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Seagull Weekly Briefing 06/02

All the top stories in the city.
A view of the sun setting over the sea and Hove Lawns, with the Angel of Peace statue in shadow and contrasting against the b
Source: The Brighton Seagull 

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing! This week's briefing comes to you with a health warning: keep your toes out of the way when things fall, otherwise you might break a toe. Even if you're wearing dinosaur foot slippers. Just be careful.

This week in The Seagull we published a retrospective piece by our editor, looking at the first year of our publication. Happy birthday to us!

A Year in Review: Reflecting on the first year of The Brighton Seagull
Our editor reflects on the first year of The Brighton Seagull.
This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton.

News This Week

Save Our Toilets campaign launched by Acorn

Picture of the public toilets at Ovingdean Undercliff
Source: Dominic Alves

ACORN Brighton has launched a campaign in response to council plans to close 18 of the city’s public toilets by April 1st. The controversial decision has seen a huge reaction from residents, with 5,119 people having signed a petition urging the council to reconsider.

Although Brighton & Hove City Council have said they will now not vote to close 18 public toilets across the city, ACORN says that 'until the result of the budget meeting we won't consider this campaign won as we've got commitments from this council administration before that they've backtracked on'.

This comes as the council continues to debate introducing charges for using the toilets, as well as the closures themselves.

Among the planned toilet closures are 14 disabled toilet facilities, as well as many along the seafront and some in popular parks across the city including Preston Park (a parkrun location), Queen's Park Play Area, and St Ann's Well Gardens, as well as Black Rock, the only toilets available for those at the eastern end of the beach and for those using and working on the Volk's.

An ACORN spokesperson said:

Clean, safe, functioning public toilets are one of the most basic services a council should be able to provide. The fact that Brighton & Hove Council plans to close 18 of them across the city shows a total lack of understanding and awareness of just how important these facilities are, both to residents and visitors to the city.

ACORN will not stand by and let this happen, and with the support of the public, will fight to make sure these plans do not come to fruition.

ACORN has set up a website to enable residents to email their local councillors to encourage them to vote against the plans, and is planning to protest outside Hove Town Hall on Thursday ahead of the vote.

Have your say on the Rottingdean Neighbourhood Plan

Residents now have a chance to tell the council their views on the draft Neighbourhood Plan for Rottingdean.

The plan, which was prepared by Rottingdean Parish Council under the government’s neighbourhood planning regulations, has now been published for consultation before it is submitted to an independent examiner.

The consultation is live now, and ends on Wednesday 16th March.

Neighbourhood planning is a way for local people to take a lead in planning the future of their area. It can be led by a parish council or by a neighbourhood forum set up for the purpose. Neighbourhood forums are open to anyone who lives or works in the area they cover.

Rottingdean Parish Council is the second local group to reach the stage of submitting its neighbourhood plan to the council, following the Hove Station Neighbourhood Plan last year.

The plan sets out the aim to 'protect the special character of the parish' and to 'encourage development proposals for the benefit of the local community'. It includes areas in the parish which will be recognised as Local Green Spaces.

When this current consultation is completed, the council will submit the draft plan and all consultation responses received to the examiner, who will consider if the plan meets all the necessary legal requirements.

Based on the examiner’s report, the council will then decide whether to put the neighbourhood plan to a local referendum.

If approved at referendum, the neighbourhood plan will be formally adopted and the policies used to help decide the outcome of planning applications in the area.

You can view all the consultation documents and submit comments here.

Want to read more stories like this? Subscribe for our weekly email newsletter here.

🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Applications for this year’s Trans Pride T-Shirt design competition are officially open! Organisers are asking trans, non-binary and intersex artists to submit '10 Years of Trans Joy' themed designs. The design needs to include the Trans Pride Brighton logo, using colours from their colour pallet, and designed for printing on silk screen using no more than three colours, including the t-shirt. The winner will have their t-shirt printed, receive a copy and be given free tickets to all Trans Pride evening events. Entries must be submitted by Wednesday 1st March here or by emailing [email protected].
  • Repair work on the boilers at the King Alfred Leisure Centre has now started. No indication yet as to when it might be finished, alas.
  • You can now get in big trouble for flyposting, with community protection warnings and notices handed out to offenders as of Wednesday 1st February. One more Seagull promotion idea out the window 🙄
  • 53 days until the Volks reopens!
Source: The Brighton Seagull 
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

Inquest held into woman's death after waiting 1,000 days for gender-affirming healthcare

A woman smiles at the camera. She has cropped blonde hair, and is wearing a white long-sleeved shirt and blue dungarees.
Source: The Litman Family

What's happening? An inquest is to be held into the death of Alice Litman, a 20-year-old woman from Brighton who took her own life while waiting for gender-affirming healthcare on the NHS.

How long had she been waiting? At the time of her death on May 26th 2022, Alice had been on the waiting list at the Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic for 1,023 days, and was still waiting for her first appointment.

What will the inquest be? It has now been confirmed, following a pre-inquest review on Friday 27th January, that assistant coroner Sarah Clarke will hold an inquest to examine the availability and accessibility of trans health services, which she recognised is a national problem.

What else will she look at? Ms Clarke will also look at the transition from children to adult mental health services to make sure people 'don't fall through the gaps' and to see if the services are 'adequate as a whole', as it was when going from CAMHS (Children and adolescent mental health services) to adult mental health services where she received 'no mental health support', that her health subsequently 'deteriorated'.

Her family said:

We believe that Alice died partly because of the inaccessibility of gender-affirming healthcare in the UK. We want the inquest to examine this to ensure we can get justice for Alice, and change for all the trans people who are facing the same issues.

We want the inquest to examine this to ensure we can get justice for Alice and change for all the trans people who are facing the same issues. We believe the long waiting lists can leave vulnerable trans people feeling hopeless and as though there is no end in sight.

We want to live in a world where transgender people do not face threats to their safety, their autonomy, and their happiness.

We all deserve to live in dignity with access to the healthcare we need. We are asking NHS England to prevent future deaths by urgently addressing the crisis in trans healthcare.

How long do people normally have to wait? The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust website, which currently shows data for May 2022 (the month Alice died), says there are 11,407 people on its waiting list, with first appointments being offered to those referred in January 2018. Alice was referred in August 2019.

When is the inquest? The three-day inquest is planned for Monday, 18th September.

That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!