Seagull Weekly Briefing 10/05

Pier entry fees, New Council electees, Pav Gardens to maybe get new trees and more

Seagull Weekly Briefing 10/05
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. Fringe is here—paid members will be getting this year's first Fringe Friday later today, while free subscribers will be getting it on Monday (yes, we know, but it's not alliterative otherwise). Look forward to that—or subscribe now to get it early!

News This Week

Brighton Palace Pier introduces charge for going on pier

Source: The Brighton Seagull

As of Saturday 25th May, it will cost visitors £1 to go on the pier during peak season.

It will not apply to residents who have a Brighton Palace Pier local residents card, or children under two, and it will be in place on June weekends and the entirety of July and August.

The Brighton Pier Group. the company who run the pier, say the cost of maintaining the pier have increased by 31%, an extra £2.7 million, which means an annual cost of £11.6 million.

People with a BN postcode need proof of address dated within the last three months, and will need to be presented to get free access. Alternatively, visitors can buy a ticket at the front of the pier, and the tickets last all day.

New council system incoming

The council is officially changing its governance arrangements to a leader and cabinet system—but what exactly does that mean?

The recommendations will go to Annual Council on Thursday, and will see a new council cabinet, of nine councillors and the leader, meet every month. Through this new system, all significant decisions will be made in public.

Part of the new constitution will include the appointment of three overview and scrutiny committees, for people, places, and health.

There will also be special panels to do reviews on issues where specific investigations are required, who can get feedback from experts and those with 'lived experience'.

Residents will be better able to get involved too: traditional methods such as public questions, deputations, and petitions will remain, but new approaches like citizens assemblies, question time, and digital engagement are being introduced.

The council will also publish a 'forward plan' of decisions being made by the cabinet, at least 28 days before each meeting,  as opposed to five working days under the committee system.

In response to a consultation from March to April, several of the 167 respondents raised concerns about a potential reduction in opportunities for participation under the new system. Several people wanted current systems to remain in place, like public questions, petitions and deputations—in future, the aforementioned systems will have 30 minutes, 15 minutes and 15 minutes allocated respectively at each cabinet, overview and scrutiny meeting.

There are hopes this system will bring about more engagement, with Zoom, engaging with schools and youth councils, and making events accessible to parents by allowing children to attend.

The council's annual full council meeting is Thursday 16th May at 4:30pm.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • The results of the Kemptown and Queen's Park by-elections are in: Théresa Ann Mackey (Labour) has been elected as councillor for Kemptown with 1,382 votes, and Milla Gauge (Labour) has been elected as councillor for Queen’s Park with 1,241 votes.
  • Katy Bourne (Conservative) has been re-elected as Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner with 122,495 votes.
  • Glyphosphate returns to Brighton's streets from Monday: find out more here.
  • Interesting breakdown of outgoing mayor Jackie O'Quinn's activities here—she went to 353 events total.
  • Three Brighton and Hove restaurants were on Come Dine With Me: The Professionals last night, and Team Seagull had a wonderful time watching it. Catch up here!
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

Dog of the Week

It's just a bit of fun!

This darling dog is Goose, a friend of friend of The Seagull, James. 'Very beloved, very nervous', he is just over a year old, he's a mix of greyhound, whippet, border collie, Bedlington terrier and Australian koolie, and his legs are 20 inches long—four times the length of his nose!

The Big One

Pavilion Gardens plans deferred

Source: The Brighton Seagull

What's happening?

Plans to change Pavilion Gardens are set to be put to the council (it was meant to be yesterday, but has been deferred).

What are the plans? They include:

  • Installing railings, based on the original 19th century designs
  • Removal of existing trees and hedges in favour of 'Regency planting'
  • Remodelling the toilets to make gender neutral blocks
  • An outdoor learning space
  • Changes to existing paths

What's wrong with the trees and hedges? They're too modern.

So they want to get rid of old trees that look modern in favour of new trees that look older? Now you're getting it!

What do Brighton & Hove Museums hope to achieve with these changes? They hope to 'create a sense of arrival', 'improve security', and 'enhance key views', among other goals.

Where can I see the proposed changes as visuals? Here!

How do people feel about these changes? There are quite a lot of objections: 18 from individuals, and more from North Laine Community Association, The Brighton Society, Living Streets Group and The Regency Society.

What have they said? Complaints include the designs being 'overdeveloped', 'overshadowing', and 'overbearing'. People think the designs are poor, that gates are too narrow for disabled access, that the views are restricted. They don't like the height of the railings and gates, the adverse impact on listed building and conservation areas, and that there's no cycle storage details. They also don't like the potential closure of public access, finding it 'unacceptable' that the gates are lockable, that the gardens will be closed more often for private events, the loss of mature trees, the placement of bins nearer to the cafe, and the potential loss for areas of seating in front of the cafe.

What do they like? Of the 34 supporters, they think the plans are beneficial to the wider city, creating a 'Jewel in the Crown' for Brighton and Hove. They say it 'respects and protects the Heritage assets for the future', that the designs are good, ,and that 'gates and railings will reduce crime in the area'. They argue that 'similar gardens in London close at night', that the toilets are better, and that disabled access is improved with the path and toilet changes.

What is likely to happen? Officers have recommended the council grants planning permission. They said that the cultural and tourism offer of the city will be enhanced, though 'loss of mature trees is regrettable'.

What has the council said? Council leader Bella Sankey said:

It’s really important that we get the balance right and the current plans are not clear enough about how we’ll ensure ongoing 24 hour access to the garden for the public. 

We’ll work with our partners at Brighton & Hove Museums to make sure more detailed designs are put together so that all partners are in agreement around 24 hour garden access and there’s no uncertainty for the planning committee around what that looks like.
That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!