Mintues of Meeting 1 June 2015

MINUTES of the Hanover & Elm Grove LAT meeting

1st June 2015

[All Actions to be taken from the meeting are shown throughout in bold]

Present (as recorded on attendance list):

Chris Taylor (Chair); David Hearn (Secretary); Mike Moon (City Clean); Robert Dawes; Gill & John Doherty; Gill Perkins; Paul Norman (HASL); Rob Bishop; Andy Hampson: Angele Sains; Sam Scargill; Paul Sherman; Simon Bannister; Christina Pepper; Daniel Carter; Andrew Carslake; Nick Adams; Pam & Steve Chapman; Jo Wadsworth;; Jon Speight; Helena Taylor; Sean Sherman; Mike Aiken; Adrian Darby; Peter Osborne; Paul Burman; Councillor (Cllr) Emma Daniel; Cllr David Gibson.

N.B. attendees who do not ‘sign’ the attendance list are not recorded.

1. Welcome:

The Chair welcomed all attendees and Mike Moon of City Clean.

Apologies:

Alan Stone; Wilf Nichols; Valerie Morgan; Cllr Dick Page; Ian McIntyre sent their apologies.

2. Minutes and matters arising:

Attendees accepted the minutes of 13th April 2015 without objection.

Matters Arising;

  •  Police Report – The Chair noted that once again no Police Report or presence was expected at this meeting. Simon Bannister informed those present that he understood that future Police attendance at LAT meetings in general was less likely given continuing pressures on current resources and man power budgets. In addition, a number of LATS, including London Road LAT had experienced similar difficulties in recent months and LATS were to receive details shortly from local Police representatives appraising them of the current situation.

 3. Mike Moon (City Clean) – Update on Refuse/Recycling

The Chair welcomed Mike Moon (MM) to the meeting and requested an update on current progress with refuse and recycling arrangements for HEGLAT residents.

MM responded stating that he was pleased to report that, since his last attendance, successful discussions had been held with staff representatives of City Clean and the GMB union and that all LGV drivers were now back at work. Some difficulties had been experienced in sourcing suitably sized vehicles to carry out a regular collection service for the area but now that a number of smaller vehicles had been introduced, fewer reports of non collections had been received by his team.

A new briefing document was currently being prepared for the list of new Councillors which he hoped would aid them when considering future options for the service. A broad service review was also currently taking place which was aimed at reducing the number of street operatives where possible in favour of an increase in mechanical sweep services. MM noted that where mechanical sweep was not a plausible option, as in a number of streets in the HEGLAT area, that street cleaning would continue using barrel operatives. The detail on the number, frequency and particular individual to carry out the task was still to be determined. No compulsory redundancies were being planned although a number of voluntary redundancies were likely to arise as the finer details of the agreed restructuring were worked through. MM concluded by stating that after a period of difficulty, in his view, the service was returning to normal.

The Char opened the discussion to the group. A number of relevant points were raised by residents and a summary of the points is provided below:

  • Missed Collections – Cllr Daniel noted she received regularly information that Islingword Street was the only street where problems continued in terms of frequency and consistency of collections. MM agreed to look into the matter.
  • Communal Bins – One resident enquired as to the Council’s rationale for introducing communal bins. MM replied that a number of streets (including Washington/Coleman) had previously piloted the scheme and when surveyed 83% responded positively to continuing with the service. Although the principle of surveying a whole street was questioned by some of those present, the particular feedback from those residents living beside or close to communal bins was arguably absent from the Council’s findings. MM pointed out that communal bins offered broader efficiencies in terms of less man handling issues than the traditional black bag collection service. A number of residents spoke of the continual problems with overflow, smell and general cleanliness of the communal bins and how the quality of life for those residents closest to the location of communal bins was perpetually being blighted. Cllr David Gibson suggested that where these schemes were being introduced the council should consider how much local support was being given to introducing the scheme as well as the support from those living closest to the location of the communal bins themselves. In addition consideration should be given to daily emptying of communal bins to reduce inconvenience to residents as far as possible.
  • Community Campaign – A number of residents asked whether the team had considered a Community Awareness Campaign providing information and signage on the services, collection days, how to report problems, overflow, spillage and cleanliness of bins. It was suggested that improved signage on communal bins and lampposts may help alleviate some of the problems and MM confirmed that he was happy to look into this as an area of improvement for residents.
  • Fly tipping– A number of residents also commented on the amount of fly tipping in the area. MM reported that in his experience the larger communal bins did attract a higher proportion of fly tipped materials and similar issues were experienced in other areas across the city like Park Crescent when these were introduced. He noted that since the introduction of communal bins, the overall volume of fly tipped material being recorded by the Council however, had not increased. One resident commented on the high prohibitive costs (£23) charged by KGD the Council’s outsourced provider for removing large household appliances. They asked whether this could be reduced. MM replied by stating that the service was not currently run by his team but he hoped that if the Council team was successful in tendering for the service in future that this could be addressed.
  • HMO’s and student residences – a number of residents commented on the perceived problems of students not understanding collection days and leaving refuse and recycling out on pavements for days. One resident asked whether SMS texting to students could be introduced much like the scheme developed in Oxford. MM commented that the team currently have an email list of students which they target with relevant information. As they were currently reviewing the use of social media that this idea would be taken back for suggestion. Other residents were in favour of a more coordinated approach with letting agents and landlords. By working collaboratively the Council’s ‘green cage’ vehicles could be deployed at key times at the start and end of academic years informing students of the services available for removing or disposing of unnecessary items from their houses. Ensuring that all HMO licensed properties were being monitored for compliance with the terms and conditions of the licence in terms of refuse was also raised.
  •  Enforcement – one resident asked what enforcement action was being taken by the Council to prevent obstructions to pavements. MM replied that whilst he shared the concerns being expressed, the Council’s powers to enforce actions over refuse matters had been significantly reduced in recent years. The Highways team have more robust powers but actions over refuse were generally more limited.
  • Recycling vs. Refuse – Pam Chapman questioned whether more could be done by the Council team to re-educate residents on the types of materials that could be recycled as opposed to binned simply as refuse. Better information on recycling and a refresh of signage on black boxes of what could be included for recycling would be welcomed. Sharing refuse bins was also mentioned as a possible means to reduce the volume of refuse being collected from streets.
  • Resident Initiative – Clean Up Day – Bev Barstow suggested that perhaps HEGLAT could promote or facilitate more community involvement in maintaining cleaner streets via the development of a specific street initiative like a Clean up Day. The suggestion which could be advertised in the Hanover Directory either as a street by street or are wide initiative was warmly welcomed by those present at the meeting.

