University Local Residents Meeting - Feb 2019

I attended this meeting along with residents from Sherwin St, Cowley St, Pybus St etc, university staff including the Vice Chancellor Kathryn Mitchell and head of Estates Dept, students and 4 city councillors. Unfortunately the police were not represented.

Obviously, parking was a major issue with the university listening to residents. Improvements in parking were reported in Allestree and in Pybus St - the former due to the police action as reported in Derby Telegraph and the latter (as I understand it) on University owned land that is residents’ parking.

Cllr Pegg reported that an ambulance had been blocked from attending a call out to retirement housing - Sutton Close on Windmill Lane - which the university agreed was unacceptable. This area is heavily used by students at Markeaton Street sites. Residents on Sherwin St reported the situation to be as bad as ever/worse. Student parking is now an issue into the evenings due to university extending its hours - the university agreed to make sure students will be informed in Sept (new intake and students moving from halls to private houses) about Access Only signs and the law. Students accessing the evening provision are encouraged to use the Kedleston Rd car parks (free access after 4.30pm) as the university takes student/staff safety seriously so students should not think they have any reason to park on Sherwin Street.

The university is paying to improve lighting from the A38 footbridge along to Britannia Mill which will benefit students, staff and wider community as this is a safeguarding issue. The possible relocation of the Business School was discussed - this involves building on a car park near Agard St. It would not result in many fewer students on the main site but as replacement students would be in Nursing Studies dept, they would be out on placements for much of the time and tend to be students that use the free buses more.

Vice Chancellor Kathryn Mitchell was passionate about University progress in providing Nursing education and she looked forward to possibility of a multiple use “walkway” from town to main site - the main barrier is A38. It would involve the shared user path along the brook behind Agard St, using quieter streets such as Mill St. This is aimed at reducing traffic (ie parked cars!) to university and would - of course - be a resource used by residents as well as students and staff.

There was discussion of the impact the upcoming A38 works would have on Markeaton Island Car Park - it is unclear if it will be closed for extended period or whether access will be maintained in range of ways. The university will be checking as their understanding was that the car park will not be completely closed off. Obviously, this is a heavily used facility and local residents would be affected if students/staff were unable to park there. There is no apparent alternative on this side of Derby for a Park and Ride site.

The meeting was not quite over when I had to leave but before going I raised the issue of tree felling on university owned land - Sturgess Fields. A healthy tree which acted as a “signal" tree” for a sexually active woodpecker has been cut down. Apparently, no university contractor did this which leaves the possibility it being a council matter (probably not?) or a Highways Agency contractor as they are not just cutting down trees next to A38 in preparation for the roadworks there … I shall have to investigate.

background of these meetings

These meetings are attended by Vice Chancellor (or stand in), other university staff, Student Union people,

police, council officers & councillorts and - of course - local residents.

The meetings cover issues where university life impinge on community life eg parking, instances of anti social behaviour on university sites, development plans for university owned sites eg O Heap off Asbourne Rd and shared projects such as linking food bank with local allotments and student volunteering more widely.

You may be interested in this information which is part of a pack given to students in Sept: