Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. We hope you've enjoyed the lovely sunny weather—Team Seagull went to see a dog show in Shoreham, where our friend's dog Carla won the "prettiest lady" category, narrowly missing out "best in show" to the dog who won the "waggiest tail" category. We enjoyed it so much we're thinking about introducing a "dog of the week" segment in the Seagull, so if you've got a dog you think we'd like, please send a picture in to [email protected] with a name, age, breed and fun fact and we'll share our favourites (they will all be our favourites).
This week's feature was Mads Ryle's profile of the Sussex Refugee and Migrant Self-Support Group's Jollof Cafe project—check it out here:
News This Week
Business and residents upset over Soho House plans
Legends Brighton is the latest establishment to express outrage over Soho House's plans to erect ten-foot high fence and foliage that Legends say would take away their sea view.
At the end of 2015 after a long planning debate, the original Soho House application BH2015/02443 was approved with Condition 16. This condition was imposed to address the issue that the two new Soho House Private Members Club buildings were to be built above the cliff and would block the view of the Palace Pier from Marine Parade.
Condition 16 states that a visual gap of ten metres shall be permanently maintained between the two permitted built structures on the upper tier level, and the gaps are to remain permanently free of any visual obstruction. Legends are asking the council 'to respect and defend condition 16', saying the proposals do not comply.
They went on to claim the plans are a contravention of the Brighton and Hove Local Plan 2005 Policy QD4 Strategic Impact, which essentially says for the preservation and enhancement of views and skylines, developments should not have a detrimental impact on them, or impair them by obscuring it.
The planning application has 73 objections and three supporting comments at the time of writing. One comment reads:
As a long standing customer of Legends of over 20 years, I value this business very much and I strongly believe the intended introduction of trees will have an adverse impact on the view and will intrude on Legends customers when they are enjoying the terrace which has been our consistent experience when sat on the patio.
One comment, from a resident of Camelford Street, says:
They have already flouted the original consent by building further to the east than the original plans showed.
They claim the fencing is all about security but why was that issue not addressed when the proposals were first put forward? We lived for five years with very ugly 'temporary' hoardings up... now we have really ugly steel fencing which looks like riot protection but at least we can see the sea again. Now they are proposing to obscure the view once again.
Others say 'I would never have bought my apartment if I had known that there was any chance of this being done', and 'This proposed 2m fence would remove a sea view totally and devalue our property with immediate effect'.
Supporters say that 'The plans are clear in the height and visibility through the gates, it can't be left in the state that it is'.
A spokesman for Soho House said:
Most of our members live locally and working in partnership with the community is important to us. The proposed installation of the ornate slim metal profile gates and railing will preserve the sea view from Marine Parade.
Martlets is looking for 'Trail-grazers' ahead of Shaun by the Sea art trail this autumn
After a ewe-nique opportunity? Martlets Hospice is looking for volunteers to be 'trail-grazers' for people when a flock of 40 giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures arrive in Brighton in September.
Shaun by the Sea, much like the snails and snowdogs in previous years, will comprise of 40 baa-rilliant large sculptures and 80 smaller ones, all decorated by different artists.
Volunteers would be 'key ambassadors' for the trail, welcoming visitors, providing information, signposting key destinations, helping with the app, talking about the sculptures, helping with pictures, collecting money for Martlets, and more.
Georgia Ellick, volunteering services development manager at Martlets. said:
Shaun by the Sea is an amazing opportunity to gain new skills, meet new people and help your local hospice. Our volunteers will help make Shaun by the Sea a success. We look forward to hearing from ewe about how you can help!
Gabriel the beach hut caravan allowed to stay
In a triumph of (a) Brighton character, the caravan of a Kemptown resident is allowed to remain in his front garden.
In summer 2020, Paul Davis built a beach hut caravan inspired by wheeled bathing huts, but in April 2021 he was served a planning enforcement notice, telling him it was an unauthorised outbuilding and that he had to take it down.
That notice was officially withdrawn on Wednesday 31st May at Brighton Magistrates Court, and the caravan, named Gabriel, has been allowed to remain.
We are so grateful to everyone who has offered support during the last three years.
To anyone, from near or far, who has passed by on Lower Rock Gardens, and expressed their pleasure or support, or just smiled in Gabriel's direction. T hank you. The people of Brighton are amazing. The visitors who come to Brighton are amazing. Thank you all!!
The council had previously told Paul that Gabriel was a shed, and sheds are not permitted in front gardens. Paul's argument was that it is fully towable, making it a type of caravan which is legal to have in a front garden.
He took Gabriel, which is deliberately painted in the colours of the transgender flag, on a tour, taking photos to send to the council, which he says led to them being 'forced to admit this' and dropping the case.
Council recruiting more lifeguards
Lifeguards took to the beach last week, and new ones will be joining them as Bella Sankey, council leader, is exploring securing more funding (a report will be presented at the next Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Economic Committee on Thursday 15th June) and a lifeguard recruitment drive is underway.
