January 2016 meeting minutes

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By Adrian Carlton-Oatley

Minutes of the North Laine Community Association meeting held on 19 January 2016 [Unofficial]

23 members attended. Apologies from Adrian Carlton-Oatley, Christine Clark-Lowes, Kim Curran, Sarah Dunsmure, Peter Fuller, Glynis Simpson, Gabrielle Villermet


The minutes were approved. There were no matters arising.



• St Mungo’s Broadway: The Chair reported that he had received a thank you letter from St Mungo’s Broadway for the NLCA’s £60 Christmas charitable donation. St Mungo’s Broadway has the contract to run the Council’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Homelessness Service.

• Seminar: The Chair reported that he had attended a seminar on consent-led decision-making at the former Barclays Bank at Preston Circus, now a community space with bookable rooms. The seminar was organised by Rob Mantle-Jones who has also commissioned an animated short film about the local community-owned recycling scheme (Greenbox) which will be shown continuously at ONCA, the gallery south of Domino’s Pizzas, on Friday 5 February, 6.30-8.30pm.



In the Treasurer’s absence, there was no report.



• Kathy Spencer reminded the meeting that from 7.30pm on Thursday 21 January there would be an informal gathering at the Brighton Tavern to celebrate the anniversary of the first meeting of the NLCA 40 years ago.

• Kathy also outlined some of the plans for the 40th anniversary party to be held in the Brighthelm café on Saturday 27 February, including a quiz, raffle, food and drink. 1970s dress is optional. Tickets in advance will be £3 or on the door £5. Kim Curran would shortly be providing a poster for street reps and official tickets but, in the meantime, Kathy would be selling temporary tickets in the break. Tickets will also be available from Raining Books in Trafalgar Street.



None were raised.


• Barry Leigh reported that there were no new planning applications to consider but he was concerned that two recent applications (changes to Surf & Ski in Regent Street and raising the roof height on 5 Kensington Place) had gone ahead, despite objections from the NLCA. Both applications included elements which in the past would have seen the applications refused. The planning department is currently suffering from staff shortages and a mounting backlog and it would seem that poor decisions are being made.


• Roy Skam reported that on 8 January he had attended, along with Francis Clark-Lowes and Terry Etherton, a licensing hearing concerning the Oseta Café at 34 North Road (the premises with the original ‘General Engineers’ shop sign). He had previously met with the owner (at her request) and had observed that the café had only 12 seats and no public toilet. The owner was seeking an alcohol licence in order to increase profits. The NLCA had objected to the application but the premises were granted a licence for the sale of wine only between 12 noon and 10pm. Roy believed the hearing had been handled badly, not only because the premises lie within a Cumulative Impact Zone and therefore should not have been considered for a licence but also because a number of unannounced supporters were allowed to speak. Both Jonathan Bromberg and Cllr Lizzie Deane suggested writing an email to the chair of the licensing committee expressing concern at the procedure followed at the hearing and possibly following this up with the Council’s lawyers. Peter Crowhurst noted that the current matrix for licensing decisions had been breached but that a 2016 policy review would allow café bars to have licences, possibly leading to an unwelcome increase in licensed premises in North Laine.

• Roy also reported that he had attended a Licensing Strategy Committee meeting and confirmed that the Council was currently reviewing its licensing policy and proposed to add café bars to the matrix.

• The Chair added that this would be discussed further at the Environment Sub Committee meeting on 27 January.

• Roy also mentioned that the NLCA and police were opposing a licence for another small café, Pelicano, in Sydney Street which wished to operate as an exclusive cocktail bar Sun - Wed 8pm - 12 midnight and Thurs - Sat 8pm – 1am.


• The Chair introduced a petition launched by Anna Clark to create a sub zone for Zone Y parking, with suggested boundaries of Dyke Road, Trafalgar Street and Grand Parade. It was suggested that ‘intrazone commuter’ parking could be reduced if more mixed parking bays could be changed to ‘residents only’ and if the 8pm deadline for residents’ parking could be extended. It was noted, however, that Brighton’s 8pm deadline is later than most and that ‘pay and display’ bays were reduced in the 2014 parking review. The petition was available to sign and the issue would be discussed further at the next Environment Sub Committee meeting.

• The Chair noted that ‘eco matters’ had been absorbed into the work of the Environment Sub Committee.

• How to deal with the tagging on the Post Office building in Gloucester Road was discussed once again. It was assumed that removal was the responsibility of the Post Office rather than the Council. A mural to replace the tagging was suggested but access (possibly over an asbestos roof) might be difficult. The Chair agreed to pursue the matter with the Post Office.


• Jackie Fuller reported that we need someone to seek out new advertisers for the Runner to avoid a drop in income.


• Jonathan Bromberg reported that City College has recently published accounts for 2014/15 which reveal that £0.9m for the campus redevelopment has been written off (£1.7m over two years). The accounts also state that the current buildings have a useful life of 5 years. An ‘Estate Strategy Statement’ recently sent to stakeholders states that the current redevelopment plans have been put on hold and that a new property strategy will be developed after the Skills Funding Agency review of post-16 education.

• Jonathan also expressed concern that the Council was refusing to withdraw the s237 powers which would allow the college to override the rights of neighbouring property owners – despite the fact that the original redevelopment scheme is no longer viable. It was agreed to discuss this matter further at the next Environment Sub Committee meeting.

• Mitch Egan asked if other residents were disturbed by early morning commercial rubbish collections – it appears that some experienced noisy collections even earlier than she does in Frederick Street. No action was suggested.

• On behalf of Gabrielle Villermet, Sandy Crowhurst asked whether any action had been taken to recommend Peter Stocker’s name for the Brighton & Hove bus names scheme. The Chair agreed to follow this up.

• The Chair announced that he was unable to go to the official launch of St Mungo’s Broadway on 20 January. Cllr Lizzie Deane agreed to represent the NLCA as well as attending in her official role.

• It was reported that David Fisher would be giving an update on the campaign to restore the Hippodrome at his April talk to the Regency Society

• Lyn Turpin asked if anyone knew the addresses of Barbara Flynn, Audrey Fraser, Emmi Howard or Mina. She is trying to contact them about reminiscences to be used in the forthcoming book on North Laine.



Francis Clark-Lowes gave a fascinating and personal talk about Hubert Leslie, silhouettist, entertainer and family friend (1890-1976). The talk included a short extract from the documentary by Charles Burns Silhouette Secrets, and Francis also brought along examples of Hubert’s work.


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