London Road Area – Local action team meeting minutes – 2/6/15
Philip Wells, Justin Blincko (Equinox), Dan Webb (Goodmoney), Ruth Muinde (minute-taker), Cllr. Pete West, Richard Barraball, Insp. Brian McCarthy, Emma Munro Smith, Angie Meaden-Bonnel, Tony Firmin, Tora Colwill – resident and Duke of York’s, Mike Hedgethorne, Sandy Crowhurt (North Laine Community Association), Lucy Dunleavy, Cllr Louisa Greenbaum, Barbara Pyper, Andy Keeffe [late arrival??] (University of Brighton) (17 present)
- Welcome, introductions and apologies
Charles Dudley – Sussex Accommodation (willing to write to Wetherspoons if they challenge the council’s decision), Andy Winter BHT, Amanda Healey (St Barts), Jonathan Ridley (Community Safety), Mohammed Azaduzzaman, Cathy Reeves, Cllr Lizzy Dean, Ann Townsend, Bob Curtis, Marie-Louise Maeder
Emma Munro – Reported 4 syringes in Level and local area so far; voiced general safety concerns (particularly for young families in the area)
Dan Webb – Launching gift voucher scheme from local charity, Good Money (showed video about good money gift vouchers) https://www.goodmoney.co.uk/
- Project launching in September 2015 – 80 local businesses signed up already.
- Commission at 5% – free to join, ‘risk free marketing’; focus on ‘local economy’; interested in the BN postcode area.
- Questions about how they will work with other areas were raised.
- Keen to support local Brighton businesses as vouchers are to be spent locally; will be encouraging the larger enterprises to give ‘gifts’ of such vouchers.
- Not currently linked with Brighton Chamber of Commerce as he is targetting local traders rather than big businesses
Tora Colwill – mentioned her growing funeral business, The Modern Funeral. http://www.themodernfuneral.com/
There was unanimous contentment voiced regarding the rejection of the proposal by Weatherspoons to open another unit on London Road.
Justin Blincko – made mention of the increasing problem of homelessness in the city. Equinox works with people who live a ‘streets-based lifestyle’ – encouraging them to link in with local services to help their situation. There was an issue raised of people arriving in Brighton with no local connection finding it particularly hard to access/know about the different services.
A welcome to Louisa Greenbaum, the new ward councillor (replacing Ian Davey) for St Peters and North Laine Ward.
Minutes from 5/5/15 approved; date of next meeting set, 7/7/15
Suggestion made by Philip that we have another Soirée? (i.e. open evening to promote the LAT and London Road in general) Phil will look into possible dates for this.
Suggestion made to put out another newsletter – Richard has drafted some proposed content for a flyer advertising the London Road LAT.
The resource centre in Tilbury Place was suggested as somewhere which does reasonable prints. Regarding distribution of flyers/newsletter: Last time we paid for delivery of newsletter to local households rather than doing so by hand. However, a few people were willing to distribute some flyers in their local area or advertise in their local business.
- Police and licensing –
Welcome to Inspector Brian McCarthy
It was noted by the Chair that it had been helpful to have PCSOs present at the monthly LAT meetings – but there was a concern that they will no longer be around.
IBM – Due to significant budget cuts in policing, front line policing would be ‘hurt’ and no new PCSOs will be employed over the next year. IBM currently has 20 PCSOs.
Highlighted a continued need to deal with antisocial behaviour – particularly within the ‘street community’. Local police service has links with Equinox.
IBM – PCSOs won’t be able to come to LAT meetings one every occasions as he cannot justify both PCSOs attending the meetings. If they are on duty, one might be able to come, rather than 2. They may be absent for 3 or 4 meetings in a row. They will however be contactable – best reached by email.
They are looking at threat, harm and risk in the London Road area, and BM made mention of cannabis use in the Skate Park and legal high usage in Clarence Square and Wooddean Gardens (for which they await government legislation). IBM also mentioned ‘party houses’ as a recurring problem police have had to deal with, but which can more readily be dealt with fire a “fire risk” approach.
They are also currently trialling a Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) – but they don’t know what it is going to look like in one year’s time.
Louise Greenbaum – how can we (local councillors) support you to ensure better policing in the locale?
IBM – If you don’t report it, then we cannot do anything about it. Your concerns need to be part of the police stats – thus reporting any concerns or incidents is strongly advised and welcomed.
