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Blakelaw Ward Sub-Committee

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Blakelaw Ward Sub-Committee
25 September 2003
(7.00 pm – 8.00 pm)

Present:

Councillor:      Lower (Chairperson)

Councillors:     Keating and Schardt

In Attendance:
D Procter        - Community Co-ordinator
G Haggerston     - Democratic Services
A Dinning        - Neighbourhood Centre Development Worker
A Fullen         - NBCC
E Burns          - Local Resident
S Shewan         - Central Blakelaw TARA
J Marshall       - English Martyr’s Youth Club
L Hoggins        - Local Resident
M Sharman        - Airport Church
K Morris         - Newcastle Libraries and Information Service
E Dixon          - 165 TARA
D Elliott        - Local Resident
E Harmar         - Local Resident
J Mitchison      - Blakelaw Housing Office
PC Halliday      - Northumbria Police
T Jarman         - Ward Steward
G Rose           - Blakelaw/North Fenham Parish Council
D Jardine        - 165 TARA
E Lough          - Central Blakelaw TARA



27      WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

        The Chairperson welcomed those present to the meeting and officers introduced
        themselves.

28      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

        Apologies for absence were received from A Hall, L Hewitt, E Marley, M Simpson
        and J Cousins MP.
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29   MINUTES

     The minutes of the meeting held on 24 July 2003 were approved as a correct
     record and signed by the Chairperson.

     Matter Arising:-

     (a)   The Bunker Site and Brookside Crescent

     (Minute No. 18 refers)

     With regard to the Bunker Site, it was noted that funding may be available to clear
     the rubbish and cut back the shrubs.

     In respect of Brookside Crescent, the site for the two new bungalows was
     currently being surveyed.

     The Environmental Ward Steward reported that it was hoped to carry out a
     scheme to change the physical landscape of the forecourt of the former shops
     which should help combat the current problems of anti social behaviour.

     It was noted that the gardening scheme had been over subscribed and it was
     hoped it could be extended.

     (b)   New Blakelaw Neighbourhood Centre

     (Minute No. 19(b) refers)

     It was hoped that the contractor would commence work on site in mid-October.

     (c)   Proposed New Sure Start, Cowgate and Blakelaw Children’s Centre
           and Thomas Walling School

     (Minute No. 19(d) refers)

     The Chair advised that she had received a letter from Sure Start Cowgate and
     Blakelaw which omitted her name from the membership of the Sure Start Board.
     The names of Councillor G Bell, J Cavanagh and L Mountain had also been
     removed.

     The Sure Start Board now consisted of 9 professional officers and 8 parents.
     This was despite the Sure Start constitution indicating parents should be in the
     majority on the Board.
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The Chair also commented that the letter from Sure Start did not thank the former
Board members for their work. She commented that it seemed Sure Start no
longer belonged to the community.

The Chairperson indicated that she would like to send a letter to Government
Office North East voicing concerns about the situation.

It was also noted that the caretaker at Thomas Walling School had been given
Notice to Quit his house, which was to be demolished for a new entrance to the
site. It was felt that the lack of a caretaker would make the school vulnerable.

A resident suggested that Sure Start be requested to come to a future meeting to
discuss the issues raised.

             RESOLVED – That a representative from Sure Start Cowgate and
             Blakelaw be asked to attend the next meeting to discuss the issues
             and concerns raised.

(d)   Wilbury Place

(Minute No. 20(a) refers)

The Chairperson advised that the Council’s Engineering Section were looking at a
new scheme and a representative would be invited to attend a future meeting.

(e)   Holmesdale Road

(Minute No. 20(b) refers)

A member reported that he had received a reply from the Capital Investment
Section indicating that they had no plans to change the heating system in the
Holmesdale Road area.

A resident expressed concern at the amount he paid per year for his heating
system.    He pointed out that his system did not receive maintenance even
though it had been indicated that the amount charged included a contribution
toward maintenance.

             RESOLVED – That a representative of the Capital Investment
             Section be asked to attend the next meeting of the Ward
             Sub-Committee to discuss the communal heating system and
             explain the charges for it.
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(f)    Grass at Hilton School

(Minute No. 21(b) refers)

The Environmental Ward Steward reported that the grounds at the school were
not maintained by Cityworks. However he had asked the school to contact their
grounds maintenance provider about the matter.

