Agenda item

Responses to Public Questions Received and Open Discussion on Local Issues

(a)          Police Priorities


22.1.    The Chair reported that Inspector Weaver of the Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) was not able to attend and unfortunately his nominated representative was not able to attend due to illness.  The Chair reported that 5 questions/issues had been received in writing in advance of the meeting.

22.2.    Question/issue 1:
I read in the Ipswich Star newspaper about a public consultation exhibition into some proposals to improve Norwich Road; the event was held at the former Co-op store on Barrack Corner.  There was very little advance warning of the consultation. Please could you inform me whether further information will be available at both the Central and North West Area Committee meetings as I was unable to attend the consultation?”

That event was the first consultation with local businesses/residents to progress the ideas developed through the Destination Norwich Road Group’s local economic plan (funded by DCLG). The next consultation would present the detailed design options for the street that were being developed.

22.3.    Question/issue 2:
Please inform me when the now demolished Drum and Monkey public house will become part of the Portman Road car park, and whether there are still proposals for offices to be built on the site of the former Mann Egerton garage, which is still trading at present, and whether the building will be demolished as a result of the new office buildings?”

The former Drum & Monkey site would become part of the Portman Road car park in the Autumn.  The wider site, including the former Mann Egerton garage, was allocated in the Ipswich Local Plan for redevelopment, comprising of offices, hotel, leisure and car parking.

22.4.    Question/issue 3:
Please inform me when the new Crown Street car park will be open to the public.  I notice that some steps are being constructed from the car park to Crown Street between Crown Pools and Crown House.  Please inform me what measures will be put in place to deter beggars asking people for money in the area as this has been an issue previously.”

The new Crown Street multi-storey car park opened on 30 July 2018.  Street begging was not specific to the area of the car park and required a multi-agency approach.  As such, the Council would continue to work with partners in addressing issues arising from street begging.

22.5.    Question/issue 4:
“I understand that a new school is to be built on the site of the former Co-op Supermarket. Please inform me when the construction is to commence on site and when planning permission is to be applied for.”

The Council was yet to receive a planning application in relation to this scheme.  However, initial conversations had indicated that an application was expected in early 2019.  Until any planning permission was granted, and to be clear, this was yet to be determined, construction timescales could not be confirmed.

22.6.    Question/issue 5:
can you confirm that the proposed Mint Quarter for the Cox Lane and Tacket Street car park site has been cancelled and whether a replacement development is proposed for this site?”

The current Local Plan, as adopted in 2017, allocated the Mint Quarter east of Cox Lane for residential use over 60% of the site, together with amenity space and a short stay multi-storey car park to cover the remaining 40% of the site.  The local planning authority was working on the draft version of the next Local Plan, and consideration to potential future uses would be given as part of this process.  At this time, no firm decisions have been made as to the future allocation of this site.

The Chair invited questions from the floor.

22.7.    Local resident: We live in Ann Street and our house overlooks the South Street car park. Since August, there has been a group of young people congregating at the northern end of the car park who often behave in a lewd manner, smoke cannabis and leave litter behind, including broken glass. This is a Council-owned car park and is regularly visited by the Council’s Enforcement Officers.  There is also CCTV cameras covering the northern boundary of the car park.  We don’t ring 999 as the response would be too late.  What else can the Police and the Council do to address this issue?

Councillor Jones reported that if the incident was not an emergency, it could be reported to the Police by emailing and also copying in ward Councillors, especially as this issue involved a Council owned car park. Anti-social behaviour was happening in many areas of Westgate and Alexandra, but it was important that issues were reported to the Police so that their resources could be directed to where issues were taking place.

Councillor Kreidewolf added that Ward Councillors met with the Police every month as part of the Central Ipswich Neighbourhood Partnership Group (NPG) and this issue would be referred onto the next meeting.

22.8.    Local resident: I am concerned about the campaign that has been started in response to the planning application to convert the Mulberry Tree public house into a community centre. A lot of resources have been put behind developing this proposal, including planning legal advice, but there have been bigoted comments on Facebook, plus threats to burn down the building and bury dead animals on site.  The issue has been reported to the Police, but there has been no proper response and I am concerned about the potential for public disorder.

Councillor Lockington reported that she had forwarded some of the Facebook comments, which were very racist, onto the Police and added that leaflets had also been delivered in the area. Councillor Lockington added that when the planning application was determined by the Council’s Planning and Development Committee, only planning matters would be taken into consideration.

Councillor Kreidewolf commented that he would not discuss the merits of the application, as he was a member of the Planning & Development Committee and did not want to pre-determine the application, but he did share concern about the extreme language being used.

Councillor Jones commented that there had not been a similar campaign in relation to the proposals to convert the former Odeon building into a church.
[**Note: This minute was subsequently amended at the meeting held on 7 November 2018].

Councillor Jones added that Suffolk Police would be a statutory consultee on the Mulberry Tree planning application, but asked what action could be taken by the Police in response to the inappropriate language and sentiment being expressed on social media. 
Action: The Chair to write to the Police on behalf of the Committee to ask what action could be taken by the Police in response to inappropriate comments published on social media.

22.9.    Local resident:  In the June Ipswich Central SNT newsletter, it was reported that a Community Protection Notice (CPN) had been issued against someone persistently begging on the streets.  Has there been a reduction in the level of street begging in the town centre?
This enquiry would be forwarded onto the Police for a response.