LAT Minutes June 2013

London Road Area Local Action Team – Minutes 4th June 2013

1. Welcome, apologies & introductions

Introductions: Philip Wells, Charlotte Overton-Hart, Mike Hedgethorne, Mohammed Asaduzzaman, Jean Boyd, Phyllis Dawes, Simon Cowell (Watkin Jones), Tim Nichols (BHCC), Jean Calder, Andy Winter, Tony Firmin, Richard Barraball, Nicky Richardson (CRI), Chris Gull (Emporium), Steve Andrews (Serendipity), Owen Spence, Debbie Williams, Eve Chamberlain, Sandy Crowhurst, Karen Ashdown, John Holden, Bob Curtis, Matt Henry, PCSO Jamal Robinson, PCSO Nicola Harrison, Amy Cunningham (Equinox), Kevin Holden, Cat Thompson, David Bateup (BHCC), Ian Davey, Simon Bannister, Steve Jones (Watkin Jones), Kara Ward (Watkin Jones), Christopher Tucker, Lorinda Holness, Mark and Daphne de Boissiere.

Apologies: Amanda Healey (St Bartholomew’s CE Primary School), Liliana Murari, Angie Meaden-Bonnel, Sam Bryant, Caroline Lucas (apologies sent by Melanie Jarman), Countess Pasha de la Mare du Valentine, Barry Hughes (Sylvan Hall), Jim Grozier, Nigel Bingham, Councillor Pete West, Mike Byrne (CRI), James Murphy (CRI), PCSO Sharon Birt. Apologies were sent from members of DRARA.

2a. Minutes of previous meeting – taken as a fair record of events.

2b. Date of next meeting: 2 July for the AGM, no meeting in August, 3 September

2c. Finances – an enquiry has been sent as to whether LAT funding will continue as previously – nothing heard from the council about funding for the LAT.

2d. Notice that an AGM is due “within 15 months of the last” – July 2nd agreed as the date for the AGM – there will be voting for nominated posts.

3. St. Bartholomew’s CE Primary Community Safety feedback – will be held over due to illness (after-meeting note: some of this material is visible on the website)

4. Policing matters & licensing

PCSO Nic Harrison: still drinkers around, but lots of action days coming up, with one a week to disperse drinkers. Once The Level work has been completed police presence from the outset will set the tone. Always ring in incidents to 101.

Kevin Holden: hasn’t been so bad on Baker Street as there has been building work on The Level, but as soon as the work on The Level has been completed the drinkers may return.

Matt Henry: there will be a lot of children with their parents on The Level.

Andy Winter: office overlooks St Peter’s Place. The community of drinkers are not homeless, i.e. not known to BHT. There is also anti-social behaviour. There needs to be a consistent approach by the police to demonstrate that street drinking is not acceptable. Not all police move on the street drinkers.

PCSO Nic Harrison: it may be the case that if police are not familiar with the area they may not be aware of the specific police priorities of this area.

Jean Calder: a question about how well The Hobgoblin is managed. Also observed dealing [drugs] on Queen’s Place, then later observed the same group speaking with children – around age 8-9.

Karen Ashdown: sat in on a Community Event at St. Bartholomew CE Primary School, and also heard that children have been approached street drinkers either just wanting a chat or being asked to purchase alcohol for them.

David Bateup: is The Hobgoblin contributing to general chaos, or does it contribute to the street drinking community? These may be distinct issues.

Matt Henry: is two doors down from The Hobgoblin, and doesn’t see it as an issue. Mostly student clientele.

Nicky Richardson (CRI): it may be the case that people are making their way to Kamsons on Lewes Road to be breathalised.

Kevin Holden: the corner of The Hobgoblin is a prime lookout spot for drinking but has had no issues with the pub itself.

Mohammed Asaduzzaman: would like all licensed premises to be monitored, not only The Hobgoblin, but also The Mitre and The Druids on Baker Street.

Jean Calder: domestic violence often stays off the agenda of community groups, and does not receive the attention or profile it should.

Karen Ashdown: could we add a particular focus on safeguarding children?

4a. The month’s policing priorities have been agreed as:

  • Street drinking/anti-social behaviour/drug use in York Place
  • Shop-lifting
  • Prevention of intimidating behaviour on London Road and interaction with children

4b. Licensing review – B&W

Tim Nichols: the licensing act assumes good responsibility by licence holders. A licence is granted forever. A licence can however be reviewed if it is felt that a licensing objective is not being met. Unable to discuss specifics about a particular licence before a review is requested. During a licence review process all parties can have a say. Since 2005 there have been about 50-60 reviews in Brighton and Hove. Conditions can be added to a licence, warnings can be issued, trading hours can be restricted. Revocation at first blush is also possible. Off-licences generally brought into review have suspended licences or removed the manager. Licensing polices have become stricter over time. There is an increased trend in street drinking, binge drinking and pre-loading. It is not so easy to demonstrate the impact of off sales, for example in terms of anti-social behaviour and domestic violence. There has been one review of B&W in the past.

