Gardens & wildlife

RHS Minutes 2016-02-09

Minutes of RHS meeting 9th February 2016 at Annie’s home

Present: Cllr West, Lucy Walker Headlease Property Manager and Harriet Lyden Housing Services Officer from UoS Housing Services, Ted, Bonnie, Annie, Sandy, Jan, Kate, Carol, Ray and Rob.  Apols from Barbara.

The Minutes of the January 2016 meeting were approved without amendment.

Our guests from Sussex University Housing Services introduced themselves, we agreed to add their Lewes Rd office onto the regular Round Hill Reporter distribution list, and to copy both into the e-mail agenda distribution so that they can attend if issues seem relevant.  There is an exhibition expected soon at their Lewes Rd office, and if we get details in time it will be mentioned in the March Reporter.  Both Lucy and Harriet fed into the next 2 items - Annie on the HMO community meeting led by Cllr Tracey Hill, and Ted on the Triangles AGM which featured HMOs.

Triangle AGM and Community HMO meeting notes:  After London and Oxford, Brighton has the greatest proportion of privately let housing in Britain? England?  Council recognise its an issue, and have brought in a smaller category of HMOs requiring licencing, but law is both slow and convoluted.  All HMOs need a licence, some need planning permission.  Much expansion of internal accom can now be done under permitted development (rooms in roof, back extensions, bigger basements(?)).  There is a need for a strong accreditation scheme to keep landlords and agents on best behaviour.  There are 50 or so HMOs without licences now being pursued by officers - it has been delayed due to newness of legislation, and uncertainty about strength of law.  May lead to existing tenants being de-homed, if licences refused and action taken to close properties (this might be because a property does not meet standards of safety, or because there are too many properties in the area already).  Housing Services shop does maintain a complaints tracker, but it is to track misbehaving students.  Ted urged them to do the same for landlords, UoS SU does annual report on letting agents.  SU also runs its own letting agency, and UoS has 63 Headlease properties which it manages on behalf of private landlords - they control the quality of these closely, but are not planning major expansion.  Harriet told us that Nathan (UoB) is looking at Leeds Uni model of accreditation scheme as possible model for Brighton Uni.  Cllr West suggested that both our Unis need to take a more pro-active role.  Ted told us that the Triangle also discussed rough sleeping and home security measures.

Cllr Hill is planning another HMO community meeting in April, which will concentrate on refuse, recycling and gardens.

Noticeboard status:  They should be going up imminently.  Ted and Jane are ready to guide the location, and Rob will approach the people in the Ashdown Rd/Richmond Rd house re exact location (in blanked-off doorway recess I believe).   Annie will contact Sainsburys about us tackling a flower bed or two, and possible joint noticeboard with Triangle, RHS and Sainsburys in that area.  New manager Chris has already indicated he may have money for some planting, and some staff interested in joining in with work.

Pavilion Liaison meeting:  Attended by Cllr West, Ted, Bobby Farsides, Annie, Henry (Sandy's partner) as well as Grant.  They agreed to home our playstreet barriers, signs and cones, and generally seem keen to be good neighbours.  We can do some gardening on the plot which is on their premises - banana plant Karen, Ruth from near (or not) Sandy, Barbara and perhaps others have expressed interest.  Committee members will see if Pavilion's rooms include any which might be big enough for our next AGM, and we will try to arrange a tabletop stalls event on their carpark later in the year.

There have been local impacts since the treatment centre started operating.  Nigel of 11 Ashdown Rd encountered a vociferous and angry chap sitting on Nigel's garden wall.  He reported this event direct to Grant at Pavilion, but we all agreed that he should report such incidents to the police, in order to ensure the police become aware of the location of events.  A second event involving two men arguing  on D'Aubigny Rd, perhaps a continuation of an altercation which resulted in the police being called to the offices earlier.  Annie said that about 100 extra journeys are made daily along D'Aubigny Rd since the centre opened.  This includes pedestrians, cyclists and motor carriages - both clients and staff.  We agreed that being friendly to all newcomers, saying hello, was the best way to ensure everyone was aware they had been noticed.

Open Garden Event:  After discussing other ideas we settled on opening Jan and Rusty's garden on 3rd July.  Cllr West will be Mayor from May, and we will try to get him to attend.  Jan agreed to this - and will hopefully be able to use the side passage as many folk will no doubt want to attend.  People will be invited to bring picnics, and we will arrange musicians.  The event will be branded as a 'Know my Neighbour' event - see next item.

Know my Neighbour:  The One Church, Brighton is co-ordinating events across the year, all aiming at building better communities.  A meeting  last week had many organisations present, all hoping to build a big year.  The committee agreed to sign up.  There is no commitment beyond doing what we can, and informing the co-ordinating group of the events.  We talked of a table top sale event later in the year which might also be badged Know my Neighbour.

Accounts:  Carol and Rob have been trying to balance the monies held with the known transactions.  Not quite achieved, there is a missing £15.  The committee approved a paper expenditure of £15 on compost to bring the books right.

Playsafe events:  Kate will supply an article for the Reporter giving dates for events all on Mayo Rd.  Kate and Barbara and perhaps others will collect signatures from residents to make the events happen.

Police and Crime Commissioner Elections:  Happening this year.  Pete West wants us to be active, especially regarding what each candidate plans for PCSOs.  There will be hustings, possibly at LATs.  We agreed to write to candidates and to ask their views, publishing their responses in the Reporter/website.

6A Crescent Road:  a huge dormer, extension in yard and basement enlargement was turned down by planners.  The developer is appealing this decision and Ted would like all of us to write supporting the Councils decision.  It is too big and obstructive, the front dormer should not be permitted, and the front rooflight is too big and not alignedwith the lower fenestration.  Ted has more info on our website - http://www.roundhill.org.uk/.  Please write.

Wakefield Rd grafitti wall:  A man and his daughter from Wakefield Place has bent Annies ear re doing something about this messy wall.  We agreed to try contacting Harry Brignull (Annie) and the London lecturer who attended our AGM (Sandy) as a first step.

Knocked over street light:  Near top of Wakefield Rd a lamppost has been knocked over and was lying in a broken groove its fall cretaed in the adjacent flint wall.  It has been stapped just below ground level, so cannot be put back, as it no longer has a 'tap root'.  Since our meeting it has been replaced.  How it came to break is not clear - there was talk of a tree coming down on Sylvan Hall Estate, but I am not sure if this was connected.  Its replacement was too quick for me to do anything.

We will put a Clean-up on next agenda, and add cutting back overhanging plants at bottom Wakefield Rd.

Next meeting will be Tuesday 15th March 8pm at Ted’s and Jane’s.

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