Action: The Chair thanked Mike Moon for his update and all those present for their comments and suggestions. The items raised would be recorded for information and MM agreed to follow up on the concerns rasied. 

4. Police Report

The meeting noted the earlier comments (noted at Matters Arising) received from Simon Bannister regarding police resources and requested that in future a written report setting out any particular concerns and a summary of relevant statistics form the basis of a Police update at future HEGLAT meetings. In addition those present requested an open invitation be extended to local Police representatives on the impact that implementing modern community policing methods would have in the area. Details of the current priorities for the area can be found on the HEGLAT website.

Action: The Chair to follow up with a request for a written summary of Police matters that could be relayed at each subsequent meeting as an update for residents. In addition the Chair to extend an open invite to the Police for a date on which to attend the meeting and outline any particular developments that may affect policing matters in the area.

Parking Survey update and proposal for representation to Transport, Environment and Sustainability (TES) Committee in July.

The Chair provided an update on progress that included a short background to the work of the Parking sub group and the findings of the street surveys received to date. Following a lull in progress on account of local elections, the forthcoming meeting of TES Committee represented an ideal opportunity for representatives of HEGLAT to approach the Council with a request for them to consider carrying out more detailed research based on HEGLAT’s findings. The Chair confirmed that a lot of background research had been undertaken and meetings had previously been held with Labour and Green Councillors as well as Council Officers. The feedback to the outline being proposed had been positively received.

The Chair now felt it appropriate to bring forward draft wording of two statements for consideration and approval by those present at the meeting with the intention that the preferred statement would be presented to the TES Committee in July.

Background

The Chair explained that whilst work was continuing to gather data from the streets to the north and east of Elm Grove, preliminary discussions with residents on Hanover and businesses in the area confirmed that, despite a limited number of streets where parking controls would cause more problems than benefits, some form of controlled parking was a preferred choice for a majority of residents. Whilst the finer detail of a full scheme had still to be determined, the Chair felt that the detailed work to date had identified a range of issues which could be worked up with Council Officers and HEGLAT representatives should the Council choose to pursue a fuller public consultation in the area.

The Chair pointed out that early indications were that a Medium Touch proposal had been preferred by Hanover residents with a Light Touch scheme preferable for Elm Grove area. The Medium Touch proposal if developed would restrict parking at three times during the day – 10am-11am, 2pm-3pm and between 7pm-8pm and operate over 6 days (Monday-Saturday). The thinking had evolved to include free parking (30 mins duration) to encourage visitors, floating permits for businesses with more than one fleet vehicle, pay and play bays where practical.

Further details of the Medium Touch proposal developed for parts of Hanover and presented can be found on the HEGLAT website

Cllr David Gibson paid tribute to the commitment and work completed so far by Chris Taylor as Chair of HEGLAT. His tribute was widely supported by those present. Cllr Gibson added that the work to date had outlined the key principles of a resident’s scheme and the next stage would provide residents with the opportunity to work up the specific details of the scheme with Council officers. To this end he encouraged those with specific ideas to come forward and share these with current members of the Parking sub group.

On a more sobering note, John Speight provided the meeting with information on a High Court ruling which found the London Borough of Barnet’s increase to charges across controlled parking zones (CPZs) used in order to pay for other transport projects to be unlawful. The Court ruling found the price increase levied by the Council after 5 years of a price freeze was illegal and it ordered the Council to refund residents. A petition to urge the Council to accept and not to appeal the High Court ruling attracted 1,105 signatures. £2m was eventually paid back to residents by the Council.

