LAT Minutes March 2008

Introductions and Apologies
i) New members were welcomed
ii) Tim Nichols - Head of Environmental Services and Licensing was welcomed to the meeting and thanked for attending.

Previous Minutes
i) To be approved at next meeting
Tim Nichols - Head of Environmental Services and Licensing
i) Tim gave a resumé of his departments role and the areas that they covered with particular emphasis on licensing matters as they affect the LAT area
ii) There is a**tematic approach working with the police and trading standards to address the issue of underage consumption of alcohol and this is ongoing and reasonably successful.
iii) The issue of ‘proxy purchasing' is harder to address and in the main it is "older alcoholics" who help the under aged as a means to supplement their own purchases or those who have just turned 18 years buying for their under aged friends. Residents will have more loc***elligence on this issue and should report these matters to the police or Tim's department.
iv) Knowing the source of the purchase is fundamental to solving the problem. If this is known this should be reported to the police and the council
v) Similarly for all licensed premises - if there are issues relating to noise, possible breaches of license conditions, smokers debris etc then contact Tim's department on 292929 or 294429 (licensing) if a friendly approach to the licensee does not work.
vi) There are a number of solutions that Tim's team has that can address any issue relating to licensing and they are best placed to find a solution to any problem.
vii) Out of 1087 licenses there are not many problems but B&HCC is the third most active in reviewing licenses.
viii) It was reported that there are still youths collecting in Preston Park for drinking alcohol. It was not possible to see where they had purchased their alcohol and the meeting asked Tim if it would be possible to apply a condition to off-licenses in the area to only sell from branded bags.
ix) Public place violent crime is reducing "dramatically" in B&HCC since the new licensing laws came in but "years of life lost" and hospital admissions due to alcohol related health issues are increasing.
x) Regarding air quality residents are signposted to the B&HCC web site - "City Air Watch". The city has no heavy industry and as a result the air quality is affected most by traffic.

Police report
i) There will be a "day of action" in the Preston Park area with the police and other agencies to remove untaxed, abandoned, unroadworthy, illegal vehicles. There will also be the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera brought in to see what other vehicles are identified.
ii) The day of action should consider the ‘spillover streets' where vehicles formerly on Preston Park Avenue or in the park are now based. These include Surrenden Road and those roads off Preston Drove.
iii) Notices have been served on lived-in vehicles.
iv) Longer term parking restrictions are covered in a separate agenda item.
v) Sgt Leet sent his apologies as he was receiving an award. He reports as follows:
"Crime Figures remained fairly static for the month of February. There were though significant rises in Burglaries and Vehicle Crime. Criminal damage remained high for the second month running.
Burglary - these were spread out across the area and included Hythe Road, Stanford Road, Rugby Road, Beaconsfield Villas and Argyle Road. An offender was caught for the Hythe Road offence. The spate has died off in the Preston Park area (just one offence so far this month) but has moved to Hollingdean. There have been three offences in the roads just east of Ditchling Road (ie Hollingbury Park Ave and surrounding)
Vehicle crime - A combination of thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles. Roads around Fiveways (eg Balfour, Edburton, Rugby & Ditchling) particularly hit and thefts of scooters being the main offence. These offences - as in November last year - have risen at the same time as the burglaries have. We strongly believe that the same group of youths are involved in both types of offences.
Two of these youths were arrested this morning (27/03) on suspicion of burglary and enquiries are progressing in relation to that.
There has also been the unusual offence of theft of catalytic converters. Apparently they contain precious metals, which fetch a lot of money in sc*** value. Also, the converters are a very sellable second hand item. They are stolen using electrical equipment to cut them off (vans are usually targeted) and the Fiveways area has been hit by these thefts in recent weeks. Two males were arrested in Hove in the early hours of 25/03, in possession of tools, which would be used in this offence. Searches of their home addresses (in Essex) revealed hundreds of vehicle parts, many of which were boxed up ready to be sold on E-Bay!
Criminal Damage - This is an offence which we are continually hit by and February was the heaviest month we have seen in the last year. The offences are split almost entirely between damage to vehicles (14) and graffiti (7). Ironically there were a further 3 offences which managed to combine the two (graffiti to parked cars!) The offences are spread out right across the neighbourhood and in terms of when they are occurring which makes it very difficult to guard against."

Report on Planning Appeal - site by London Road Station
i) Ed White reported that the developer lost the above appeal. This is good news but he lost only for this particular development so he could submit another or if sold the new buyer could submit another development.
ii) The site was not deemed to be a green field site despite never having been built upon in the past. Ed asked the councillors to take note that there was criticism from the government inspector of how B&HCC protect its green facilities, in that they are not protecting them sufficiently.
iii) Residents are in talks with the developer about renting/purchasing/ alternative options for the site.

Committee Meeting
i) To ensure we are most effective as a group it was decided at a committee meeting of the officers on 13/3/08 that there are three main issues that affect the area and should be our current priorities and focus.
ii) These are a) safer crossings in the area but in particular Balfour Road and Surrenden Road; b) Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors; and c) Investigating with the council what can be done to solve the problem of ‘commercial' (commercial, travellers, lorries, coaches etc) vehicles parking in the area. Other matters can still be raised and ealt with but these will be the main focus.
iii) Dean Spears has replied to the secretary regarding a school crossing outside Balfour Junior/Infant Schools and he has ‘asked the school Travel Team to consider our request seriously for a zebra crossing outside the schools and they are looking into the S.106 process. He has also asked the development control managers to investigate this issue and have made the S.106 officer aware of our need.' We also asked about how we might use bylaws to rid our streets of ‘inappropriate vehicles (which have the effect of clogging parking, causing obstructions, create safety hazards etc) He suggests that local residents and stakeholders report particular concerns at the city council's web page and report complaints to or telephone 292929.
iv) Secretary to email and chase the former of iii)
Preston Park Avenue Parking
i) Cllr Allen updated the meeting on the process that has taken place so far which started with a petition from a very large proportion of residents on Preston Park Avenue approximately 14 months ago.
ii) The Environment Cttee met last week to take plans to the next stage which is to draw up different designs/schemes for consideration.
iii) It was asked that it me noted by the councillors that 'spillover' is already a problem in the surrounding roads with vehicles formerly in Preston Park now in the surrounding roads and causing problems.
iv) The advice for other residents if they want to have action from the council is to canvass residents in particular roads. If there is a high proportion of the total number of residents in the road who want the action then it is more likely to happen.

Treasurers' Report - submitted in writing
i) As at 8 March 2008 we have £882.97 with £20 to pay for tonight's meeting.

i) The next meeting is the AGM and details will be emailed
Date of the next meeting is the AGM, Thursday April 24 2008 at St Matthias' Church Hall, at 6.30pm.
All welcome.