Minutes of the Hanover & Elm Grove LAT meeting of 2nd June 2014
Present (as recorded on attendance list):
Chris Taylor (Chair), Hannah Booth (Secretary), Mike Moon (BHCC), Owen McElroy (BHCC), Gill Perkins (Hanover Street), Brian Ravenett (Beaufort Terrace), Andy Cresswell, Patricia Smith, Andrew Smith (Hanover Terrace), Cllr. Emma Daniel (HEG), Ian MacIntyre (Belgrave Street), Dick Page (Southover Street), Daniel Osmond (Coleman Street), Christina Pepper (Washington Street), Gillian Fleming (Hanover St.), John Pomeroy (Montreal Rd.), Simon Elliott (Belgrave St.), Bill Randall (Cllr.), Mark Lane, Mark Woolford (Uni. of Sussex), Andrew Keefe (Uni. Of Brighton), James Hewland, Deanna O’Keefe, Annie Heath, David Gibson, Daniel Carter, Simon Bannister
Apologies: Liz Wakefield (Cllr.), Janine Redman (PCSO), Paul Leatham (PCSO), Pam & Steve Chapman (Southampton St.), Richard Roalfe (Phoenix Halls)
1. Minutes and matters arising
Previous minutes were approved with the following points raised in recognition of actions:
- No opportunity to get-together with Charles Dudley of Sussex University as yet; a rep. is still required from the HEGLAT – the Chair asked for interested parties to come forward ASAP to act as representative for HEGLAT
- The Chair is looking into road markings on Ewart St./Islingword Rd. junction – an e-mail was received from Cathy Digman stating that the markings are to be re-done but nothing has happened as yet
- Bus route changes are still affecting Queens park area in particular; Dick Page is liaising with Bus Watch
- Dick Page also mentioned obstructive parking in Arnold St. amongst others (as addendum to last AOBs) and he will be continuing to pursue authorities with regards to potential solutions
2. Guest Speaker Mike Moon (City Clean) – Refuse & Recycling update
Mike Moon presented the changes that City Clean had been through in the past year (2013-14) and discussed how those changes had affected services, namely:
- lack of collections during bad weather/snow Feb/Mar 2013
- workforce strike action May/June 2013
- new rounds introduced Oct 2013
- company action post-strike involving Council changes to worker allowances
- lack of equal pay across the workforce
- issues with post-Xmas collections, Bank Holidays etc. and voluntary workers
- requirements to re-design rounds, routes and collection days badly handled
Mike stated that City Clean admits to failures in terms of “getting the initial set of round changes right”. Workforce members were not properly consulted therefore local knowledge was not taken into account when rounds were hurriedly re-designed. The whole city was indeed affected by non-collections this year with the 2013-14 Christmas period presenting particular problems, exacerbated by a lack of volunteers (on which such rounds rely) due to lower pay.
The continuing, current problems in Hanover are being attributed to 2 issues:
- Access – parking problems mean that refuse and recycling vehicles often cannot get down streets
- Vehicles – old-design vehicles have always been used in Hanover as they are narrower in wheel-base width, however these break down regularly and take time to repair due to required industry regulations; new vehicles now used in other areas of the city cannot get down many Hanover streets (linking with parking/access problems)
Positive actions currently being undertaken by City Clean include:
- New members joining workforce
- Colleagues at City Clean in conversation with council with regards to road markings, lines, parking regulations etc.
- The Contact Centre team meet regularly (daily if difficulties arise)
- Residents are being encouraged to call/e-mail the Contact Centre
- Past criticism regarding lack of communication is being addressed
- Weekly meetings are now being chaired by the overall Manager
- Lessons have been learnt about making round changes, i.e. consulting in full
- Issues still being focussed on include Xmas, Saturdays, Bank Holidays
- Improved communications systems between drivers and Contact Centre
- On-road problems can be better discussed as soon as vehicles encounter problems
- Stats. were given: cost of each new vehicle £160-180,000, 25,000 houses visited daily for refuse, 14,000 daily for recycling, workforce of 118 vehicle staff, 179 street cleaning staff, all working 05:00-22:00 365 days per year
Discussions/responses from the floor included (Ian McIntyre) talking directly to street cleaners who stated feeling demoralised by the council and City Clean managers, giving impression of unfair corporate negotiations. Mike Moon responded that pay concerns were often “untrue”; figures given by the GMB didn’t match (GMB’s quote of £4,000 loss to staff) and this quote was not from City Clean; no staff lost money although there were additional hours for the workforce and shift allowances were reduced; negotiations were about equal pay.
