draft notes LAT meeting 4th October 2016

London Road Area LAT meeting 4th October 2016 – notes by PW

  1. Welcome, apologies and introductions
    1. apologies: Elspeth Broady, Sarah Mitchell (St Mungo’s), Bob and Sylvia Chilton (Viaduct Rd residents), Lindsay Debach, Richard Grills (Presuming Ed), Andy Winter, Amanda Healey had stepped down as Head Teacher at St Barts.
    2. present Terry Reid, Cath Prenton, Ann Townsend (Town Team and LR Business Assoc), Jesse Wilde (Equinox), Andy Keeffe (UOB), Mark and Daphne Deboissiere, Amy (Campbell Road), Tony Firmin, Mike Hedgethorne (Treasurer), Becky and Lucy (UOS), Francis (NCLA), Sandy Crowhurst (NCLA), Lucy Dunleavy (Vice-Chair), Cllr Louisa , PW chair. (17)
    3. Ann reported that the Town Team were keen to promote the adoption of a “BID” = business improvement district. This would sustain the Town Team Liaison Officers and maintain the Visit London Road website. Since the Portas money ran out this had been done by volunteers and was not sustainable.
    4. In the absence of Lindsay or any volunteer PW offered to take notes of this meeting
  2. Minutes of 4th Sept – agreed
  3. date of next meetings – 15/11/16 special open evening with guest speaker Geoffrey Mead, in the absence of a pressing need to combine this with the AGM we can do the AGM in December (6/12/16)
  4. Policing and Licensing
    1. we noted, as before, good work had been done to house the long term campers/rough sleepers outside Co-op and Aldi. It was also noted that Co-op had apparently removed the physical obstacles to people camping there in future.
      1. Jesse Wilde told us about the “Hot-spot” working group that met regularly to identify problem areas and needy individuals and focus attention via partnership working of various agencies involved.
      2. There is a project going on via Communication strategy to seek to persuade visitors and residents that it did more good to give money to competent charities rather than to individual needy people e.g. beggars.
      3. hunger is not generally an issue since 7 days a week there are places for homeless people to eat – though a cup of coffee would seem a generous and unproblematic provision by passers by.
    2. current policing priorities: in the absence of any sense that the police were interested in this item we decided simply to flag up to the police items of pressing or chronic concern or need. Some are noted below:
      1. Cllr Louisa: there seems to be an increasing link between drug-dealing and violent crime e.g. St Nicholas’ church yard
      2. sometimes – allegedly – tents are not used for sleeping but for conducting drug deals
      3. drug dealing (including now-illegal “legal highs”) was reported at Francis Street, and the Level: noted that it was important to keep ringing in 101
        1. * ask Insp M. about drug dealing on Level
        2. * ask about inspection of tents
        3. * ask about current staffing of PCSOs
      4. any future flier could contain information about “contact details”
    3. current policing situation: our impression from police communications was that the PCSO situation was still in flux, with reduced staffing, understaffing, and training of PCSOs still in train before the new-style PCSOs come on stream in January 2017 or thereabouts. It seemed pointless to ask for an update while the situation was still changing.
    4. Email about walking home late at night past Preston Circus pubs: e.g. Hare and Hounds and Joker. People spilling onto the streets distressing passers-by? Also the litter left by smokers – do the pubs clear this up? * P.W. to contact H&H and J *PW to ask David Bateup whether this was related to licensing conditions
    5. Presuming Ed. Noted the saga whereby residents had been kept awake by works done to exterior using noisy “cherry pickers” . Environmental Health had sent warnings as this was contrary to regulations. * Cllr Louisa to see Richard Grills (owner)
  5. Planning Issues
    1. City parks consultation:
      1. concludes 28th October
      2. will not increase global funding, but is to do with how it is divvied out – to large flagship parks and/or smaller local peripheral green spaces
      3. this was a problem across the UK – in some cases the National Trust was being asked to take over the management
      4. at the Level monies had been obtained for the upgrade, but this did not cover the maintenance
      5. the Level charged around £3k for the funfare. This might be the going rate but was it realistic compared with the cost of making good long-term?
      6. Other fees raised e.g. the Loving Hut went to Estates Dept rather than to the Park!
      7. Litter pick up: Louisa asked for volunteers to do this regularly if possible
      8. new bins will go in closer to the grassy areas. There will be more signage.
      9. Pride produced a huge amount of litter, this was not anticipated in the Pride management plan
  6. Viaduct Road
    1. the consultation has finished. Comments that it came at a useless time (i.e. August/September) considering student/tenant changeover takes place at this time.  The respective Universities had not been in a position to make much or any impact on this defect. The consultation had finished – but the Officers were busy running another consultation and the result of Viaduct Road (etc) were yet to be counted.
    2. noted that a planter had been hit – the driver must have been going at a very fast speed
    3. noted that measurements had shown that the traffic calming had had a significant impact in reducing (but not eliminating) excessive speeds.
  7. HMO meeting
    1. due to absences etc. no-one from LAT itself had attended the most recent meeting
    2. Andy Keeffe reported to us:
      1. it was well attended by planning officers
      2. there is a housing strategy to
        1. build 1000 general homes
        2. build purpose-built student accommodation outside central areas (but where??)
          1. comment UOS: in the event of a recession in student numbers, “student accommodation” would need a way of being re-purposed.
          2. some developers were using the option of providing “student accommodation” as an alternative to “affordable accommodation”
    3. Discussion about University plans especially future student numbers – regarding statistic quoted “4000 extra students”
      1. UOB – Andy did not know where this number comes from
      2. UOS – Becky said UOS was open in its target to get to 18K students, but that this number included those living at home, and distance learners.
    4. Current plans:
      1. Preston Barracks – 3 components: a commercial unit, 300 general houses, 1000 bedroom for UOB students
      2. UOB is still working on getting first-year students into purpose built accommodation
      3. Mithras House: intention to build on the car park and relocate car-parking to land behind Cockcroft Building – Lewes Road.
    5. Enforcement of HMOs
      1. some successful prosecutions
      2. 100 active cases, 150 pending cases
      3. a new full time officer, Mat Gest had stepped down
  8. Finance – was discussed under an earlier heading
    1.  We have £229.45
    2. this makes it conceivable to do a promotional flier and have it distributed professionally. @ £100, printing @ £100 approx. Mike and Tony might be able to get the printing done. We are grateful for the work of Lindsay and Tony last year in making this happen. It might not be easy to combine all this in time for the November “soiree”
  9. Various projects and updates – already covered in discussion except
    1. LAT chairs meeting: the LATs were all rather different, the withdrawal of PCSOs had left an uncertainty of role and purpose, BUT with the reduction of funded services there was a sense that LATs were potentially very valuable role in the well-being of the city. No funding was available. Council cabinet member Cllr Emma Daniel had consistently attended and supported the LAT chairs meeting.
  10. AOB
    1. UOS said
      1. they will do a volunteer clean up of Beaconsfield Road 1/11/17 – Halloween happens before this and there would be door-knocking to advise students of good ways of celebrating this.
      2. Information Centre: is venue for Photo Fringe display
      3. Information Centre is point of FairShare distribution
      4. there is education work going on to link new students with real life specimens of “residents” and “community members”
  11. The meeting closed around 20:12