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Minutes of the 15 January 2008 Community Meeting

 

1. Police report

In the absence of the Regency Team  PC James Marter’s report was read: burglaries hotspot shifted towards Seven Dials. All need to play part in reducing crime, and take simple steps to make property less inviting to burglars: eg leaving lights and radio 4 on. Security advice available and locks, chains and spyholes fitted for free (subject to simple criteria). Pleasing crime figures: total crime for central Brighton down by 17.6%; burglaries down by 2.3% or for rolling year, 8.8%; vehicle crime down by 37.3%; violent crime down by 15.5% with public place injury violent crime down by 13.4%. ‘Brighton a much safer place to live than last year, and by working together like this, and spreading the word about hotspots and things to look out for we can look forward to an even safer year this year’. Any problems email regency.team@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 08456070999 extension 50614.

2. Streets for People – Abby Hone (B&HCC Transport Planner, Walking and Cycling)

Abby showed slides of the key features of Copenhagen’s walking and cycling policy taken during her internship there. Copenhagen seemed to have a much more balanced approach to cars, cycling and walking with special measures including 2 metre wide cycle tracks with kerb edge and slightly raised pavements; ‘greenwaves’ during rush hour with separate traffic lights for cycles; cycle channels on the side of steps; even busy junctions encouraged traffic flow; green routes to bring people in from outskirts; residential parking with cycle parks; cycle parking at metro stations; 3 metre wide mixed use track in seafront area; cycle route to airport; shared facilities in mediaeval old town; countdown crossings (tells you how long you’ve got to walk or wait). In answer to the question ‘What are they doing that we’re not?’ she said one of the advantages Denmark had was that its cycling culture of 40/50 years ago had not been lost whereas ours had.

3. Update on RAH re-development

Graham Towers reported that the new design submitted by Taylor Wimpey just before Christmas was very similar to the old: the appearance was bland and unimaginative, planning was poor. The CMPCA had maintained its objections to the first proposal, and in addition i) was seeking a reduction of height of Block G from 5 storeys to 3; ii) was challenging pedestrian access from Clifton Hill and dominating stairtower (this elevation was much worse than the first proposal). As predicted by Roger Dowty at our 20 Nov meeting, TW had included in their re-submission a conversion scheme which they claimed would mean reducing number of units from 156 to 50. Our objection included hybrid scheme retaining SE corner of the old building (for surgery) and would allow 120-130 flats. The Steering Group had re-formed and would meet TW on 1 Feb – if necessary CMPCA could send further letter: Sven Rufus confirmed that expected to go to Planning Committee in March and objections could be taken up to mid Feb. Carpark site application held up because of lack of planning staff to process application.

4. Minutes of 20 Nov 2007 meeting were approved.

5. Update from Management Committee

CMPCA Christmas Party at St Nicholas raised nearly £1000 for charity. AGM on 22 April and nominations for committee etc due by Saturday 16 Feb. The CMPCA is increasingly being invited to get involved with local organisations etc. Communal bins Sven reported that Council proposed to roll out communal bins across city centre. Environment Committee deferred decision to allow consultations. Consultation Working Group met and saw draft consultation documents due be sent oun 25 Jan for return by 25 Feb. City divided into three so will be able to see where bins located in relation to each house. Returns will be collated and sent to Environment Committee by 20 March. Cityclean clearly do not favour retaining any black sack collection service, however not ruled out: while not possible for single street to opt out, a group of streets might be considered. Environment Committee wants flexibility so that where bins emphatically not wanted, they would not be installed and Environment Committee has the final say. Would need clear indication of who wants them and who doesn’t so all residents need to return forms and complete grey ‘comments’ box. Sven was asked to ensure that consultation envelopes were personally addressed to each household – especially important in HMOs. Victoria Street have already conducted their own survey which shows 87% don’t want communal bins. Concern expressed about the adverse impact of bins on re-cycling: too easy to put everything in the bin especially if recycling reduced to fortnightly collection. It was pointed out that those in streets that oppose them, often put rubbish in bins in streets that have them! What did people think of the sample grey bin in Buckingham Road? Might well reduce smell as would not heat up as much as black bins. One suggestion was to let officials know that houses with gardens produce a lot of garden waste that would quickly fill bins up. Parking John Riddington reported that following feedback that parking in Zone Z was had worsened, had investigated what support there was in Z streets to moving boundary to Western Road: the result was that people in Z streets above Upper North Street were keen, and those below were not; meanwhile he had secured a number of improvements in Z streets (see CMPCAnews 10); Montpelier Villas: according to Council officer Charles Field, the reason double yellow lines (rather than single yellow lines allowing parking after 6pm and on Sundays) had been introduced on the east side of the road  was that residents did not want the extra signage that would be involved. Petitions were to be circulated to neighbouring Z streets to see whether other residents would like this decision reversed. 

6. Treasurer’s report

PF confirmed that the last newsletter had generated a modest surplus. It was proposed to divide the £1000 from the Christmas Party between Friends of St Nicholas - who proposed to use it (through SNCGSA) for outside restoration in the green spaces - and BHT for use in First Base: last year our donation was used for flooring in the entrance hall, and this year it would also be used by First Base.

7. AOB

Sven reported that changes were afoot with the City Council constitution: the committee system could be abolished as early as May, and instead there would be a single leader who would choose a cabinet of individuals who would take decisions, thus reducing the opportunity for individual councillors to make an input into decision-making. This was as a result of national legislation so there was not much that could be done, but the CMPCA might like to consider writing to the Council to express concern that it was happening so soon and to say that we would welcome an opportunity to see how councillors might continue to play a role.

31 attended

 

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