LAT minutes October 29th 2013

London Road Area Local Action Team Minutes

Tuesday 29 October / 18:15 for 18:30 at Calvary Church, Viaduct Road

1. Welcome, apologies and introductions

Introductions: Charlotte Overton-Hart, Philip Wells, Jonathan Ridley, Andrew Breary, Kara Ward, Mohammed Asaduzzaman, PCSO Sharon Birt, PCSO Nic Harrison, Tony Firmin, Mike Hedgethorne, Steve Andrews, Karen Miles , Lorinda Holness, Jesse Wilde, Phyllis Dawes, Jean Boyd, Ian Davey, Simon Bannister, Joe Nichols, Bob Curtis, Richard Barraball, James Murphy, Daphne and Mark de Boissiere, Sandy Crowhurst, Eve Chamberlain, James Delicata (Vantage Point manager), Chris Gull, Andy Winter, Colin Henderson, Ken Watson

Apologies: Liliana Murari, Elspeth Broady, Amanda Healey, Karen Ashdown. [ Correction: apologies also received from John Holden]

2. Minutes from previous meeting – addition that Mohammed Asaduzzaman attended – minutes accepted as a fair record of events.

3. Policing matters and Licensing

PCSO Sharon Birt: our patch ends at Preston Circus and does not go beyond this. The PCSOs do not cover the Preston Road area.

Mike Hedgethorne: if the PCSOs don’t cover Preston Road we should not request this area be covered.

Philip Wells: Joe made the proposal last time, and was raised in relation to comments made at Badlands Guitars. This appeared to centre upon one particular individual and has been resolved. All stocks of high strength alcohol (HSA) are being run down at off licenses in the area.

Chris Gull: over the last couple of months things seem to have improved.

PCSO Sharon Birt: street drinkers are going to Trafalgar Street. There are far fewer drinkers in the area.

Philip Wells: the manager in Costa said their “good Saturdays” are increasing week on week.

Jesse Wilde: street drinkers are reporting how difficult it is to come by high strength alcohol.

Andy Winter: research shows that if HSA is not easy to come by then drinkers reduce the strength of the alcohol they purchase, and after this it is often the case that the drinkers are then be more likely to engage with services.

PCSO Sharon Birt: people may not be aware all squatters are out of Blockbuster and Johnsons (the cleaners).

a. Our three policing priorities for this month are:

  • Street drinking/anti-social behaviour/drug use in York Place

  • Shop-lifting

  • Prevention of intimidating behaviour on London Road and interaction with children

b. There is a licencing application for former Blockbusters for “a neighbourhood café”.

Tony Firmin: would speak in favour of an enterprise of this kind. Would be good to have tables outside, and café culture.

Several LAT members in favour.

Ian Davey: Rose Hill Terrace residents see this as positive development. They have had real problems with squatters over the last year.

Chris Gull: the licence at Emporium is ancillary to the theatrical activities. It is tied to the function of the establishment. LAT members may be concerned about possible future uses, and provision in case of a less responsible future Licence Holder

Sandy Crowhurst: has some reservations as there will be over 300 students in the area. Would strongly recommend that the hours of drinking be restricted.

Karen Miles: “happy hours” which would encourage drinking in large quantities. (i.e. irresponsible promotions)

Philip Wells: as a summing up of the general feeling of the LAT there is support for an establishment to drink, but there is a concern that the licence does not allow for future establishments to have vertical drinking.

4. Portas Pilot

Joe Nichols: have continued to have liaison officers patrolling in the area. 80% of traders in favour of the officers continuing. Anecdotally, a security guard who would ordinarily catch one or two people a day has caught one in two weeks. The final logo should be completed and decided by the end of the week. There are going to be five Christmas art installations including recycled bikes, sound installations, sound jingles, and an art installation trail from 7 December to 6 January.

Richard Barraball: where will all this be advertised, so people know to come to London Road?

Joe Nichols: there will be advertising on Juice FM and the website will be up soon.

5. City College planning application – the presentation from the previous LAT is now on the LAT website: https://londonroadlat.wordpress.com/

Colin Henderson and Ken Watson:

  • Presented proposed master plan for City College, Pelham Campus.

  • Key and comparative street scene montages presented to the LAT

  • The number of units has been reduced to 440, and there is a plan to have managed accommodation. There is an enormous demand for student accommodation in Brighton.

Philip Wells: approaching the development from a blank slate (rather than by comparision with previous scheme), on the size and massing of the site, are there any comments? The proposed tower is not as high as the current building but it would be bulkier.

Sandy Crowhurst: commenting on the Facebook mock-up. The NLCA employed a structural engineer to create the mock-up.

Tony Firmin and Mike Hedgethorne: the focus of the LAT should represent the views of the LAT. i.e. regarding the concerns from London Road

Bob Curtis: a comment on the roads. Has there been any consideration to take the building line of the residences back on Cheapside?

