LAT Minutes May 2013

 London Road Area Local Action Team – May 2013 – Minutes

1. Welcome, apologies & introductions

Apologies: Cllr Pete West, Elspeth Broady (DRARA), Sam Bryant (Sussex Community Rail Partnership), Kalishia Le Coutre (BMECP), Amanda Healey (Head Teacher – St. Bartholomew’s C.E. Primary School), Matthew Henry, Lorinda Holness, John Keenan, Jonathan West, Anne Townsend, Sylvia Chilton, Daphne de Boissiere, Ann Townsend (London Road Traders)

Introductions: Philip Wells (LAT Chair), Charlotte Overton-Hart (LAT Vice Chair), Greg Minns (BHCC), Annie Sparks (BHCC), Paul Gillespie (Watkin Jones), Nigel Bingham (Watkin Jones), Simon Cowell (Watkin Jones), James Murphy (CRI), Karen Ashdown (resident and St. Bartholomew’s C.E. Primary School Governor), Mark de Boissiere (resident), Angie Bonnel (resident), Louise Turner (present to support Ros Lopez), Ros Lopez (resident), John Holden (John’s Camping), Bob Chilton (resident), Richard Barraball (resident), Steve Andrews (Serendipity), Ian Davey (Cllr), Tim Read (BHCC), Bob Curtis (Federation of Small Businesses), Ernie Burke (York Place Studios), Eve Jacobs-Bannon (resident), John Durrance (resident), Sandy Crowhurst (NLCA), Scott Crossley (Equinox), Sharon Birt (PCSO), Nic Harrison (PCSO), Christopher Tucker (Sussex University, Student Accomodation), Kate Brocklebank (BHCC), Jean Calder (resident), Eve Chamberlain (City College), Tony Firmin (resident), Jean Boyd (resident), Phyllis Dawes (resident), Mike Byrne (CRI), Mike Hedgethorne (resident), Andy Winter (BHT)    

2a) Minutes of previous meeting 19/3/13 taken as a fair record of events.

 Note: no minutes were taken at the presentation on Valley Gardens.

b) Date of next meetings: June 4th, July 2nd. 18:15 for 18:30.

c) Finances: an enquiry has been sent as to whether LAT funding will continue as previously. Philip Wells has received an email saying that funding for the LAT is in question. Awaiting email from Linda Beanlands.

d) Notice that an AGM is due “within 15 months of the last” – July 2013 proposed to allow due time to write a report.

3. Policing matters & licensing

a) Review of our three policing priorities for this month.

Sharon Birt: The drinkers come out in the good weather, and are congregating in Providence Gardens and York Place. There have been a couple of action days in the past couple of weeks. The groups are disrupted and broken up, with the alcohol confiscated.

Ernie Burke: on a daily basis there is drunkenness and fighting, and it has been this way for the last 10 years. Alcohol is being purchased for £1.50 for a large bottle of super strength. Regular folk avoid the area. It’s a battle zone down there. Fights go on every single day. The issue is to cut off the source of the drink. The drinkers are banned from The Co-op and Sainsbury’s, but super strength is readily available from B&W. A lot of the drinkers are also drug users. A lot of people cluster and congregate along York Place where there are some empty shops. 

Eve Chamberlain: witnessed a woman going to the toilet in the street. Felt intimidated and hurried along. Would have been awful for children to witness this.

Philip Wells: encourages all to ring in any incidents witnessed.

Sharon Birt: there has been an awful lot of work with licensing across the whole of Brighton. There is no legal power to stop selling super strength alcohol. B&W are still selling super strength.

Jean Calder: has someone from the licensing department been to the LAT? What evidence can be gathered?

Annie Sparks: the most powerful tool is the power of review. Advice would always be given on information gathering. Jim Whitelegg can be contacted about how a review of a license could be brought about. Annie to request Jim make contact with the Local Action Team.

Ian Davey: can residents call a review?

Annie Sparks: yes. And Jim can advise on what evidence base is needed to make the review successful. For example, it may be the case that a condition is put on the license that super strength must not be sold.

Tim Read: we will have a conversation with people who help with the street drinker and street community.

Scott Crossley: Equinox can get involved too.

Philip Wells: will add this to an item – both for drugs and alcohol – on the agenda for the next LAT.

This month’s policing priorities have been agreed as:

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

b) Drug use – Oliver de Trafford (Moksha) reports: we have had a big increase lately in drug use with syringes found on a few occasions. It would be good to know what is being done by them, police and the council to tackle this. (See comments made in item above).

Mike Byrne: always ring it in to the police if you see dealing. Something which has also come to light in the last month is that drug users have been injecting in the toilet, and leaving their equipment in the toilets in Moksha. Have given advice on safe disposal. This is work around 4-5 particular identified users. Had spoken to a couple of the users and done very targeted work with them. Has been working closely with Oliver at Moksha. Something we are taking extremely seriously, and there is a need to take very swift action. 

c) Traffic using bus lanes and turning incorrectly at Oxford Street/London Road junction, raised by Liam Mandeville on previous occasion by email.

Philip Wells: the issue has been raised and it will be carried over to the next meeting due to time constraints.

[after-meeting note: Head of Transport Operations Austen Hunter confirms that the bus zone is not currently a Council-enforceable “bus lane”, but authority for this is being requested at Committee in October. PSCOs have been asked for stats on accidents at this point. This was also flagged up some months ago with Jim Mayor for incorporation into future London Road traffic plans]

d) Licensing

Matt Henry has drawn attention to Council initiatives in other places for outlets voluntarily removing high-strength lagers and beers from their shelves. General agreement that the LAT would like to know more.

