17 October 2011 meeting minutes

Photo:Community Base, Queen's Road

Community Base, Queen's Road

Brighton in Bloom budget under threat

By Lyn Turpin, NLCA Secretary

Welcome to all, particularly new residents. 28 attended. Apologies from Teji Dhaliwal (first half of meeting only), Lizzie Deane, Terry Etherton, Carlie Goldsmith, Barry Leigh, Tony McCully, Roy Skam, Pete West.

Minutes of last meeting

The minutes were approved.

Environment

Planning

Peter Crowhurst explained that our planning officers had to work within the timescale of the Council’s three week consultation period and the NLCA’s monthly meetings. Occasionally, decisions have to be made without consulting NLCA members (as happened in September with the Hargreaves site) but these decisions are based on experience and knowledge of local planning policies.

32A Gloucester Road (formerly The Floor Shop): Sandy Crowhurst reported that an objection had been made to a plan for a two storey rear extension and two dormer windows at the front of the premises.

2 Upper Gardner Street: objection made to plans to extend the upper floor of this live/work unit.

Co-op building, London Road: Sandy reported that the local Conservation Advisory Group and some Council members are against the demolition of this building. The plan, currently under consideration, is to replace it with a new, taller building with 407 student accommodation units for the University of Sussex plus ground floor retail units. Those present had mixed views about the development: it was pointed out that the university is surrounded by the South Downs National Park so cannot build further there; that London Road is not in a conservation area; that students can actually enliven an area (eg Lewes Road), and that funds for social housing are unlikely.

Lord Nelson public house, Trafalgar Street: Harveys had plans to expand into the premises next door and to create a new kitchen, extra beer storage and trading space, with external wooden cladding giving it a nautical feel. The application was refused as wholly inappropriate to the area.

Licensing

The Theatre Royal has applied for an alcohol licence from 10am to midnight for their outside café, The Parlour. Following the example of the police, the NLCA has objected to what is essentially an outdoor bar. The hearing is scheduled for 31 October.

Other environmental concerns

Brighton in Bloom: Gabrielle Villermet warned that the Council is reviewing the £30,000 City in Bloom budget and may try to hand over the work (which would include fund-raising) to volunteers. The Chair suggested that the wider issue of the ‘Big Society’, whereby the work of government is done by volunteers, making others redundant, would be a suitable topic for a future meeting.

National Planning Policy Framework: Peter and Sandy Crowhurst reported that they had written a letter of complaint about the NPPF’s emphasis on economic growth which will disadvantage local communities and give little support for historic buildings and conservation areas. Once the framework becomes law, if a local development plan is not in place, the default position will be to grant all planning applications. The NPPF consultation has now closed.

Police and LAT priorities

John Sharman reported that there has been an increase in graffiti in the area. He urged residents to phone 999 if they see graffitists at work so that the police can respond quickly. He also reported that the police had recently had a ‘day of action’ in the area, monitoring adherence to speed limits, road signs, etc. Over 40 letters were sent to people breaking the 20mph speed limit in North Road in just 100 minutes. Further action days will follow. The Chair suggested that an article for the Runner on this topic would be interesting. Peter also mentioned that the parking behaviour of Domino’s Pizza vans was still an issue.

In response to a question about poor cycle parking, John informed residents that this was a Council rather than a police matter. It was noted that the Council response to complaints was often slow.

Forthcoming events

Comedy evening: Thanks were given to Henry Bruce for the design of a poster to publicise this event. It will take place on Wednesday 16 November at the Studio Bar at Komedia. Advance tickets (£3) available from Rainbow Books or at this meeting. All profits will go to NLCA. A raffle during the evening was also planned.

Christmas Social, 12 December: It was agreed that the December meeting would start at 7.15pm with a very short business meeting followed by a social evening 7.30 - 9.30pm. Peter Crowhurst and Geoff Mead volunteered to compile a general (local) knowledge quiz and Henry Bruce a photographic quiz. Sandy will organise the food and drink and Peter the music. A raffle would be held during the evening (with liaison with the comedy night’s raffle regarding prizes).

Theatre Group: Next outing on 3 November to see Amy’s view by David Hare.

City College courses

Teji Dhaliwal listed the various suggestions for courses and, after some debate, it was agreed to forgo creating a shortlist and to publicise the long list in the next Runner. Teji agreed to supply the text and to discuss it in advance with colleagues at City College. It was noted that courses with consumables (eg silver jewellery-making) might incur a small additional cost.

Group reports

Street rep: Teji Dhaliwal agreed to take Gloucester Road over from David Harrison who has moved from the area.

North Laine Traders Association: NLCA residents were welcomed to the next meeting on 18 October.

Any other business

Sandy Crowhurst reported that RogerDowty, who heads the Council’s design and conservation team, retires at the end of October.

Jackie Fuller publicised an event in the Pavilion Gardens on Wednesday 19 October when park rangers would demonstrate how to make natural hanging bird feeders.

The Chair reported that NLCA meetings in 2012 would take place on the third Monday of every month, apart from January and February when they would take place on the third Tuesday. [Secretary'snote: since the meeting, it has been agreed to move the AGM in April to the fourth Monday, ie 23 April 2012]

Geoff Mead publicised his walks taking place on White Night (29 October) at 10pm and 12.30am, starting at Jubilee Square. The city’s theme for White Night is Utopias so Geoff will, of course, be including parts of the North Laine area in his walk.

Sarah Dunsmure raised a question about nuisance neighbours and was advised that the person concerned should contact the Environmental Health Officer, Annie Sparks.

Teji Dhaliwal drew attention to the Council’s online ‘budget simulator’ which is encouraging views from the public on how the Council should spend its money.  

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