🌷'Mini-Holland' feasibility, money to pay for food and utilities, residents' homeless hostel hostility and more🏨

Plus pub staff industrial action, London Road business restriction, Volk's Electric Railway back in action.

🌷'Mini-Holland' feasibility, money to pay for food and utilities, residents' homeless hostel hostility and more🏨
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to this week's Seagull briefing! Remember last week when we said one of us had Covid? Well, our editor also got Covid! We're mostly recovered, and hoping to be back to normal for next week's briefing. On with the news!

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🗞News This Week🗞

Great Escape review, mayoralty hullabaloo, old bookshop redebut and more

In The Seagull this week:

  • Our editor reviewed The Great Escape! No spoilers, but she had the best time running around the city, seeing 548942534 gigs and frantically reviewing them.
Review: The Great Escape 2022
The Great Escape is back in-person for the first time since 2019, and what a triumphant return it was!

Strike over pay, conditions and workplace discrimination at Kemptown pub

A picture of St James's Tavern bar staff at the bar with the words "BAR STAFF DESERVE PROPER CONTRACTS AND RESPECT AT WORK" over the top
Source: United Voices of the World (UVW) Campaigns

Workers at the Saint James Tavern are voting to go on strike over pay, conditions and workplace discrimination, The Seagull can confirm.

Some of the workers being balloted, organised with United Voices of the World (UVW), are also suing the management for alleged harassment and discrimination, including allegations of sexism, transphobia, homophobia, disability discrimination and anti-Semitism.

Their demands include no more zero-hours contracts, a minimum pay of £11.50 for everyone, full sick pay including for Covid-19, no cuts to hours, a security response team on site at all times, and voluntary recognition of the UVW.

They say several statutory requirements have not been met, including no written contracts and not being paid on set dates.

Tris Houseman, bartender at the pub, said:

Feeling undervalued and disrespected by people you are generating money for, money that is barely seen by us, feels so humiliating and degrading on such a personal level.

For me and my friends and fellow workers at Saint James Tavern, for the bare minimum conditions and respect at work. That’s why I’m striking.

Millions made available to help families who can't afford to heat or eat

A picture of a hand holding some change
Source: The Brighton Seagull

More than £2 million has been made available by the council to help those in need as a result of the cost of living crisis.

This came after councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty spoke out against the crisis, expressing his anger that people have to make a choice between heating and eating, or sometimes neither.

The money, including £231,000 from an underspend elsewhere in the budget, will help with free school meals through the holidays, utility bills, and much needed household items.

A third of the fund will go to pensioners, another third to families with children, and the remaining third to other households in need of support.

The percentage of children in the city eligible for free school meals has also risen according to the Department for Education, at 21% to 32% depending on the area of the city. The council believes the true number is even higher.

Alongside this, a Cost of Living Crisis Appeal has been set up by the city's Citizen's Advice and Food Partnership, supported by the council.

The council have said that as a result of the higher energy bills and cost of food, those who were 'just about managing' are likely to now be pushed into food and fuel poverty which increases the amount of people needing support.

They also said how, based on figures from April 2022, poverty in the city is now 'considerably worse' than pre-pandemic.

Hostel for homeless opposed by residents

A picture of the Smart Sea View Hostel
Source: Hassocks5489

Plans to convert a hotel into a 50-bed hostel have been met with opposition from residents.

St Mungo's, a homeless support charity, submitted a retrospective planning application for a building that has been used as temporary accomodation since October 2021.

They say that Smart Sea View Hostel in St Catherine's Terrace, Hove, was needed to reduce rough sleeping and house people within 42 days, as part of the council's No Second Night Out programme.

More than 51 comments objecting the proposal have been submitted, and two in support. Charlie Lyons said:

I have lived in the area for decades and since October I have seen a major escalation in anti social behaviour from a number of 'new' locals.

I have had things stolen from my garden, I have had packages stolen off the doorstep multiple times. I have seen people being abused on the streets. My girlfriend is afraid to walk the dog the the lawn opposite the hotel. My 5 year old son was shouted at by a man on the corner by the Sussex pub. I have to escort my mother home post 9pm to her flat in Bath Court.

I understand society is not equal and we need to find ways to rehabilitate and re-home people but with two places on Seafield Road this area cannot sustain a third property for this purpose.

One of the supportive comments said:

If a community cannot provide a safe space and support to its vulnerable members, then it ought to feel shame.

This proposal is the best chance to turn people’s lives around so that antisocial behaviour, that so many seem afraid of, is avoided.

The charity also works alongside the council to make housing plans for people, and to help them move to their home areas, nationally and internationally, if they have no local connection to the city.

To see the planning application or to comment, visit the planning pages on the council’s website and search for BH2022/00670.

Four men jailed for 86 years for the murder of Billy Henham

A picture of the building where Billy Henham died.
Source: Google Maps

Four men have been sentenced to a combined 86 years in prison for the murder of  William 'Billy' Henham at a New Year's Eve party.

Billy, who died on January 1 2020, was beaten unconscious, stripped and thrown nearly 11ft off a balcony. We reported more on the murder here.

The men were sentenced on Friday at Hove Crown Court, having been found guilty in February after a three-month long trial.

The judge, Mr Justice Cavanagh, said how Billy was 'intoxicated, but friendly and non-threatening'.

He said:

The effect of Bill Henham's murder on his family has been devastating. Their grief is relentless.

Both of his parents have had to give up work. For the past two and a half years they have existed, not lived. Their emotions have ranged from horror and shock to absolute pain and then to total anger.

