Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. It's October already, what's that about? Conkers are on the floor, leaves are turning yellow and orange and brown, and jumpers and cardigans are firmly back in the wardrobe rotation. It's officially autumn, baby.
Before we get into the briefing, here's a tidbit for you, an anews bouche, if you will: according to some government data compiled by Claims, Brighton has very reckless drivers. They're the third-worst, actually, based on licence penalty points. We've got 24,580 people per 100K with licence points—71% more than the national average, apparently! Be careful out there.
News This Week
Liveable Neighbourhood Pilot in Hanover scrapped due to lack of support
Big news for Hanover and Elm Grove residents: the very controversial Hanover and Tarner Liveable Neighbourhood Pilot is not going ahead after a nine-week public consultation showed a lack of support for the scheme.
Information was sent to more than 17,000 addresses in and around the proposed area and the council received more than 1,200 responses.
The most common comments received were worries about creating new rat runs, access restriction, the impact on disabled and elderly residents, and that it would make finding a parking space harder, especially for an area with already limited parking.
This was the first time that the majority of respondents had engaged with the project—62.2%—compared with 11.9% who took part in the online mapping exercise, 16.6% who attended workshops and events, and 18.4% who completed a survey on the design options.
Local schools also expressed their concern, with Elm Grove Primary School concerned about traffic displacement and the impact on the safety of children and Orchard Day Nursery worried about air quality.
On the contrary, there was a lot of support from some businesses. Brighton Staging Co approved the measures, Bricycles welcomed the proposals while offering recommendations around cycle lanes and bike hire, and Shoreham-By-Cycle said:
Hanover is an ancient fishing village, built centuries before the invention of the motor vehicle.
Over the last 50 years the car has taken over and ruined this jewel in Brighton's crown.
It's time to take the streets back for people.
Tomorrow, members of the Transport and Sustainability committee be asked to approve a recommendation that work on the pilot stops as the proposals did not have the full support of local residents.
It will also be asked to reallocate £400,000 of funding from the £1million previously allocated for the pilot project to fund crossing and junction improvements in the area instead.
Councillor Trevor Muten, Chair of the Transport and Sustainability committee said:
We’ve looked at the consultation feedback the council received last year and listened carefully to the feedback we received from residents, and it’s clear people in the Elm Grove and Tarner area comprehensively rejected the Liveable Neighbourhood Pilot.
However, safety measures in this area will benefit the local community and I’m sure better, safer crossings and junctions will be welcomed.
Climate activists protest outside Peter Kyle's office as part of national day of action
Young climate activists held a protest outside of Peter Kyle’s Office in Hove on Friday, joining others in 27 locations across the country calling on Labour’s Shadow Cabinet to ‘Revoke Rosebank’.
The activists, from the Green New Deal Rising campaign group, are calling on the Labour Party to revoke the licence of the newly approved Rosebank oil and gas field and adopt a Green New Deal with a set of policies that tackle the climate crisis and cost of living crisis at the same time.
Protestors outside of Peter Kyle’s Office in Hove were joined by Unite union members, and Parents For Future activists.
They 'decorated' Peter Kyle’s office with letters and posters, and called for Labour to commit to revoking the licence of the newly approved Rosebank oil and gas field, a decision which the party has criticised but not pledged to reverse.
They also called for the Labour Party to announce policies at their upcoming conference in Liverpool that enact a Green New Deal, including expanding public ownership of key utilities, promising a Green Jobs Guarantee, creating a National Nature Service and using wealth taxes and taxes on fossil fuel companies and big corporations to pay for the increased investment in the UK as well as providing finance for other countries to adapt and mitigate climate impacts.
Hermione Berendt, one of the protestors and organisers, who lives in Brighton, said:
Peter Kyle says that he is supportive of young climate campaigners, wants to tackle the climate crisis and is an ally to our most marginalised communities such as people seeking asylum in our city.
If this is the case, why is he not publicly standing up against the Labour party’s backsliding around urgently moving away from fossil fuels and tackling austerity across the country.
Why won’t he denounce the Rosebank Oil Fields? And why won’t he meet with us and back our demands for a Green New Deal?
