New Year Update 2013 – King Street Cultural Quarter

Happy New Year!

So 2013 has arrived and we’ve waved goodbye to 2012.  Hope you had a wonderful festive season and ready for the year ahead.

Don’t worry, despite 2012 being an incredibly memorable year, there’s lots going on in 2013 so it should be a good year too.

Thank You – King Street Question Time

First things first, a huge thank you to everyone who attended the King Street Question Time and most of all a huge thank you to the brave soles who volunteered to make up the question time panel – Dr. Stephen Johnson, Tim Williams, Superintendent Paul Sanford, Philip Hardy, Lesley Grahame, Alec Hartley and Nick Bond.

There are notes at the bottom of this email of the King Street Question Time and the quick AGM that took place just before, in case you weren’t able to attend.

Events Committee Meeting
Wednesday 16th January

First event of the year, or should we say gathering, is the Events Committee Meeting.  Anyone who is interested in helping us organise the King Street Cultural Quarter, please come along to Jurnets Bar at Wensum Lodge, King Street, Norwich for 6.30pm on Wednesday 16th January.

Don’t worry, by coming along you won’t have to get involved, but it’s a great chance to find out a little more about King Street Cultural Quarter and see whether you’d like to be involved.

King Street Winter Warmer
Tuesday 12th February

We’ll send out details shortly, but please put in your diary that all members of the King Street Cultural Quarter are invited to join us for a Winter Warmer on Tuesday 12th February.

King Street Cultural Weekend
Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June

The team are working on plans for the King Street Cultural Weekend.  We’ll post lots of information on the website and social media shortly, plus posters etc will be distributed around the King Street area.The general idea of the event is to have a lot of smaller events all connecting together for that weekend, finishing with the Big Lunch on Sunday which was such a success last year.

If you are planning any events for that weekend and would like them included in the programme for the weekend, then please let us know.  We are looking for anything cultural, from art exhibitions to concerts, demonstrations to food & drink events.

Logo suggestions for this event would be most welcome too.

King Street Question Time
November (Date to be confirmed)

After the success of 2012’s Question Time, we’ve decided to repeat the event.  Suggestions of question time panel members would be welcome and we’ll be asking for questions nearer the event.

_____________________________________________________________________________

King Street Cultural Quarter
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
Held at the King’s Centre on Wednesday 14 November 2012, 7.30pm

Attendees: Jason Borthwick (Chair) JB; John Adam (Treasurer) JA, Natasha Harlow (Secretary) NH, Sue Steward (Resident) SS, Shirley Buxton (Julian Centre) SB, Ashley Erlham (Fifth Quarter) AE, Richard Southwood (Fifth Quarter) RS, Geoff Pritchard (Dragon Hall) GP, Lesley Grahame (Norwich City Council) LG, Jeff Compton (Norwich City Council) JC, plus other members.

Apologies: Linda Chapman (St Etheldreda’s)

  1. Welcome, round up and thanks

JB welcomed the members to the AGM, introduced the current post holders and outlined the various posts to be filled. He went on to give a round up of the past year for the King Street Cultural Quarter including the successful King Street Jubilee Celebrations and Big Lunch in June. Thanks were extended to all those who had taken part in the event. Plans for the King Street Cultural Weekend (31 May-3 June 2013) were expressed.

  1. Accounts

JA gave a summary of the group’s accounts over the past year –

Grants £700; Donations £500;

Expenditure: £100 petty cash; £200 advertising and promotions; £500 staffing and activities for the Big Lunch/Jubilee

Account Balance: £400

  1. Election of Secretary

The current Secretary was unopposed and therefore re-elected for the forthcoming year.

  1. Election of Treasurer

The current Treasurer was unopposed and therefore re-elected for the forthcoming year.

  1. Election of Chair

The current Chair was unopposed and therefore re-elected for the forthcoming year.

  1. Election of Executive Committee

There were no further nominations for the Committee – Chair to contact current Committee and announce an updated list of members in due course.

  1. Election of Events Committee

There were no further nominations for the Committee – Chair to contact current Committee and announce an updated list of members in due course.

  1. Election of Residents’ Committee

SS explained the plan for a Residents’ forum and asked for members to sign up to express their interest in forming a Committee. An updated list of members will be announced in due course.

  1. Notices and diary dates:
  • South City Centre consultation exhibition – Friday 16-Saturday 17 November at King’s Centre.
  • King Street Cultural Quarter members’ Winter Warmer event – mid-February 2013 tbc.
  • King Street Cultural Weekend – Friday 31 May – Monday 3 June 2013 – details tbc.

The meeting closed at 7.45pm.

