Good morning everyone, and welcome to our Monday update! We missed the opportunity to make an April Fool's joke but we're not really the pranking sort anyway—though you maybe interested to see what happens if you read the first letter of every line in this newsletter ;)
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🗞News This Week🗞
Elections, seagulls, and starlings
More than 100,000 people sign petition to save starling murmurations
You might remember our story back in February about 30,000 signing a petition calling for Brighton and Hove City Council to help the city's dwindling starling population. Well, The Seagull is delighted to share that more than 100,000 have signed it, meaning there are enough signatures for a 15-minute debate to be held by the council on Thursday.
The creator of the petition, Steve Geliot, shares concerns that chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides in the downlands are killing insects which are the main food source of starlings.
Together, we, the people of Brighton and Hove, own a large section of the South Downs called The City Downland Estate.
We, therefore, kindly call on our council, elected members and officers to immediately implement an outright ban on chemical fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and worming treatments across our entire City Downland Estate.
We also call on our council to make concerted efforts to reduce sensory pollution (noise and light), which also badly impacts on wildlife, through education and advocacy in the first instance.
Now it is time to make peace with nature and save our starlings.
Starling populations have fallen by 66 per cent since the mid-1970s, according to The British Trust for Ornithology, and the council already has aims to phase out the herbicide glyphosphate entirely this year.
Mr Geliot, an artist, petitioned the council last year to reduce light pollution for insects, and was part of the Starlings' Roost art project, where night vision cameras filmed the birds.
To sign the petition, click here.
Two new candidates for the Rottingdean by-election
Two new councillor candidates have been announced for the upcoming Rottingdean Coastal by-election.
Dr Robert Mcintosh, the current Secretary for the Kemptown and Peacehaven CLP, will be the Labour candidate, and Stephen White, one of the founding members of Action on Gasworks Housing Affordability Safety and Transparency (AGHAST), is running as an Independent.
Dr Mcintosh has lived in Rottingdean Village for twenty years, and spent his career working in adult education with a focus on special educational needs.
I’ve dedicated much of my life to education, especially special educational needs.
Seeing what this Conservative government has done to education has motivated me to get into frontline politics.
Rottingdean is a beautiful place to live. I know the modern Conservative Party doesn’t represent this place anymore.
Locally, people are sick of greedy developers and incompetent management of our city. I’m proud of Labour’s stance to ban the sale of second homes in new developments and for always being the pragmatic group on the council who focus on getting the basics right.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, has endorsed Dr Mcintosh calling him a 'passionate campaigner and advocate for his community', who has 'always stood on the side of fairness'.
Mr White has been working since 2020 to oppose planning proposals to develop the old gasworks site in Kemptown.
I have never been a member of a political party and am compelled to stand as an Independent for two reasons.
Our area has never had a councillor who actually lives in the area between Lewes Crescent and Roedean, including the Marina.
I know, in person, what the everyday experience of living here is really like – great sea air, beautiful architectural heritage, overflowing bins, rat runs and all.
My long career has trained me to listen carefully to people’s real concerns. I will work for the people in my community who want – and deserve – to live in a clean, well-run, financially stable city.
Rottingdean Coastal ward spans from Lewes Crescent to West Saltdean and includes West Saltdean, Ovingdean, Rottingdean, the Marina, Marine Parade, Eastern Road and The Arundels. The by-election has come about after Conservative councillor Joe Miller, resigned for 'personal reasons'.
Volunteers needed to help seagulls (and pigeons)
A local animal rescue network is calling for more volunteers to help rescue birds including seagulls and pigeons across the city.
The South Coast and Sussex Bird and Gull Rescue Network, is worried that the cost of living crisis is going to impact people's ability to take on voluntary projects as more and more people are forced to take on more work, conserve fuel and have other things to focus their efforts on.
The rescue network take birds found in need of medical help to Bird Aid in Hailsham, and they are especially in need of more drivers, people able to climb ladders, and people who are available during the day.
Justin King, who heads up the network, said:
If a chick is found wandering the streets, we have to take the chick away to Bird Aid.
We can’t really guess where the chick has come from. If you put the chick back on the wrong rooftop, it gets attacked.
The aim is to get a bird out of harm’s way. Either keep a bird at home or drive it to safety.
Those who work part time, in early retirement, such as builders, those previously in the construction industry and/or those who are dedicated to learning.
Whatever they can manage in their spare time or during daytime hours is appreciated.
People can help as much or as little as they want. Volunteers set the pace and tone of what they feel is comfortable for them.
To get involved or to find out more information, visit the rescue network's Facebook group.
🖋 NIBS 🖋
- Bikeshare bikes across the city are going electric! Well, at least 60% of them. The fleet will increase from 600 to 780, and they should all be rolled out when the scheme relaunches next year.
- Strikes are continuing to affect the University of Brighton as UCU (University and College Union) and Unison fight over pay and working conditions. A solidarity rally was held last week, and Unison staff are set to walk out this morning.
