Meeting of the London Road Area Local Action Team on Tuesday 4 December 2012, 18.30pm, at Calvary Church (18:15 tea and baked goods)
1. Welcome, apologies & introductions
Invitation to the Calvary Carol Services on Sunday 16 December: Family Carols 11:00 and Carols by Candlelight 18:30.
Apologies: Pest West, Amanda Healy, Karen Ashdown, Barry Hughes and Sandy Crowhurst. Rob Dawson engaged on “Dressed for Success”
Present: Philip Wells, Charlotte Overton-Hart, Tony Firmin and Mike Hedgethorne, Steve Andrews, Mr and Mrs Richardson, Andy Keeffe, Cllr Ian Davey, Ben Alltimes, Katharine Crompton, Colin Henderson (City College), Simon Bannister, Steve Mulrine, PCSO Nic Harrison, PCSO Sharon Birt, Lucy Dunleavy, Ruth Anslow, Jean Boyd, Phyllis Dawes, John Holden, Ann Townsend, Bob Curtis, Jens Streck, Richard Barraball, Justin Blincko (Equinox), Sylvia and Bob Chilton, Terry Reed, Oli de Trafford, Ken Watts (City College Architect), Mark and Daphne de Boissiere, Lorinda Holness. Late arrivals: Andy Winter, Maire McQueeny. (36)
Steve Mulrine: a great deal of graffiti/tagging in recent times, and fear that they will return once removed. Unless we are aware of the issues and how to address them it will continue to proliferate.
2. Minutes of previous meeting
Two amendments from Jim Mayor: both agreed
- “When you circulate the minute please do emphasise that I’m always happy to meet up with anyone who wants to discuss the project.”
- “Jim Mayor asks for it to be recorded in the minutes that his brief had been to speak about public realm improvements and that all his remarks were in the context and from the point of view of public realm, and that when questioned he had clarified that his remarks were not in reference to how businesses as such were faring”.
Simon Bannister: there is a new Safe in the City site which will have customisable sections for each LAT. The site can be found at: http://www.safeinthecity.info/
2a. Chair’s remarks:
- Charity event raised £280
- The working of the LAT as a forum: sometimes it is not possible to resolve all view presented to the LAT. The way the LAT works is based on trust and goodwill, and the Co-op is an example of an issue which has not necessarily resulted in a combined view, but nevertheless has allowed a space for the fair hearing of all views.
- V-C Charlotte Overton-Hart would like to step down at the end of the current term
- A note on being approached by political candidates who wish to present to the LAT: is it acceptable to allow people to come to the LAT as observers provided they do not seek to influence the course of the meeting – agreed.
- Richard Barraball: the increase in the council tax does not meet the shortfall. – Item to be held over due to time pressure.
2b. Question: timing of meetings for 2013. Is first Tuesday of the month the best time, thoughts on possible promotional news letter as in previous years – (held over)
Mike Hedgethorne: proposed to keep the first Tuesday of the month.
Agreed by the LAT.
Philip Wells: offering apologies for March, with a special arrangement for April.
3. Matters arising, ongoing and updates
- Poundland store is open on London Road
- Co-op planning application BH2012/02675 still “target decision date 12/12/12”, we have been told that the Officer recommendation is “minded to grant”.
- Providence Place – Common Room – Lively Cities update pending
- Update on car parking: congratulations to LRTraders on a vigorous and energetic campaign in recent days. Result being that our area has been re-graded to the medium band tariff from early in New Year to £2, £4, and £6 for 1, 2, and 4 hours. Credit to LRT for their efforts, credit to Chair of Transport Committee Cllr Ian Davey for listening to appeals made to him. Also a portion of credit claimed by and attributed to the LAT’s representations over recent months.
Ann Townsend: met with the transport department for what was an amicable meeting. There is good collaboration.
- Open Market re-opened on site
- Level update – no updates to report
- Portas Pilot – first Town Team meeting 12 December 12:00-14:00 – Philip Wells has been invited to attend, and LRTraders and others.
