MINUTES of the Hanover & Elm Grove LAT meeting
2nd February 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).
Gill Perkins, Brian Ravenett, Neil Hawke, John & Gill Doherty, Kevin Mannall, Pam Chapman, Steve Chapman, Keith Newell, Dick Page, S Wellcome, Simon Elliott, Patricia Smith, Andrew Smith, James Newland, Rob Bishop, David Gibson, Annette Bell, Jane & Anna Zacharzewski, Tina Zergaeny, Nick Adams, John Stewart, Bev Barstow, Ivor Fried, Andy Hampson, Emma Daniel (Councillor), Bill Randall (Councillor),
N.B. any attendees who did not ‘sign’ the attendance list will not be recorded.
Mike Moon City Clean; Hanover Ward PCSO’s Martina Shrimpton and Janine Redman; Chris Tucken & Mark Woolford (Sussex University); Simon Bannister (B&HC) and Wilf Nicholls
2. Minutes and matters arising:
Brighton HMO Group. Post meeting revision request received from Caroline Lynch on Point 4 Minutes of HEGLAT meeting 2nd December 2014.
Revision to read:
“Caroline Lynch from the Coombe Road LAT spoke about improving cross-LAT approaches to priority issues, in particular university expansion and HMO management. An Action Group has been set up to strategically and tactically improves processes and resolutions regarding HMO issues and the impact of “studentification”.
Caroline asked that people of the HEGLAT contact the group and join the conversation:
Key points for discussion and change include:
Long Term Strategic Aims
- The universities absolutely have to take responsibility for accommodating their students while they are studying here and desist from outsourcing the costs and problems of running their businesses on local residents
- The universities need to deal with their current housing debt in the Brighton BEFORE considering expansion
- The Brighton & Hove Council must back the City Plan – Part One to only support sustainable expansion of the universities, bringing in 12,000 students in the next 4 years is NOT sustainable given the current housing crisis in Brighton
- Brighton & Hove Council and the universities must address the issues of where and how to accommodate students studying at the universities in Brighton with a long term strategic plan. It is not acceptable to keep fudging and hoping the problem will go away. Or that people will just continue to put up with the current situation.
Aims to Tackle Current Problems in Article 4 Wards
- An HMO Enforcement Team – current services for anti-social behaviour, noise, rubbish are not adequate
- A public register of HMO landlords/managing agents with full contact details, so people needing to track down a landlord can do so to report issues
- A co-ordinated complaints procedure for tackling problem HMOs across various council services
- No To Let boards in Article 4 wards whatsoever – extension for the current Regulation 7 Direction in the centre of town to all Article 4 wards
- Active legal steps to fulfil the commitment in the Student Housing Strategy 2009-2014 to reduce the over-concentrations of HMOs
- University head lease properties need to be included in Article 4 Direction thresholds
- Universities should not be able to head lease a property in contravention of Article 4
- A house cannot be sold as an HMO, must revert to C3 where concentrations are too high
- A tax on HMOs – these are not houses any more, they are businesses
- A full audit of all HMO applications to date and review of evidence of retrospection. Issues of fraud and misrepresentation to be tackled and prosecution for offenders, which the automatic loss of HMO licence
- HMO licences to be renewed annually and the renewal to be dependent on the number of complaints and their resolution. Failure to tackle complaints means the loss of HMO licence.
- Weekly recycling in Article 4 areas
- Bi-weekly rubbish collections
- Weekly litter pickers
Discussion was held between attendees of various experiences, facts and figures (e.g. about the failures of Article 4, campus issues for both Universities, people remaining in Brighton after University, the extra 5000 students Sussex have projected to be attending the university by 2018. Bill Randall offered to put lists of HMO applications and associated info. on the HEGLAT website. The current Housing Strategy consultation is also available on the Council website. David Gibson again promoted the Living Rent campaign, and Caroline has requested the FOI Act for data on all HMOs and is establishing an auto-send feature for complaints (so that complaints are automatically sent to several contacts at once).”
Other Matters arising
- Lists of HMO applications and associated information on the HEGLAT website. A check of the HEGLAT website on 2nd February revealed that this was still outstanding. Action: The Chair to contact Bill Randall to follow up the request.