- Residents of Elm Grove are organising to get their neighbourhood to be made liveable too, following the proposed scheme in Hanover. Elm Grove Residents & Friends are gathering support to reduce traffic along the road, headed up by resident Alison Hughes.
- Some dangerous gym equipment at Hove Lagoon may not be replaced by the council because of a lack of resources. The equipment, which failed a safety inspection due to loose bars, was funded by a local developer but no maintenance money was given to the council at the time of building. The council is seeing if it can fund more equipment through £10 million allocated for the Kingsway to the Sea regeneration scheme.
- The clock tower has been damaged after some really funny and clever people broke into it on April Fool's Day and messed with the clock mechanism. Oh wait no, it wasn't funny or clever, and now the hands are stuck at 3.20. Well, at least it's still correct twice a day.
This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton.
💥The Big One💥
Charlie Southall's been at it again
What happened? Charlie Southall, Hanover's most popular property developer, has got his mates in to hack the tiles off of The Montreal Arms.
Who cares? The majority of people in Hanover. Not only are the tiles vintage, darling, but locally listed. This doesn't protect it in the same way as a listed status would, but it means it's a building of special interest because of its design, value on the landscape, or historically significant.
What's the timeline of all of this? To recap, over the last month he:
- set up a GoFundMe asking for £85,000 to convert the pub to homes for refugees;
- held a community meeting where people criticised his intentions;
- published a nearly seven minute-long video on the Hanover Community Notice Board criticising those people and taking back his plans;
- got people to start ripping the tiles off on Tuesday morning.
Gosh. Why is he doing this? If you ask the residents of Hanover, it's because he's throwing a strop after his community meeting went badly and he withdrew his offer of housing Ukrainian refugees. If you ask Charlie Southall, well, he handed out a leaflet to explain.
What happens now? Well he's deleted his Facebook profile, and his business Dragonfly has moved any mention of Charlie to here (a page not linked to on the site), so it seems like he's keeping his head low for a while. Brighton and Hove City Council issued a stop notice the day the works started, and we'll keep you updated as to any future developments going forward.
Any other information about this man? You bet—turns out he has a reputation for not paying freelancers, according to this report. (The Seagull applauds Jo Wadsworth and Brighton and Hove News for their essential coverage of this story.)
👉Finger On The Pulse👈
Recency Wardrobe, running and really good gigs
🎵Gigs: If you're lucky you'll find the editor at Couples Therapy on Thursday. No not for actual therapy, silly—for the band, Couples Therapy and their 'midwest emo influenced songs' at The Hope and Ruin; tickets here; Sunflower Bean will be at Concorde 2 next Monday (technically next week but get your tickets now because you won't want to miss them); tickets here; and inventive lyricists and misfits Town of Cats will be at Komedia on Friday; tickets here. I'd like to live in a town of cats.
🎥Cinema: The 400 Blows, coming-of-age film widely regarded as one of the best and most important of the French New Wave; Sunday 10th April at the Duke of York's, tickets here.
🖼Exhibitions: The Regency Wardrobe, "The Regency Wardrobe is a collection of imagined garments reflecting the fashion, style and history of the Regency period" by Stephanie Smart; until 11th September at the Royal Pavilion, entrance included with Pavilion admission.
🏃♂️Runs: This isn't the kind of thing we usually drop in here but the Brighton Marathon is this coming Sunday (10th), so if you're a fan of watching people run past, head to the city centre. If you're a fan of getting public transport around town, this may not be your day. There's also a 10k going on at the time, which our techincal director has been training to run in, but he's managed to mess up his feet in his new running shoes so who knows if he'll make it?
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected]. And if you want to contribute:
☕️ Where to eat? 🥪
🥞Brunch: Nowhere Man, on Upper North Street, famed for their pancake-and-bagel-centric menu, they're also very strong on their vegan and gluten-free offerings. We'd recommend the Vegan Intermediate (3 pancakes, vegan bacon and maple syrup) with a flat white.
🥘Dinner: Easy Tiger on Upper North Street, their Indian street food is incredible, the pakoras and Makai Mutter tikka wraps were particular favourites, and our editor loved the the Malabar Parotta flatbreads so much she ate them on their own.
🍻Pint: The Hampton on Upper North Street—ok this is cheating slightly, as the kitchen appears to have taken over the pub itself and the whole thing now seems to be called Easy Tiger, but if you're not hungry, they're great for a drink as well, and have a splendidly-appointed interior, beautiful dark-painted walls and woods, but lit so as to leave it feeling cozy without being gloomy.
🔜 Next Time 🔜
Hey, sorry if you did try reading the first letter of every line. That was our prank! We got you! Latepril fools! Sorry, we love you, please don't unsubcribe—and don't forget to fill in our contributors form if you'd like to get involved (especially for Fringe show reviews), forward to friends who might be interested and if you've been forwarded this and enjoyed it (or are reading on the website), please subscribe.