- consideration of previously suggested topics for any other business – was held over due to time pressure on this meeting.
- hiSbe plans and update
Ruth Anslow: hiSbe (how it Should be) is an ethical supermarket. The idea is to bring good food to the high street, for people on average incomes. Would like to see London Road be revived as a food quarter. Premises have been found on York place (close to Moksha). hiSbe has a good following on social media, and talks/blogs about food how it should be. Had looked at Blockbusters but it has been earmarked by the British Heart Foundation. More information about hiSbe can be found at: http://www.hisbe.co.uk/
Mike Hedgethorne: request to be kept in touch in the absence of a meeting in January. Philip Wells: agreed.
4. Policing matters – statistics and policing priorities
Review of our three possible policing priorities for this month.
PCSO Sharon Birt: ASB has increased from October to November. The last 2-4 weeks CCTV has been gathering bad behaviour. Incidents need to be reported and statements be made so the incidents can become a focus for policing. Age of the individuals around 10-15. Typically early evening. As soon as they gather call 101 so the police are aware of the situation.
Simon Bannister: spent time with residents from Brunswick Row who have also reported ASB. Might this be related to the Level currently being disrupted? Would be good to set the tone when the Level reopens.
Richard Barraball: we owe future generations a positive way of supporting younger people.
Three policing priorities agreed to be:
- Street drinking/anti-social behaviour with a special focus on York Place
- Shop-lifting – as previous month
- Prevention of intimidating behaviour on London Road with a special focus on youth disorder
Police Statistics for November 2012:
London Road/York Place
- Anti-Social Behaviour 66
- Criminal damage 10
- Medical (drugs/drinking) 9
- Rowdy (e.g. drinkers, fighting, noise, domestics)
- Road Traffic Collision 4
- Suspicious 32
- Theft 35 (of which 20 were shopliftings)
- Violence (assault, fighting, robbery) 32
- Police Activity (warrants/arrests etc) 14
Bob Curtis: would it be possible to have a focus on graffiti?
Sharon Birt: the issue with graffiti has gone back for years.
Steve Mulrine: is prepared to assist in graffiti reduction, but collaboration is required.
Simon Bannister: good things are happening in the area, and the Portas Pilot is a re-commitment by the council to pay attention to London Road.
Ann Townsend: does the cost of CCTV lie in the manpower?
Sharon Birt: it’s the whole cost of CCTV. If people ring in when they see someone tagging then the activity can be zoomed in on.
Philip Wells: would it be worth having a special interest meeting in January?
Agreement by LAT to have a special interest meeting.
5. City College
Colin Henderson (Director of Finance, City College): currently three sites in Brighton. Has a strategy to move from three sites to two. Current buildings inefficient in terms of space and heating. There is no government funding, and all revenue needs to be raised by the College. The project will create employment in the area both in terms of construction and in terms of creating a space for through-put.
Ken Watts: there are proposed plans for 500 units of warden managed student accommodation, for first year University of Brighton students. The development is proposed to be a car free environment. The proposal is to make less of an impact on the skyline, and an attractive contribution to the streetscape.
A key asset of City College is its location. The new build proposes to have communal area for the students, where there is currently no communal space. Students currently smoke outside the entrance on the street and there are lots of chewing gum spots on the streets.
Tony Firmin: would the accommodation be self-catering?
Ken Watts: yes, which will certainly bring business to local traders.
Colin Henderson: the college can act as a gateway to the London Road area. There is both benefit and opportunity in the proposal.
Philip Wells: 500 first year students ? – the Co-op application sought favour because there were but 350 students and they were to be post-grads.
Andy Keeffe: one perspective is to see these young adults being in a supported environment as far better than dispersing the concentration of students across Brighton in HMOs.
Ann Townsend: would favour the proposal. Wardens can check the students are safe, and in a secure environment, there can be a key card entry system.
