2019-09-10 Notes of London Road LAT meeting 18:30 Gates Room, Calvary Church, Viaduct Road

18:30-20:00 10th September 2019

  1. Welcome and apologies
  • Apologies: Elisbeth and Chris (DRARA), Andy Keeffe, Alice Doyle (Breathe in Brighton), Rachel Chasseaud
  • Present – P.Wells, Councillor Pete West, Corinne Lamb, Peter and Judi Lynn, Kristina (Equinox), Cath Prenton, Andy Roberts, Maureen Winder, Alan Briggenshaw, Lucy Dunleavy (Vice-Chair), Lucy Walker (UOS), Mike Hedgethorne, Tony Firmin, Adrian + guests Saoirse Roche, Melissa Francis (City Clean) = 18 present

2. Minutes of last meeting, and date of next meeting (8th October 2019)

  • Accepted by meeting
  • Date of Next meeting, the plan is to get some council planners to come from the London Road Master plan to come to the next meeting 8th October.

3. Air Quality / anti air pollution – from “Breathe in Brighton” – Alice Doyle (or representative). Illness, so can’t come

4. City Clean – Saoirse Roche representing Rachel Chasseaud’s department – Graffiti issues history, policy and progress + any other questions or issues

  • Melissa Francis and Saoirse to talk on the Graffiti strategy and to hear our concerns and information of how it is being addressed.
  • In November 2018 a Policy was agreed by BHCC Committee
  • Saoirse Roche; is heading up implementing the strategy.
  • They are working on the removal of graffiti from private properties. There are some updates on this, such as:
    • Community clean up, which provide paints and rollers to the public and community groups for private property.
    • There is going to be Paint repository this has not gone live yet but will be a service where people can receive paint and then go out and paint, mainly for residents.
    • There is an email address for the Community Clean up, which has now gone live. They have had two days of clean ups one involving the Youth Offenders and the Community Pay Back scheme, this was at the Volks railway.
    • There are limits on resources for community services each month for the community clean up.
    • There is going to be a Graffiti database, which is in the final stages of planning. This will have all the information on where the tag is and where the tagger is caught etc, which will then be reported back to the police, and they will prosecute accordingly.
    • The database can allow the council to produce statistics each quarter.
    • They are trialing anti graffiti coatings for public property, bins public walls etc.
  • Have been working with Housing, City Regeneration and the Valley Gardens project on implementing architectural graffiti prevention designs for the future.
  • Working in zones to get rid of graffiti on council property, one zone at a time and radiate out across the city.
  • There is going to be a public consultation that should be up by the 1st October to implement a enforcement strategy for private property owners, small land owners etc will be responsible for removing graffiti from their properties in a small time frame.
  • There will be the option of implementing a commercial graffiti removal service, which is where small business can receive a subsidized service with discounts from large companies.
  • They are going to produce a reduction resources pack for residents to show the public how they can support the council; along side there is a multi-agency media campaign in the pipeline. This information will go out to schools, universities and colleges and the public to try and educate the type of people who typically do the tagging. (It is noted that this is far from being simply a problem caused by youngsters)
  • There are lots of preventative measures that can be put in place for example sign posting and sentencing.
  • There have not been many prosecutions at present but the police are in the middle of 1 quite large case, which is on going.
  • Currently the database is not live but can report any incidents to “Report a Problem” application, which can be found on the City Clean section of the council website. There are currently IT limitations due to the database not going live as yet and they want to make the app filterable for specific taggers.
  • This app is acting as a database as it stands but it is good to compile evidence.
  • The only resources available to the public from City Clean as it stands is paint, but other resources (e.g. cleaning products) can be found in shops that the public can try for themselves but not provided by the council. Some cleaning products need specialist protective clothing and special training – so not made generally available by the Council.
  • How to catch people:
  • CCTV does not always work, the taggers will adapt to the CCTV as in cover their faces from the camera. Also the police cannot identify the person if they can’t link a face to a name. CCTV is possibly a good prevention measure.
  • Small scale tagging that hasn’t got permission is vandalism and there will be prosecution to any size tag.
  • Councilor Pete West: There is a Report to the committee in June. The strategy has been given £100,000 to get this moving but needs a budget commitment from all sides year on year. We also need to make sure that the public is happy with the strategy.
  • They have had a consultation with residents on what they think of the proposal and it is their responsibility and ownership for cleaning off the graffiti, however it is not that easy to clean off. There will also be a assessment on how much the home owner can remove and they will be sympathetic towards the houses, as it seems unfair to penalise home owners for failing to clean something that they never asked for in the first place.
  • A statutory undertaker is: National Rail, BT, and Post offices etc.
  • Q: Anti Graffiti Coatings, could residents have this for their houses?
    • They have had mixed responses from the trial, it and it’s quite expensive to it to fund this.
    • The council is not sure whether they are going to let the public use it as yet.
    • There may be a deal in the pipeline with paint suppliers and see which supplier would work but not as of yet. However they are looking to see how they can work together with a suppliers as they also have building that are covered in graffiti.
  • Q Street artists that are approved by property owners, does the council liaise with the street artists to input into the database?
    • Taggers don’t want to engage with the council and the street artists do not want to get involved with the taggers.
    • City Clean wants to look into how they can work with these two groups, in the form of a focus group.
  • Q (street cleaning/ leaf picking up – via DRARA) Does the council pick up leaves as part of the street cleaning and put them in brown bags?
    • They do not recycling leaves at the moment as they are usually contaminated e.g. cigarette ends. They can’t provide and special brown bags but can provide black bags. This came from a DRARA email correspondence. The public could link up with the street collectors and it would be very helpful. Just liaise with the street cleaning teams with dates and where the bags will be left. There is going to be a community clean up on the 12th October. *Action Point: Philip to email Melissa regarding dates and details.
  • Q: Who collects sharps, needles etc from private land, particularly outside the back of Poundland?
    • Street cleansing teams do have sharps boxes, for drug equipment. Residents have put pressure on the owner of Poundland but this needs to be followed up with some urgency and it is unsightly and a health and safety issue. * Action Point: Follow up on this and put pressure on the owners of Poundland.
  • Do you let charities to use council bins (e.g. British Heart Foundation)?
    • There is a paid for bag that small businesses can use. They do take a small amount from charities but it is limited. Action Point: City Clean with ask their Enforcement team about British Heart Foundation activity.

