19 September 2011 - meeting minutes

Photo:Community Base, Queen's Road

Community Base, Queen's Road

Community composting launched

By Lyn Turpin, NLCA Secretary

Welcome to all, particularly new residents. 27 attended, plus speakers. Apologies from Teji Dhaliwal (first half of meeting only), Peter Fuller, Adrian Morris, Tony McCully, John Sharman, Pete West.

Minutes of last meeting

The minutes were approved.

Matters arising

The Comedy night at Komedia promises to be a fun evening, with a number of semi-professional comedians performing. The venue holds up to 80 people and tickets will be available from Rainbow Books in Trafalgar Street or on the night from Komedia. [Since the meeting, the date has been confirmed as Wednesday 16 November.]

Changes at Brighthelm Church and Community Centre

Sue Korman explained that a feasibility study was currently underway at Brighthelm, looking to add a ‘sustainability’ dimension to the work of the church and community centre. The study will be completed by the end of October and then presented to the Brighthelm trustees. Four voluntary garden clear-ups had taken place so far and community composting bins installed. Other improvements to the garden under consideration include better lighting, security cameras and possibly moving the café. Future events include another garden clear-up on 22 September and the Brighton & Hove Eco Energy Fair on 15 October. Brighthelm can be followed on Twitter (@BrighthelmURC) and Facebook (Brighthelm URC & Community Centre).

As an aside, Geoffrey Mead mentioned that there was now a new police telephone number (101) for non-emergency matters such as late night noise. This number is being rolled out nationally as an alternative to 999 for less urgent calls.

Community composting

Paley O’Connor introduced Vic Borrill, Director of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, who, with Paley and Adam Batchelor from the Council’s environment team, has spearheaded the community composting scheme in North Laine. Vic explained that the initial three month trial had been underway for three weeks, operating with bins in the grounds of Brighthelm and St Peter’s Church. 20 have already signed up, with six more waiting for bins: the capacity for the pilot is 30-40. The trial is being kept simple – predominantly uncooked fruit and vegetable waste (no meat, egg shells, garden waste etc). The Council is asking contributors to monitor their use so they can calculate how much has been saved from landfill at the end of the trial. Once worms have been added, the waste should take 3-12 months to break down: those contributing will have access to the resulting compost, with any surplus being offered to the host churches.

Vic also recommended the Scrumping Project run by Brighton Permaculture Trust which will collect surplus fruit and turn it into fruit juices and chutneys (see http://harvest-bh.org.uk).

Connected communities

Carlie Goldsmith introduced Professor Peter Squires and Roxy Cavalcanti from the University of Brighton and explained that criminologists from the Universities of Brighton and Kingston had undertaken a review of the literature relating to young people and their connection and disconnection with their communities. They were now seeking feedback from communities such as the NLCA. A wide-ranging discussion, led by Peter, followed, including the role of literacy and education (eg no schools in North Laine so children cannot network locally) and the changes since the sixties (when young people had an almost guaranteed progression from school to job to pension) to today’s less secure future, with fewer manual jobs, huge student debts, difficulty getting on the housing ladder, and the need to save more for less generous pensions. It was also suggested that youth crime and disorder was hyped up by the media and remained a minority activity, as it has been for many years. Carlie would welcome other comments on the research.

Environment

Planning

Barry Leigh reported that he and Sandy Crowhurst had supported an application for nine houses and a three storey office block with some retail and restaurant space on the ground floor to be built at 1 Portland Street (the site known as The Mound). There was some disquiet at the idea of supporting Hargreaves after their treatment of the community gardeners but Barry and Sandy felt that, regardless of Hargreaves’ ownership of the site, it was worth supporting the application as it was a considerably smaller development than previous ones.

Licensing

Roy Skam reported that the Theatre Royal had applied for a variation to its licence to allow alcohol sales for consumption inside the auditorium for 30 minutes before the event and during the interval and in a designated area outside the theatre. Roy planned to consult the police for their views before responding.

Roy urged members to complete the Council survey about licensing policy, which included a proposal to extend the Cumulative Impact Area to include North Laine. He also promoted Council leaflets (copies available from him) on how to object to licence applications, how to request a licence review, and noise nuisance.

Police and LAT priorities

Late night noise : Peter Crowhurst reported that the last two meetings of LAT chairs had been devoted to late night noise. He urged members to contribute to the ‘Soundscape’ survey being conducted by the Noise Abatement Society (NAS) working with the local Council. He also reported that the NAS had approached him about NLCA involvement in a future project relating to noise in North Laine.

20 mph limit : Peter reported that the police had recently been monitoring cars travelling down North Road. John Sharman needs to be told of the continuing problem of Domino Pizza vans in Trafalgar Street.

Violent crime : Peter reported that he had been contacted by The Argus to comment on violent crime and street lighting in the area. He had replied that residents didn’t feel threatened. It was suggested that there was a case for extra lighting in some of the local twittens.

Forthcoming events

Theatre Group : Next outing on 29 September to see Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitmore and then Amy’s View by David Hare on 3 November.

• City College free course : It was agreed to seek further ideas (via email and the Runner) for discussion at the next meeting.

 Kingscliffe Society dinner : Jackie Fuller reported that she was coordinating NLCA residents who wished to join the Society’s annual dinner at the City College Gallery Restaurant on Thursday 20 October. Although not compulsory, some of the Society members were planning to dress up (black tie/posh frocks) for the occasion.

Street parties : Both Tidy Street and Over Street are having street parties on 25 September.

Any other business

• NLCA finances : Carlie Goldsmith reported that the summer fête had made £840.14 and the summer walks £156. Donations of £145 had been made via Charity Choice in July. Geoffrey Mead and Peter Crowhurst were congratulated on the success of the walks.

• NLCA video : Tim Curran was asked to look for the North Laine videotape made around 30 years ago with a view to arranging a showing of it. A new tape was also suggested.

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