This comes after the council had said they were going to almost halve the number of lifeguards on the beach, as we reported back in March.
The lifeguards will patrol beaches at West Street, Palace Pier West, Palace Pier East and the King Alfred until Sunday 3rd September. From Saturday 22nd July, the first day of the summer holidays, lifeguards will also be at other beaches, including Saltdean, West Pier and Hove Lawns.
Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the new Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Committee said:
We are delighted to welcome the new lifeguard team for 2023 and would like to recruit some additional lifeguards to supplement the service provided.
We want to add additional lifeguarded beaches to those currently allocated for the school holiday service, including Dukes Mound, near the boardwalk, which provides valuable access to the beach for residents and visitors with disabilities.
Millions of people visit our beaches each summer and keeping them safe and happy is a huge priority for us. This year, we are expecting our beaches to be busy, as the cost-of-living crisis means many more local families will be holidaying at home.
News from the Volk's Electric Railway
Exciting news! After many years away from the railway at Hassocks, a Volk's car that has been on Southend Pier (car nine) will be returning to the tracks on Wednesday 7th June, and is expected to arrive between 10 and 10.30am.
Why has it been on Southend Pier, you might ask? After World War Two, the railway was restored but needed extra passenger cars to cope with the holiday crowds. Two 1898 vehicles were bought from the Southend Pier Railway, saving them from being scrapped. They ran in Brighton for the next 40 years, and were nicknamed the ‘Toast Racks’ due to their open sided ribbed appearance and closely spaced reversible seating. By the early 1990s, however, their usefulness was thought to be over. But now, one is returning! The other is in a museum in Chelmsford.
Also: this Sunday, the Volk's Electric Railway Association (VERA) will be running the trains after hours. Volunteers will drive the trains for a couple of hours, raising money for railway-related projects. Everyone is invited to ride the trains into the sunset, meet the wonderful volunteers, and have a lovely time. While there, why not join VERA to help with their continuing endeavours? Operation is dependent on the weather so if it is looking like rain or worse please give them a ring on 01273 292718 to confirm if they will be running.
🖋 News in Brief 🖋
- Saltdean Lido is offering vouchers for children under 18 and in full-time education in Brighton and Hove to swim for free. They are limited, but available from schools or here. To find out more, including conditions of the voucher, click here.
- Gather round, peri-peri fans: Nandos is opening on London Road on Monday 12th June. Just in case you're wondering, our editor would have lemon and herb, because she is a spice baby.
- Also, Freemasons Hove is launching a new menu this Saturday! Expect chicken wings, birria tacos, tenders and loaded fries (gluten free and vegan options too).
- E-scooters, e-skateboards, e-unicycles and hoverboards are banned on Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express rail services. Southern Rail said the ban was due to 'the limited regulation around the lithium-ion battery which has the potential to cause harm should it malfunction'.
- The Seagull can confirm Kids Monster, a Japanese toy shop in Trafalgar Street, was broken into last week. In CCTV photos shared on the evening of Thursday 1st June, the shop shared that people stole socks, soft toys and more. The only innocent one who entered? A dog walker's dog.
The Big One
Cockroft building occupiers in sticky situation
What's happening? The ongoing occupation of the Cockroft Building is in a bit of a sh!t situation. No, really: the occupiers have released a statement saying their toilets were flooding with raw sewage, and that they are being denied access to cleaning materials.
That's quite a tasteless joke. You're right, sorry.
It's okay. Tell me more. We reported last week that the university was concerned that the occupiers do not have access to sanitary facilities as toilets on that floor are out of order. Well, the occupiers have said the following:
On the morning of Thursday 25th May 2023 University of Brighton staff members confirmed that they had control of the water that makes toilets and urinals flush, they said the toilets were out of order, that they were turning off the flush, and reassured us they wouldn't turn off the mains, they told us we could use the toilets on the 7th floor (floor below).
Why can't they get cleaning materials? After some back and forth with a security guard, in which they say he asked for their names in exchange for a mop, lied and 'tried to gaslight [them] into putting [themselves] in situations that [they] consider uncomfortable and dangerous', they ended up unable to get the supplies. They said:
He said the only way we could get the mop was if we opened the door and let him and a cleaner inside.
We believe that the security guard and University of Brighton are withholding equipment that we need to be safe and clean. They are cutting off vital cleaning supplies. We need a mop, bucket, bleach and other cleaning materials as there is raw sewage flooding our living areas.
We are disgusted by the levels of repeated manipulation in the conversation we had with security today.
Could they get external help? They said that after asking their support system, they were denied access to the occupiers, that security took the supplies and said they would deliver them but instead took them to a 'control office'.
What have the university said? That they have obtained an injunction, requiring the occupiers to leave immediately. They said:
The university is aware that a considerable amount of damage has already been caused by the individuals through their attempt to barricade themselves into the premises. The university has tried to engage with the individuals constructively and has drawn their attention to particular concerns regarding their health and safety.
What can I do to help? Be like the University of Sussex staff and students, and stand in solidarity with demands to change the redundancy plans and calls for leadership changes ✊