5 . London Road Masterplan (click to view)– introductory discussion.

This very important 10 year old document will be the reference point in future Section 106 allocations.

It is planned to make this the major theme of next month’s meeting, and invite Council Planners to discuss this together. Please take a few minutes to look at it beforehand.

  • Philip has written to Alan Buck but needs to write another letter so we can have more input, and we need to know the timetable.
  • Section 106 still in discussion and has not been signed yet they don’t have permission until the section 106 is signed.
  • Could we have a special meeting for October to update and have input to do with this?
    • Agreed by meeting

6. Updates and other items (time permitting)

  1. Kristina (Equinox) – (was put at the beginning of the agenda)
  • Three ladies from a large group of Romanian beggars have been around London Road in the last couple of weeks. There are concerns that one girl in particular might have been trafficked and organized. They are apparently organised and sending money to a London address. Police haven’t gone in heavy handed but if they are back again let the police know
  • If residents see a car dropping them off anywhere, residents need to take the number plate and let the police know or Equinox.
  • They are very obvious and dressed different it needs to be reported.
  • They have been spotted around St Bartholomew’s school and causing problems for the mums from the school.
  • The young girl could be quite aggressive.
  • There was another group in Hove and was relocated back to Romania.
  • There was no evidence of rough sleeping or encampments on the Level.
  • Tents and encampments
  • There has been an increase of encampments occurring recently. There has been a new post created to deal with this. Emily Ashmore has been appointed to this post. The post is called Coordinator of rough sleepers strategy.
  • She is bringing all services together on weekly basis and councilors, to know what is being done and how to tackle it and then they can enforce it. There have been so many encampments over time. Some have been by the King Alfred and they were refusing housing and have been asking the police to help, this was stopped. We now have to provide evidence of what help is being offered to every encampment in order to take action with the help of the police.
  • The people are in danger, if they find equipment related to drugs etc.
  • Pavilions are in the middle of tender. There will be less money and could be redundancies.
  • Some of the homeless people don’t actual come from the area and they stay here because the services are good here.
  • There is street count next week. St Mungos are dealing with the people who have no local connection, and try to find the place they are connected to and reconnect them.
  • The council sends people who have been sleeping on the street which could be out of the city (Newhaven etc)
  • Equinox’s job is to go out to them and offer them help; the sleepers might not accept the help. Some of the issues are that some have mental health problems and need to have early intervention to stop them from getting entrenched.
  • Andy Winter (Director of Brighton Housing Trust BHT) says if they are not engaged or helped in the first week or so it becomes very difficult to help them. People will engage when they are ready, keep being persistent with the offers of the different services.
  • Public are being nice when giving tents it is actually not helping them. It helps them not engage with the services. Councillor West: “Don’t give to beggars, give to BHT”.

