Meeting Minutes March 2012

Minutes of the Hanover and Elm Grove Local Action Team (LAT) held on Monday 19th March 2012 at the Hanover, Queens Road.

Present: Cllr Liz Wakefield (Chair), Cllr Matt Follett, Liz Holman (Planning), Martin Reid and Mike Slagter (Housing Strategy), Keith Baldock (Road Safety), PCSO Dawn Kiston and PCSO Alena Martauzova, Brian Ravenett, Anna Hunter, Carol Deards, G. Hughes, Martin Lee, Angela Sains, Deborah Fitzgerald, John Woolerton, Connie Wille, Patricia Smith, Andrew Smith, Catherine Manson, John Figgins, Christina Pepper, Simon Bannister and Tony Baker (Environment Improvements).

Apologies: Cllr Bill Randall, Neil and Mary Hawke, Steve Chapman and Jon Simmonds.

1. Matters arising from the previous meeting

Brian raised the issue of the telephone mast at Beaufort Terrace. Liz Hobden said they have 6 months to appeal against the refusal.

A resident asked about the communal bins in Washington Street. Liz Wakefield said that she had spoken to three residents and they thought the communal bins were an improvement. Christina Pepper said that the communal bins had transformed the street. Matt explained how they had worked elsewhere and he was keen to see them rolled out across Hanover. Tony reported that Damien Marmura from Cityclean had requested to attend the next LAT meeting because by then he hoped that letters would be going out to the other streets in Hanover, asking if they wanted communal bins.

2. Elm Grove Pavement Parking

Matt reported that he had been working with a group of residents looking at this issue. Funds have been identified and the next stage is to look at a scheme which officers had come up with which would improve parking and improve the area generally for everyone. He announced that the next working group meeting would be at 7pm on Tuesday 27th March at Elm Grove School. Simon agreed to put the details on the blog site https://heglat.wordpress.com/ and to email those who had attended previous meetings.

3. Hanover Street Focus

Tony explained that the previous LAT meeting had prioritised the appearance of Hanover Streets, so he and Simon had asked residents to help with a street audit and this had been carried out. Most of the results were in and he circulated these to the meeting. He explained that the idea is to get Cityclean to spend a day on carrying out the listed tasks and there seemed to be some interest from residents in doing some litter picking themselves. The meeting also seemed interested in the idea of Hanover in Bloom or at least a new version of that which would be about planting up window boxes and planters in a very sustainable way. Action: Tony will call a meeting and see if a small group will come together to move this forward.

Christina suggested we might get some interest at the seed give away coming up on 1st April at the Hanover Centre. Brian mentioned that graffiti is a big problem and John suggested a graffiti wall might be established to give local young people an opportunity to do some wall art without “tagging” people’s houses. Action: Tony will invite the graffiti officer to the next meeting.

There was then a long discussion about students led by Catherine and the meeting reassured her that everyone accepted that it is only a minority of people, some of whom are students, who cause problems, but it was also clear that many people do suffer from severe noise disturbance, rubbish in the streets etc and some of this is attributable to students. Another student said that one of the things that residents could do is to be friendly with their student neighbours when they move in. This would reduce potential problems. If they do not acknowledge them, and then a problem arises, relations are unlikely to improve.

4. Houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s)

Martin Read talked about the role that licencing could play in improving the way HMO’s are managed and this would be retrospective in that it would apply to existing HMO’s as well as any new ones. He invited those present to either complete written questionnaires or complete them on-line. This consultation ends on and 31st March. Go to the Council’s website and onto the consultation portal. Matt urged people to respond.

Liz Hobden gave out maps of where the HMO’s are in Hanover and Elm Grove and explained the Article 4 directive which is about to be formally consulted on. Again she asked that people respond to this consultation – see the Council website. This cannot reduce the number of HMO’s but it could reduce the proliferation of HMO’s in areas which already have a large number. The Council is also hoping to encourage the development of new purpose built student accommodation at Pelham St, Varley Halls, Circus St and Preston Barracks.

There followed a lengthy discussion. A landlord present did not think good landlords should suffer because of the poor ones. One question was about rents- could they be held down? The answer was that it is supply and demand that sets rent levels and demand is high. Alena said that students are not given enough information by their landlords or lettings agencies about what is required when they live independently and Action: Liz Wakefield will look into what information the Universities provide to students.

5. Road Safety

Keith Baldock explained that he has funding to try to reduce accidents in the Lewes Road corridor. He explained that the causes of accidents in this area tend to be “look but did not see” rather than say speed or alcohol.  He would like people’s ideas on how to get messages across. Liz suggested events where he encourages people to identify dangerous crossings. One resident said that “look out for bikes” signs at junctions are effective.

Other questions were about poor driving and Keith advised people to report incidents (must include registration numbers) to Operation Crackdown: http://webcontact.sussex.police.uk/

6. Police report

Dawn reported that she had been involved in actions to deal with cyclists not using lights at night. Her latest advice was that with the better weather, people should remember that burglars can get in open windows. Damage to cars is another ongoing problem and it might be best to fold in mirrors as quite a few are broken off. In answer to a question about leafleting to remind people about burglary, she said that she does not have time to leaflet the whole area to warn about burglary, but she does do it where she can. Brian suggested an article in Hanover News. Alena reported on Lewes Road cycle lane targeting obstruction and how difficult this is. Cyclists are pushed into the centre of the road. Sometimes cars block buses getting through but it is a juggling match with lorries unloading.

Priorities: this came up at the end of a long meeting so the discussion was hurried. Simon reported on the range of issues that had been put on the blog site and the meeting re-confirmed its previous priorities of dangerous cycling, skips present for too long and the cleanliness and look of streets. Brian noted that it is difficult to know when a skip has been there too long.

7. Any other business – there was no time for this item.

8. Date of next meetings: (all at the Hanover at 7pm)

Monday 21st May

Monday 23 July

Monday 17th September and

Monday 19th November.

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