Consultation on beach hut fees in progress
Hove beach hut owners are currently being consulted on changes to their license fee, in proposals to modernise the scheme.
It is being proposed that for beach hut owners who place their beach hut on council land on Hove seafront, that the license will include a 10% transfer fee, payable to the council on the sale of the beach hut. It will also include a clear prohibition on hiring out beach huts.
The introduction of the transfer fee would be in lieu of increasing the annual licence fee charge, and new licences would take effect from April 1st 2024.
There are 459 beach huts on Hove seafront that are privately owned by Brighton & Hove residents. Over the last decade, the value of a beach hut on the seafront has risen well above inflation and more in line with the increases in the local property market.
Huts for sale can regularly range from £25-35k, depending on the location and the condition.
Adur and Worthing Councils already charge a transfer fee which is linked to the sale price of the beach hut, and many coastal councils also charge more for the annual licence fee:
- Worthing and Adur charge between £612-£810
- Rother District Council charge £650
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council charge £1,090
- Brighton & Hove charged £503.60 including VAT for 2023/24.
Councillor Alan Robins, Chair of the Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Economic Development Committee said:
Currently the Council is not benefiting in any way from the profit made on the sale of a beach hut when most of the value is due to its prime position on the seafront.
If the transfer fee is introduced, then the additional revenue can be reinvested back into seafront services such as our lifeguards.
It’s an extremely challenging time for local government finances, and the potential income will go towards providing essential life-saving services while offering council land for hut owners to enjoy the seafront.
We'll know more next month, when a report goes to the committee with an update on the consultation and recommendations.
🖋 News in Brief 🖋
- The Komedia New Comedy Awards are returning! The aim of the award continues to be to discover and support exciting new comics, and to offer opportunities for development. The winner receives an award, a bottle of 'fizz', and a spot at Comic Boom comedy club at Komedia. Online entry launches next Monday, with the semi-finals and final taking place in January and February next year.
- Congratulations to the team at Resident, the independent record shop in Kensington Gardens, who won Indie Champions at the AIM Independent Music Awards last Tuesday. The team at Resident said it best when they said: keep supporting your local indie record shop!
- Victoria Fountain at Old Steine has reopened!
Dog of the Week
it's just a bit of fun!
This beautiful dog is the family dog of friend of The Seagull, Amber Cronin. His name is Jack, he's about six-years-old, and we imagine Amber would be very upset with us if we didn't tell you she took the above photo, on Kodak Gold 200. She said:
He does this thing where if someone comes home with a shopping bag he will sneakily put a tennis ball in it, and will get really excited when you "find it".
We don't know about you, but if that was the case for us, we'd come home with shopping bags constantly just for Jack. What a good dog.
The Big One
Allocated time for questioning councillors set to double
What's happening? Quick one today:there will soon be even more opportunity to grill the councillors, as the Strategy, Finance and Regeneration Committee are set to discuss doubling question time to half an hour.
Interesting! Why? It's hoped that by doing this, it 'boost involvement in local democracy', alongside other measures to encourage more people to enter the sweet, sweet world of local authority and holding councillors to account.
What other new proposals are there? One is that priority for public questions at council meetings be given to members of the public who have not asked a question in the previous six months, to encourage and support people who do not normally engage in this way.
What if they run out of time during those 30 minutes? If the time runs out before all questions are asked, there will be a guaranteed written response, so no questions will be left unanswered.
Sweet! That's what we think too!
What's brought this about then? In the City Plan published in the summer (we talked to council leader Bella Sankey all about that), the council committed to being responsive and listening to communities. It is hoped by councillor Sankey that these changes will help the council do just that.
What else has she said? She said:
By prioritising people who have not asked questions before, the new arrangements will also help spread the opportunities for greater public involvement.
The proposals will also help councillors focus on decision making for the important day-to-day issues that Brighton & Hove residents and businesses care about.
So if the proposals are approved, is that it? Not quite: if approved the proposals will go before a meeting of Full Council for approval. Watch this space!
What can I do? Find out more about asking councillors questions, and have a brainstorm to see if you can think of any to ask. Then go and ask!