Seagull Weekly Briefing 27/02

All the top stories in the city.

Seagull Weekly Briefing 27/02
Source: The Brighton Seagull 

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing. What's your favourite lofi beats compilation video? Ours is probably the cat on the train, (very often the soundtrack to Seagull being edited) but any of the ones with the lofi girl and her cat are also good. Drop us a line with your favourites on Twitter, Facebook or Insta—we could always do with mixing up our mixes a bit—but not before you've read this week's news!

Our feature article last week was a look at why people from around the world want to study in Brighton—check it out here:

“This was the place I wanted to be”: Why three international students chose Brighton
Lilly Gentner speaks to three international students about what drew them to Brighton and Hove.
This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton.

News This Week

Sue Addis' grandson says 'paranoid psychosis' reason for stabbing

Photo of Lewes Crown Court
Source: John M

Pietro Addis, grandson of the late Sue Addis, admitted to stabbing her to death and blamed it on paranoid psychosis, a claim which was not shared by a psychiatrist at the trial.

The 19-year-old of Radinden Manor Road, Hove, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday 20th February, charged with the murder of Sue Addis, 69, on Thursday 7th January 2021 in her Cedars Gardens home.

He has admitted manslaughter, denying murder.

Dr Duncan Harding, a child and adolescent and adult psychiatrist, told the jury that he does not believe Addis was experiencing psychosis, and that the killing was from anger instead. He said by killing her in the bath it showed planning, as he had to take the knives to the bathroom, something inconsistent with a 'frenzied psychotic killing'.

He also told the court that, following an interview with Addis in June 2021, he did not see any evidence of him having obsessions, despite Addis saying he'd not left the house for a period of time due to 'paranoia', that he'd had visions of a white gecko in his room, and that he thought the FBI were in his garden 'all the time'.

Dr Harding said Addis' ability to change his clothes, call 999, and give the police information were inconsistent with a psychotic breakdown—'extremely unlikely he would have had the presence of mind'.

During a stay in Bluebird House in 2021, a specialist, secure mental health inpatient unit for young people, he was not prescribed anti-psychotic medication, nor was he given them in prison. Blood and hair tests found evidence of cocaine, ketamine, cannabis, Xanax, and cancer medication prescribed to Mrs Addis.

He had expressed fears of his grandmother killing him, which Dr Harding described as 'unconvincing', 'glib', not sounding 'authentic', 'malingering' and 'a person who knows he is dishonest'. He said that Addis was not acting in a way that was consistent with his fears around Mrs Addis killing him: reporting it, leaving the house, or trying to protect himself.

The trial continues next week.

Improvement works on Western Road to last until May 2024

"Artists' impression of how Western Road will look, with more room for buses, taxis, bikes and pedestrians"
Source: Brighton and Hove City Council

The work on Western Road (the cause of the controversial bus diversion around Upper North Street and Montpelier Road) will continue until May 2024.

Funded by three government grants from the Active Travel Fund, Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund and Bus Service Improvement Plan, the works on Western Road between Montpelier Road and the Clock Tower aim to make the street a more attractive place to shop and spend time in, as well as make it easier for people travelling through. Changes include:

  • a resurfaced road
  • resurfaced and tidier pavements
  • a simpler road layout with a central area to help with pedestrian crossing. Other crossings would also be provided
  • more cycle parking, seating and tree planting
  • removing Clarence Square bus stops
  • improved pedestrian crossings
  • redesigning the Dyke Road junction with Western Road

All bus services will continue to run, but the Clarence Square bus stops are permanently closed, and the work will be done in sections to 'minimise disruption'. It is expected that each side road junction will need to be closed for 3 to 4 weeks.

Those against the 'brutal diversion' and 'chaos' say there are 40 buses per hour/one every two minutes, that there are 'noise and vibrations for 18 hours a day', affects air quality, gives them no privacy, causes 'no sleep and constant stress', and that they were not consulted. The council held a public consultation about the changes to Western Road in Spring 2021.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • A petition has been launched calling on the council 'to publicly acknowledge that they have failed the 136 children who have gone and continue to go missing from a hotel in our city—and commit to using all of their influence and power to produce and implement a viable plan of action to safeguard these children immediately'. It runs until March 5th, and will be presented to the Children, Young People and Skills Committee the following day.
  • Two low-fare offers have been launched to encourage young people to travel around the city by bus more. Those under the age of 19 can make use of: free travel by up to four children or young people aged 19 or under when accompanied by a fare paying adult or an adult concessionary pass holder; or 50p single journey tickets for unaccompanied children or young people.
  • Congratulations to Friend of The Seagull, Roxy van der Post, a visual brand storyteller who has been named as one of the UK’s most inspirational and dynamic female entrepreneurs by the f:Entrepreneur ‘#ialso100’ campaign! We're very proud of you, Roxy!
  • 33 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

Whitehawk Inn community centre set to close

Picture of Whitehawk Inn
Source: Paul Gillett

What's happening? Whitehawk Inn, a community centre which merged with BHT Sussex, a housing association and homeless charity, in 2015, will close its doors for the last time at the end of next month due to the gap between income and costs widening an unsustainable amount.

What is the shortfall? The funding shortfall will be approximately £50,000 for 2023/24. This is without annual maintenance expenditure on the building.

Where has previous funding come from? To date, BHT Sussex has been able to support the Whitehawk Inn through fundraising income, grants and contracts. They said that despite maximising potential income through renting office space in the building and exploring (for example) a National Lottery bid over recent months, they cannot now see the financial situation for the service improving.

When will its last day be? Friday 31st March.

What will happen to the services that operate from it? A mixture of changes:

  • MoneyWorks financial advice will continue.  It has operated remotely since March 2020, and face-to-face meetings with clients take place in a variety of community venues, not just Whitehawk Inn, and will continue to do so.
  • Digital Inclusion classes will hopefully be relocated to another venue, something that is being worked on currently.
  • Adult learning classes, employment service, access to free Wi-Fi, PCs, printing, and photocopying, community health services, community group activities, and use as a polling station will all end.

Were the services used much? Yes!

  • From April 2021 to the end of March 2022, MoneyWorks provided more than 769 advice sessions to residents and were able to help clients manage £82,470 of housing or other debt, securing clients £100,476 worth of benefits;
  • Digital Inclusion classes had 132 attendees from April 2021 to the end of March 2022;
  • Between April 2021 and March 2022 49 different learners participated in adult learning courses;
  • There were approximately 300 visits to the Whitehawk Inn per year from people wanting to use the IT facilities;
  • Many community groups used the Whitehawk Inn for activities, including groups run by residents (knitting, drama, wellbeing, creative writing, bereavement support) as well as those run by external organisations (TDC Youth Café, Elder Abuse Recovery Service).
  • Whitehawk Inn's records show that 46% of people who use the building are council tenants, 13% are resident in supported housing schemes or housing association tenants, 18% are tenants in the private rented sector, and fewer than 1% own their own property.

David Chaffey, chief executive of BHT Sussex, said:

BHT Sussex took on the Whitehawk Inn in 2015 when it faced imminent closure and we were determined to save the project as a highly valuable, and valued, resource and community venue for the residents of East Brighton – people living in the most deprived area of our city.

We are proud to have kept the service running for 7 years, and deeply regret that without additional stable income, we have had to make the difficult decision to close the service.

We are working on our closure plan—in particular to identify people who use any of our services regularly for practical and emotional/wellbeing support to try to mitigate the impact on them.
That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!