LAT Minutes - September 2008

25th September 2008


David Alderton (Chair)
Rob Leet (Sussex Police)
Marilyn Priest
David Munro
Pauline Cox
Margaret Smart
Gordon Garland
Edward White
Nick Jarvis
Peter Bennett (Treasurer)
Marilyn Bennett
Amy Kennedy (Councillor)
Ed Summers (Firecracker Boxing Club)
Sue Middleton
Tony Raggett
Jacqueline Sell
Lynda Catton (Sussex Police)
Erica Harkness (Sussex Police)
Di Wilson


Kevin Allen (Cllr)
Juliet McCaffery (Cllr)
Sheila Cullen

2.Previous Minutes
i) Approved 
3.Treasurers report
i) Our account   £804.20
ii) Hollingdean account   £705.08
4.Police report
118 offences in August in Preston Park ward. This is a large increase on the average, mainly due to the Pride event which accounted for an additional 54 offences (mainly theft - 32 - and drugs offences - 15)
Violent Crime = 20
Criminal Damage = 16
Vehicle Crime = 11
Dwelling burglaries = 2
Robbery = 2

RL spoke to the group about the recent high profile inquest into the tragic death of a young person. RL expressed his disappointment of the imbalanced reporting by the local press which continually ran with the underlying theme that the police were to blame for the death. There was much evidence given at the inquest about previous dealings with the young person and the support the police & other agencies had tried to give to the family. However, none of this evidence was reported by the local press. In light of the previous history of the Preston Park & Fiveways area in terms of youth disorder and alcohol related ASB, RL believed that such negative reporting of the police was impacting upon their relationship with young people in the area.

EW stated that the reporting bias in The Argus had been evident throughout the hearing and that he was appalled by the portrayal of the police in the newspaper. This was echoed throughout by other attendees. EW suggested that the group should write to The Argus to register their concerns. This was agreed unanimously by those present.  DA & AP agreed to do this, in association with Cllr. Kennedy.
5.Organiser of Firecracker boxing club - Ed Summers
There was an interesting insight into the work of this group for youngsters in the area. They meet twice a week at St Mathias but are finding it hard to get funding. Finance is required for both equipment and hall hire. RL stated that he may be able to help with police funding but would need a breakdown of monies needed and some form of business plan to show that the group was sustainable. ES will look into this and get back to RL in due course.
6.Neighbourhood Priorities
These have previously been identified as (1) Safer Crossing Facilities in the area (particularly around the schools' campus) (2) The parking of lorries/commercial vehicles in the area (3) Establishing some form of protocol with B&H Council so that the LAT receives an adequate response to queries raised.

RL stated that he feeds into the Joint Action Group (JAG) and can request assistance from other partners on priorities if required. The LAT should keep each priority as an Agenda item so that the group can take actions forward each month in an attempt to resolve the issues.

Success in resolving the current priorities relies heavily on the council and the priorities are linked - that is, (1) & (2) requires a response from the Council (3) which we have been waiting for for many months. There was then a lengthy discussion about this lack of response and how it should be addressed. Cllr Kennedy stated that she would take the matter up with the appropriate person at the council and asked for examples of the lack of response the LAT had received. Cllr Kennedy will report back to the group.

7.Inspector Steve Curry... has been a major figure in local policing and played a huge part in the implement of Neighbourhood Policing in East Brighton. He has recently moved to Crawley on promotion and will be replaced by Insp Bill Whitehead. The LAT would like their appreciation for Steve's work to be put on record and thanks and best wishes to be passed to him. 

8.Road Safety - DW stated that Balfour School are organising a "walk to school day" in the near future.

EW spoke about new legislation that the council could invoke which would enable their wardens to deal with double parking. This would take a huge burden off of the police who, at present are responsible for policing double parking. The legislation enables Councils to be able to issue Fixed Penalty Notice tickets for vehicles which are parked more that 50cm from the kerb. These powers are aimed at those who double park, as opposed to those who have simply parked a little way from the kerb! The legislation has been available since March 2008 but there appears to be no mention of B&H using it. Cllr Kennedy agreed to ask at the next full council meeting about whether the Council will consider using the legislation. She will report back at the next meeting. 

9.Travellers - The Council's Traveller liaison officer is currently on leave but DA hopes to invite him to either the October or November meeting. 

Margaret Smart asked RL if he still held the same opinion that parking was not a problem in Preston Park Avenue, given that there seemed to be a increase in lived-in vehicles at that location. RL stated that his concerns were of the impact residents' parking permits would have on the area of Preston Park & Fiveways as a whole if they were introduced in PPA. This would cause the large vehicles to simply be displaced into an area already saturated with vehicles. RL stated that his previous research showed that the vast majority of large vehicles parked in PPA were legitimately parked and belonged to Brighton residents. Those that are lived-in can be dealt with by the Council's Traveller Liaison Team. The procedure for doing this will hopefully be explained and discussed at the Oct/Nov meeting when a representative attends. MS asked whether the residents parking scheme was actually going ahead as she had heard that it was due to be implemented imminently. RL stated that he wrote to Jenny Rowlands and Mark Prior at the Council in June to express his concerns about the scheme but had not yet received a response from either. 

10.Anston House - Cllr Kennedy reported that the developers were found guilty of removing the protected trees from the Anston House site and face an unlimited fine. The court will take into account any increase in value of the site due to the trees removal when deciding what fine to levy. A decision is due in January 2009. Any subsequent planning consent is likely to stipulate the planting of mature trees in place of the removed ones. Cllr Kennedy said that the council should be commended for their action in this case. It is the first successful prosecution since the legislation was brought in 11 years ago.
Meeting closed at 20.20hrs

Next meeting 30th October 2008 at 6.30pm