Ian Davey: could a review be initiated by a Local Action Team, and what evidence may be needed?

Tim Nichols: yes. It’s very difficult to gather evidence. Selling alcohol is not a criminal offence, and gauging whether someone is drunk at the point of sale is not always easy. Disorder, children buying alcohol and causing noise are all possible identifiable components. What needs to be measured is an impact on the community, in whatever form that takes.

David Bateup: heard that Matt Henry had an interest in requesting a review of B&W’s license. Just to confirm, selling to a street drinker is not an offence, but selling to someone who is drunk is. A note on super strength: this is thought to be the main reason the street drinkers buy their alcohol from B&W. There will be full support from trading standards, and Philip representing the LAT with supporting evidence from other members of the LAT. It is very impactful to the review if people who have expressed views at the LAT then put that into writing during the 28 days of review. If you would like to put something in writing you will need to say

Who you are

Where you live/work

What the problems is?

Why B&W is seen as being the cause of nuisance?

What is your evidence (you can use hearsay, but also include your evidence with your representation, as you cannot take it in on the day)?

How can you identify it is B&W in particular and not elsewhere?

It is OK to submit photographs but don’t put yourself at risk. It is also helpful to date and time the evidence. The LAT would be happy to put forward a representation, and individuals are encouraged to write in.

Tim Nichols: if lots of different people write a letter it has a lot more impact than a single letter signed by the same number.

4c. York Place – other issues, progress from last meeting?

There is a brothel on York Place. Any residents who have concerns/issues can contact the brothel liaison officer PC Lizzie Luckman at: lizzie.luckman@sussex.pnn.police.uk

4d. Licensing – Emporium  

There had been a concern about the conditions for licence holders subsequent to the present licensees of the  Emporium. These concerns had been answered and it transpired that no residents had wished to continue with any objections. The LAT representation was made but then withdrawn.

Chris Gull: if anyone has any outstanding concerns they can make contact with Chris. There is no off sales license, nor was one applied for.

David Bateup: the license is ancilliary to the main theatrical activities.

4e. Alcohol pricing – held over

5. Elder Place

A project which has been going on behind the scenes, with a view to lifting the area.

Simon Bannister: this came up around Christmas 2012. There have been 3-4 meetings at which the police, City Clean, local traders, council officers and Philip Wells have attended. Initially the goal was an absence of graffiti, and now there is an idea to have something new, maybe street food, or a greened area which could soften the area. There are some ideas, but it’s not something which the council can action alone, as the properties are owned by individuals.

Meeting set for June 20 at 18:00, possibly to meet at The Emporium (TBC)

Jean Calder: a farmers’ market?

Simon Bannister: there is certainly plenty of scope to animate the area.

Richard Barraball: doesn’t find the area threatening, and the artwork is attractive.

Simon Bannister: there would certainly be scope for some street art, but there would also be the intention of protecting people who don’t want graffiti on their walls.

6. Matters arising, ongoing and updates

6a. Co-op Redevelopment

Simon Cowell: The demolition is 3 weeks behind programme, although there haven’t been any complaints since the last meeting.

Karen Ashdown: Traffic management has been an issue. There needs to be someone on the corner of Baker Street.

There is going to be a residents meeting next Thursday at 18:00 at the offices in Baker Street. 

Annie Sparks (in an email):

Since the last LAT we have met with our Legal Team and we are currently collecting statements in relation to the breaches of the section 61 prior consent agreement issued under the provisions of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.  We are aiming to get all the paperwork over to our Legal Team this month.  Action is being taken against both contractors, Watkins Jones and Wring Group. 

Meetings have been held with the contractors to ensure that they comply with the prior consent agreement.  No recent complaints have been received in relation to noise from the construction site.

6b. The Level

Letter from Linda Anglin, of The Level Restoration Project:

I am pleased to announce that the latest edition of The Level Restoration Project newsletter has now been produced. You should be able to download and read it here shortly Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. . (We apologise if there is a slight delay in its availability, which is due to major changes currently being undertaken on the council’s website.

With The Level due to re-open in July, it’s the most exciting stage of the project yet. We are very much looking forward to showing off the restored park, and for everyone to enjoy its new facilities and activities.

Included in this issue are key updates on the build programme, including the playground area, the restored pavilions (offering community spaces that can be hired), and the fantastic new artwork and chess tables designed by our community artists Sarah Arnett and Tom Hardiment.

I also announce the appointment of the Level’s new Garden Manager, and report on the work of the Communities of The Level Forum, members of which are helping us plan the grand opening event programme for The Level on Saturday 14 September.

There is also information on the latest developments on the history and heritage side of the project. Thanks to the involvement of so many people who have shared their memories, photos and other artifacts, we have built up an amazing store of historical material which we will be using in an exhibition at the grand opening event – and in many other ways after that.

