Minutes of the Hanover and Elm Grove LAT meeting of 3rd February 2014
Present (as recorded on attendance list): Chris Taylor (Chaired the meeting), Hannah Booth (Secretary), Bill Randall (Councillor), PCSO Dawn Kitson & PC Paul Leatham (Sussex Police NPT), Mark Woolford (Sussex Uni. Housing Assistant), Richard Roalfe (University of Brighton), Christina Pepper (Washington St.), Brian Ravenett (Beaufort Terrace), Angela Sains, Wilf Nicholls, Roz Engelheart, Ian Macintyre, John Speight, Bev Barstow, Ian Macintyre, Chris Kosuqi, Gill Perkins, D. Bates, Andrew Smith, Patricia Smith, Les Glaskin, Andy Cresswell, Trevor Wilkonson, Dick Page, Patrick Goudy, Jon Simmons, Annette Kane, Mark Lane, Gail Edwards, Chris Jones and Sue Hutton (Coombe Road LAT).
Apologies: Mark Strong, Emma Daniel (Councillor) and John & Sally Holmes (Hanover Terrace). No other official absence apologies reported.
1. Minutes and matters arising: Speakers/representatives at the last meeting (Owen McElroy and Austen Hunter) were reported to have been pleased with the proposed parking survey which the meeting had discussed. It was reported that a survey has been put on the HEGLAT website, via WordPress, to gain feelings of LATs across the city; people were encouraged to complete this survey so as to assess how and what LATs are doing and any effects of their work.
There is also now a regular section of HEGLAT dates and summary of/where to find minutes in the Hanover Directory magazine.
81 Bus Route: There was to be a public meeting regarding the changes to this and other routes (#20 & 21) at St. Luke’s Church on Monday 10th February. It was felt that information about this meeting had been “sketchy”. Chris Taylor agreed to contact the B&H bus company to ensure that all meetings such as this are better advertised to ensure all interested parties are more aware and involved.
2. Parking & Transport Survey: The working group updated the meeting on the progress of the trial survey discussed at the last meeting; people’s feedback had been responded to and some options within the survey had been duly edited or reduced. There are now 10 specific questions on parking/traffic and 2/3 questions about the area in general. It is proposed that a ‘trial run’ of 6 streets is held, including Belgrave St., Bonchurch Rd., Lincoln St., Hanover St. and Pankhurst Ave. Volunteers will be required to conduct this trial survey and Chris asked that people let him know – a list will be presented at the next meeting. It is hoped that some local-council funding will be available for the survey.
It is estimated that approximately 6-7,000 paper copies of the survey will be distributed and computer software will be used to help pull through results and responses, in order for us to have an overview of numbers of car owners, cars, feelings on the current parking situation etc. David Gibson suggested that we try and arrange a date/day of the week for people to get together and conduct the survey as a team, possibly on a Sunday?
Wilf asked about whether the survey would be able to identify vehicles registered at local addresses but not necessarily owned by residents, as well as commercial vehicles vs. private use; Chris explained issues surrounding this problem and with registration itself (V5 document) and said that it is hoped these issues will be reflected in the survey. David Gibson also asked about whether the previously proposed option of using a ‘car-sticker’ system was still going to be considered, which Chris agreed it will be. Bev Barstow raised a query about one proposed survey question in particular and Chris asked that everyone’s queries of this type were raised in full at the working group meeting (of which Bev is a part). He also mentioned that getting views from people in other areas across the city and on the periphery of Hanover is important and ideally needs to be done.
The date(s) of the next parking working group meeting will be put on the HEGLAT website for people’s information.
3. University Expansion & Student Housing – Charles Dudley: Speaker Charles Dudley represented Sussex University’s expansion plans and conducted a presentation for the meeting. The presentation is available on PowerPoint and Charles welcomed people to the campus if they wanted further information at any point in the future.
Charles Dudley’s presentation covered:
- Falmer Campus considered ‘outstanding’
- The University’s ‘master plan’ agreed by B&H Council in 2004
- Many proposed developments already complete (including Jubilee Building, 1,100 new beds in North Field area, new teaching blocks)
- Plans since 2004 have been updated and new submission recently in
A map of the campus was considered showing further expansion sites
- The University always follows full Planning Application guidelines and Council & city resident opinions/agreements are always necessary
- Special architecture of the site is to be retained at all costs
- ‘Master plan’ features are preserved in the new proposals (including building height never being ‘above’ the Downs, Downs to be seen from all areas of campus, planting & protection of trees, 1960’s architects B. Spence & Sylvia Crow guiding plans)
- Features of the new developments displayed & discussed
Numbers of extra beds: 250 South/Swanborough, 600 East Belt, 2,000+ at Brighthelm, 1,000 West slope – a total of 2,500+ new beds at Falmer Campus
- Car parking planned for areas on the edges of residential & study sites
Teaching blocks, laboratories and buildings (particularly the Science section) also to be improved/adapted
- New childcare centre 100+ places
- The University generates a £200million turnover per year and provides jobs, aids economy and builds connections
The meeting then responded to Charles’ presentation, asking questions and discussing points raised. Statistics were queried – particularly about the increase in student numbers:
- 13,500 current first-year students will rise to 18,000 (4,500+ increase)
- An estimated 20% of intake year students do not require University accommodation
The University is confident that it will be able to provide the required accommodation, including with new London Rd. and Pelham St. sites
- If and when this 2014 updated ‘master plan’ is accepted and work has begun, future plans will see another 2,000+ beds built on the East side of campus
The increasing number of students living in shared private accommodation across the city (particularly Hanover & Bevendean amongst other high-density student-populated areas) is still considered a problem even currently and was debated at length. Many residents offered examples of changes in local housing (Coombe Rd. given as recent example) where homes have become 6-bed+ student properties, all of which bring a host of problems such including additional cars, lack of knowledge about refuse collections and neighbourhood living, noise and anti-social behaviour issues, general over-crowding and so on. Family communities are affected and reduced; schools have been affected. People generally feel that the Council has let them down, taxes are high but services are worsening and being diminished (refuse collection, bus services and local businesses all suffering).
