21st February 2011 - meeting minutes

Photo:Community Base, Queen's Road

Community Base, Queen's Road

NLCA finances

By Lynne Arnold, NLCA Secretary

Welcome to all, particularly new members. 23 attended. Apologies from Louis Blache, Christine Clark-Lowes, Sandy Crowhurst, Sarah Dunsmure, Paley O’Connor and Gabrielle Villermet.

Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the January 2011 meeting were approved.

Matters arising

The Post Office is no longer considering the Preston Road site and will shortly be consulting regarding a site at 82 London Road. A community arts group has shown interest in the Astoria, which has delayed the decision.

Proposals for The Level

There is a consultation going to all residents which details this. The idea is to balance the desire to retain and reinstate the heritage of the park with the current and future needs of its users. So far funding has been secured to run the consultation from the Heritage Lottery Fund. However the £2m which will be required to undertake the work is still not secured. The consultation is essentially around where the skatepark should be located north or south of the rose walk.

Environment

Planning

Objections have been made to a light box in Gloucester Road as this is against conservation guidance, to the removal of architectural features on Tichborne Street, and to an application to demolish and rebuild which wasn’t in keeping with the area.

Licensing

· Sainsbury’s appeal will be on 6-9 May.

· J&J Mini Market on Pelham Street – the licence application was turned down due to the detrimental effect on vulnerable people living in the Foyer and young people at City College.

· Go Local – their application was turned down.

· Beyond Retro – they have applied for a live music licence to which residents have objected.

· The NLCA are applying for a temporary events licence for the Summer Fete.

Community Composting

Two responses have come in regarding this. One is from a University of Brighton research officer who is working on waste management (Elona Hoover). She is working with CityClean and B & H Food Partnership etc on this and was very keen to involve the NLCA and other community groups. There will be a meeting of the Council’s Community Waste Group at Brighton Town Hall on Wednesday 23 February.

Police Report

There has been a big increase in thefts and burglaries, particularly targeting vulnerable people in their homes, eg bogus meter readers. In addition, 250 cycles have been stolen from within the North Laine. It is not clear what impact having cycle racks is having on this statistic. There have been some positive results regarding drug dealing in North Laine and surrounding area.

Financing of the NLCA

The NLCA costs about £700-800 per year to run, excluding the cost of the Runner as this is self-funding over the period of a year. Our expenses are about £300 for room rental, £360 for the website and £50-100 for miscellaneous projects and events.

Previously we have funded the association through holding a couple of bric-a-brac stalls, but this is no longer effective. So, during the past few years we have not managed to raise much money. We currently have reserves that could cover costs for a couple of years but, without a plan to bring in finances, we may not be able to continue.

The options that are available are to run ourselves to closure in a couple of years; to become a membership organisation; or to find other sources of funding. After the discussions over this year, it is clear that there is a desire for the association to continue so option one is not desirable. Option two regarding becoming a membership association has some repercussions: we could not function as a LAT as we would no longer be representative of all residents of the North Laine. The other sources of funding appear to be either sponsorship or asking residents to donate money, either as a one off or on a regular basis.

The officers have done some research into ways to facilitate online donating, using Charity Choice which provides this service for free to charities. We are also investigating registering with GiftAid, so that we receive the tax back on this money too.

There was a lot of discussion around the pros and cons of memberships, legacies, corporate sponsorship and whether asking residents for money felt OK. The meeting unanimously agreed that, given that NLCA is a living organisation which is here to foster a community that is open, inclusive, representative and accessible for everyone that lives here, we should seek support from our residents. It was agreed that an article and advertisement/reminder will be written by Lynne Arnold for the Runner and that we proceed in registering with Charity Choice and GiftAid as soon as possible.

North Laine Memories

It was agreed that the NLCA would collaborate with Brighton Town Press in producing a book about the North Laine. There isn’t on the market a book about the area and we are excited about the prospect of producing one. Peter Crowhurst, leader of the project, is looking for a team to produce the book so if you have an interest in publishing or in the history of the area and would like to take part, please contact him.

Group Reports

There were no group reports.

Summer Fête update

Planning going well. Funding is being sought through the Council’s Community Festival Fund and a sponsor has approached us. It should be a good time, with bouncy castle, food, drink, music and should give a chance for other community groups to come together. There was a question about whether residents can sell food – Kevin Daly is looking into this.

Residents’ Concerns

No more than already discussed.

Any Other Business

· Meridian TV researchers are going to be filming in Kensington Place and using information from the NLCA website for a couple of programmes they are doing regarding the 1911 census.

· Peter Crowhurst reported back on the recent discussion around enhancements to the railway station. Some interesting ideas came up but, as this was a Council initiative and it is railway land, who knows what will happen.

· AGM Speaker – Geoff Mead will be our guest speaker with the title ‘Brighton Rock and Brighton Crime’.

· Portland Street Community Garden – two representatives of the group reclaiming this derelict lot and making it into a productive garden spoke about their work. They invited all residents to get involved by dropping by or donating any seeds, tools, knowledge, transport, water containers, pots, wood etc.

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