Philip Wells – the PCSOs not attending the LAT is weakening the link between local residents and police
IBM – It is taking time out of their shift work and the police service can’t afford it any more. Furthermore, when they’re on rest days, the service can’t afford to pay them to attend a LAT meeting.
Emma Munro Smith – what current level of policing is there? Never seen a member of police /community support on the level over the last year. Emma found and reported 4 needles: 1 on the Level and 3 around New England/Viaduct areas. She said that new mothers to the area don’t know not to let their kids run around on the level.
Recommendation by BM to email firstname.lastname@example.org rather than to call 101 as had been previously advised.
IBM – It is good for the PCSOs to be visible and wear their yellow jackets.
It was suggested that it would be good to have posters in local residences which state who to contact in the event of an incident.
IBM – Not a police matter to go and check the playgrounds.
Pete West – there is a full-time Park Manager who goes round checking the park and monitors and reports on antisocial behaviour. BUT we do need to see police there also. The poor state of the park had led to decreased footfall and undesirable elements taking it over. There is a need to look after the level.
The remarkable transformation of the park since its renovation was noted.
Also noted was that it was the police who established Local Action Teams from the outset and London Road LAT has been critically important in recent years in positively influencing activities in the local area, and impactful in what it has headed up.
There was a general consensus around the importance for a police presence to remain in London Road LAT.
IBM – Reasserted that PCSOs would not able to come to these community meetings but that there a possibility of opening a street surgery to meet the public.
IBM – Every LAT will say it’s important… But PCSOs are few and far between. PCSOs will come only when they are able to come.
It was agreed by the LAT group that there was no need for both PCSOs to come.
PCSOs are contactable by email and follow the issues raised on the LR LAT website.
After Insp McCarthy had left there was discussion. There was a general disappointment voiced by LAT attendees on this occasion as to the lack of priority given to police attendance of LAT meetings. It was suggested that local police were set to lose out on the helpful inputs of such a community body. Regular police presence at the LAT meetings would be desirable.
Doubt was expressed as to whether the police were interested in us setting/recommending policing priorities.
It was agreed that the Chair would write to Acting Chief Inspector Gareth Davis –– CCing in Katy Bourne – to confirm police protocol regarding LAT attendance, as it seemed there was a discrepancy between present suggestions and previous statement made by the acting CI in an email.
- Planning issues
Weatherspoons planning application was refused due reasons stated on the Planning website. There were large numbers of negative comments at the proposal, and a very few in favour. Possibly just one. However, Weatherspoons may appeal this decision. If they do, objections raised by London Road LAT and other groups/individuals, still go forward. An application will only go to committee if 5 or more people write in support of the planning application which this case they did not. This particular application was decided under delegated powers.
Sandy Crowhurst – shared about the planning application submitted by ‘Study Group’, for Bellerbys College. They were inviting everybody in the locale to view their plans displayed in the College on 3/6/15 and 4/6/15 between 1600 and 1900hrs. The proposal is to build further accommodation for young students of the college on the corner of Blackman Street and Stroudley Road, next to the CMSA building. They are awaiting submission of the planning application so the proposed building design is being exhibited.
There was mention of recently opened Bird Dance Studios (New England House), which seems to be doing well. It was noted that they offer groups for mothers and babies, and dance groups for kids.
- Updates and matters arising
It was agreed that Phil would write to Cllr. Gill Mitchell (Highways Department in BHCC) and update her on what we are doing and have discussed to date in London Road LAT, before inviting her to a forthcoming meeting. Noted that a Techinical Officer has agreed to come next time.
It was noted that the initial issue raised by the LAT about Viaduct Road was related to refuse, and wheely bins. Pete West signalled that we need to hear from technical officers to see whether communal refuse is a viable option.
Richard Barraball – Raised the matter of the backlog created on Ann Street/Oxford Street due to ongoing road works. Concerns regarding pedestrians attempting to cross in dangerous places and drainage problems down Ann Street. P.W. to enquire about these works.
Pete West – some valley gardens funding is being used to try and improve London Road in advance of the planned works.
Phil will get in touch with Jim Mayor and Paula Goncalves to ask for an update on these developments.
Visit London Road town team – able to paid for some hours of TCLO time.
And the visitlondonroad.co.uk website being looked at
Ditchling Rise residents AGM will be on 3/7/15 in London Road Station. All are welcome.
London Road LAT also have use of a section of the noticeboard in London Road Station; and a space in the one in Duke of York’s.
It was noted that flower have been planted on Francis Street by the residents association.