Colin Henderson and Ken Watson: the line of the building follows the public highway. This has not been raised by any meetings with the local authority.

Philip Wells: does this proposal fit in with the city plan in terms of student numbers?

Ken Watson: the city plan is the plan of Brighton & Hove City Council. Not possible to alter or be responsible for this.

[ Note from Chair: the city plan references this site in two places in the City Plan document, in one place it mentions “a minimum of 300 students”, in another place it simply says “300 students”]

Tony Firmin: HMOs can cause a great deal of noise so would welcome this large scale accommodation which could house large numbers of students.

Lorinda Holness: it is likely that the accommodation will take … [corrected version (17/12/13) below:

Lorinda Holness:  It is likely that the accommodation will take students out of smaller accommodation.  There is currently a proposal  to redevelop an existing residential area on the campus which will provide an additional 1400 bedrooms.  This will add to the 4,300 students currently housed on the campus in addition to the 500 City units the University manages.

Sandy Crowhurst: if the students stay in large scale accommodation for a year, would they move into HMOs in subsequent years?

Lorinda Holness: the university is housing more students year on year.

Mohammed Asaduzzaman: students bring a lot of money to the area. How will they be managed as a group?

Lorinda Holness: there are management plans in place.

Joe Nichols: would mean more business for the area. More people on foot in the area. Would help bring a new lease of life into the area. In favour of the development.

Andy Winter: in terms of cars in the area, would there be limited on-site parking, and would it be a condition that the residents would not be able to apply for parking permits?

Ken and Colin: it is a parking free development. There will be a facility for essential personnel only, for example minibuses. Under-street parking is too costly. There is no underground facility for services. There is service access all around the site. The site lends itself well to having a green travel policy, and the transport links are good.

Sandy Crowhurst: at the moment the college has the equivalent of 21 floors of educational space. How does the development propose to have the same educational space in 8 proposed floors.

Colin: the proposed space is intended to be half and yet to work at 70% rather than 30% efficiency. The current space is not as efficient as the proposed space would be.

Sandy Crowhurst: invited Colin to a North Laine meeting.

6. Matters arising, ongoing and updates.

a. Providence Place Gardens – there is a consultation for this to be made permanent.

a. Co-op redevelopment

Kara Ward: a variation to the planning application has been proposed in which the Solar Cells (PV) are to be replaced by a Combined Heat and Power unit (CHP), which will be followed up and forwarded to Philip. The first concrete floors are going in and the first pods for the students will be going in next week. There is going to be a Christmas lights project in collaboration with John’s Camping. There will be adverts for Emporium and also the Portas Pilot website on the hoardings outside the development.

b) Oxford Street – a traffic regulation order to enforce current unclear restrictions is planned, support or objections are requested.

Bob Curtis: bringing in a restriction for south-bound traffic to turn east into Oxford street makes it difficult to exit London Road without going all the way back to Preston Circus via Cheapside

Ian Davey: an opportunity to formalise the current road rules and thus clarify the signage. There is no other way for the Council to effectively prevent north-bound private vehicles making the right turn into Oxford Street.

Mike Hedgethorne: all of this response is disproportionate to the issues which were initially raised. To ban traffic from turning left into Oxford Street from London Road would not help matters.

Philip Wells: there is a larger plan for the whole of the London Road area, which may address and encompass this whole area, to make things better both for motorists and pedestrians. Take the opportunity to make your views via the consultation. Will submit the views of the LAT to the consultation.

c) Elder Place – update on plan to deal with graffiti

Simon Bannister: Charlie gave a presentation at the last LAT meeting. Since then there have been a number of meetings at the council, and there is currently discussion over where funding can be procured from. In terms of street food, the highways department at the council is considering which space could be used for a street market. Jim Mayor is also looking into how the bins can be screened. It has taken a while for this to start moving, but things certainly seem to be moving in the right direction now, and more funding is beginning to become available.

d) London Road Traders Association

Bob Curtis: updates from Joe. On Providence Place, it seems that one suggestion is that trade vehicles are either banned or restricted. Which is the case?

Ian Davey: it may be related to size so there would be no restriction for smaller vehicles.

Philip Wells: understood that the restriction would affect vehicles over a certain weight. This was trialled for two weeks last October. Encourages LAT members with any comments to make these through the current consultation.

e) The Level – no updates

f) Open Market – will not be open before Christmas. No date has been given for the completion date. About 50% of stalls/spaces have ben let. There is a lot of interest, but a firm date will certainly encourage more people to commit.

g) Initiative to remove HSA – ongoing, other LATs have expressed interest, and Philip Wells has been invited to make a presentation at Westminster.

7. AOB.

Chris Gull: on 7 December (Small business Saturday) and Saturdays up until Christmas there will be free parking in London Road car park.

Date of next meeting: 3 December / Twitter: https://twitter.com/LondonRoadLAT

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