Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. We hope you had a lovely weekend; Team Seagull spent a fair amount of it down by the beach for the Volks Electric Railway's 140th anniversary (more of that later)—and for those of you who couldn't make it, the Volks is still running every day until the end of September!
News This Week
City's first Accessible City Strategy agreed by council
The council has agreed on an Accessible City Strategy for Brighton & Hove at a special Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Committee.
The strategy outlines the council's vision to 'become a council that is welcoming and inclusive to all its residents and reaffirms our commitment to put accessibility at the heart of how we think, work, design and deliver our services'.
Made with guidance from disabled people's organisations and disabled people, three themes have been identified for the council's future actions:
- Engagement—the council wants to increase and improve their communication with disabled residents, service users, visitors, customers and tenants
- Data—they want to improve the collection, analysis and application of data regarding disabled residents to better understand their access and experience of services
- Policy and practice—the council wants to identify, review and produce plans to remove barriers, better understand their impact and improve outcomes for disabled people
One of the guiding principles of the strategy will see the council follow a social model of disability, which says that people are disabled by barriers in society, rather than by their impairment or difference.
Neurodiversity, mental health, and non-visible disabilities are also taken into consideration.
Councillor Leslie Pumm, Chair of the Equalities, Community Safety & Human Rights Committee, said:
Residents want to see action and so do we. The Inclusive City Strategy will set us on the right path towards lasting change and city everyone can enjoy, no matter their accessibility requirements.
Hire bikes in city increasing in capacity as they decrease in price
The newly-introduced Beryl BTN Bikes are increasing in their number around the city, at the same time as cheaper pricing options are being introduced.
From this Friday, 100 new e-bikes and 50 pedal bikes will be added to the fleet, with more coming over the coming weeks—by autumn, there will be 780 e-bikes and 312 pedal bikes. The hire zone will be expanded too.
Since they were launched in April, the bikes have been used on nearly 44,000 journeys, covering more than 100,000 miles.
Pedal bikes will cost 8p per minute, and e-bikes 16p per minute (both with a £1 unlock fee). There will also be two day, seven day and 30 day Riding Passes, with discounted hire prices.
By the end of September, annual and corporate memberships will be introduced.
🖋 News in Brief 🖋
- The Volk's Electric Railway celebrated its 140th anniversary at the weekend. Joined by Mayor Jackie O'Quinn, council leader Bella Sankey, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, historian Tim Dunn, and members of the Volk family, the railway celebrated the day with speeches, a cavalcade of all the trains including newly-obtained 'car nine' from Southend Pier, and late-night running operated by VERA volunteers.
- A replica of Saltdean Lido’s original sign was installed on Thursday after a five month process to carefully copy the original. The 1938 illuminated sign was taken down and lost during the Battle of Britain, 83 years ago this month. The new deco sign recreates the neon-lit version, using raised tubular LED lights to give the same effect as the original.
Dog of the Week
This is Ted. He's a friend of The Seagull: we're not sure exactly how old he is, but to us he's just a little baby. He likes to flop into the rug, and be a nuisance during meetings. Look at his little raincoat! We love him.
The Big One
Music venues under threat again
What's happening? Grassroots music venues are under threat, again, from planning applications.
What's the planning application? A planning application has been updated and submitted again to add three residential flats at 125 Queens Road, opposite The Hope & Ruin, Rossi Bar and along from The Folklore Rooms.
How does this threaten them? They'll be at risk from noise complaints if the flats are built.
You'd think building flats somewhere other than opposite music venues would be a smarter idea. Quite. The proposal is contrary to the national 'agent of change' planning principle, which requires that existing music venues are not harmed by proposed residential development taking place nearby. It is also contrary to policy DM40 of the City Plan Part Two.
This happened somewhere else quite recently, didn't it? The Prince Albert—we wrote all about that here. Luckily, the holiday apartments that were planning on being built next door to the venue are no longer going ahead, after more than 1,000 people objected to the plans.
What can I do to help? If you can, the most helpful thing would be to join the 245+ people who have written an objection, letting the developer know that the venues are important cultural assets in Brighton & Hove and must be protected. The key issues to raise are:
- The importance of the venues to those who go to them, and to culture in Brighton and Hove
- The risk that noise complaints from the new flats could lead to action being taken against the music venues
- Concern that no noise survey has been submitted with the planning application.
How long have I got? It needs to be done today! The link is here.