Andy Keeffe: the residential accommodation will be staffed. There will be security staff, CCTV, and residential wardens. Security guards check the property for noise and safety. There is a number that local residents can call if they have any issues. Complaints are responded to and resolved as soon as possible. Any persistent bad behaviour is acted on.
Philip Wells: one of the sensitivities of the residents about the Co-op was the noise may be made be students on their way back to their accommodation late at night.
Andy Keeffe: students are reminded of their responsibilities within their communities.
Ann Townsend: has the loss on income from the car park been calculated? Where will the current car park users be displaced to?
Colin Henderson: lost of revenue is about £50-60K. There will be a shuttle service to and from the other site and public transport with be encouraged. People are looking at different ways of getting into work. Simply not room in the budget for underground parking, which would mean that fewer classrooms could be built. Education trumps transport as a priority. Happy to return to the LAT at any point. There is a 4-5 years construction time for the site.
[ after-meeting note: if the PowerPoint presentation is made available to LAT we can make it available to LAT members]
Ruth Anslow: hiSbe is looking for ways to engage students, both in terms of relevant product range/price and in terms of possible internships.
Simon Bannister: how can students support their LAT?
Andy Keeffe: the university looks at how to support the local community. In this time of lack of funds and low resources, the universities can provide a source of support for their communities.
Lorinda: Sussex also looks at how to support its local community. Student housing will release family homes.
Mike Hedgethorne: would far rather have students live in purpose built accommodation than HMOs.
6. Environmental Improvement & Highways
- Behaviour in the doorway of the old Grubb’s on York Place is something which is being worked on.
- DRARA has proposed a community noticeboard, which is something which could be done in collaboration with the London Road LAT.
- 75% reduction in crime at London Road Station: this is something which can be an encouragement to change in other areas and can be attributed to the active care by the London Road Station partnership
- Will re-request a clean up on the strip between Cheapside and Elder Place.
- Londis variation refused
- “meat” 22-23 York Place: “Off sales to be removed entirely from the application. Hours will be scaled back to 00:00 on Fri & Sat (they are currently until 01:00 Fri and Sat, until 00:00 the rest of the week) with the supply of alcohol by retail to cease at 23:30 seven days a week.
– Other stakeholders have now withdrawn their objections – shall we? Agreed.
- 80 London Road, – change of use: concern had been expressed
- Clyde Road/Stanley Road, Deli – request for late hours has been withdrawn
- BH2012/03707 = former Buxtons: 27-33 Ditchling Road Brighton. Demolition of existing building and construction of new 4no storey building providing retail (A1), offices (B1), financial and professional services (A2) and restaurant/café (A3) uses at ground floor level and student accommodation (sui generis) (total of 86 rooms) at ground, first, second and third floor levels with associated works.
– details [i.e. application number – see above] to be made available for members to comment.
8. “Container City” – Andy Winter (CEO, Brighton Housing Trust)
Andy Winter: on the site behind the Cobbler’s Thumb, proposing to use 36 shipping containers – see http://www.tempohousing.com/ – the heating costs are low as the containers are well insulated, and there are high levels of thermal comfort. Temporary planning permission would be for 5 years for 6-12 month tenancies. BHT can’t afford the financial or reputational risk of having residents who are not tenant ready. A great and imaginative way of creating accommodation in this time of austerity.
Edward White: the LAT cares about both the location and the demographic of the proposed. Why this group and why this location?
Andy Winter: the owner of the site has identified they want to make a financial return and the location is the only venue which is currently available. Has seen remarkable change in people through working with BHT over 27 years. Tenants will be carefully selected. An example of someone who may need to be accommodated could be someone who has lost accommodation and may be living in a car.
Welcomes any further questions/dialogue at http://andywinterbht.wordpress.com/ on which all questions will be responded to publically.
9. A.O.B. suggested items to be held over. Meeting closed around 20.40
Dates of next meeting: no normal meeting in January, special interest meeting for Elder Place t.b.a, next LAT meeting on February 5th 2013.
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