Minutes of the Hanover and Elm Grove Local Action Team meeting held at the Hanover public house on Monday 28th November 2011
Present: Cllr. Liz Wakefield chaired the meeting. Also attending: Cllr. Bill Randall Leader of the Council, Liz Hobden (Planning), PCSO Dawn Kitson, PCSO Alena Martauzova, Christopher Tucker ( University of Sussex Community Liaison) , Tony Baker (Environment Improvements), Anna Hunter (resident), Neil Hawke (resident), Brian Ravenett (resident), Angela Sains (resident) and Ernie Coleman (resident).
Apologies: Cllr Matt Follett.
1. Matters arising from the minutes
a) Brian asked if there was any update on the telephone mast planning application. There was not. Action: Liz offered to check.
b) Cable ties – Cllr Follett could not attend the meeting so there was no update on this item. Action: Liz believed the issue had been raised and would check on progress.
2. Liz Hobden on student accommodation
Liz updated the meeting about the plans to restrict student accommodation in areas where 10% of accommodation is occupied by students. She passed round plans to show where this would apply. The consultation period closes on 2nd December and asked for comments to be submitted by then. The proposal is to apply this policy in the 5 wards where most students live. The other part of the strategy is to develop new student halls and the sites identified for these are Varley Halls, Pelham St, Preston Barracks and Circus Street. Anna noted that these locations are fairly close to Hanover and would impact there. Bill said that the new residences would have strongly enforced rules. Liz Hobdenwas asked how accurate the maps are and said that they were likely to be pretty accurate because they are based on council tax and HMO licensing records. The mapping will need to be carried out annually at first. The policy will not apply retrospectively, but Liz reminded the meeting that there is also a proposal to make HMO licensing criteria apply to smaller properties.
The discussion then moved to waste and recycling. Neil said that Lee Yates was excellent at responding to and solving issues around people leaving out binvelopes and other waste problems. Chris said that the communal bins pilot had not begun in Washington Street. Action: It was agreed that Damien Marmura and Lee Yates from Cityclean be asked to attend the next meeting to update the group about the pilot and enforcement. Christopher noted that it is not just residents that suffer from poor behaviour in terms of waste disposal – he estimated that 80% of students are well behaved and many complain about the behaviour of the other 20%. Bill reminded the meeting about the plans for ethical lettings policies being developed. He said that being a landlord is the biggest industry in the ward, lots of money is made and asked what landlords put back. A question was asked about landlords and agents details being displayed next to the front doors of rented properties. This could not be enforced but was good practice Liz Hobden said. She reported that the maps will be available on the Council website from mid December. The meeting thanked her for her contribution.
3. Pavement parking at Elm Grove
Liz Wakefield reported that the next working group meeting will be held at Elm Grove School on the 7th December 7pm. The working group meetings include widely differing views but the working group is moving towards a practical consensus.
4. Splitting the Hanover and Elm Grove LAT
Tony explained that this had been suggested by a couple of residents at the previous meeting, when the number of people attending had exceeded the space in the room. There followed a discussion at which it was agreed that the group should not split. Many issues are common to both areas. To hold separate meetings would be a waste of officer and councillor time. Then the meeting looked at what could be done to improve attendance. Actions: put the website on the flyer. Tony asked for volunteers to deliver flyers and put up posters. Try to book a larger venue for the next meeting, which might be well attended because the parking issue will have been decided by then. Discuss with Cityclean the possibility of putting photos of untidy pavements onto social media. Advertise the meetings in the Hanover Directory and Argus, with challenging statements such as “ are you concerned about the cleanliness of the pavements in your street?”.
Other possible ideas such as free wine, notices on lampposts and present swaps were also discussed. Christopher said he would try to get students to attend LAT meetings. Chris mentioned that Hanover Action for Sustainable Living are hoping to develop a project to reduce energy use and would be working with students on the issue and this would bring out the positive aspects of students living in the community.
5. Update on wasteland in Southover Street below The Geese.
Tony reported that the LAT had involved Planning Enforcement in this derelict site and the owner had responded to pressure by neatly fencing off the site.
6. Any other business:
i) Liz reported that two mothers were hoping to develop a scheme whereby parents would take in students when their own children went to university away. The meeting thought this could be a positive move as those students would be more likely to be part of the community, living with a local family.
ii) One of the residents thanked Liz for her help in having the motor cycle parking bay in Hanover Terrace expanded, which was good for motor cyclists but also car drivers as motor cycles would be taking up less space.
iii) PCSO Dawn Kitson reported that the number of burglaries tend to increase at this time of the year, so she will be distributing a flyer to remind people to act sensibly to protect their possessions.
iv) Tony reported that community groups could be given snow shovels and gloves, if they had somewhere to store them, to make them available to residents if snow comes. Interested?: contact Christina Liassides Head of Highway Operations Tel: 292036.
7. Date of next LAT meeting: Monday 16th January 2012 at 7pm