Cllr. Emma Daniel commented that with increasing budgetary pressures that, although it was a blunt instrument, it was her belief that Council’s would continue to rely on revenue from parking charges to determine their general funds for transport. The case in Barnet provided the Council with some important learning points and she thanked John for bringing the matter to her and HEGLAT’s attention.

Those present at the meeting noted the progress and the following comments were received:

  • Bev Barstow queried the requirement for a Medium Touch scheme from the outset in Hanover suggesting instead that a Light Touch scheme be introduced initially with a move to Medium Touch if the Lighter Touch scheme provide ineffective. The Chair reminded Bev that the benefits between Medium Touch and Light touch had been debated a significant number of times in the Parking sub group meetings. With no further comments received the Chair moved that those present should now consider the statements before them.

Voting and Approvals

The statements for consideration and approval (printed and made available on the reverse side of the meeting agenda) were as follows.

Statement 1

“As the result of the transport and parking survey undertaken by residents via Hanover & Elm Grove Local Action Team (HEGLAT), with 1101 surveys returned, we the residents, now ask Brighton & Hove City Council to undertake the development of a mutually agreed proposal. This is to be followed by a consultation on a Controlled Parking Zone in the area, based on the Community Parking Plan as devised and proposed by the residents and HEGLAT. This Community Parking Plan having already been discussed with, and positively and constructively received by council officers and councillors in meetings prior to this representation.”

Statement 2

“As the result of the transport and parking survey undertaken by residents via Hanover & Elm Grove Local Action Team (HEGLAT), with 1101 surveys returned, we the residents, now ask Brighton & Hove City Council to undertake the development of a mutually agreed proposal. This is to be followed by a consultation on a Controlled Parking Zone in the area, based on the Community Parking Plan as devised and proposed by the residents and HEGLAT. The outline of this Community Parking Plan having already been discussed with, and positively and constructively received by council officers and councillors in meetings prior to this representation.”

Approval was indicated by a show of hands For and Against the statement.

Votes Statement 1 Statement 2
In favour 21 23
Against 2 2
Total Votes cast 23 25
Abstentions 2 0
Total Eligible to Vote 25 25

The Secretary confirmed that by a show of hands Statement 2 was the preferred choice and it was subsequently approved.

Action: The Chair thanked all present for their contributions and agreed to update the HEGLAT web site with the results of the vote held at the meeting. Members of the Parking sub group would now meet to continue their plan for surveying the remaining streets. Feedback from the outcome of the TES meeting would be reported at the next meeting.

Bus Update:

Dick Page had forwarded details confirming that key cards were now usable on all buses including the 37b (run by Compass buses)

Buswatch – the forthcoming meeting of Buswatch would be held on Wednesday 15th July at 5.15pm in Brighton Town Hall. Residents seeking to attend should notify their intent by emailing brightonbuswatch@gmail.com or by telephoning 01273 323075.

37b – one resident raised the frequency of the 37b currently which ran hourly but did not operate in the evenings, weekends or on public holidays.

Cllr Daniel acknowledged that all political parties were aware of the limited duration of certain bus services but that current budgetary pressures meant that the Council was being asked to prioritise its funding. As a result not all services could be fully supported or funding extended.

A suggestion to perhaps re-route one of the other local services to pick up certain parts of the 37B route be explored to provide some form of skeleton service.

Cllr David Gibson suggested that perhaps an approach could be made to B&H buses for them to comment and consider the suggestion.

Action: The Chair to note the particular issues associated with the 37B and to approach B&H buses for comment.

7. AOB:

The Chair reported the following items for residents to information.

  •  Heavy Metal festival at Brighton Racecourse Saturday 26th (Tickets £25). Possible noise.
  • Consideration being given to collaboration with other local groups/organisations to discuss mutually compatible issues. Groups include HASL, HEGLAT, The Patch Group, HCA and Queens Park Residents Association as a united voice on some issues. The Chair to contact representatives of these groups to discuss options and possibilities. Paul Norman (HASL) suggested that each group could help develop collaboration by sharing signposts to each other’s website. SB commented that details of a number of groups could be found under the Safe in the City Partnership banner within the Council’s website.
  • To Let signs – Ben Tinkler has contacted HEGLAT to inform them that a number of To Let signs on Islingword Road had been up for about 4 years. The properties at 57 and 66 were being advertised by Kendrick and Pavilion respectively. Currently To Let signs need to be removed after 2 weeks. Residents spotting breaches should report matters to the Council’s planning team for information.
  • Annie Heath HEGLAT’s Vice Chair has tendered her resignation. As Annie also provided support for the group on social media for both Twitter and the HEGLAT website, the Chair was actively searching for suitable replacements. Residents wishing to put themselves forward for consideration as either Deputy Chair or to help with social media should contact the Chair in the first instance. The offer to display a notice advertising the opportunities at the Hanover Community Association was warmly received.

The meeting ended at 8.55pm.

8. Date of next meeting:

It was agreed to hold the meeting on Monday 20th June at 7.00pm, at the Hanover Pub on Queens Park Rd.

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