It is felt that the changes implemented by City Clean have had time to take effect positively; round changes have been dealt with and so on. City Clean’s remaining concern is vehicle issues (new chassis design prevents new ‘narrow’ trucks; weight and turning circle being looked in to).
Some positive comments were made (Brian Ravenett, Emma Daniel) that rounds do seem to have improved and less complaint e-mails are being received.
Further concerns, however, were raised (Emma Daniel, Bill Randall) about recycling issues – people taking recycling elsewhere as it isn’t collected regularly enough (Mike asked that Emma forward any information on recycling issues to him to be dealt with/considered). Differing treatment of streets was raised (David Gibson) where some streets seem have been told they will get communal recycling bins, other areas have weekly recycling, and some street lampposts still display incorrect collection information. Bill mentioned several streets down which it is impossible for vehicles to access. Bill also suggested that perhaps City Clean workers could develop and issue “friendly advice stickers” to place on badly parked vehicles which block roads.
Mike offered to return, or send another City Clean rep., to future LAT meetings with further improvements/updates to services. One point made was that the company’s approach was to prioritise vehicle and refuse issues over recycling.
Other points of concern raised by the floor and discussed included:
- Binvelopes not working as a solution – stopped being officially issued in 2010 – but no alternative solution provided yet
- Communal bins on ‘trial’ streets are still attracting a huge amount of fly-tipping by residents of other streets, builders, visitors; communal bins are still an issue city-wide, refuse regularly spread across streets etc.
- Refuse rounds and changes are still a problem for some and perhaps need further consultation.
Chris (Chair) will arrange for a future visit from Mike or his colleagues, perhaps for October HEGLAT.
3. Student Housing and other Issues:
Mark Woolford spoke about the current issues with student housing and HMOs. Bill Randall asked about a property he had seen on Bernard Rd. without planning permission (conservatory erected/HMO status). Mark asked Bill to send him details of this property and any others that are of concern.
Andy Keefe summarised the actions that the Universities take with regards to students who cause problems in the local area (contact and visits usually work well and solve issues):
- Contact students by e-mail or other depending on issue
- Send letters regarding noise
- Visit housing sites and explain issues and sanctions to students
- Discuss action by Uni., making judgements on how the Uni. is affected
- Issue verbal warnings which go on record
- Escalate (on rare occasions) with Heads of School insisting on disciplinary action, and other possible sanctions put in place by the Dean
Andy Keefe explained that in his experience there are very few ‘”really bad” students, among over 30,000 students between the two Universities. He emphasised that not all students and their properties are of concern or troublesome, although some from the floor (Gill) mentioned cases of neighbours/long-term residents (Hanover Street etc.) having moved away due to increase in student properties in Hanover, and asked (John) about how to deal with privately rented properties/residents.
Andy advised that they are still given warnings by the Universities if reported, informed about housing rights, property assessment can be requested, and also many properties are classed below standard and students themselves can challenge landlords regarding this but may not have confidence or knowledge. Mark Woolford added that many of these issues are related to issues of HMO licensing.
Bill Randall mentioned council meetings that are still being held with regards to HMOs, planning permission, use and effectiveness of Article 4, saturation issues and ways to prevent an increase in HMOs. Christine reported that residents of Washington St. took the opportunity of organising a street party (to be held 12th October TBA) to canvas houses, allowing them to speak to residents and ascertain to some degree how many houses were HMOs; of 70 houses 23-25 are registered, but there were many more shared residencies which are not listed as licensed. It was agreed that this may be a good way of finding out about unregistered and registered HMOs and all streets could knock door-to-door, which has proved a positive way of talking to neighbours. It was also suggested (Simon) that Universities should own/rent more properties, although Andy pointed out the logistical problems of this.
4. Parking & Transport Survey:
The Chair reported that the pilot survey was successful; information was distributed amongst the meeting including some early statistics from the 5 areas/streets surveyed. Figures already show that due to CPZ pressures to the south of Southover Street/Albion Hill and vehicles encroaching into Hanover, there now seem to be more residents in favour of some sort of CPZ elsewhere in Hanover. Opinions remain divided however, particularly in central Hanover, and nearer Elm Grove residents are firmly against a CPZ.