- Winter Resilience & Care Scheme – A check of the HEGLAT website on 4th February revealed that this information was still outstanding.Action: The Chair to contact Simon Bannister to add information for both of these strategies to the HEGLAT website.
- Request for the room be arranged differently for the HEGLAT (in the Hanover pub). Action: Noted by the Chair.
- A summary of points from each meeting (mini-minutes) and an Agenda for the next meetings be sent out more quickly. Action: Noted by the Secretary.
3. Mike Moon City Clean
The Chair passed on apologies received from Mike Moon at city clean who had been unable to attend the meeting due to workload pressures. He had however provided a short summary of recent developments that the Chair communicated to the meeting. These included:
- Update on Industrial Action –meetings between the GMB union and the Council are on going
- Small vehicles –a number of smaller vehicles have been deployed to the area to improve the refuse service to residents.
A number of residents reported on-going problems with the frequency and irregularity of both refuse and recycling collections and that a follow up meeting with representative of City Clean would be important.
Action: The Chair agreed to re-schedule the meeting with an offer made to the City Clean management team to attend a specially convened meeting to take place at a time to suit their hours of work. The offer to host the meeting at the Hanover Centre as an alternative venue was welcomed.
- Police Report:
The Chair passed on the apologies received for this meeting from the local PCSO’s.
As there was no news to report the Chair requested information of any recent incidents that may be useful to report for follow up as part of the minutes. The following was noted:
- A telephone survey call had been received by one resident purporting to be from an agency working for the local police. The resident was unclear whether this was a genuine request.
- Cllr Daniel’s informed the meeting that a recent incident whereby a young person had been frightened by an unsupervised dog was handled very efficiently by the PCSO Officer.
No other matters were raised.
- Winter Resilience and Care Scheme:
The Chair circulated a news sheet providing further information of the Winter Resilience Snow Plan received from Simon Bannister. As well as providing useful information on the measures currently being introduced, including the use of the PepperBox as a base for operations, the meeting noted the photo competition opportunity currently being promoted to residents.
Attendees offered the following ideas on how the snow plan might be improved. These included:
- A recognition of the value of utilising social media more including the HEGLAT website, twitter and email as a means to inform and coordinate responses to emergencies caused by snow and poor weather in the area
- Establishing responses that prioritise the needs of residents in sheltered housing
- Further information on the location and procedures for filling grit bins
Action: The Chair thanked residents for the views and offered to pass the information to Simon Bannister for follow up.
- Parking Survey Update and Elm Grove:
The Chair provided an update of the aims and subsequent work of the parking sub group. The group had been formed to survey opinion on transport matters and parking in Hanover and Elm Grove. Their remit was not to encourage or discourage the introduction of CPZ’s but merely to report back on what issues mattered to residents.
The Chair circulated information to attendees on the progress to date. Initial results of the survey of 32 streets and 27 local businesses south of Elm Grove found a majority of respondents in favour of some form of parking control. It was the intention that the sub group would use the information provided through local consultation to begin to draw up a Residents Plan that it hoped would go some way to addressing the issues raised by respondents and form the basis for further discussion with the Council.
The initial proposals would create a unique Medium Touch CPZ for the Hanover area which uniquely differed from the Council’s normal Light or Heavy Touch options. The Medium Touch scheme was designed in response to resident and business feedback and to offer a higher degree of flexibility than the other schemes. If accepted it would permit visitor controlled parking between 9-10am, 1-2pm and 6-8pm whilst protecting times outside these areas for residents use.
The Chair recognised that whilst the working group had so far obtained information from the streets around Hanover, further work was needed to include the views of Elm Grove residents and particularly to the area north of Elm Grove. To that end a residents meeting had been held with Elm Grove residents on 22nd January to discuss the initial findings of the survey and to agree the next steps.
The meeting noted the progress and the following comments were received:
- Cllr Emma Daniel – thanked those involved in the work to date but provide a word of caution to residents who were considering a request to run a “Pilot” scheme. As planning enforcement and transport procedures require some time to introduce, a scheme that would include “sunset clauses” and the need for review after 6 -12 months would likely be difficult to implement and adjust quickly at a later date. She asked that residents come forward with clear plans for the way forward and note here concerns at this stage.
