LAT minutes (draft) 9th December 2014

Minutes – London Road LAT meeting on 9 December 2014
1. Welcome, apologies and introductions
AngieBonnell(DRARA), Charles Dudley (UOS), Amanda Healey, Ian Davey – has to leave early, Matthew Gest — will come to next meeting, Lucy Dunleavy (Vice Chair)
Martin West — Abacus House
Tom Lines – St Peter’s Place Resident
Ian Davey – Ward Councillor
Bob Chilton – Resident
Richard Barraball- resident
Tony Firmin – resident
(Mike Hedgethorne – resident – late arrival)
lndi Hicks — University of Sussex Students Union Communications Officer
Andrea McKinley — University of Sussex Community Rep
Roz Scott – Trainee Journalist
Mohammed Azaduzzaman— Spice of Life, Open Market
Sharon Birt, PCSO
Nicola Harrison, PCSO
Brian McCarthy, Police Inspector
Nile Amos, Brighton Council Substance Misuse Officer
Martin Heath, Brighton Council Road Safety Adviser
Heather Williams — Equinox
Scott Crossley — Equinox
Cllr Pete West
Damien Marmura — Brighton Council City Clean
Ian Brown – resident Rosehill Terrace Residents
Cathy Reeves — Vice Chair LAT and notes
Philip Wells — Chair LAT
(Emma Mcrae – Stanley Road resident – popped in and out)
2. Minutes and dates of next meeting
Next meeting set for Tuesday 13 January 2015, and 3rd February 2015 when Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne will attend.
3. Policing and Licensing
Brighton born Police Inspector Brian McCarthy explained he knows the area very well and has been the local police inspector for 7 years. His remit covers the Regency area to the Hove border and up to Kemp Town. He is responsible for three teams of three sergeants, 7 PC’s and 20 PCSO’s but changes to this structure are being examined. London Road area will have 1 sergeant,1 PC, and 2 PCSO’s. There is only one PC at present but other teams will help out where there is shortfall.

He revealed a new piece of legislation (the Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 (a Section 35 order) allows police to disperse groups from an area for a specified period of time to prevent crime and disorder, harassment, alarm and distress . “We are looking at ways of how we can use this including identifying individuals like (drug) dealers. We can deal with issues on the spot. It’s quicker and easier for us to tackle anti social behaviour more quickly.”
He reported incidences of shop lifting, drug users, street drinking had dropped in the area. But since the change in the opening times of the toilets on The Level, the toilets in the (Open) market seem to be showing some signs of drug usage. “If we are honest there will always be a drug problem in the city,’ he added, imploring people to report incidences as it happens. The Level and New Road are the current focus of attention with plain clothes officers carrying out observations at The Level. Needles, the toilets, cannabis in the skate park and, possibly, an organised group from outside is dealing there.”
Cllr Pete West commented sharp (used needles) bins were being used in the toilets and the council is looking at other avenues of dealing with the problem of used needles including getting pharmacies to provide single needles instead of packs of needles. “Keeping the toilets closed at The Level is a temporary measure,” he added.
Automatic lights at the skate park in The Level are staying on after 10pm and causing nuisance to some neighbours (light and noise). CIIr West confirmed the council is trying to get it dealt with.
Someone called for a greater police presence at the Level during the winter months to keep drug dealing, drinking, etc., at bay.
Mr McCarthy responded there are cameras round by the toilets and police are keeping on top of it. There are signs up saying there are plain clothes officers around. “Passive drugs dogs is something we are looking at and carrying out random sweeps.”
London Road resident Tony Firmin asked if the abuse of disabled parking permits could be tackled. “Parking wardens don’t want to know; what can be done about it?” CIIr Ian Davey responded by saying a dedicated blue badge fraud operation was happening in the next month or two.
lan Brown reported graffiti and tagging in Rosehill Terrace was a real problem but some property owners in Rosehill Terrace refused to sign disclaimers allowing the council to remove graffiti from private property. “Can commercial property owners be encouraged to remove graffiti themselves? Graffiti helps reinforce a culture.” But Mr McCarthy responded that the police had no powers to make people remove graffiti or ‘tags’ unless it was racist or obscene.
Getting the cooperation of remote/corporate landlords is a problem
Damien Marmura of Brighton City Clean reported three prosecutions in the week against youths setting fire to community bins, and also tagging. Graffiti was also in the process of being removed from Abacus House. Damien said tags are photographed before and after removal for identification and can be used in future prosecutions.
Turning to shoplifting, surveillance and crime in the London Road area Mr McCarthy revealed less than 30% of shoplifting was reported. “There are no big spikes in shoplifting,” he said. “Its imperative that shops call it in. If it’s not called in to us, if we don’t know about it, then we assume there isn’t a problem.”
Violent crime statistics had gone up but the apparent increase is due to a change in the way violent crime is recorded in a more robust method.
4. Viaduct Road update

Appended here: email reply from Matthew Gest 24/11/14


Thank you for your email below and I apologise for the delay in responding to you. Firstly, thank you very much for the invitation to your next LAT meeting on December 9th. I am due to go on leave for two weeks and I won’t be returning until December 12th. I apologise that I won’t be able to attend on this occasion. I would be very happy to attend in the future however. I do hope that the following information may be of use to you.

 Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act enables the Council (as Local Planning Authority) to require proper maintenance of land and property. In normal circumstances such notices are served on properties where the external appearance is in considerable disrepair, overgrown vegetation, accumulation of rubbish and debris and in any other situation where the external appearance is having a detrimental affect on local amenity.

 The notices can be appealed in the local magistrates court and the notice would take a month to take effect from the time it is served.

 It is impossible to say where our “threshold” would be as each property and circumstance should be evaluation on it’s own merits.

 In general however, we have been undertaking some proactive work using Section 215 to achieve an improvement in the appearance of properties along London Road and most recently the central seafront. These programmes of works are ongoing but have been agreed with Local Councillors as part of our pro-active work for the current financial year. Our first approach is to write and negotiate with property owners to try and improve the condition of properties without needing to serve formal notices. Where negotiation fails and the property is in a very poor state then we would serve a notice.

 With particular regards to Viaduct Road, I do travel along this road fairly regularly so I am aware of its appearance. I would suggest that we could proceed with a number of options which may include Viaduct Road in the next programme of proactive work. This is currently scheduled for review next April. If capacity allows we could consider working on Viaduct Road sooner than this.

 I would be happy to meet with you and do a “walk around” along Viaduct Road to specifically look at the Viaduct Road situation. I will be happy to arrange this with you once I return from leave.

 In the meantime of course if you wanted to bring the most “offensive” properties to our attention a complaint can be made through the Planning Enforcement Form on the Council’s website. We will then raise an investigation into that particular property and let you know if we consider 215 action appropriate, I would say, however, that it sounds like Viaduct Road needs a “holistic” approach.

 In all consideration I think the best approach is for us to meet after my return from leave and we can then walk around and I can advise on what we may be able to do for you.

 I hope this is of some assistance and look forward to meeting you in due course.

 Yours sincerely

 Matthew Gest

Planning Investigations and Enforcement Team Manager

(01273) 292106

Martin Heath the Road Safety Team Manager at Brighton Council confirmed Viaduct Road is now in its focus for improvement.
Citing wheelie bins, unkempt frontages, heavy speeding traffic and poor air pollution, he said: “We have been trying to tease out various parts of the problem and put together a solution,” he said, “but it’s really for the community to come forward with solutions and for communities to decide,’
Key issues include striking the right balance between it being a key route for traffic and a residential street. Suggestions included narrowing the alignment and width of the road, introducing a cycle lane, enforcing speed restriction and planting.
Indi Hicks reported residents had suggested painting patterns on the road and planting trees as a way of slowing traffic in Hollingdean dip.

Cllr West revealed speeding vehicles create a lot of road noise and that in itself has a massive detrimental affect. He also said the air pollution is above the legal limit in the road. “These are related issues. Speeding, air quality and noise. Narrowing the road is obvious, planting trees, putting in a cycle lane. It’s a key challenge for us to deal with.”

Mohammed asked about speed enforcement. Flashing signs warning drivers to keep to the 20mph limit were not enforced. CIIr Davey commented the enforcement of speed was a police matter and that Katy Bourne, attending LAT in February, will have a view, plus it could be made a policing priority.
Cathy Reeves suggested a new roundabout at Preston Circus similar to the new roundabout at the Seven Dials might offer part of the solution in slowing traffic. But Cllr Davey emphasised it couldn’t be looked at in isolation and that as the valley gardens comes to completion (government financed) bids to improve Preston Circus area would be looked at as a whole.
Martin Heath offered to return with ideas and a small presentation at January’s LAT.
Damien Marmura of City Clean reported action taken in Viaduct Road to ensure rubbish and recycling bins are removed from pavements as soon as possible after emptying: “Four bins and eight boxes were on the pavement this morning (Tuesday 9 December). This is a great improvement since October,” he said. Reporting on how City Clean had visited properties in the road on several occasions to warn of enforcement action he added: “We waited until Sunday night. After the first visit we had 15 bins left (outside). Last Tuesday and yesterday we issued the second letters to those properties who had bins on the pavement after the collections.”
Led by Cllr West the meeting thanked Mr Marmura and his team for his fantastic work in tackling rubbish and recycling, adding that the council is keen to expand community recycling and communal bins.
5. Updates and News
a. Valley Gardens: London Road and Open Market traders expressed concern that the traffic flow proposed by the council would adversely affect them by clogging the north/south flow and have a negative affect on the economy.
London Road improvements: It was noted that unnecessary street signs and bollards are being removed.

From Jim Mayor 19/11/14:

The general London Road work will focus on:Removing unnecessary guard railing (there is a lot of this)

Removing single cycle stands and replacing them with either banks of new cycle parking, or new single cycle stands that can be attached to lamp columns to minimise clutter / footway obstruction.

Removing redundant and unnecessary signs, hopefully including the large ‘urban clearway’ signs.

Cleaning and repainting litter bins.

Coating various vertical surfaces (including bins) with a coating that helps prevent damage from stickers and tagging, or at least makes things easier to clean if people do stick things to them.

Removing random bollards etc that do not appear to serve any purpose.

Removal of the large black planters.

Removal of poor quality / poorly installed street furniture (like the bus stop post outside subway) and replacement with a better quality alternative where necessary.

 We’ll also discuss a strategy internally to try and prevent this kind of stuff being put back into the street environment in future, unless it has a clear purpose and can be looked after.

 It is likely that this work will take place over the next 3 or 4 months (although the bins may take a bit longer).

The Duke of York’s work will focus on:

 Repaving the area between the rising bollards and  crossing to Circus Circus, providing a more level and aesthetically consistent surface.

Replacing the current one way, on footpath cycle track with a shared use arrangement (to overcome the way the current cycle provision segregates the space whilst continuing to provide cycle access on this important connection).

Replacing cycle stands with better sited / quality alternatives.

Removing unnecessary street clutter.

Removing the existing planters and replacing them with a bespoke / more attractive alternative, potentially incorporating seating.

b. London Road Traders: 5000 new copies of a trade/community magazine has been printed by the Print Shop in Baker Street, advertising local businesses.
c. DRARA: nothing to add
d. Portas Town Team Project: Philip Wells has been invited to a ceremony in London for a possible award on the efforts made by the Town Team (i.e. including LAT representation) in improving London Road.
TCLO funding – the Town Team is currently pursuing different options for getting local traders to each contribute a small sum each month to fund the TCLOs
e. Stanley Road: – Emma reported that 14 incidents of graffiti has occured in Stanley Road and that DoY were asked to paint over the defacing of the cinema walls. A written complaint about graffiti and fly tipping down the side of the Duke of Yorks cinema was noted.
f. Level: dealt with earlier
Environmental improvements: The surfacing of Ann Street is ongoing with benches and paving – PW to put Richard in contact with Officer responsible.
6. Any other business
The steps down the side of the Jury’s Inn are very badly lit. (Simon Bannister to report back on this?)
When is the public lift (near One Brighton) going to be in operation? Jim Mayor might know about this.
A Christmas Carol Concert will be held at Calvary Church at 6.30pm on 21st December 2014
meeting closed around 19.50


Appendix – Reported Crime Stats

Police Statistics for September 2014:

London Road/York Place

Activity Police (warrants/arrests etc) 10

Anti-Social Behaviour (drinkers, street noise) 23

Burglary 2

Criminal damage 4

Medical (drugs/drinking) 4

Road Traffic Collision 7

Suspicious 13

Theft 15

Theft – just shoplifting 20

Violence (assault, fighting, robbery, domestics) 19

Police Statistics for October 2014:

London Road/York Place

Activity Police (warrants/arrests etc) 13

Anti-Social Behaviour (drinkers, street noise) 12

Burglary 6

Criminal damage 6

Medical (drugs/drinking) 9

Road Traffic Collision 6

Suspicious 20

Theft 17

Theft – just shoplifting 15

Violence (assault, fighting, robbery, domestics) 16

Police Statistics for November 2014:

London Road/York Place

Activity Police (warrants/arrests etc) 11

Anti-Social Behaviour (drinkers, street noise) 14

Burglary 3

Criminal damage 14

Medical (drugs/drinking) 4

Road Traffic Collision 9

Suspicious 28

Theft 19

Theft – just shoplifting 23

Violence (assault, fighting, robbery, domestics) 15

Police Stats for the Level

Police Statistics for August 2014:

The Level and surrounding

Anti-Social Behaviour 16

Burglary 1

Criminal damage 1

Medical (drugs/drinking) 7

Road Traffic Collision 2

Suspicious 18

Theft 6

Theft shoplifting 9

Violence (assault, fighting) 8

Police Activity (warrants/arrests etc) 1

Police Statistics for Sept 2014:

The Level and surrounding

Anti-Social Behaviour 16


Criminal damage 7

Medical (drugs/drinking) 2

Road Traffic Collision 4

Suspicious 15

Theft 12

Theft shoplifting 7

Violence (assault, fighting) 17

Police Activity (warrants/arrests etc) 1

Police Statistics for Oct 2014:

The Level and surrounding

Anti-Social Behaviour 21

Burglary 4

Criminal damage 2

Medical (drugs/drinking) 9

Road Traffic Collision 1

Suspicious 19

Theft 18

Theft shoplifting 13

Violence (assault, fighting) 8

Police Activity (warrants/arrests etc) 2

2 thoughts on “LAT minutes (draft) 9th December 2014

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