Further Updates:

2. Lift in NEQ

  • The lift is working; it needs a cleaning and has been noted by Hyde Housing and notified.
  • Councilor Sue Shanks is happy to deal with this issue. Pete West will remind her regarding this.

3. Policing and Licensing

  • Suspected “Cat Killer” has been caught and a name is known, they are trying to link him with other incidents to build a case on this.

4. Air BNB (if anything new)

  • The problem house has been quiet for a while up to 2 weeks ago, it is now back on the website.
  • Not something that council can pursue through licensing and no legislation coming down the line.
  • Pete West know of similar issues in other wards and will see what other colleagues have had with their issues.
  • The owners of the house could not get away with turning it into a HMO because there are different licenses for HMOs, which Air BnB does not fall under. Even though they might be tempted to do this.
  • Conclusion could be to lobby MPs to write a new law. It would be useful to write to Caroline Lucas’s office to write some legislation on this. *Action – to write to MP for national level action

5. Viaduct Road speeds – a fresh survey of speeds has been requested

  • Pete West has had a response from survey, recognizing that there is potential of speeding issue. Could require a reassessment. Pete West has chased it to see and an update.
  • The bikes seem to be doing a racetrack around the Beaconsfield Road and Viaduct Road area. They rev their engines at the lights and then see how fast they can go up Viaduct Road. They seem to like to do it late at night and early evening when the road is slightly quieter; it was particularly bad on Sunday due to a rally taking place.
  • Could they assess the whole area in this survey? There could be a case for the enforcement officers to intervene. Action Point: Pete West will communicate this to highways and transport department.
  • Local residents need to gather evidence for police and council as and when they witness a noise issue to see when the problems occur.
  • There is new legislation in place about noise, where you can have a speed/noise camera.
  • Could there be speed indication signs on Beaconsfield, which could be really useful for this road? This is the police issue. However they have seen a reduction, but we need enforcement and investment in 20mph.
  • The goal is to make the streets safer and calmer and to reduce cars.
  • People can borrow speed guns that residents can use.
  • There are two issues these are the speed on both roads and bikes which is a separate issue, police and partly council.
  • There is a motorcycle action group who are quite good at liaising with bikers. *Action : what is the police response? Are speed measuring guns available?

6. Parking in Zone J – an Officers’ report is to be presented at October Environment Committee. A letter has been written to Charles field to repeat our requests for a review.

  • There is an update, the case has been recognized but the case seems to be on the back burner and nothing is being done about it.
  • The traffic officer has come back with a list of reasons why the team assigned to this work cannot quickly and easily be expanded.
  • There is a report on this that is coming to next committee meeting, which will relay all the officers’ reasoning. Pete West will have sight of the agenda before the meeting and will argue this is not acceptable at the meeting.
  • In conclusion nothing seems to be happening yet but we will have more clarity soon.

7. Plan for rest of year: For the November meeting an email has been sent to Jeff Mead who does history tours and talks about the city.

8. AOB – please notify before the start of the meeting

Could we invite PCC Katey Bourne to a future meeting?

Level community festival – coming Saturday 1pm-5pm – Maureen Winder