Wilf, Bill Randall, Mark Woolford amongst others all again questioned the effectiveness of Article 4 and HMO licensing. It was pointed out that for many of our areas/streets Article 4 is now “retrospective” and won’t have any effect because there are ALREADY over 50/60/70% HMOs. Many felt that the University should be taking much more responsibility for the views of city communities on local housing and the fact that local areas have irrevocably changed for the worse, at least in part due to student numbers.
Wilf asked if the University could use some of its “economic might” to work with landlords more responsibly, questioning who would take responsibility and work with the Council effectively to find solutions?
Bill Randall reported that 5,000+ ‘family houses’ are currently known to be occupied by students and will only increase further; since the coalition government, council funding for new/improved housing has virtually disappeared after huge cuts. He questioned the University’s ability to accommodate all future students (known 4,500+ increased student intake for 2014-15 and beyond vs. available city housing). So-called ‘affordable living’ has been negated by rising rents and living costs (27+% rise to date), causing homelessness and over-crowding.
The work of Mark Woolford was acknowledged, although the University was still criticized in general for needing to be more responsible and pro-active in local issues. Mark reiterated the steps local people can take if they have issues with student housing in their area (contacting him and the Uni. Housing dept.). Angela Sains also advocated dealing with things directly and also “keeping at it” – ring 101, noise patrol, knock on student’s doors and talk to them, keep a record of incidents and reports.
Agreed actions to come out of Charles’ presentation and the discussion of all at the meeting with regards to student accommodation issues:
- Charles Dudley offered to consider collaborating/arranging a meeting with a Working Party (to be potentially developed via the HEGLAT – Chris to follow up) to specifically consider issues raised
- Charles also welcomed further dialogue with HEGLAT and a new Working Party etc. to open further lines of communication
- David Gibson introduced the ‘Living Rent’ programme for people’s consideration and potential involvement/backing
- Bill Randall reiterated that proposals have been taken to B&H Council with regards to housing problems, including proposing that Estate Agents take more responsibility for properties, suggestions of Agency plaques on houses (agreed by Mark Woolford and others as a possible positive step, but also met with some concerns about ‘displaying’ student properties and ‘advertising’ areas as student areas) etc.
- David Gibson will talk with Bill Randall about issues and also use the Hanover Directory to put out more figures and information on HMOs, alongside ‘tips’ and points to help and advise residents.
4. Police report: PCSO Janine mentioned that there had been a spate of car damage in the Hartington Rd. area and a letter-drop had been done. Wilf and Bev did mention that there had been some car crime (van broken into) in Elm Grove and the PCSOs agreed to look into this. Janine reported that there was no other news as such. There had been no further incidents from the previous ‘claw-hammer man’ in the Elm Grove area but she will try to get more information by way of update at the next meeting.
PCSO Martha Shrimpton (?) hadn’t been able to make it to the meeting but had taken over from Dawn and will be at future meetings.
5. A.O.B: Wilf and Bev raised points about the Elm Grove parking enforcement situation: there had been over 1,600 signatures on the petition to postpone enforcements and yet plans went ahead; there has still been no response from the Council and many people are despairing of the way such concerns are dealt with. Continuing to put pressure on the Council was encouraged – plans have also included requesting that capital/revenue made from enforcements should be made available for local issues, as well as reflecting the HEGLAT surveys and proposals – further news TBC.
6. Date of next meeting: It was agreed to hold the next meeting on Monday 7th April 2014, 7:00pm at The Hanover.
7. Contact details: PCSO contact details: Janine.Redman@sussex.PNN.Police.uk
Mark Woolford: M.A.Woolford@sussex.ac.uk
Sussex University Accommodation
Richard Roalfe: R.A.Roalfe@brighton.ac.uk
Brighton University – Phoenix Halls – 01273 230949
Christopher Tucker firstname.lastname@example.org
Sussex University Accommodation
Owen McElroy email@example.com
Council Transport Planning
Austen Hunter firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Parking Enforcement & Transport
To report anti social driving go to: http://www.operationcrackdown.org
To keep in touch with issues discussed at the HEGLAT please visit the website: https://heglat.wordpress.com/