Minutes of the Hanover and Elm Grove Local Action Team (LAT) held on Monday 16th January 2012 at the Hanover, Queens Road.
Present: Damien Marmura (Cityclean), Leigh Yates (Cityclean), Duncan Blinkhorn (Chaired the meeting), Anna Hunter, Jon Simmons, John Woolerton, Paul Sherman, Brian Ravenett, John Spoight, Jimmy Hollingworth, Christina Pepper and Tony Baker (Environment Improvements).
Apologies: Cllr Liz Wakefield, Cllr Bill Randall, Cllr Matt Follett, Neil and Mary Hawke, Steve Chapman, Wilf Nicholls and Simon Bannister.
1. Minutes of the previous meeting
These were accepted as a true and fair record except that Christine Pepper’s name should be added to them as attending.
2. Matters arising from the previous meeting
- Tony Baker reported that the Planning register notes that planning permission was turned down for a telephone mast at Beaufort Terrace but does not state if this is being challenged.
- Tony reported that Cityclean already put photographs of untidy streets and of their work onto social media @recyclingRefuse
- Tony has agreed to write a short article for the Hanover Directory to promote the LAT.
- The other matters arising were dealt with under agenda items.
3. Refuse and recycling
Damien and Leigh said that the communal bin pilot was in its 4th week in Washington St and Coleman St. He reminded people why they are piloting the introduction of communal bins in this area: black bags in the street are torn open by seagulls and foxes. Bins and binvelopes block narrow pavements. Leigh said Cityclean had worked hard to make binvelopes work. Staff had even cleaned and folded binvelopes for residents to encourage them to use them properly but many people refused to have binvelopes in their homes and persisted in leaving them out, which resulted in there being rubbish in them all the time. Damien said that as many as 65% of people leave out binvelopes in some streets, despite all the advice, help and legal action Cityclean has taken. Some people, both residents and businesses, had already abused the communal bins by over-filling them but Damien said it would settle down and if they had proof of business use or fly tipping they would take action. The penalty fines are £75 for leaving refuse in the street but fly tipping can result in fines of up to £50,000 or 3 years imprisonment for the worst examples. Cityclean do go through rubbish bags to see if they can find evidence of who is leaving them in the street. Generally, the comments of people at this meeting were positive towards communal bins but there were some reservations about the ugliness of them and their location. Damien said that they are spaced out if possible so that someone does not have more than one bin outside their house. They are placed on yellow lines and do not take up car parking space. A resident said that they were a hazard because they were on the yellow lines on corners. Damien said that they were some way back from the corner and not an obstruction. Leigh said he had tested this by driving a refuse lorry around and they do not prevent even a lorry of this size from operating. Chris Pepper lives in Washington Street and said how much of an improvement the bins made- you can now walk down the street with far fewer obstructions from bins and binvelopes. One resident said that communal bins might be appropriate for narrow streets such as Washington Street where there are a lot of houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) but they are not needed in all streets in the area. Leigh confirmed that there would be no changes to the service without consultation. He said that Cityclean had learnt that it was best to consult properly, so they send clear letters through the post to every household in the street and give them four weeks to respond. Then the change is only made if a majority of those residents want it. One resident asked if this meant that if someone did not want a bin outside their house, would it happen? Damien said they do consult on the position of bins and this is up to all the residents, not an individual to decide, so of course it is possible that someone will have a bin outside their home when they do not want one, but that is fairest to the majority.
Damien answered a question about cable ties being left on lamp posts, after posters had been torn down. Damien said these should be reported to Highways Enforcement: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 292056
Damien also mentioned that there would be another pilot, starting in the City Centre to replace recycling boxes with street recycling bins. Again residents would be asked if they wanted these or not.
Another question was about street sweepers only picking up some litter and not thoroughly sweeping the street. Damien explained that they are currently short of staff. On some days, staff are told just to litter-pick, but they will be expected to return on other days and carry out a full litter-pick and sweep. The Chair thanked Damien and Leigh for attending.
4. Elm Grove Parking update
Tony reported that Cllr Follett could not attend the meeting but he had sent a written report. There had been 3 working group meetings about this issue. Cllr Follett had hoped to finalise this issue after the last meeting but Christmas and new year holidays had intervened. He now hoped to meet Cllr Ian Davey later this week to resolve issues about the enforcement moratorium and subsequent actions and after that meeting he will report back to the working group and the LAT. Residents were unsure if the enforcement moratorium had lapsed. John Spoight said that Cllr Follett had agreed to send him the full legal advice and had not yet done so. Another resident felt that the interest in the working group meetings had waned because their concerns were not being addressed. Tony agreed to pass on comments to Cllr Follett and to email any forthcoming information out to all those on the mailing list.
5. Cross-LAT students meetings
Tony explained that at the next City-wide LAT Chairs meeting it would be decided if the Students in the Community working group was to become a meeting which would include all the LAT’s which have large student populations and all the colleges. If this happens then the suggestion is that each LAT is represented by one councillor and one resident. This suggestion was supported by the meeting. Two nominations were made for the resident place: Julia Pilgrim and Wilf Nicholls. Tony agreed to talk to them to see if one of them would accept this nomination.
6. Police report
PCSO Dawn Kitson mentioned the recent murder in Caledonian Court, Lewes Rd. She said that residents had wanted reassurance so there had been a very a high police presence in that area since. She also mentioned an action day coming up when the police and traffic wardens would be taking action against cars parked in the cycle lane on the Lewes Rd at the bottom of Elm Grove. She summarised reported crime by saying that theft was up, burglary up, criminal damage down and anti social behaviour up. Residents mentioned that there was a lot of graffiti and Dawn asked residents to report any to Cityclean on 292929.
7. LAT priorities survey
Tony reported that, as an experiment, officers had put a short questionnaire on the LAT website to ask what topics residents are most interested in. Just 9 people had completed it but it showed interest in the Lewes Rd cycle lane, antisocial driving, improving the “street scene”, cleanliness of streets, noise from students, night noise and pavement parking. The meeting then put forward its issues;
1. Dangerous cycling, especially without lights. Drivers said how difficult it is to see cyclists without lights on. Dawn said that the police often stop cyclists and advise them on safety.
2. Skips are sometimes on street for too long
3. Street cleanliness and the look of streets – this does matter and a lot could be done to improve the look of the streets.
Duncan asked if this survey would remain on the website and Tony agreed. So if you want to add suggestions or vote on these topics go to heglat.wordpress.com/
8. Any other business
i) Chris raised the issue of the increasing number of dormas being fitted to rooms in lofts, which can take away some of your view of the sky and some privacy. She was advised to check if people had received planning permission and that even regarding small changes to a building, close neighbours have a right to be informed.
ii) Tony handed round a questionnaire about neighbourhood councils and reported that the initial consultation on this was to end on 27th January. He explained that the council was looking to pilot two neighbourhood councils and wanted groups to come forward who might be interested in taking on devolved powers and a budget. The next consultation meeting on neighbourhood councils is Monday 23rd January 7pm – 8.30pm (tea and coffee available from 6.40pm) in the meeting room at The Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, BN1 1AF.
iii) Duncan spoke about the Friends of William Clark Park and mentioned two events: a spring event on the same day as the marathon – 15th April and the Patch Fest on 7th July.
9. Date of next meeting: The meeting agreed the following provisional dates:
- Monday 19th March
- Monday 21st May
- Monday 23 July
- Monday 17th September and
- Monday 19th November.