London Road Area Local Action Team (LAT)
Chair’s report 1st October 2015- 5th December 2016
Meetings and attendance 2015-2016
November (Open meeting) with Architect/Developer Chris Gilbert – 30-40?
November – history meeting – Geoffrey Mead (?30)
In a way we are a victim of our own success. London Road has improved considerably and there are fewer attenders in the “highly disgruntled” category. It is also the case that there is noticeably less support from the police, and fewer resources to call upon in terms of Council personnel. We also need to make a sustained effort to publicise the contribution that the LAT can make to the general well-being of the London Road community.
Although the numbers attending have been lower than our historic maximum – these still represent a good number as compared with other community groups. And the quality of involvement and debate is very high.
Features of the past year
1. Neighbourhood Policing: the change of contract for PCSOs has been very noticeable. To begin with we were told that PCSOs could come if we re-arranged our meetings to coincide with their shift patterns – which we did. But since July 2016 we have not seen a PCSO in any shape or form.
2. The continuing saga of Viaduct Road.
In November 2015 it still seemed a possibility to get some response from the enforcement department of the Council regarding the appearance of Viaduct Road. We now understand that Mat Gest has left and that the department is up to its ears in enforcing HMO matters
There was wonderful help from Elspeth and others doing a “Viva Viaduct Road” day with planting into the planters. Good things were done
There was also a super initiative from University of Sussex volunteers along with City Clean to tidy up Viaduct Road – huge quantities of rubbish were removed. However the change has not been permanent.
3. The Mayor: one of our 3 ward Councillors Pete West has been honoured with the bestowal of the office of mayor for one year. This is much deserved honour – although it has meant that an extra burden has fallen on the other two ward Councillors. We are grateful to Cllr Lousia Greenbaum for her attendance and support at LAT meetings.
4. Licensing: has continued to be an issue with applications from Presuming Ed causing considerable interest. B&W stores expressed an interest in having their conditions relaxed – we did not think this was in their best interests.
5. The London Road Town Team has continued to work for a Business Improvement District (BID)
6. HMO consultation – this issue is of wide interest in the inner part of Brighton, as “family homes” get used for multiple residents including, but not limited to, students. Representatives have attended a series of meetings chaired by Cllr Tracey Hill
7. Begging and Rough Sleepers
We have much appreciated the input and support of Equinox via Jesse Wilde.
People have raised the matter of these members of the community and the issues that surround them. At one point a man (and sometimes lady partner) had taken up permanent residence on the frontage of the Co-op. Also rough sleepers were sleeping in the doorway opposite in Aldi. This was perceived as making the south end of the road appear threatening and unsafe.
A summit meeting was convened by Sarah Mitchell (St Mungo’s) with Police, Equinox, Co-op management and others present and a combined action plan was formulated to make a credible offer of accommodation to the persons plus also reinforce this with strong disincentive for remaining (I,e threat of court action).
This resulted in the spaces being vacated.
8. The Level.
The Level has continued to be in need of “keeping and eye on”. Community Safety meetings have taken place to co-ordinate efforts. PW attended the AGM of Level Communities Forum and has endeavoured to keep in touch with Chair Maureen Winder.
Another unhelpful article was published by the Argus detailing one – possibly isolated – incident as reported by Emily Walker.
9. Social Media: Twitter – has continued with a following of 1791 followers at time of writing. The website continues to maintain a “London Road” presence in cyber space.
10. LAT Chairs Forum meetings.
Changes have taken place in the Council’s support and relationship to LATs. Funding is no longer available – but support from the Council has been more consistent in terms of
- the input of Community Safety Head Peter Castleton,
- the regular attendance of Cllr Emma Daniel at LAT Chairs meetings which get held 4 times per year.
- A review project conducted by Garry Collins who was seconded to the Community Safety Team for one year. He researched 31 LATs. The result of this can be found on the Council’s website. Or uploaded here. (actual page 37 – but printed as page 29)
(In the report above London Road LAT is one of the 5 LATs characterised as
Thanks: to those who have helped in every way – to Lucy Dunleavy (Vice-Chair), Lindsay Debach (minutes), Mike Hedgethorne (Treasurer), to Cllr Lousia Greenbaum for her support. Also to Calvary Church Trustees for kindly waiving fees for use of the rooms. Thanks to all who have attended or even supported from a distance.
Philip Wells 6/12/2016