At the heart of Hanover

Local Action Team meeting

This is my partial and no doubt biassed impressions of the meeting of the Local Action Team on 11th March — there will be official minutes later. The topics covered included refuse collection; parking and bicycles; studentification; and policing. The probable date for the next meeting is Thursday 27th May.

Cluttered pavements

I joined the meeting just as one of the CityClean managers was explaining that we should all be keeping our binvelopes and recycling boxes indoors. If you really haven’t anywhere else but the street for them to go, do make sure they impact as little as possible on other people. All binvelopes should be folded, and CityClean (01273 292929) will provide nets to cover boxes if you need them.  The reason there’s only one street bin in central Hanover is that our pavements are so narrow, so please think about other people before you attach your bike to the nearest lamppost. If it causes an obstruction, the council may have to remove it. I have a strong impression from CityClean officers that they are genuinely keen to listen to anyone and work with anyone who can help them to do their job better.

CPZ and parking your bike

If approved by the council’s Cabinet, public consultation on the Controlled Parking Zone will start this year. Meanwhile, the council’s cycling officers have identified 5 feasible cycle-parking bays in Hanover streets, mainly by recovering unnecessary yellow-lined spaces. Anyone able to provide specific information about numbers of cycles, cycle parking pressure points, or potential locations for more bays is encouraged to contact Abby Hone on 01273 293813. The Community Association has a reserve fund to support sustainable travel, and we will be prepared to commit some of this to cycle parking facilities on top of whatever the council will do.

“Studentification”

Martin Reid (the council’s head of Housing Strategy) gave a presentation on the Student Housing Strategy. The strategy seems to be principally to encourage the building of more halls for first-year students, and to try to ‘mitigate’ the effects of the increase in shared rented housing in areas like Hanover. There were many people in the meeting who have endured a progressive deterioration in their living conditions as the number of student houses has increased around them. Their disappointment was only too apparent as it became clear that the strategy will have little effect in Hanover because most houses are too small to be controlled by the houses in multiple occupation (HMO) legislation. Martin admitted that it is very unlikely that any student houses will return to being family accommodation, as the rent a landlord can collect from several tenants is so much greater than from one family for the whole property.

So in the face of a likely growth in the number of students living in Hanover, the only relevant part of the strategy is a commitment from the universities to do what they can to moderate the behaviour of students.

There were questions about the possible location, design and management of any new student halls, as the experience of people living near the Phoenix halls has been very unpleasant. A promise was made to try to get someone from the Phoenix management to come to the next meeting.

Community policing

The Police Community Safety Officers followed up on issues raised at the previous LAT meeting in October. They are planning local enforcement days on the 20mph speed limit (but they can’t do anything about speeding skateboarders!) and on noise nuisance. There is evidence of drug dealing and recent car crime, and they asked for everyone to continue to pass on whatever information they have so that a profile can be built up to guide effective action.

And finally, the Friends of the Pepperpot encouraged everyone to look at their web site and support them — www.pepperpot.info

 
Comments

Re: “Studentification”

I think the elephants under the carpet with this issue, and many housing problems generally, are the buy-to-let landlords who work to maximise their income without regard to the neighbourhoods or communities their actions effect.

Were any present in the meeting?

I don’t remember anyone identifying themselves as a landlord. I expect most of them live outside the area (which is, of course, part of the problem). In the unlikely event that they wanted to come along, they wouldn’t have heard about the meeting.

The chairperson did promise to invite the managers of the Phoenix Halls to the next one.

The ‘solution’ to the parking ‘problems’ in Carlyle Street appears to be to halve the number of parking spaces by allowing parking on one side of the road only. The present situation – although not ideal – is preferable by far.

How anyone could propose charging residents for the privilege of having parking reduced by 50% is beyond me. The original questionnaire by which the (unquantified) ‘problems’ were identified had a response rate of 33%. It’s time for everyone to become involved in this process.

Yes. And once the parking spaces have been halved in Carlyle Street that means that everyone from that street will park in Luther Street where I live. Luther Street currently has ample parking day and night, once the controlled zone comes into force not only will I have to pay another ‘tax’ but also I doubt I’ll ever be able to park in my street again. Brilliant!

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