_____________________________________________________________________________

King Street Question Time
Held on Wednesday 14 November 2012 at the King’s Centre

Panellists:

  • Lesley Grahame LG (Norwich City Councillor)
  • Nick Bond NB (Visit Norwich)
  • Tim Williams TW (Development Editor, Archant Anglia)
  • Dr Stephen Johnson SJ (Broads Authority)
  • Philip Hardy PH (Norfolk County Councillor)
  • Superintendent Paul Sandford PS (Norfolk Constabulary)
  • Alec Hartley AH (Norwich Society)
  • Jason Borthwick JB (King Street Cultural Quarter, Chair)

Background:

Members of the King Street Cultural Quarter, local residents and other interested parties were invited to submit questions to a panel at a Question Time event on the future of King Street.

Introductions:

The Chair, JB, gave a brief introduction to the event and the panellists went on to introduce themselves to the audience.

Question 1: Have we made the best use of the river?

  • SJ – River Wensum is part of the Norfolk Broads – ambitions to become a National Park in its own right. Norwich is the only city with a river as part of the National Park family. We don’t make the best use of our river – planning decisions have historically affected areas where there is no riverside access. Future benefits of the river could include boating, new punting scheme, leisure usage. Broads Authority planning department has control over the river itself but not the river bank which may be in the hands of several authorities or private ownership. Many opportunities for better use of the river, needs research into how people use the river and what the needs of the river itself are.
  • AH – discussion paper by the Wensum River Parkway Project “Bringing Life Back to the River” published earlier this year (2012). End of industrial usage led to development opportunities. Obstacles – complications in planning process, people often don’t know about the requirements for moorings, who has jurisdiction. The report recommends an integrated access policy, proper management, an ownership study, areas for houseboats, association of riverside businesses, need for integrated planning, consistent riverside walk, aim to complete the riverside walkway through the city. River becoming less navigable beyond the New Mills. Conflicts between environmental protection and navigation demands. People like living in Norwich because of assets such as the river, historic environment etc. Discussion paper available on Norwich Society website. Early 2013 – working party meeting to produce an integrated access strategy.
  • LG – King Street and Riverside residents’ associations should be consulted. King Street Cultural Weekend proposed theme of “Turning Our Faces to the River”. Ambition to make the river corridor inhabited.
  • TW – We don’t make enough use of the river. Needs to be developed in tandem with people and the environment. Should make the river the centre point of our city – Norwich Business Improvement group is promoting tourism, linking the city with visitors to the Broads. Planners must take responsibility for mistakes of the past – such as building the Riverside complex.

Question 2 – Who has the remit for providing river access and moorings for residential houseboats?

  • SJ – Many parties have claims on river and banks, City, County and District councils, Broads Authority, Environment Agency, private owners. No obligation to provide long term moorings for live-aboard boats. Free 24-hour moorings available in several places on the Broads – for leisure use not residential in most cases. No permanent moorings provided by Broads Authority – some spaces in private boatyards and marinas available. Permanent residential moorings need planning permission, proper servicing and facilities, emergency services access and waste disposal.
  • AH – There appears to be no codified requirement or official policy for zones of occupation along the river. Important that consideration is given for permanent moorings. Popular, safe and financially viable in other cities – properly serviced, self-policing sites. Access to river – issues in King Street area with developers (PJ Livesey) appealing against City Council’s decision to refuse retrospective planning permission to close off the access to the river at Read Mills.

Comments from the floor:

  • Central government has issued instructions to local planning authorities to make better use of rivers. What about providing moorings on the opposite side of King Street from ABC Wharf next to Wherryman’s Way path?
  • Only 3 or 4 designated mooring sites on the whole Broads network, nobody is encouraged to offer mooring for live-aboards. Need for management policy developed with input from river residents themselves, which provides services, infrastructure and the will to change, resulting in better quality of boats and discouraging illegal mooring.
  • Question about the overgrown old utilities site at the confluence of the Wensum and Yare backing on to Carey’s Meadow. Could be developed as alternative to Whitlingham country and water park. AH responded that plans to redevelop this site had fallen through about 3 years ago. Nobody is certain who has responsibility for planning over these dead sites, including St Anne’s Wharf, Targetfollow etc. Also disused marina on Thorpe Island.
  • SJ – Thorpe Island is a conservation area with a basin at its West end, with permission for 12 boats, owner currently has 20 boats, Broads Authority looking at potential action and private development.
  • LG – South City Centre report recommends a marina, access to the river along King Street. City Council officers are in discussions over possibilities at St Anne’s Wharf.

Question 3 – Do the panel support the Rose Lane Community Garden and more green spaces in the area generally?