In respect of each of you, there is only one sentence that the law allows me to pass for the offence of murder. It is a life sentence.

None of you has expressed any remorse for your actions.

He said the motive for the attack seemed to be to 'punish' Billy for 'some trivial or imagined slight'.

Billy's father, Ian, said:

We are so angry for what these men did and grateful for the justice they will receive.

Sadly however, no sentence will give us Bill back but, more importantly, it will not give him the chance to make his mark on the world and follow his dreams in a way that we all strive to do.

The events of that night have left us with a Bill-shaped void in our lives.
"We'll strive not to cry too often, but instead smile when we remember his short life, especially because he shared it with us.

Dushane Meikle, 28, of Hove, and Gregory Hawley, 29, of no fixed address, were  sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 25 years.

Lamech Gordon-Carew, 20, from Hampton, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years.

Alize Spence, 18, from Croydon, was sentenced to serve a minimum term of 18 years.

🖋 NIBS 🖋

  • Kemptown Bookshop in St George's Road has a new owner. Cathy Hayward, founder and chairman of a communications company as well as an author, says she is new to bookselling but is passionate about books and plans to 'further develop the shop into a community hub with events to engage new and established readers of all ages and backgrounds, celebrate local authors and support underrepresented writers'. She wants people to share their ideas at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/kemptownbookshop, where you can be in with a chance of winning £100 of Kemptown Bookshop vouchers.
  • Lizzie Deane, Green councillor, is likely to become the mayor on Thursday, with Jackie O'Quinn, Labour, expected to become deputy. The usually smooth process has become politically fraught this year—read all about it here.
  • As part of the ongoing redevelopment of London Road, three businesses are likely to move into the area. Alongside the Co-op, which will be returning, Nandos, Starbucks and Heavenly Deserts have submitted 'credible offers'. There were big restrictions on the businesses that could use the space, as the agreed arrangement with Co-op before it was marketed resulted in an exclusivity agreeement preventing competing food offers, including convenience food, frozen food, speciality food or an off licence. Retailers like Amazon Fresh, Sainsbury's Local, Taj the Grocers, Infinity Foods and Wetherspoons were all interested.
  • Possibly the biggest news of the week: the Volk's Electric Railway will be re-opening the Halfway Station to Black Rock portion of its route now work on the crossings has been completed. Since the season began in April, it has only run half its route, from Aquarium Station to Halfway. The grand re-opening will be on Tuesday 24th, and you can expect to see our editor there.

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

💥The Big One💥

Mini-Holland study in city

A picture of a bike in a garden with several plant pots in its front and back baskets
Source: The Brighton Seagull

What's happening? The city has been awarded close to £80,000 from the Department for Transport (DfT) for a 'mini-Holland' feasibility study.

What does this mean? It will assess how part of the city, specifically Wish and Westbourne, could be made as pedestrian and cycle-friendly as a Dutch city equivalent. This will allow the city to explore ways to further improve active and sustainable travel infrastructure.

Why Wish and Westbourne? It is believed the area is likely to be successful because of its two railway stations (Aldrington and Portslade), bus routes, links to the seafront and employment areas including Shoreham Harbour. It has been chosen alongside 18 other local authorities in the country.

Any more travel money? Very specific question, but yes: the final allocations for the Active Travel Fund reveal that the city is getting £1,286,947, with £78,947 being the mini-Holland feasibility study funding.

How long will the study run? It is hopefully being to be completed in March 2023, after which there will be another DfT selection process to determine which of the 19 local authorities will receive funding to develop the project further.

Exciting! We think so too! As does councillor Steve Davis, co-chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee, who said:

This funding is great news for Brighton & Hove and allows us to study and explore active travel improvements in this part of the city.

While this is only a feasibility study at the moment, this is an area with huge potential for walking and cycling.

We’re in the midst of a climate emergency and so we need to take every opportunity available to us to find ways in which we can continue to improve our active travel infrastructure which will encourage more of us to make sustainable travel choices.

👉Finger On The Pulse👈

Previews for things that we may or may not be able to go to depending on our COVID test results

🤣Fringe and Festival Preview: Coming up this week—for comedy we've got Best Served Cold, Joe Foster, and perennial favourite Nathan Cassidy; in theatre we've got Revelations; The Odditorium returns with a talk about neolithic history and stories of henges and monoliths; Geoffrey Mead will be taking us on a tour of Clifton and Montpelier; we'll be doing our first ever escape game; and we'll be meeting a robot - or will we?

Swoop in

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? 🥪

☕️Brunch: Baked AM:PM sits just beyond Palmiera Square in Hove, with a little motte of inside space surrounded by a bailey of heated, covered outside space (though last we went it was dazzlingly sunny—no heating required!) We recommend the vegan breakfast and an oat matcha latte.

🍱Dinner: Really Happy Chicken, Brighton's premiere vegan fried chicken shop, recently changed the recipe for their wings, moving it away from their delicious but heavy-on-the-stomach seitan to a much lighter tofu formulation. For our money, it's worked a treat. Adam's top tip for these guys is still to order an extra-large box of wings, then buy a packet of Aldi vegan brioche buns and make your own burgers at home ;)

🍻Pint: Brighton Bierhaus, one of local brewery Brighton Bier's two pubs, sits a little way up Edward Street from the Pavilion, and provides a dazzling array of beers, with 20 on tap and over 100 in bottles or cans in the fridge.

🔜 Next Time 🔜

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