- Bev Barstow noted the outline proposals described the Medium Touch Scheme as operating over 7 days and queried this with the Chair. The Chair confirmed that this was an error and the information would be changed to read a request for proposals to operate Monday to Saturday.
- One resident queried whether the large amount of income being received from the CPZ’s schemes in Brighton was providing central government with the opportunity to reduce its core funding.
- Bill Randall raised the option of whether there was any possibility of creating Home Zones in areas like Carlisle Street and the surrounding streets to improve the environment for residents.
- Ivor Fried queried the hours in operation for enforcement of the scheme and whether a case could be made for extending enforcement beyond 8pm in the area so as to address particular parking issues. Further information on the Community Speed Watch initiative and raising awareness of business owner’s responsibility were also areas that could be used to improve current situation.
- Information presented to the meeting by Cllr Bill Randall and Dick Page highlighted recent steps taken by the Sussex Community HNS Trust to introduce controlled parking at its base at Brighton General Hospital (BGH) from April 2015. Attendees at meeting felt that this was likely to have further implications for residents parking in the area and were concerned that little consultation had taken place to date with local residents or with the Council on the proposals. Local opinions on parking issues were therefore likely to be affected by the outcome of the hospital’s plans.
- David Gibson thanked all volunteers for their contribution to date and further requests for volunteers to help with follow up work with Elm Grove were now being sought. He noted the financial opportunity that the Residents Plan might provide to bring some investment into the area in terms of road and street improvements. Cllr Daniel’s wanted noted that with continuing pressures on the Council’s budgets that such expectations need to be managed.
Action: The Chair thanked all present for their contributions and agreed to contact BGH to understand the operating hours and prices for the new scheme. Dick Page and Cllr Bill Randall were requested to forward copies of the correspondence received from the Trust. Information related to the work of the Parking Group would continue to be posted on the HEGLAT website for information.
- Update of Bus Services
The Chair requested that Dick Page updated the meeting on the changes and on-going problems with services in Elm Grove and Queens Park Road. He reported that since the December meeting the following actions had been taken by the B&H Bus Company:
- 21 – to address concerns of the unreliability of the service the morning schedule had been extended to the afternoon meaning a bus would now run every 15 minutes
- Plans are in place to move the 18 bus stop located outside the Hanover Pub nearer to Down Terrace
- Capital received for the integration of ticketing systems to improve functionality to recognise mobile ticketing (key cards) across service providers
- Results of the recent Bus Watch Price Survey revealed day ticket fares were more expensive than similar fares in London and Reading although monthly tickets were cheaper.
Attendees felt frustrated with the current company’s approach to resolving local issues. The main concerns noted were:
- that the new route offered by the 18 does not serve areas north of St Lukes Church.
- Continuing deterioration in the information displayed on the timing boards at bus stops
- Apparent delays in updating bus only transport information on GPS/satellite devices
Action. The Chair requested that Dick Page feedback the matters raised at the meeting to Mike Best at B&HBC and to notify him of the frustration felt by HEGLAT members at the poor quality of the services currently being provided.
- NEWS FROM FRIENDS OF WILLIAM CLARKE PARK (from Duncan Blinkhorn)
This year’s Spring in the Patch will be on Sunday 19th April, 1-6pm at William Clarke Park. There will also be a ‘Cinema in the Patch’ film screening the night before – Sat 18th Apr. Further details to follow.
A Patch (pre)Spring Clean is scheduled to be held on Sunday 15th February, 10am to 4pm. All are welcome
- Cllr Bill Randall informed the meeting that he had held several meetings recently to discuss and introduce yellow line parking controls in a number of streets including Pankhurst Estate and its junction with Elm Grove; The Edge and Islingword Place/the Stock. A further meeting had been help with residents at Whichelo Pace to try and resolve a student HMO matter. Discussions were on going.
- Grit bins – the meeting requested if more information could be obtain on grit bins and how to get these filled. Bill Randall offered to forward the email contact for information.
- Date of next meeting:
It was agreed to hold the meeting on Monday 13th April 2015 at 7.00pm, at the Hanover on Queens Park Rd.