Linda Garbutt Chairwoman
Barry Gower Secretary
Brian Pickering Treasurer
Councillor Susan Walker
Linda welcomed Councillor Walker to the meeting.
1 Apologies: there were apologies from Councillor Shield and from George Barber.
2 The minutes of the meeting on 11 January 2023 were accepted as a correct record.
3 Matters arising:
3.1 Item 4.4: Lunch at Duke of Wellington. The occasion was enjoyed by those members able to attend.
3.2 Item 6: Pendant alarms. David said that his investigations appeared to show that Care Connect were providing a good service to those using the service. Brian said that he was awaiting an update on the complaints he had received.
3.3 Item 7: Secure space for Guide Dogs. With the help of Councillor Wilkes, this matter was making some progress. Some funding had been secured, and a suitable area found in the vicinity of Caterhouse Road in Newton Hall. There has been a DCC consultation about public spaces for dogs to use, which closes on Monday 13 March, but the topics mentioned do not appear to cover the use of such spaces by the owners of Guide Dogs.
4 Chairwoman’s business:
Linda reminded members that we had yet to follow up Ruth Chittenden’s presentation about access at Ushaw College.
5 Secretary’s business:
5.1 Barry reported on his attendance at the January meeting of the Durham City Parish Council. Councillors had received the letter he wrote on behalf of the Group. Councillor Walker offered to help with finding some younger people to join the Group.
5.2 At the Council meeting Barry attended, Councillors received a newly created Heritage Trail for the City. Although he was not able to see a copy of this Trail, Barry used the opportunity of commenting on the Group’s letter to the Council to say that although he welcomed the Trail, he was dismayed that the Group had been given no opportunity to consider its suitability for those who use mobility aids, or have restricted mobility., or have children in pushchairs.
Councillors acknowledged that consultation should have taken place. Members of the Group shared the disappointment that had been expressed. Barry was asked by the Council to comment on the Trail on behalf of the Group, once he had an opportunity to see it. His comments were read to the Group, as were the changes made to the text in the Trail as a consequence of them.
5.3 Following Councillor Walker help in identifying younger people to join the Group, Barry had been contacted by Hannah Shepherd who, though not able to attend this meeting, has asked for details of meetings.
5.4 There has also been an enquiry posted on the Group’s website, from Derek Brown, who lives at Whitesmocks on the left hand side of the A167 as you travel north, beyond the Johnson School. His wife needs a wheelchair and they are finding it very difficult to cross the A167 safely so that they can have access to the City. They would like the support of the Group in requesting a controlled road crossing. Barry has said that although the Group is happy to support the request, current criteria used by DCC make it doubtful whether the request will be successful. Councillor Walker asked for details to new forwarded to her.
6 Treasurer’s business:
Brian reported that the Group has £1256 in its bank account, though most of this will be used to meet costs of our website, ‘zoom’ facilities, and room hire by the end of this year.
7 Building regulations:
Len drew attention to the publication of revised building regulations. The document is long and complex, and Len was asked to alert the Group to any changes of which he considers that the Group should be aware.
8 The next meeting of the Group will be on Wednesday 10 May 2023 at 2.00pm. It will be preceded by the Group’s AGM.