Good morning, and welcome to this week's Seagull briefing! We're all feeling better here now, and ready to bring you this week's freshest news!
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🗞News This Week🗞
Artist upset, hostel go-ahead
In The Seagull this week:
- We published weeks four and five of our Fringe Friday coverage, including the inaugural Seagull Fringe Awards!
Controversial hostel granted planning permission despite residents' concerns
After last month's story about plans to convert a hotel into a 50-bed hostel being met with opposition from residents, St Mungo's has secured planning permission for the hotel conversion, the Seagull can confirm.
The planning permission was granted retrospectively to Smart Sea View Hostel in St Catherine's Terrace, as the building has been used as a hostel since October, but it faced a lot of complaints from residents.
Four letters of support were given for the building to be used as a hostel for two years, against 61 objections. Concerns included the increase in anti-social behaviour and a general feeling of the area feeling less safe.
Councillors approved it on a seven-to-five vote at the Planning Meeting last Wednesday (June 8th).
According to Dan Olney, St Mungo's services director responsible for No Second Night Out, a response service for rough sleepers to get them housed, 321 people have been helped so far through the scheme. He stressed they try to move people into more permanent housing quickly; it is not a permanent solution.
Councillor Nick Childs said he thought the hostel was too 'large-scale' and would like to see it be social housing, while Councillor Sue Shanks said she would like everyone to support it.
🖋 NIBS 🖋
- The council is running a consultation on illegal flyposting and stickering, saying it has a 'detrimental impact' on the city, 'looks unsightly' and 'costs the council thousands of pounds to remove'. To have your say, click here.
- Kemptown Bookshop, which is under new management, has renamed the upstairs of the shop The Bookroom, intended to be a space for people to read or write. They say 'no pressure to buy anything, BYO drink and get creative'. The bookshop is in St George's Road, a road beloved of our editor with some very good local cafés nearby!
- The Queery, a collectively owned, queer, radical bookshop and community space in Brighton, is getting ready to open. Watch this space!
This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton.
💥The Big One💥
Mismanagement at refuge after national housing provider takes over
What's happening? A refuge under a new provider is being investigated by the council due to concerns that it isn't providing adequate support.
What aren't they doing? According to Rise Up!, a group of domestic abuse campaigners, the refuge lacks specialist support for mothers with children and people with health issues. It also claims flats in the refuge not having heating and hot water for eight days during winter.
That's really bad! Yep!
Who is the new provider? Stonewater, a national housing provider, who took over refuge services at the same time Victim Support took over running domestic abuse helplines and specialist support. Brighton-based domestic abuse charity RISE lost its council contract to offer its services last year.
Speaking exclusively to Seagull, Kate Gamble, who used to manage the refuge, said:
There is a growing trend, a very disappointing non-service user led trend, in housing associations taking over refuges.
When women arrive at a refuge there is an expectation of a holistic, supportive environment. Housing associations do not have any investment in that and it is not the spirit in which they take over contracts.
They are looking at refuges as a business model, they're not looking to genuinely say ‘we have this massive pot of knowledge and skills to help these women’. They simply want to increase their revenues.
Ali Ceesay, one of the Rise Up! campaigners who has worked with council working groups to talk about domestic abuse services, and has also talked to women in the refuge, said how the conditions in the refuge are far worse than imagined. She said:
I’ve been in working groups with women who are unfortunate enough to stay there, and the stories they’re coming out with are horrific.
There is no specialist support to help with challenging behaviour around children. Also, stories about no hot water, heating or signposting.
What are the campaigners asking for? They want the services to be run by a group with relevance to the city, one with social investment to take ownership and are asking the council 'to factor in the really important aspect of social value'.
What have Stonewater said? The following:
We’re committed to providing a safe, nurturing environment, as well as personalised support to women and children that live in our refuge.
We are concerned about the ongoing impact this negative dialogue – about our service – is having on current and future survivors, and safeguarding them is our main priority.
Our specialist team have and will continue to champion the voices of domestic abuse survivors, ensuring that they are at the heart of our service at the Brighton and Hove Refuge.
What are the council doing? They say officers visited the refuge after issues were raised, are re-checking the standard and management of the accommodation provided and the quality of the support offered to residents, and they have also checked the relevant protocols and procedures that Stonewater use and their specific information on repairs and services offered to residents.
👉Finger On The Pulse👈
🎶Gigs: You'd be a fool to miss the incomporable Snail Mail, aka Lindsey Jordan, at Chalk this Thursday, with her incredibly poignant, heart-wrenching songs about all kinds of love set to a delightfully poppy, synthy, stringy sound. Also do make sure to see punk rockers Press Club as they bring their raucous energy to The Hope and Ruin tonight. Plus, friends of the Seagull Powderpaint are performing at the Cowley Club on Friday June 17th
🎥Cinema: The Duke of York's are showing John Carpenter's The Thing as part of a series featuring films soundtracked by Ennio Morricone. If you've not seen The Thing, it's probably one of the best films ever and you should really get along to see it.
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected] And if you want to contribute:
☕️ Where to eat? 🥪
☕️Coffee: The Roastery, opposite our beloved We Love Falafel where we've earen exclusively for the last three weeks, has a lot of different blends of coffee as you may expect from its name. Ask them for a coffee based on your mood, and boy will they provide!
🍱Dinner: Can you believe we've never recommended The Roundhill?! Famed for its vegan menu, especially its roasts, it's meant to be incredible. The editor wouldn't know because she's never been, but she's hoping by writing this she'll go there with her partner soon...
🍻Pint: The Hare and Hounds has had a new coat of paint and is looking good; it's the old haunt of our editor who was at journalism school just round the corner; they have old pub beer tap things on the wall for you to pull for table service in the little booths and a very nice outside space. We like the banana bread beer.
🔜 Next Time 🔜
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: