduct Road is one of the highest roads for pollution in the town without buses.
Speed cameras have been used in the past but these need to be monitored to be effective. You need accidents to have cameras.
Martin suggested LAT develop a working group to pinpoint areas that need attention. Email email@example.com with individual and group comments.
Planning and enforcement presentation
Matthew Gest, Manager of Planning, Enforcement Team, Brighton and Hove City Council gave a short presentation in response to complaints about properties and HMO’s in Viaduct Road.
Matthew explained his remit includes tackling building extensions that are too big, or built outside of the conditions granted, or those that are built without permission.
Under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act he tackles property in a poor state of repair and those that are affecting the local amenity. It includes overgrown gardens, debris/rubbish, poor condition of properties including builds that are taking too long, poor quality builds and properties in poor condition.
He serves notices on freeholders and leaseholders to address specific problems within a certain timeframe. “It’s an offence not to comply with a Section 215,” he said. “We use it to try and generally improve property around the town. We’ve always been reactive. But in the last year we’ve developed a pro-active arm too tackling properties in London Road, the seafront, the New England quarter where some of the properties are looking really bad already, and in St. James’s Street.”
For Viaduct Road itself we are meeting at 11am tomorrow (14 January 2015), and will look at properties we can immediately work with. ‘To Let’ boards must be removed 14 days after a property has been let. After 14 days it is unauthorized advertising. We can look at front boundary wall being in a poor state of repair or appearance for example. If someone’s front garden is continually full of rubbish we can do something about that. We can tackle houses that are used as HMO’s without permission.
Chris Sevinck pointed out the value of looking at all the possible angles and factors in a holisitic way. This is what we have been doing.
Complaints about planning can be made online to the city council but the council does not accept anonymous complaints.
5. Updates and news
A. Valley Gardens – No update.
B. London Road improvements – No update.
C. Ditchling Rise residents association and Greenway gardening: Chris Sevinck reported a meeting to do with the Greenway was taking place this very evening and that the London Road Station Partnership were taking part.
D. London Road Traders – nothing to add. Comment from Richard B. : Ann Street/Providence Place is taking ages to complete. Cllr Davey responded that it is a major project scheduled for another 4-5 months yet.
E. Portas Town Team Development – Marie-Louise Maeder of the Town Team Project reported funding for the Town Centre Liaison Officers (x 2 in blue tabard jackets patrolling London Road), ends in January, unless traders contribute to a fund to keep their presence going. “Shoppers feel safer and drug mis-use and general street safety has improved,” she explained. “We want to keep it going for the whole area’s benefit.”
F. Environmental improvements in Stanley Road – No update.
G. The Level – No update.
6. Any other business
The Duke of Yorks cinema will be seeking permission to put tables and chairs out on the street in due course.
Meeting closed around 20.15