LAT Minutes February 2008

Introductions and Apologies
i) New members were welcomed
Previous Minutes
i) Approved
Report on Planning Appeal - site by London Road Station
i) Ed White reported back to the meeting on how the appeal went. B&HCC had initially turned this proposal down and the appeal did not go well for the developers (Kingsbury Estates) though we await final decision in 4 weeks.
ii) The result, if successful for the developers, has serious consequences as any plot of land can then be bought and built upon. This may be the case here depending on whether the site is designated green or brown field land.
iii) If the appeal is successful then residents will be looking for support from the PP&FWLAT.
iv) Thanks were extended to Cllrs Kevin Allen and Amy Kennedy who have bee very supportive of the residents
v) Some developments would be beneficial to the community and negotiating concessions with developers to this end is possible.
vi) Might be in our interests to put out a statement, via the LAT, that we only support ‘community-sensitive developments' for future planning committees.
vii) Ed White will report back to the LAT when he has heard the result of the appeal.

Treasurers Report
i) We have £900.82 as at 8/2/08 with £20 for room hire for tonight.
ii) We will not be looking after monies from the Hollingbury LAT
Police Report
i) The following written report was submitted on behalf of Sgt Rob Leet:-
I have obtained figures in each offence in the Preston Park area for 2007 and compared them with the 2006 statistics to see which direction we're heading in. I will then compare these with national figures.

There was a grand total of exactly 1,000 offences reported to police in the Preston Park area in 2007, that was down 13.9% on 2006 (1161 offences). The national picture shows a 2% reduction in total crime. The main reductions in Preston Park are in violence against the person which was down by 6.6% (down 1% nationally), theft of vehicle which was down 20% and theft from vehicle down 10.3% (vehicle crime was reduced by just 2% nationally). The two areas where we have seen increases in crime were in domestic burglaries (up 27.8% from 36 to 46 offences compared to a reduction of 4% nationally) and drugs offences which rose by a huge 58.7% (75 to 119 offences) compared to 9% across the country.

So how do we read into these figures? Well, an increase of ten burglaries on 2006 figures is something we need to arrest in the next 12 months. A large proportion of those 36 offences were committed in November where a spate of burglaries occurred in a 2-3 week period. The drugs offences, bizarrely, are indicative of an increased police presence in the area. The majority of drugs offences are discovered by police during stop searches or through targeted surveillance work so it figures that the more police patrol an area, the more drugs offences can be found. 60% of the 119 drugs offences involved cannabis.

Preston Park really has benefited from increased police activity in the last 12 months and it's not just the drugs figures that support that. The area has historically suffered with youth disorder and associated crime and you may remember a dispersal order was in place for 18 months from 2005 to 2006. Since the Order ended we have committed resources to ensuring that the area remains as safe and as peaceful as possible and we avoid a return to the situation we had before the Dispersal Order. The statistics evidence that this commitment, along with our long term intervention work, has reaped benefits for the neighbourhood - as well as the 6.6% reduction in violent offences, we have also seen a massive 21.8% reduction in criminal damage and a 23% reduction in robberies. This compares to national INCREASES in these offences of 10% and 3% respectively. Less crime means less victims and a safer neighbourhood for all."

ii) Figures from December 2007 to January 2008 are broadly as follows:

Dec Jan
Violent Total 20 17
Violence in Public 9 6
Robbery 0 1
Burglary dwelling 1 2
Burglary non-dwelling 1 0
Theft of a motor veh. 1 1
Theft from a motor veh. 8 2
Theft 8 14
Criminal damage 10 24
Drugs 3 7
Other 1 0

iii) There have been no "distraction burglaries" for 2 months
iv) Keep reporting all crime to the police
Updates on General Issues
i) East Brighton has had a review of its policing in the district by the Asst Chief Constable and representatives of the community and professionals fed into the review. The findings were "good" especially the training and commitment from PCSOs. Areas for improvement were noted.
ii) E-watch is being launched if anyone wishes to sign up for email updates /bulletins of what the police are doing in the area. Email if you wish to receive this.
iii) Stanford Avenue Methodist Church volunteered to help the police with the distribution of leaflets in the area.
iv) DAT surveys have been carried out in the 5-Ways area capturing information about drug users.

Traffic Issues
i) Concerns about the crossing in Balfour Road and Surrenden Road continue but those individuals due to report have sent apologies. The matter is to be carried forward to next month.
ii) Flashing signs are to be erected in Surrenden Road to reduce speeding traffic
iii) Concerns over parked vehicles moving from Preston Park to the surrounding area because of parking restrictions were also carried forward to the next meeting along with the issue of a "community being built there" and the problems this was causing.

Fiveways Youth Project
i) Lynne Perera presented to the meeting the issues facing the above group.
ii) The group provides activity days out for hard-to-reach teenagers who are ‘at risk/vulnerable' as there are few youth facilities in the area that bring teenagers together and allows them to ‘hang out' as a group.
iii) Funding is available and obtainable but the group needs volunteers to work with the teenagers and move the group/project or it will fold up. They need people to take over and introduce ‘fresh blood'.
iv) Lynne to produce a small piece for the 5-Ways directory and Preston Pages for Sgt Leet to incorporate and reach a wider audience.

i) AP to chase with individuals who are implementing the research
ii) It is believed that all the schools have agreed to participate.
i) PP&FW LAT AGM to be agreed next month in readiness for April 2008.
ii) Felling of trees without replacement was raised as an issue to present to our local councillors.

Date of the next meeting is Thursday March 27 2008 at St Matthias' Church Hall, at 6.30pm.
All welcome.