Seagull Weekly Briefing 16/01

Homophobic football fans, Greens scrap revenge-eviction bans, fundraiser crosses halfway for toy museum regeneration plans and more.

Seagull Weekly Briefing 16/01
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing. This week's unofficial sponsor is Night Nurse, as the majority of the team are still trying to shake off the illnesses that have been plaguing them since Christmas. We hope you're feeling ready for the week ahead, and looking forward to some hot fresh news!

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

News This Week

Picture of steps at Whitehawk FC ground which read "Love, Peace, No Racism, No Sexism, No Violence"
Source: Hrse12

Police intervene at Whitehawk FC game against Littlehampton Town FC

A home Whitehawk FC vs Littlehampton Town FC was attended by police amid reports of 'firecrackers, smoke bombs, flares, homophobic abuse, smashed chairs and fans entering the field of play'.

The match, which took place on Saturday, January 14, eventually saw Littlehamptown Town win 3-1 in what Whitehawk FC called 'an unsettling afternoon'.

A spokesman for Whitehawk FC said:

Whitehawk FC are saddened by the behaviour of a number of Littlehampton Town fans at today’s match, and apologise to our own supporters for what occurred. Despite the precautions we put in place, the match was marred by firecrackers, smoke bombs, flares, homophobic abuse, smashed chairs and fans entering the field of play. We wish to make clear there is no place for violence, bigotry and threatening behaviour within the beautiful game, and we are speaking to the opposition about what took place.

Whitehawk FC operate a zero tolerance policy towards any abuse at The Enclosed Ground and are fully committed to our indefatigable value that football is for all. We thank Sussex Police for their assistance in responding speedily and preventing any further disorder. We will provide an update in due course, and a full report will be issued to the Isthmian League and the Football Association.

Littlehampton FC also released a statement, expressing their disappointment at incidents 'involving BOTH sets of supporters'; a tweet from Whitehawk FC claimed Littlehampton Town fans were the ones at fault.

A spokesman for Littlehampton Town FC said:

We are bitterly disappointed at the use of smoke bombs and firecrackers when we have made it clear before that it is unacceptable and against the law to use them inside a football ground.

We have witnessed a missile thrown from a Whitehawk supporter which struck a Littlehampton Town committee member. In addition there were a number of Whitehawk fans who entered the field of play to confront our supporters during the game which esculated the situation.

Our Safety Officer has already spoken with Sussex Police regarding the incidents and will continue to do so over the coming days. We shall also speak with Whitehawk FC over the next few days with regards to the incidents today.

We shall make no further comment until we have spoken with all the relevant parties.

To read the match report from the Hawks (The Seagull could not find one from Littlehampton Town), click here.

More than £7,000 raised by community at Burning the Clocks

Picture of the lanterns at the Burning of the Clocks parade 2022
Source: Kaleido Shoots

Same Sky, the community arts charity known for organising Brighton’s annual winter solstice parade and celebration Burning the Clocks, has announced that they have raised £7,036.91 through their crowdfunding campaign and partnerships last year.

The volunteer-led bucket collection during the event on December 21st 2022 raised £3,029.43, and £1,401.50 was raised from card payments on the night.

The online crowdfunder campaign raised £2,191 from 55 supporters with another £515 from individual donations made after the crowdfunder concluded.

Robert Batson, executive producer at Same Sky, said:

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of this year's Burning the Clocks event. It was wonderful to see the community come together again to participate in the parade and celebrate the Winter Solstice. Thank you to all who were involved.

We are extremely grateful to everyone who supported our crowdfunder and donated on the night.  A special thank you goes out to our Charitable event sponsor, Hanningtons Brighton. Without their support and the generous contributions from our community, this event would not have been possible.

In total, we were able to raise over £7,000 thanks to everyone's efforts. For an event that can cost up to £45,000, this support from the community makes a massive difference.

To find out more about Same Sky, and to find opportunities to help with Burning the Clocks 2023, visit Same Sky’s Website or their Facebook page.

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

🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Brighton Toy and Model Museum has passed the halfway mark in its regeneration fundraiser. The museum plans to rejuvenate the top of Trafalgar Street with the regeneration, which will cost around £100,000. They plan to open up and glaze three of the bricked-up arches, and install new lighting along the museum facade. Alongside the fundraiser, 40% of the funds have been donated by the Railway Heritage Trust. To find out more, click here.
  • Brighton has been nominated for two Gaydio Pride Awards, for Brighton and Hove Pride (Major Pride of the Year) and Trans Pride, Brighton (Grassroots Pride of the Year). The winners will be revealed at the inaugural Gaydio Pride Awards ceremony in Manchester on Friday 10th February and, of course, in The Seagull.
  • New motor vehicle restrictions have come into place in Gardner Street today. Approved by councillors in November, the new rules ban motor vehicle access from 11am-5pm, and allow loading from 5pm-11am. Nine new Blue Badge parking spaces have been made in Regent Street. To read our previous coverage on this, click here.
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

Council says 'zero tolerance' approach on landlords who break the law could be seen as 'disproportionate'.

Picture of a bruised sky above a street of houses
Source: The Brighton Seagull

What's happening? A council report from the upcoming Housing Committee meeting this Wednesday shows the council plan to scrap its ‘revenge-evictions’ policy, less than a month after it was voted through at December’s Full Council.

A ‘revenge eviction’ is when a tenant is evicted in retaliation for complaining to their landlord. This is often issued in the form of a section 21, or 'no fault', eviction.

What does the report say? The report, which can be read in full here, recommends that 'a review of the existing Enforcement Policy is carried out... rather than adopting an approach which is neither evidence-based or has the necessary capacity to deliver'. It also says many landlords 'may not be aware that improvements are required or may have a limited understanding of their responsibilities'.

Isn't it not only a landlords job, but also their responsibility to know what to do? The Seagull agrees. The report shows at least five cases are known to the council of people being revenge evicted since April 2022, but states this does not warrant a policy change. According to renters union Acorn, they are aware of 20 since first raising the issue with the council back in 2021, and they estimate there are hundreds in Brighton each year.

And the council had already agreed to a revenge evictions policy? Yep. Back in December, Acorn campaigned for a ‘revenge eviction’ policy which was adopted at the December 2022 full council meeting. The plan was the council would issue improvement notices at the earliest opportunity, which legally protects tenants from revenge evictions.

What about safety standards? Also mentioned in the report, it's estimated that of the 23 wards in the city, 18 have private rentals where more than 19% of renters have category 1 or 2 hazards. However, the report also says that a 'zero tolerance' approach on landlords who break the law could be seen as 'disproportionate'.

What has Acorn said? Their statement reads:

Phélim Mac Cafferty’s Green administration has once again shown they side with criminal landlords over renters.

They have no plans to address the safety crisis in Brighton. They don’t implement democratic decisions made by councillors. They consistently backtrack on their promises and have shown time and time again that are unable to provide the leadership Brighton’s renters need.

Given the recent tragic news of deaths in low quality housing, we’re not prepared to wait until this happens in Brighton before the council takes action.
That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!