The Emporium might like to talk about their aspirations, however no representatives were present at the LAT meeting (although an invitation was sent).

Annie Sparks: a new licensing application is in. If there are any complaints or if there is any feedback on the programme of events. The venue has a “temporary event notice”. Residents and traders are encouraged to feedback to make views known. Will check on the deadline for feedback, which may be the 20th May.

Philip Wells with Ian Davey: to make a representation to licensing about the concerns.

Sandy Crowhurst – serving alcohol to people seated at a table is a good condition

4. Co-op Development

Ros Lopez: London Terrace has become uninhabitable. By the end of June half of the residents will have moved out. There is noise from 07:00 to 18:00 from construction workers, and then at night from security guards and their dogs. Noise levels are high not only on week days but also at the weekend. There has been vibrational damage to the house, and the council has said she shouldn’t complain. A tin of paint fell out of the roof due to vibrational damage, and the paint went down the stair carpet. The dust is so bad that windows have to be closed and it is not possible to sit in the garden. There is also a danger of squatting when the residences are vacant.

Karen Ashdown: been suffering from vibrations from works, bricks have fallen into the back garden and there is a great deal of dust. 

Nigel Bingham: it is our intention to be involved, and work with the residences and a Community Liaison Officer has been employed (beginning from the middle of May) to liaise with the residents. There will be “turmoil” during the development. We are here to listen. We are spending much more time on the demolition that we intended to.

Simon Cowell: we are trying to put things right. Acoustic blankets are now in place, and we want to do our best to be sensitive to the residents. As Ros points out, where she lives is the main road into the site. We are actively trying to look for a different approach to the site e.g. via Baker street 

Ros Lopez: I’m the person who lives there. What will be done? Nothing thus far has been resolved. Appreciates that Simon is doing what he can, but that does not help in practical terms.

Greg Minns: “Permitted limits” owns that a certain flexibility needs to exist for a project to progress. Irrespective of prosecution or not as the case may be, it is hoped that the lines of communication are now open. 

Annie Sparks: currently considering prosecuting for breaching the Section 61. Can pursue issues of dust in people’s homes, but not outside. A construction site will never be inaudible, but there are certainly responsibilities of the development.  

Jean Calder: Ros’ frustrations are reasonable, and the council needs to take this on board. There needs to be a way to support Ros in practical terms.

Annie Sparks: has visited Ros and explained what the guidance and the law allows the construction company to do. We will investigate all complaints, including complaints about dust in the home. Have identified breaches of the Section 61.

Louise Turner: would compensation be a normal course of action in this particular circumstance?

John Holden: could some funds be put aside to support the residents?

Nigel Bingham: there isn’t that much money in the project. We are taking your concerns extremely seriously. We are here to listen to concerns and move forward.

Kate Brocklebank: once demolition has taken place the site is then regarded as a construction site. The Section 61 relates to hours of work on site once construction has begun. Disturbance to residents is not a permitted criterion to invoke in regard to granting or refusing a Planning Application.

Philip Wells: re-iterated the hope that from this point on communications would be much improved – with attendance at the LAT meetings by Watkin Jones representatives – as all concerned want the development to be a success.

5. Matters arising, ongoing and updates

a) St Bartholomew’s C.E. Primary School link-up: Emma Lacey to report to next LAT.

b) The Level – update and “communities of the level”, conducted visits to site.

c) Open Market getting higher – opening August 2013. Comment that public toilets are now closed.

d) Richardson’s Yard – planning application approved 30/4/13 – ground works will begin soon and be complete by July. Containers will arrive at the end of July and residents will move in around September 2013.

e) Planning consent for the former Buxtons has been granted.

f) Squatters – no update.

g) Opening and closing: Preston Circus Pharmacy closing retail. Sussex Beacon Charity Shop has opened, and HisBe on York Place to be opening soon.

h) Flyposting – the link with Concorde2 continues – and when anyone from the LAT emails Concorde2 the posters will be taken down – a similar arrangement with Volks has been initiated.

i) The Jenny Lind “Ghost train” – a chivvying letter has been written in co-ordination with Sam. The paper work is currently with the Council.

j) History walks – Chris Tullet reminds us of publication “London Road, Brighton’s first suburb”

k) Recent “Independent Drugs Commission” – meeting held 27th Feb – replied expressing concerns about footfall implications for London Road

Andy Winter: it has been a great disservice to the agenda which seeks to transform Brighton from the drug death capital to the drug recovery capital.

l) On the agenda for next month: Ditchling Road and Oxford Street junction – not a safe turning and difficult for pedestrians.

6. Portas Pilot update – no updates from Rob Dawson for the LAT.

Bob Curtis: a role to work with as  Town Team Co-ordinator is now being advertised.

A comprehensive report is available on “Open Space” meeting, and a Town Team meeting is planned for 16.00-18.00 Wed 8th May.

7. Elder/York/Providence Place street scene project: Simon Bannister not present to give updates. Steve from Cartridge World has expressed that something needs to be done. Four intensive meetings have been held with a view to initiating a large, co-ordinated effort to improve the area.

Date for future public/stakeholder meeting June 20th 18.00 New England House (to be confirmed).

Currently pitching at a modest but attainable target.

8. A.O.B.

Karen Ashdown: the Playbus is going to have six sessions on the green area outside St. Bartholomew’s C.E. Primary School.

Christopher Tucker: possible graffiti art for Baker Street proposed.

Philip Wells: It would depend on the content and quality of the art. It would have to be deemed acceptable to the community, and it would be helpful if the artist would also undertake to keep the artwork in good condition for the duration.

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