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Minutes of the 13 September 2005 Community Meeting

1. Adam Jones (CMPCA Treasurer, and Chair for the evening) welcomed an excellent turnout of local residents. He described the origins and purpose of the proposal to set up the CMPCA and introduced other Acting Officers.

2. Corinne Attwood (Acting Chair of CMPCA) outlined government and council thinking on the proposed Local Development Framework that is meant to provide new ways for local residents to be involved in development issues in their neighbourhood. She said the CMPCA had made contact with the council and had invited Helen Gregory to speak at a public meeting on 15 November.

3. Philippa Sankey (Acting Secretary) said the CMPCA planned to distribute a quarterly newsletter to all residents. The first issue would be available within a month. She invited contributions by late October for the second issue, to be distributed in December. She also invited suggestions for a title – some options were on display at the entrance but new ideas were welcome.

4. Tony Davenport described plans for the CMPCA website; he hoped it would develop into a forum for information, discussion and debate about local issues.

5. Adam Jones  suggested that the first AGM should be held in April 2006 (to be brought forward to January if possible). All officers would be acting until then. He thanked those who had already volunteered to be CMPCA representatives in their streets, distributing the newsletter and providing a channel for communication with residents. He asked others to step forward to fill the gaps. He also asked for help in drafting a constitution; the acting officers had already looked at those of some other community groups nearby. A bank account had been set up; the accounts would be audited and open for all to see. Like Tony, he envisaged the Alliance providing a platform for discussion as well as being a campaigning group. He invited views.

6. Mary Moore asked what was known about the future of the Royal Alex Children’s Hospital site, and whether the Alliance had applied for the building to be listed. Philippa explained that the hospital trust, which owns the site, is talking to other local health service providers. If they do not require it, then the duty of the trust is apparently to maximise their financial return, which is likely to lead to a substantial redevelopment including a large number of dwellings. She and Tony would make those concerned aware of the need to consult, and would collect local views. Peter Freeman added that the Primary Care Trust recognised that the premises of GPs in our area are overcrowded and inadequate for modern needs. In other parts of central Brighton they have opened new facilities. The Children’s Trust is also potentially interested. Local residents have not been consulted and he suggested that the CMPCA could provide a suitable channel.

7. Peter Rose said he had been a member of the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association since its foundation and asked why a new body is needed. He suggested that the lack of a membership fee would create difficulties. Corinne explained that the MCHA, with fewer than 200 members, has inadequate resources to deal with anything other than conservation issues. She expressed the hope that the two bodies could cooperate closely with each other for the benefit of the whole community.  The acting officers hope the newsletter will be fully financed through advertising, and that a fundraising and social programme will provide other income.

8.Rosie Page (Victoria St) asked if people knew about plans to upgrade the Orange mobile phone mast in Victoria Road. She asked for signatures to her petition and said she would be writing to the Planning Department.

9. Richard Robinson outlined plans for the Brighton science festival next year; he hoped the Alliance could provide publicity and a place for debate.

10 Caroline Bradford (Dean St) expressed concern about a house in Upper North St occupied by squatters. She asked if the Alliance could provide legal advice. Adam asked if any legal practitioners who live locally might be able to help.

11. Mickey Cohen asked if anything had been heard recently from the council about placing communal waste bins in Montpelier Crescent. Tony said he knew of no plans to provide them in more streets in the CMPCA area at present. Steve (St Michael’s Place) said the council had the power to place bins anywhere. Tom (Denmark Terrace) said people should accept more responsibility for reducing waste. Philippa offered to organise a discussion of waste and recycling issues with a council representative.

12.Eve Edwards (Powis Square) asked how representative the Alliance could be if there are no membership requirements. Ann Smith said the Powis Square Association drew strength from its efforts to consult every household before taking a view. Corinne explained that all residents in the conservation area, a map of which was on the wall, were entitled to regard themselves as members. This prompted a discussion on how to draft a constitution and the extent to which the CMPCA should be a campaigning body. Philippa said she had looked at some local examples. She invited volunteers to join a small drafting group that would prepare a text to be circulated with the newsletter for comment.

13. Cllr Roy Pennington welcomed the establishment of the Alliance and hoped it goes from strength to strength. He asked for CMPCA participation in the newly created Neighbourhood Action Group that he chairs and that has modest funds available for investment to improve community services. It includes part of the conservation area. He also suggested that contact be made with the local police force.

14 Tricia Warne said she lives at the “sharp end” of the area, in Montpelier Crescent by Seven Dials. She was worried that the introduction of extended licensing hours would create even more noise and disturbance.

15. Alex (Vine Place) asked other residents to be alert for evidence of drug dealing in her neighbourhood. She said the police had been helpful when approached but that decisive action had not yet been taken.

16 Aidan Lunn (Temple St) suggested that a discussion on the current proposals to change the parking regulations would be useful. Adam agreed: he said that three further meetings were being arranged –

  • Tuesday 18 October, with a council official to discuss the parking proposals;
  • Tuesday 15 November, to discuss the Local Development Framework with Helen Gregory from the Council;
  • Tuesday 13 December, an illustrated talk by Mike Jones on his book 'Set for a King: 200 Years of Gardening at the Royal Pavilion, followed by a social evening.

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The CMPCA website is designed and maintained by two of the CMPCA founders, Tony Davenport and Corinne Attwood.

If you would like to contribute a news item, or if you run a local activity or community group in the CMPCA area you can post details of your upcoming meetings and events here. Please contact Tony to find out how.