Seagull Weekly Briefing 13/02

All the top stories in the city.

Seagull Weekly Briefing 13/02
Source: The Brighton Seagull 

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing. Happy Valentine's Day for tomorrow for those who are celebrating! For those who aren't: we still love you. In this week's Seagull, big changes at the top of the council, big blockages in the sewers under the city, our regular Volks reopening countdown and much more. Let's go!

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

News This Week

Increased flooding fault of construction waste, says council

Picture of vitrified clay
Source: Brighton and Hove City Council

An increase in flooding across the city has been blamed on construction waste in sewers, according to the council.

Highways Teams have reported seeing an increase in the amount of cement, concrete, plaster and other construction materials in drains, most recently in Matlock Road, Tivoli Road and Poplar Avenue, contributing to blocked drains and gullies which causes flooded roads and pavements.

Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said:

Flooding is increasing for a range of reasons from the paving over of gardens to more frequent extreme weather caused by climate change. Whether the problem of flooding gets better or worse in our day-to-day lives comes down to all of us.

A small minority of households and businesses are blocking drains with construction waste. This increases the likelihood of further street flooding during heavy rainfall, never mind the real risk to people’s homes.

We all have a responsibility to dispose of construction waste responsibly. In the case of those households and businesses that are causing blockages, as a council we will take enforcement action to prevent and deter this from happening.

The following items can be taken to council Household Waste Recycling Centres:

  • general garden waste
  • timber
  • MDF and wood composites
  • scrap metal
  • engine oil
  • plasterboard - four sheets removed
  • hardcore, rubble, ceramics and soil - six standard rubble bags a month - maximum bag size 55cm x 85cm
  • household hazardous chemicals - must be in a secure container
  • paint

MPs continue to speak out against reversed toilet closures

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

Caroline Lucas has tabled an Early Day Motion in parliament ‘calling on govenment to provide all local councils with sufficient funding to ensure public toilets across the country can remain open’.

An Early Day Motion, or EDM, are motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons for which no day has been fixed. EDMs are used to put on record the views of individual MPs or to draw attention to specific events or campaigns. They can be used to demonstrate the level of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

So far signed by three Labour MPs, this comes after 18 toilets across Brighton and Hove have come under threat of closure due to budget constraints, with campaigns started to protect them and thousands signing a petition to the council urging them to reconsider.

Other MPs in Brighton and Hove have spoken out against the closure plans, including Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven, who shared the following when the closure plans were halted:

While I am thrilled we shouldn’t rest until the budget and the proposals are officially voted down and a sustainable alternative is accepted.

Let’s be clear this is the Westminster Conservative Government causing so much misery but we need an administration locally that can focus on the services that matter to people.

Well done everyone and keep up the fight.

The EDM calls on the Government 'to consider that people are starting to push for national legislation on provision of toilets out of desperation', and 'calls on Ministers to fully reverse the cuts to local government budgets since 2010 in order to enable the provision and restoration of vital local services'.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Voting for the 2023 BRAVOs, or Brighton Restaurant Awards, is now open! You have until Thursday 16th March to cast your vote here.
  • Brighton won big at the inaugural Gaydio Pride Awards on Friday! The city won in both of its shortlisted categories. We had a joint win of Major Pride of the Year with Brighton + Hove Pride, Birmingham Pride, Manchester Pride and Pride in London, in recognition of all four Major Prides coming together to condemn the world cup in Qatar and the human rights abuse against LGBTQ+ people. Trans Pride Brighton took home the Grassroots Pride of The Year award as the longest running and first ever Trans Pride. Congratulations to all involved!
  • Bad news: all our water bills are going up by 9.4% from Saturday 1st April. Thanks, Southern Water.
  • 47 days until the Volks reopens!
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

ooh baby, I like it raw

A picture of Geoff Raw
Source: Brighton & Hove City Council

What's happening? Geoff Raw, Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove City Council, will be leaving the council.

Where's he going? He's going to become managing director of Be First London, a new homes and jobs development company for Barking and Dagenham.

When does he leave? He will remain in post to support Brighton & Hove City Council through its budget making and local elections on Thursday 5th May, and details on future leadership arrangements following the local election are to follow.

How long has he been in post? Geoff joined the council in 2010 as strategic director for environment, and a big player during the bin strikes in 2013 and 2014, before becoming Chief Executive in 2015.

Long time! Back in 2015, he famously said he wanted to turn the city into one of the 'top beachfront destinations in the world'. We'll let you judge for yourselves whether or not he was successful.

Any fun facts about him? He's actually the longest serving Chief Executive since Brighton & Hove came together as one council.

He said:

Brighton & Hove is an amazing city with a global reputation for creativity, innovation and vibrancy. It has been my privilege to serve the city and its communities for over 12 years, the last 8 as the council’s Chief Executive.

I'm very proud of what the council has achieved for its city over this time, despite wider economic challenges, budget constraints and a Covid pandemic.
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