Green wall investigation, barbecue confiscation, student housing application and more

Plus gated twittens, comedy gardens and Petrol Girls.

Green wall investigation, barbecue confiscation, student housing application and more
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to this week's Seagull briefing! We've got news now. All the news. So much news. Let's go!

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🗞News This Week🗞

disposable barbecues ban, private twitten plans

Disposable barbecues, balloons and lanterns banned in Brighton

Brighton Beach, looking towards the marina
Source: Simon Carey

Using disposable barbecues on beaches and parks across the city as of July 1st could see users facing a £100 fine.

The release of lanterns and balloons on council-owned land has also been banned, due to the risk they pose to animals (specifically birds and marine life) who may try to eat them, be injured, become trapped and die.

This has been done through a public service protection order (PSPO).

A PSPO can impose conditions or restrictions on the use of a specific area by all persons within that area. The council can make a PSPO if it believes there are activities in an area which are detrimental to the local community’s life and that the negative impact is so much that it makes the restrictions reasonable. A PSPO can last for a maximum of 3 years.

Non-disposable barbecues can still be used in certain spaces - signage will specify if they are or aren't allowed.

The ban comes following a fire that destroyed part of Hollingdean waste depot in 2019, started by a disposable barbecue in a bin on the seafront, and a council public consultation where 79% of people responding supported the ban.

Twitten residents ask for increased security to prevent antisocial behaviour

Sillwood Terrace twitten, dimly lit and strewn with rubbish
Source: Tara Matthews

A petition has been launched calling for a Brighton twitten to be made more private.

A twitten is Sussex slang for a narrow path or passage between two walls or hedges. It's an alleyway, by another name.

Signatories want a communal gate introduced so that only those with a ventured interest in this area can access the twitten.

The petition reads:

Sillwood Terrace is a Mews situated in central Brighton. The walkway is home to +20 self-contained flats and provides rear access to at least 7 businesses. It is used by all residents to gain access to their flats and for refuse and commercial waste purposes for the businesses at ground level.

Unfortunately, there have been a series of incidents in recent months (if not years) that remain a major cause for concern to all stakeholders at Sillwood Terrace and the North end of Sillwood Road.

Within the last year alone there have been several cases of drug dealing, drug use, binge drinking, noise disruption at late hours, drunk and disorderly behaviour, fly-tipping, rummaging through commercial waste, urination & excreted matter, animal nuisance, people who are experiencing homelessness sleeping on doorsteps and much more.

Tara Mathews, who started the petition, said according to ADT's Crime In My Area, there have been 107 recorded reports of criminal/antisocial activity within a 1-mile radius of Sillwood Terrace in the last 3 months alone. In the last 12 months, there have been 397 incidents, more than four times the amount in comparison to the UK average of 96 for the last 12 months.

The petiton, which has 128 signatures, acknowledges noise disruption happens in a city but also says 'more can be done to establish better security along the walkway to deter these individuals from loitering in this area'.

🖋 NIBS 🖋

  • Charlie Southall watch: people can now have their say as to whether or not he should have to replace the tiles he removed from The Montreal Arms. The council issued an enforcement notice giving him one year to do so back in April, but he appealed it, effectively pausing the enforcement notice. It's live on the planning inspectorate’s website, and anyone interested has until 3 August to comment.
  • Taj the Grocer is set to open two new shops: one in London Road in mid-August and one on the University of Sussex campus in September!
  • The council is working on ways to improve the road, pavement and junctions along Hove Station, including new cycle lanes, wider pavements, and a new pedestrian crossing. To find out more information and to provide comments on the proposals do so here before July 15th.
  • Councillors have agreed to plant thousands of saplings every year across the city as part of its commitment to tackling the climate crisis and to replace trees cut down due to ash dieback and elm disease. This is mainly funded from a £1 million grant from the council’s Carbon Neutral Fund, some of which has gone to staff—before the scheme, the council had the resources to plant around 80 trees a year. Last year, it planted 425 trees and 2,530 young tree seedlings.
  • An application has been submitted for a two to four storey block of student accommodation at Falmer Cottages, next to Falmer Station. The nine-student flats would house 24 students and replace current HMO student cottages. The developer, Pinnervale Investments, says it would reduce pressure on the private housing sector; the flats would have two to four bedrooms, shared kitchen and living spaces, gardens and bike parking. The application reference number is BH2022/01883.
  • In more planning news, Deans Close residents are objecting plans to knock down a bungalow and replace it with four terraced homes. As of Sunday 3rd July, 35 objections have come in, with residents saying the site neighbours the Honeysett Wildlife Site, owned by Roger's Wildlife Rescue, where a badger sett has lived since the eighties. Trees and bushes were felled from the site last year as well, much to residents' dismay. The Planning Committee will decide the fate of this Woodingdean site on Wednesday at 2pm—officials have recommended it is approved, but who knows what will happen?