(g)    Meadow Rise Area

(Minute No. 21(c) refers)

The Environmental Ward Steward indicated that he had undertaken a walkabout
with a resident who had raised these issues and most of them were now rectified.

With regard to the inlet to Nos. 33 to 47 Haggerston Crescent, costs were
awaited.

(h)    Morwick Place

(Minute No. 21(d) refers)

A member indicated that despite a site meeting taking place, nothing had yet
happened. The Environmental Ward Steward indicated that he would follow this
up.

(i)    Druridge Drive

(Minute No. 21(e) refers)

It was noted that a report on the item was included later on the agenda.

(j)    Race Course Fencing at Kenton Bar Estate

(Minute No. 21(f) refers)

It was noted that double kerbing was to be provided. This would prevent vehicles
parking on the grass but still allow the grass to be cut.

(k)    Blakelaw Housing Office

(Minute No. 21(i) refers)
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     It was noted that Blakelaw Housing Office had now reopened.

     (l)    Stamfordham Road

     (Minute No. 21(j) refers)

     It was clarified that the street referred to was Yewvale Road not Yewvale Drive.

30   TALKING WITH TENANTS: ALMO PROPOSAL

     Submitted:     Report by the Director of Community and Housing         (previously
     circulated and copy attached to Official Minutes).

     J Mitchison outlined the main points of the report. It was noted that the ALMO
     would be called Your Homes Newcastle and whilst homes would remain in the
     ownership of the Council, they would be managed by ALMO. The tenants would
     still have the same rights but will be better informed and have more say.

     It was noted that roadshows were being held around the city and residents were
     urged to attend if they had any questions. Roadshows would be held across the
     city, and locally would be at Blakelaw shops and Cowgate shopping area.

     The Council would then undertake a postal survey to ask whether residents
     wished to support setting up an ALMO. If the ALMO was established,
     improvements to properties would be carried out which could include
     replacing/improving windows, rewiring, improving kitchens, bathrooms and
     insulation. It was noted that some work would be carried out in each Ward initially
     rather than concentrating work on one Ward at a time.

     It was noted that an ALMO Board would be required which would comprise 18
     members, one third of whom would be councillors, one third tenants and one third
     independent persons. There would also be three Area Boards set up to cover
     the east, west and outer west/ north which would each comprise 15 members,
     with the same ratio of Councillors, tenants and independent persons. Blakelaw
     would be covered by the Outer West and North Area Board.
     If there was a yes vote for an ALMO, a Shadow Board would be set up in
     November and in February 2004, a formal application would be made to set up
     Your Homes Newcastle. If the ALMO were approved, funding would be available
     from January 2005.

     In response to a question from the Chairperson, J Mitchison advised that the
     result of the tenants vote would be based on the number of responses rather than
     based on a percentage of tenants. Even if only a small number of tenants voted,
     the majority of these votes would determine the outcome. All tenants were
     therefore encouraged to reply.
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     In response to a member’s question, J Mitchison advised that the Tenants
     Representatives from the ALMO Boards would be elected by other tenants, and
     any tenant could nominate any other tenant.

     With regard to assessment of properties for repair, J Mitchison advised that
     information was available through the TIPS survey and the repairs and
     maintenance information. She indicated that around 84% of the Council’s
     housing stock did not meet the decent homes standards.

                  RESOLVED – That the report be received.

31   “GREEN SPACES, YOUR SPACES”

     Submitted: Report by the Director of Strategic Change (previously circulated and
     copy attached to Official Minutes).

     It was noted that a copy of the Strategy could be obtained by completing the form
     at the back of the circulated leaflet. The Parks and Green Spaces Strategy Team
     would welcome any questions and comments which residents wished to raise.

                  RESOLVED – That the report be received.

32   MATTERS OF LOCAL CONCERN

     (a)   Deck Access Flats

     It was noted that the Council’s Going For Growth team were looking at the fabric
     of the flats to ascertain the work required to bring them up to decent homes
     standards. Going For Growth would then put forward options to discuss with
     residents of the flats.

     The Chairperson pointed out that the deck access flats were home to around 200
     households and stressed that she was not aware of any plans for demolition.

     (b)   High Rise Flats

     A resident expressed concern about problems caused by a tenant of the high rise
     flats. In response the housing officer indicated that the person concerned had
     been served with a Notice regarding their behaviour. If their behaviour did not
     improve, it would then be possible to apply to the courts for Notice to Quit. It was
     stressed that it was important to keep the housing office informed if there were no
     improvement in the situation.

     (c)   Bollard on Druridge Drive

     A member reported that in the past there had been problems with vehicles driving
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     onto the footpath to avoid a speed hump on Druridge Drive. To prevent this
     manoeuvre, a bollard had been installed next to it. However the same thing was
     happening at another hump on Druridge Drive and it was requested that a bollard
     be provided here.

     (d)   Waste Bin on Stamfordham Road

     A resident reported that the waste bin at the bus stop on Stamfordham Road was
     missing.    The Environmental Ward Steward indicated that the bin had been
     replaced and he queried whether it had disappeared again.

     (e)   Parish Council Minutes

     The Community Co-ordinator advised that the Ward Sub-Committee received
     copies of the Parish Council minutes for their agenda. However they had not
     been received for some time. G Rose indicated that he would raise the matter
     with the Parish Council Clerk.

33   FINANCIAL STATEMENT 2003/04

     Submitted: Statement setting out the Sub-Committee’s financial position as at 21
     August 2003 (previously circulated and copy attached to Official Minutes).

                  RESOLVED – That the financial statement be received.

34   ADMINISTRATION AND PUBLICITY 2003/04

     Submitted:      Report of the Blakelaw Community Co-ordinator (previously
     circulated and copy attached to Official Minutes).

                  RESOLVED – That approval be given to:

                  (a)   the allocation of £600 to cover administration costs;

                  (b)   the allocation of £1,500 to cover publicity costs.

35   GRANT APPLICATIONS

     The Sub-Committee considered the following grant applications (previously
     circulated and copies attached to Official Minutes) and made the decisions
     indicated below:-

     (a)   Grange First School Parent and Toddler Group

                  RESOLVED – That approval be given to a grant of £29 towards
                  safety mats.
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      (b)   New Blakelaw Community Association

                  RESOLVED – That approval be given to a grant of £1,000 towards
                  the cost of equipping the Blakelaw Neighbourhood Centre
                  Community Café kitchen.

36.   FUNDING INFORMATION FOR LOCAL GROUPS

      Submitted: Funding August/September 2003 and Small Grants Fund Available
      in Newcastle (previously circulated and copies attached to Official Minutes).

                  RESOLVED – That the information be received.

37    GUARD-RAILS AT JUNCTION OF DRURIDGE DRIVE AND STAMFORDHAM
      ROAD

      Submitted: Report by the Blakelaw Environmental Ward Steward (previously
      circulated and copy attached to Official Minutes).

      The Environmental Ward Steward explained that the suggestion to extend the
      guard-rail at the west corner of Druridge Drive/Stamfordham Road had been
      passed to the Council’s Engineering Section. However the suggestion had been
      refused for the reason set out in the report.

      The Chairperson asked that a representative from the Council’s Engineering
      Section attend the next meeting of the Ward Sub-Committee as residents were
      unhappy with the report and felt it did not address the issue.

                  RESOLVED – That

                  (i)     the report be received;

                  (iii)   a representative of the Council’s Engineering Section be
                          asked to attend the next meeting to discuss the issue further.

38    INFORMATION EXCHANGE

      The Sub-Committee received the following items of information (previously
      circulated and copies attached to Official Minutes).

      (a)   Skill Build Task Force

      (b)   Community Action on Health: Community Conference, 16 October 2003

      (c)   Kenton Bar Tenants and Residents Association
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       (d)    NCVS Training Calendar 2003

       (e)    Tyne and Wear Joint Local Access Forum

       (f)    Relocation and Resettlement Team

       Copies of the following information were also available at the meeting:-

       (g)    Briefing: August 2003

       (h)    NCVS Inform: June 2003

       (i)    Community Furniture Service

39     DATE, TIME AND VENUE OF NEXT MEETING

       It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Thursday, 23 October 2003
       at 7.00 pm in the Community Room at Blakelaw Library, Binswood Avenue.




Min: 006959

				
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