  • Update on draft lease agreed for Rose Lane Community Garden with Norwich City Council.
  • LG – Growing community and gardens. Example of Parmentergate Court garden – Residents wanting to grow food in hard times, improved communication between tenants in flats. Garden share scheme – matching up gardens and gardeners.
  • NB – Green Spaces make a contribution to Norwich’s offer to visitors and tourists.
  • AH – Need for benches and stopping places in open areas like community gardens and riverside walks.
  • PH – important to make best use of space in the city – residents need asking for views – mechanism for ideas to travel.

Comments from the floor:

  • Residents are fed up with developers and property owners sitting on derelict land, non-owners have no ability to change the situation, example of areas near Dragon Hall – looks unsightly with litter and vandalism. We need green lungs in the city centre, more allotments.
  • PH – Recommends Community Gardeners get in touch with Norwich in Bloom and the Grapes Hill Community Garden which recently won an award.

Question 4 – What is happening with the derelict brewery site at St Anne’s Wharf and Howard House?

  • PH – We need to sort out derelict sites in King Street area. Norfolk County Council has an ongoing bid for St Anne’s Wharf site.
  • AH – Brewery site has been vacant for 20 years, 3 different failed plans, site was divided up and all three parts went bust. Existing planning consents are valuable assets in their own right to the administrators. Debacle over Howard House – Grade 2* listed building on the Buildings At Risk Register for many years, the sole remaining house in Norwich with connection to the Dukes of Norfolk, historically and architecturally important. Norwich Preservation Trust has been talking to administrators about taking over Howard House – plans, finance, English Heritage grant all in place – project now on hold – sticking point was expansion of curtilage to provide garden and parking space affecting the existing planning permissions. City Council refuses to issue preservation orders or compulsory purchase.

Question 5 – Why have there been problems with tree planting schemes in the area?

  • A DEFRA grant-funded project to plant trees in hard surface areas along King Street was blocked due to objections from CCTV operators and City Council.
  • PS – The Police have had issues with trees on Prince of Wales Road and Bank Plain obscuring CCTV coverage which may have influenced the decision for King Street. Need for long term maintenance to trim back trees.
  • TW – the issue is whether we value trees or CCTV?
  • LG – need for joined up thinking, joint planning meetings.
  • AH – maintenance costs – City Council is not able to take on any new costs incurred by such schemes.
  • JB – Section 106 agreements cover costs of long term maintenance.

Comments from the floor:

  • Trees are mostly outside the Waterfront venue, where there’s greatest need for cameras. How many crimes have been solved in this area by CCTV footage?
  • Residents at top end of street would prefer trees to cars outside their properties.
  • City Council is always blamed – but where is the breakdown in communication?
  • Neighbourhood action plan – can include issues such as car parking, tree planting, derelict sites. Action can be made by a Neighbourhood Forum – 21 residents of the area can draw up the action plan, doesn’t have to go through Council if supported by neighbourhood. Document can become part of official policy, the Local Plan for the area.
  • LG – Neighbourhood plans must comply with existing Local Plan, can influence planning criteria. Great degree of agreement in response to South City area consultation.

Question 6 – What is the plan to provide more low cost social housing in the area?

  • LG – united view that derelict land could be used for housing – South City consultation is looking for funding to develop derelict areas, certain proportion has to be social housing.
  • TW –Norwich City Council requires a higher percentage of social housing than elsewhere – developers dislike social housing and this can affect success of new projects.
  • SJ – planning documents – City can only designate certain areas for specific usage – e.g. 30% social housing.
  • AH – Housing standards were scrapped, size of rooms, building specs no longer tightly controlled.

Comments from the floor:

  • Quality of housing – private developments are not well built – people in social housing deserve a good quality of life and housing, recent attempts have no gardens, no balconies, not integrated well into development – ghettoization. Plea for higher spec new builds.
  • Music House Lane site – flagship housing plans have come to nothing.
  • Planners can demand a certain spec for new housing.

Any Other Business?

  • PS – news on changes to the Licensing Act – 24 hour drinking, pubs and clubs near King Street are open longer and later. New rules – Early morning restriction orders can be requested, give last time for serving alcohol. Police are presenting to the council on 27 November, public consultation – revised last orders in city: 3am Sunday-Thursday and 3-4am on Fridays and Saturdays. Aim to reduce noise and disorder in the area.

JB thanked the panel and the audience. Further information will be posted on www.kingst.co.uk and the King Street Cultural Quarter social media when available – www.facebook.com/KingStNorwich and www.twitter.com/KingStNorwich

Reminder to visit South City Consultation exhibition and website to see the new vision for King Street – www.norwichsouthcityarea.co.uk

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