This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton.

💥The Big One💥

Council investigates itself; finds it told itself to do the thing it was investigating itself for doing

Madeira Drive, looking towards the pier
Source: Cristian Bortes

What's happening? Workers who removed most of a historic 'green wall' along Madeira Drive were following council orders, so says the report of an investigation into the work. An investigation ordered by council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty back in April 2021.

So the council investigated itself to find out it ordered the work to be done that they were investigated the source of? In a nutshell, yes. Following approved changes to the road layout in Madeira Drive, a contractor was hired to cut the greenery off to ensure better visibility.

Tell me more about this wall? It was a 60ft, mile-long 'living wall' dating back to 1930. It was the oldest and longest of its kind in Europe and the only one of its kind in the UK. The wall was designated a local wildlife site by the council back in 2013. This, ironically, gave it more protection.

People were really upset about the removal of the greenery, right? Very much so. Campaigners held a memorial event and left wreaths at the wall.

What did the report say? The following:

We considered whether the cutting back was necessary and found that a road safety audit highlighted a road safety problem and recommended that ‘adequate inter-visibility should be provided which may require some cutting back or removal of vegetation.
Based on advice to us on the issue of the severity of cutting back, it is inconclusive as to whether the pruning could have been less severe.
It was found that the contractors acted in accordance with the general plans and design drawings.
Our review has found that there was no regular planned maintenance in place for this section of the green wall but there have been regular requests and complaints to the council concerning the overhanging vegetation affecting visibility of pedestrians and road users.

You'd think the council would have known they authorised this work, right? You'd think! The report says the council has met with an ecologist to discuss future management of the wall: there has been substantial regrowth and the council say regular, less severe pruning will now take place at a point in the year which minimises any impact on wildlife.

👉Finger On The Pulse👈

Regency clothes, comedy shows, freeload(a)

🎶Gigs: Brighton-based Sick Joy have a sound that's tricky to fully describe, but some of their songs sound very Nirvana-esque—they're at the Prince Albert on Wednesday; La Luz kick off their tour at Chalk on Thursday with their Simon and Garfunkel tinged, well harmonised rock; and feminist punk rockers Petrol Girls are at The Green Door Store on Sunday, they're very fun live, with a raw, emotional and ferocious sound.

‌🤣Comedy: Brighton Comedy Garden returns to Preston Park from Wednesday to Sunday, featuring Phil Wang, David O'Doherty, Maisie Adam, Josie Long and much more.

👗Fashion: The Regency Wardrobe, a display of costumes inspired by Regency history will be at the Royal Pavilion until September 11th. Each unique piece is created by artist Stephanie Smart, crafted from only paper and thread. Entry is included in tickets to the Pavilion. To find out more, click here.

If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

☕️ Where to eat? 🥪

☕️Coffee: The Plant Room in Brighton Square is full of plants and was, unsurprisingly, the first place our editor had coffee in Brighton. Very good vegan baked goods too!

🍱Dinner: Freeloada, based at the East Street Tap (we don't need to do our standard "on x street" format for this, it's called the East Street Tap, you work it out), do excellent loaded fries (we're particular fans of the katsu ones), as well as popcorn Chick'n and barbecue corn.

🍻Pint: The Pond in Gloucester Road does great cocktails, lots of good craft beer and also serves up delicious Taiwanese street food from Baby Bao.

That's all for this week—don't forget to fill in our contributors form if you'd like to get involved, forward to friends who might be interested and if you've been forwarded this and enjoyed it (or are reading on the website), please subscribe!