Meeting Notes. These informal notes are purely for information purposes, more accurate notes with Actions will be produced by Democratic Services. 1.
Our thanks to Cllr. David Morris, who chaired the meeting, and Norman Cornthwaite, who took the official notes (to be published a week before the next meeting). 2.
Welcome and Introductions
Gemma Dando introduced herself and suggested that members of the panel introduced themselves and the group or function they represented. The panel was composed as follows: Councillors Jos Clark and Sylvia Doubell, for Hengrove Councillors Jay Jathwa and David Morris for Stockwood Neighbourhood Inspector Colin Salmon, from Avon and Somerset Police Neighbourhood Area Co-ordinator Gemma Dando Joyce Wooster, represented the Stockwood Lunch Club Peter Goodwin, representing Friends of Stockwood Open Spaces Kerry Vosper, representing the Stockwood Environment Group Toni Massari, attending as Equality Representative Norman Cornthwaite, Democratic Services officer Some 20 residents and representatives of other interest groups were also in attendance. 3.
Apologies for Absence - none received
Previous minutes (8th September 2010) - no corrections, passed
Kerry Vosper commented here on the lack of Actions list and Gemma suggested this could be introduced, for future meetings, asking Norman to action it. ACTION 1: Norman Cornthwaite to summarise Actions arising at the end of minutes, in a table, to make it easier for members to check and verify that these have been completed. 5.
Declarations of Interest.
Councillors had no declarations to make, specific to this meeting. At this point Cllr. David Morris, Chairing, asked Peter Goodwin and Toni Massari, who had both presented statements to the meeting, whether they wanted to read them out at the start of the meeting, but both declared themselves happy to wait until the issues their statements related to came up, in the natural order of the agenda. A little confusion on the numbering of the agenda items and supporting papers, leading Gemma to ask Norman to please ensure that consecutive page numbering would be used, in future, so that the panel could refer other members to the issue under discussion, by quoting the page number.
Code of Conduct. Peter Goodwinâ€™s statement on items 4 and 5 (the full document can be downloaded, as a PDF, below). This proved a controversial issue, with several members speaking against the language of the suggested Code of Conduct that had been circulated. Some members expressed strong feeling, shared by several attendees, that the Code contained what they viewed as a "gagging order", inconsistent with the spirit of openness that should go hand-in-hand with a partnership. The view was that this only serves to heighten the sense of mistrust discussed a little earlier. Gemma said that, in drafting the Code, she had not meant to silence or "gag" any members of the Partnership, rather, she had tried to set down some rules that would preserve the reputation of individuals speaking at Partnership meetings, by ensuring their contribution would not be misrepresented or misreported. After some discussion, it was decided that Ground Rules would be more helpful and Toni Massari volunteered to source some from her Employer. Councillor Jos Clark asked where Toni works, and was informed that Toni is the Administrator for the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Forum, one of the 6 Equality Forums funded by Bristol City Council. Action 5: Toni Massari to identify and circulate a set of Ground Rules to members of the Partnership, for submission and adoption at the next Partnership meeting. ACTION 2: Norman Cornthwaite to ensure that consecutive page numbering is used to identify pages and help members navigate through them. 6.
Membership of the Partnership
Introduction. Gemma introduced the function of Neighbourhood Partnerships, which, she explained, were created to give local people more say in: issues discussed: to reflect the priorities of local residents local investment: to affect decisions on spending 'devolved budgets' * *that is: portions of the Council Budget specially set aside for Neighbourhood facilities, improvements, supporting Community initiatives etc. Gemma added that Councillors and Council Officers will still be responsible for authorising expenditure, but the Neighbourhood Partnership panels and those residents attending would be asked to discuss these spending decisions, so that the final say should rest with local people and Councillors should have a chance to hear their opinions. Members can then ask for additional information and time to decide on items they are unsure about, if they so wish.
Section 106 money. Gemma explained that this is money that Developers are required to pay as part of the conditions for being granted Planning Permission for a development - such as a supermarket, office block or private housing development - to compensate local residents for the disturbance during development, additional traffic, noise, pollution and litter it might cause and for any losses of amenity areas. In the past, this money was administered entirely by the Council, which made all the decisions on how and where it would be spent. This decisional function has now been handed over to Neighbourhood Partnerships, creating a shared responsibility between Councillors, Council Officers, representatives of local interest groups and individual resident representatives to allocate some of the Council's funds earmarked for each Partnership area. In future Neighbourhood Partnerships will have a say how to spend some of the 'Section 106' money in their areas, although local Councillors and Council Officers will have the final decision. Additional members needed. Gemma told the meeting that the Hengrove and Stockwood neighbourhood Partnership had some vacancies for 2 local residents and representatives of community groups and organisations from each area. She invited attendees to come forward or at least consider joining, and said that this would entail: 3-monthly meetings receiving and acting on information from the Partnership: the agenda and various reports the actions' list from the previous meeting(s) - to check for any outstanding action for which they are responsible attending planning meetings to be held about 3 weeks before a NP meeting The residents' responses included several expressiopns of mistrust in respect of the Council and its Democratic process; some residents reported calling Council and Police offices and never receiving a return call. Gemma and other Officers apologised for this and promised to look into the communications issue and correct any problem. This Blog site was also proposed as a way that residents can send messages and alert the Neighbourhood Partnership members, officers and Councillors of any issues or problems. ACTION 3: Gemma Dando to liaise with Police and Council Customer Contact centres to ensure that Neighbourhood Partnerships officers and Panel members receive messages and requests for callbacks as quickly as possible. [SMS to Mobiles? High Priority Email?] Action 4: Toni Massari to ensure that here is a Contact section in the Partnership's Blog Site, that members of the public can use, to contact Partnership Members. At this point some more members joined the panel
7. Local Action Plan. This item is on the agenda for future meetings; as no actions have yet been decided on it does not yet have any items in it. In future it will show what actions have been decided and any timetables for them. 8. Community Safety. The meeting then heard from Peter Anderson, Service Manager for the Crime and Substance Misuse Services of the Safer Bristol Service, in the Neighbourhoods Directorate. Peter explained the model of 'Partnership Working' proposed between Community Safety Officers and the Neighbourhood Partnerships. [INSERT LINK TO THE REPORT]. Some discussion followed, about crime and crime figures, with a range of views expressed by residents. Inspector Colin Salmon explained the difference between reported crime as opposed to fear of crime - usually referred to as 'crime perception'. Inspector Salmon told the meeting that reported crime figures are infinitely lower than perceived figures reported in the "Quality of Life survey" conducted by the Council. Colin told the meeting how, in the near future, a National website is due to be launched, that shows crime figures for a neighbourhood, area or even street, based on reported crime figures. More discussion followed, with questions on the effectiveness of Council policies. One resident from Whitchurch, in the Hengrove Ward, claimed that some £54K, allocated by [Jogn Denham?] to the Council for community safety, was in fact spent on 15,000 leaflets advertising community safety. The claim was challenged by Cllr. Jos Clark, who pointed out this figure seemed rather incredible - on later calculation, £54K/15K works out at £3.60 per leaflet! - and most likely wrong. Another question focused on Alley-gating, a security measure that was widely advertised and for which several residents in both Wards of the Partnership had expressed intense interest, that petered out when it became evident that here simply weren't sufficient funds and residents, many of them elders living on State Pensions, were being asked to fund the gates themselves. Inspector Salmon did confirm that the funds that had been available have now been used-up, and that cut of 50% to this budget mean that the scheme could no longer fund a dedicated Officer. Inspector Salmon also indicated, though, that he would liaise with the Neighbourhood Partnership officers to see whether there may be alternative sources of funding that could be released to resume the installation of alley gates. Toni Massari's Statement (this document can also be downloaded, as a PDF, below). At this point Toni Massari was asked to summarise her statement, which focused on the Community Safety aspect of the proposed housing developments on sites identified in the proposed sale of Open Spaces within the Neighbourhoos Partnership boundaries. Toni's statement pointed to serveral issues that will are very ikley to adversely affect quality of life and community safety. Toni explained how, in her view, the sale of land would result in private housing developments of higher than average densities, designed entirely for profit. While some will be for sale, as 'affordable housing', many others would be for rental by private landlords. This could mean a relatively large number of 'transient' residents, with neither local connections nor loyalty to the neighbourhood and, as private tenants, outside the control of the Council. How these new residents get along with local residents will be affected by increased parking pressures, leading to friction and conflicts.
