Minutes of the Hanover and Elm Grove Local Action Team (LAT) held on Thursday 9th June 2011 at the Hanover, Queens Road.
Councillor Matt Follett opened the meeting and chaired the election for Chair. Councillor Liz Wakefield chaired the rest of the meeting. About 15 residents attended plus Lorinda Holness and Mark Woolford from University of Sussex, Eve Hitchensfrom Housing,Simon Bannister and Tony Baker of the Environment Improvement Team and PCSO Dawn Kitson.
Apologies were received from Cllr Bill Randall, Wilf Nichols, PCSO Karen Hopewell, Gill Fleming and Anna Hunter
1. Election of LAT Chair
One nomination was received, that of Liz Wakefield. She was questioned about a number of issues. On the issue of not living in the ward she said that she could not afford a house in Hanover but knows the area well and knows a lot of people there. On the issue of her workload, being a cabinet member, she said that being a councillor was a full time job for her and she had no intention of getting another job, so she would make time for the LAT, especially as it would give her an excellent insight into the needs of people in the ward. On the issue of the sub groups she confirmed that she would want to see both the Transport and the Students sub-groups continuing. She was elected unanimously, with officers abstaining. She then took the chair.
2. Election of Student sub group chair
Matt Follett was nominated and declared an interest, that he works for University of Brighton, on the academic side, not on the student accommodation or welfare side. It was decided that the LAT would put forward his name to the sub group and that they would make the final decision.
There was no nomination for secretary so Tony agreed to continue for the time being.
3. Matters arising from the minutes of the 17th March 2011meeting:
a) One resident was concerned about local referenda as suggested in the localism white paper.Matt Follett reassured him that the issues likely to be discussed were planning matters.
b) There was a question about council preparedness for the localism bill and Liz and Matt reported on a recent meeting.
c) Mark Woolford was shown in the minutes as being from University of Brighton whereas he is from the University of Sussex.
d) There was a question about the new administration’s commitment to participation and Matt said that the new council wishes to increase participation.
e) A resident raised the issue of Article 4 Directions and Liz confirmed that the council were exploring if these could be used to improve the way tenancies are managed. Matt said that retrospective use of Article 4 Directions was highly unlikely but they would like to see smaller properties included in HMO licensing.
f) There was a question about how residents could find out if a property was registered. Matt and Liz offered to find out, if people emailed an address to them.
g) Mark said that HMO’s have to have their licences reviewed every 5 years and there followed a discussion about how landlord and agents might be monitored so that ones that had mismanaged their tenancies could have their licences revoked.
h) There was a discussion about the empty property on Southover Street, below the Greys. This has still not been fenced and Simon reported that if a s215 notice has been served the owner would be liable to considerable fines.
i) Tony reported that he had passed the issue of yellow lines, raised at the last meeting, onto the support officer for the Transport Group.
j) Tony had forgotten to put a reference on the recent LAT flyers about people being able to keep in touch by receiving minutes of the meetings, but he will do this on the next flyer. Mark offered to put up posters about LAT meetings in his window.
k) The meeting joined with Liz in thanking Georgia Wrighton for her hard work as LAT Chair and local councillor.
4. Update from the Transport sub group
Simon reported that he will be supporting the Transport sub group. He said the group was not just looking at parking, in fact not just transport issues, but were looking at matters such as play streets, and quality of the public realm. He reported that Cllr Ian Davy had agreed to talk to the group about the new administration’s transport and public realm proposals and there was support to quickly take up this offer. Mark Strong said that he is a voluntary sector representative on the Transport Group and can act as a conduit for transport views to be passed up the policy chain. He said that the local sustainable transport fund bidding round was to be announced soon and if this council’s bid was successful there would be up to £5m to spend on sustainable transport projects in the wards which adjoin theLewes Road. Dawn reported that parking on the cycle lane on Lewes Roadremained an issue. There was a discussion about the CPZ campaign and Mark said that although the proposals were poorly presented there would be no re-run of that consultation, but there would be other opportunities to look at such issues. There was also a lengthy discussion about parking on pavements on Elm Grove and illegal sales of cars there. A resident asked that the Transport group look at the issue of motor cycle parking. With too few spaces and no protective bars around the spaces, bikes are knocked over and damage can run to £1000. This has happened to one resident five times. Mark explained that government money has not been available for motorcycle parking as it has for bicycles.
Matt raised the idea that a business forum might be set up for Hanover.
Julia reported back on the Soundscapes Conference recently held in Brighton, which she said was a unique take on noise and how all agencies can take account of sound in their work. Simon confirmed that there are plans to try to apply the lessons in the City.
5. Students in the Community sub group
Tony picked up on a previous discussion that the students meetings might be opened up to a wider group of people as the concerns about “studentification” are wider than just discussions about the Phoenix Halls. The meeting agreed that the sub group should decide this.
6. Police report
Dawn reported that there had been a small cluster of burglaries, even though one person had been caught and charged. She had also been asked to look at the issue of the cycle lane obstruction on the Lewes Road. She confirmed that Operation Crackdown was still running, which allows anyone to report anti social driving online on the Sussex Police website or by calling 01243 642222. Simon noted that the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership website provides lots of information about Operation Crackdown including the number of people arrested and other action taken.
The issue of good landlords was returned to and the meeting discussed an idea of agents being asked to contribute funds to the noise patrol.
7. Any other business
a) Mark raised the issue of BHA seeking planning permission to have a park and ride at the racecourse. Action: Matt agreed that people could contact him if they wished to find out more or object.
b) Mark raised the issue of the LAT becoming affiliated to the Community and Voluntary Sector Forum (CVSF). Simon said that he knew one LAT was a CVSF member but they are more of a neighbourhood association than this LAT. Action: Mark will discuss this with CVSF and see if they wish to attend a meeting to discuss what they do and what they could offer the LAT.
c) Simon mentioned the Plumstead garage site, where local residents are currently being consulted on ideas to use this vacant site for the local community. They are planning an open event in August as part of the consultation.
d) Simon asked how many people went to the safe in the city website or followed @safeinthecity on Twitter. Answer: a small number.
e) It was suggested that we should promote the LAT at Hanover Day. Action: Tony agreed to produce some small posters.
8. Date of the next meetings
Thursday 21st July Wednesday 20th July at 6.45 for 7pm at the Hanover
For online information about all the LAT’s in Brighton and Hove: www.safeinthecity.info
Operation Crackdown:SussexPolice website or Sussex Safer Roads website or call 01243 642222