In terms of registered vehicles, those in upper Hanover are in the majority registered at local residents’ properties, but the figures fall lower down the area with more unregistered (officially registered elsewhere) vehicles. Figures show big differences between family properties further up the hill and HMOs. Response rate from the survey was approx. 65%. Timing also proved to be of concern in that it is hardest to park between 17:00 – 20:00 on weekdays; many residents favour potential ‘light-touch’ CPZ options.
Bus use is higher from residents in upper Hanover and residents here showed more concern regarding changes to bus routes. Newly painted double-yellow lines were also mentioned in discussion (Bill and Brian) and it was noted that these are to improve manoeuvrability of refuse vehicles etc. and do seem to be working.
Another meeting of the HEGLAT parking group is being planned to assess all results/opinions in full. David Gibson commented on the positivity of and confidence in the survey and it being a “boost” for the HEGLAT; he requested that feedback reports be given back to residents and offered to action this. Also mentioned was the need to survey streets near Lincoln St. (Carlyle Rd., Howard Rd., Cobden Rd. etc.) and asked for volunteers to assist with this.
Owen McElroy then discussed some of the points raised from and by the survey thus far, reminding the meeting of previous council consults (2008-9) and that city-wide ‘light-touch’ CPZ schemes haven’t really worked as they “don’t cure displacement” or allow for disabled permit holders, clinics etc. There are also issues with rules for parking, traffic regulations, road widths, policies and legislation, meaning that the council views full CPZ schemes as “more flexible” in the long run.
David Gibson commented that the HEGLAT’s intentions were to develop potential solutions which were within policy remits but that were community led, looking carefully at reasonable boundaries, a variety of approaches for different streets etc. and officially putting ideas and survey results to political party representatives. There was further discussion from the floor (Dick, Bev, Bill) including examples of people abusing ‘free’ parking in Hanover, such as car dealers etc. and suggestions included introducing white lines in certain roads.
5. Bus Routes:
Changes to bus routes, particularly the #81 route, were discussed and there are still many concerns; leaflets are still available if people require information. Dick Page informed the meeting of ‘Bus Watch’ and a potential meeting to be scheduled soon (Dick will attend and update the HEGLAT). Others (Brian, John, Annie) raised concerns over more route changes, service disruption and altered services (#18, the London Road stopping areas not used enough, badly designed new routes etc.) Emma Daniel mentioned that the bus company did agree a full review and route-testing (TBC); as yet many people haven’t had the opportunity to give opinions.
6. State of Play HMO’s:
A revealing report has been issued looking into HMOs – Bill reminded the meeting that everyone needs to be proactive and inform the council of questionable properties and unregistered HMOs. He is working closely with landlords and conducting further research.
Chris (Chair) read out an e-mail he had received, as had other meeting members, advertising a “course” in London for people wanting to turn properties into HMOs for financial gain. David Gibson again reminded the meeting of the Living Rent campaign and urged people to take part in a petition and to attend meetings to be held shortly, including a meeting at the Brighthelm centre (July 10th) – feedback to be given at the next HEGLAT.
7. Police Report:
In the absence of local representatives no report was given and no reports of incidents were raised in the meeting.
8. Priorities for HEGLAT:
The Chair mentioned that previous items were being considered and requested that anyone interested in feedback thus far ask him directly for details.
The following items were noted at the previous HEGLAT:
- Events/ Actions that nurture greater community spirit & neighbourliness –
Examples suggested of small street parties, Hanover Day and the Big Lunch (developed by the Eden Project) planned as a National Day in June
- Encourage Participation in Health – raised by Mike Aiken (Patient Participation Lead) keen to discuss the overlap between health and transport and author of recent article in the Hanover Directory.
- Simon Bannister suggested three areas remained important; refuse, recycling and burglary.
Twitter & Facebook – Emma Daniel asked if anyone was interested in and able to take the lead on these social media areas for the HEGLAT. Simon Bannister offered to give information, passwords etc. for these existing but under-used accounts – Annie Heath offered to take up this role and will now update Twitter and Facebook.
Tesco bid & liquor licence – Bill mentioned the bid for a Tesco to take over the old second-hand furniture store on Lewes Rd. and that there was to be a petition against it having a liquor licence – he urged as many people as possible to sign the petition against this licence, going online on Tuesday 3rd July.
10. Date of next meeting
It was agreed to hold the meeting on Monday 4th August 2014 at 7.00pm at the Hanover.
PCSO contact details:Janine.Redman@sussex.PNN.Police.uk
Sussex University Accommodation
Brighton University – Phoenix Halls – 01273 230949
Sussex University Accommodation
Council Transport Planning
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/