Toni also pointed to the danger of the 'drug culture' prevalent in certain patches, could spread to teenagers of families moving into the neighbourhood and making current problems much worse. A Stockwood resident echoed Toni's concerns, bringing the example of private flats opposite her home, which have been plagued by anti-social behaviour, litter and drug-taking from the very start, making residents' lives miserable and resulting in frequent police attendance. Inspector Salmon explained that there is already a mechanism for the Police and Community Safety Officers to feed back and offer comment on this aspect of proposed developments and that the Community Safety and Police have made representations to the Council, in the past. It was suggested by Councillors Jethwa and Morris that Toni submit her statement to the Cabinet, by 12 the following day, for the forthcoming Cabinet meeting, on the 16th. Councillors Doubell and Clark voiced their condemnation of the term 'Undesirable', used in Toni's statement in reference to drug dealers, and demanded that their names be disassociated form it. Michael Goulding joined them in this demand. Other residents, however, supported Toni's right to phrase the statement as she wished, as it represented her own, individual position and not that of any other member of the Partnership and, less still, of the Partnership itself. Other residents expressed their own view that it is wholly appropriate to refer to drug dealers as "undesirables" and that they do not find their presence in their neighbourhoods tolerable, let alone desirable. Toni asked Norman Cornthwaite to please forward her statement to the Cabinet and confirmed she would email it again, for this purpose, with a new subject heading. 9. Pride of Place Awards. Members are invited to participate in an Exhibition in Junne and July, in the new Museum OF Bristol, @M Shed, on the FLoating Harbour, about the people, history, culture and creativity of Stockwood and Hengrove. Gemma has already received some expression of interests from Video projects and UWE's Faculty of Media and Design, to film presentations of initiatives, projects and work by Hengrove and Stockwood community groups, and so was asked to co-ordinate the project, to which she agreed. 7.10. Wellbeing Funding This fund awarded ÂŁ10,000 a year to each ward, over the past 3 years. but neither has spent any of the money in this budget. The money has now been devolved to the Neighbourhood Partnership and it was proposed that details of applications could be put on the Blog site for members to comment and then for Councillors to decide on. Lee Williams, Senior Youth Worker from from St. Silas' Youth Centre, explained that, although he appreciated the principle involved in allowing Partnership members to view, analyse and discuss the applications, owing to the intervening Festive Season, he would be left with barely a day to complete his part of the application, and so set himself up to fail. He asked whether the application could be considered as a matter of urgency, and the committee decided that, in the interest of fairness, it would hear all the applications and make a decision on all but the most contentious at the meeting.
The list of applications was then read, summarised below: St Silas YOUTH Club - evening and half-term youth activities - £2,649 | GRANTED Stockwood Free Church - new chairs and floor for community room - £6,000 | GRANTED Stockwood Lunch Club - laptop, projector and games for older people - £1,100 | GRANTED Stockwood Library - Additional activities / speakers to attract new users - £500 | GRANTED Stockwood Community Festival - £1,500 - GRANTED Hengrove summer festival - £1,500 - GRANTED Robinson House - applications attached for comment - £1,775 agreed in principle - but comments are invited within 14 days. PENDING Stockwood Primary schools - what makes Great Britain great project £250 (attached for comment on equalities - please note that, although the application says Brislington, some of the schools are in Stockwood Ward - GRANTED 8.11. Older Persons' Wellbeing Funding Some of the applications came under this alternative funding stream, which targets older persons' welfare and wellbeing activities, initiatives and facilities. The list of applications was then read, summarised below: Stockwood - Age UK - nailcare kits and transport for foot and nail care - £1253 | GRANTED Stockwood LinkAge - Contribution towards older persons' tea dance - £247 | GRANTED Stockwood LinkAge - activities for older people (ie carpentry & walks) - £1500 | GRANTED Details of both the above will be included in the official notes of the meeting, from Democratic Services, a week or so in advance iof the next meeting. The meeting was once again reminded that the final say in the approval of these applications would be the Councillors'. 9.12. Any Other Business. Toni asked that publicity about the Neighbourhood Partnership be sent out to Mosques, Temples and Synagogues, to ensure that word gets around in all communities. She also asked that the opening point of her statement, relating to the use of less technical language, and including a pamphlet from the Plain English Campaign, be taken into consideration to make meetings and communications from the Partnership more accessible.