There is plenty more to read in the newsletter – I hope you will find it interesting, and that you will continue to want to be involved with The Level as we move towards the beginning of the park’s new chapter.

Best wishes

Linda

Linda Anglin

Project Manager

The Level Restoration Project

c. Richardson’s Yard     

Andy Winter: The Cobbler’s Thumb has now been condemned, and will be demolished, but this may set back the Richardson’s Yard Project by about a month.

6d. Oxford Street – traffic issues including bus lane legal status and enforcement

Written response from Ian Davey (also re-iterated in person at the meeting):

At the last LAT meeting Andy requested an update on his crossing request for the junctions of Ditching Road and Oxford Street after an on site meeting with Phil Clarke the then head of Road safety at the council.

All crossing requests received are assessed annually using an open and transparent assessment criteria which goes beyond that used previously which was based on casualty data. The criteria which include pedestrian and traffic counts as well as more subjective criteria can be seen on the council’s web site at:

http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/parking-and-travel/travel-transport-and-road-safety/pedestrian-crossing-points

This request was assessed and found to be of a significantly lower priority than many others in the city. Please see the explanation below from Tracy who managed the assessment. The assessment results are attached. Officers then made recommendations for a final decision by the Transport Committee. This was on the agenda for the committee in November. This is item 33 on the agenda at:

http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=4098

This lists the highest priority crossings that have since been progressed or will be asap. These include Surrenden Road near Varndean and other schools, Edward Street and many others where there is a strong demonstrable need and the greatest benefit for pedestrians. Whilst we would of course dearly love to progress every crossing request within a very limited budget that will never be possible and the council has to prioritise those where the benefit is the greatest based on clear transparent evidence and recommendations made by road safety and transport experts.    

Regardless of the criteria, creating a safe crossing at this point would be particularly challenging given the wide tracking needed for buses particularly those heading south and the lack of visbility for and of a pedestrian walking south. The transport team’s assessment is that this would require some re-modelling of the junction. Please see their views below.

The volume of traffic at this point could potentially be reduced if the bus lane at the western end of Oxford Street was to be enforced. Currently this isn’t possible due to the nature of the signage and lack of a formal Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for the bus lane section. Both must be absolutely correct and the bus lane given formal status by the new Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee. An important consideration here is maintaining access to the Oxford Street public car park which is of course the closest to the London road shops. I have asked officers to look at this issue with a view to seeking permission to enforce at the October transport committee. If this change is implemented pedestrians wishing to cross at this point would benefit from reductions in traffic.

We do have some transport funds set aside for works in the London Road area over the next 3 years. We could invite Jim Mayor to come to a LAT in the near future to discuss how that would best be spent.

Ian

Ian Davey
Green Party Councillor for St Peters & North Laine
Deputy Leader

Andy Winter: the original question related to the north entrance to Oxford Street and with increased footfall with the re-opening of The Level.

[after-meeting note: this has been pursued with Austen Hunter ( Council Traffic regulations), and the police via PCSOs (accident statistics), and via Sgt Dave Palmer (re. Police enforcement view)]

6e. Open Market – progressing, no specific updates

 6f. Squatters – the old Blockbusters site is currently inhabited by squatters. The empty site team is currently working on this.

6g. Flyposting – The Brighton Centre has also been a culprit. A letter of apology has been sent by the manager of The Brighton Centre.

6h. Jenny Lind – art installation on “Greenway”

Elspeth Broady (by email):

The Greenway is looking particularly ill-kempt at the moment with tagging everywhere even on the lovely white ‘fossil’ benches and the giant tools. Very very sad as it’s such a lovely pathway. 

Query 1 to which LAT attendees might have an answer: Does anybody know whether there is a plan for its upkeep? A ‘strategy’ perhaps? 

There was a volunteer day a couple of years back with the Ranger for that area but since i’ve not heard or seen anything and the area is getting sorrier and sorrier.

I was recently in New York and saw what has been done with another abandoned railway line: the High Line. Very very impressive and drawing in millions of visitors and also investment to the area. 

Can’t we do something of this ilk (tho’ different proportions) for the Greenway, linked in with drawing visitors into the area/making it more pleasant for locals? See photos of High Line and the Greenway on LRSP blog http://londonrdstationpartnership.wordpress.com

If there is no strategy or vision for this area, I might volunteer myself into thinking about one before the Greenway becomes just another bit of half-measure waste land. I hope there is – and maybe there are opportunities for getting volunteers involved in working parties again. I can take forward with Cityparks/Pete West if nobody else is.

6i. Portas Pilot update

Bob Curtis: things are progressing, and there is due to be another Town Team meeting once a Town Team Co-ordinator has been selected.

6j. A.O.B. A request to have a place for cycles outside Moksha as lots of people take their cycles. Item to be carried over as Oli not present.

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