Happy Easter, Passover and Ramadan to those of you who celebrate each, and happy Bank Holiday Monday to all. We're still out here on that grind, because the news never sleeps. We've got a couple of pieces that you might have missed during the week, plus all the news and listings as usual.
Please share this with anyone you think would be interested, and if you think you've got a story to tell about our city, consider signing up to contribute here.
🗞News This Week🗞
Bagelman, boardwalks and bad community spirit [needs work - ed]
In The Seagull this week:
- Gareth Lloyd told the story of how Brighton and Hove Albion fans helped save Wrexham football club, turning out to games to stop their unscrupulous owner selling off the club's stadium to build a supermarket:
- Chris Bratt reported on Brighton eatery Bagelman facing eviction last week because they'd fallen behind on rent. They said they were now able to pay, and criticised 'needlessly harsh' Thameslink for advertising the unit before staff had been told. They've now had their time extended:
- We'll be publishing a love letter to the West Pier, featuring some beautiful commissioned photos, on Thursday.
Ongoing vandalism across the city
There has been a spate of vandalism across the city in the last ten days, affecting flower displays, phone boxes and trees.
Some of the installations affected were part of a scheme to welcome back visitors as lockdown restrictions ease.
The flower planters, on London Road, were rented temporarily with money from the national Welcome Back fund, of which the council received £324,269, suggested to be spent on improving the look of high streets with plants and seating, publicity campaigns, events, signage and green spaces.
Over in Preston Park, the destroyed trees were cherry trees saplings planted by Friends of Preston Park this year.
The group said:
We are all heartbroken to find that some of the newly planted blossom trees have been broken overnight.
This senseless destruction is heartbreaking and is being reported to the police.
If anyone has any information please let us know.
We will be fixing or replacing these broken trees and will not let the vandals win!
Our thoughts are with Andy and his wonderful volunteers who spent all that time and energy planting the trees out.
This comes as council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty has threatened BT, calling on them to 'tackle the blight' of disused, dilapidated phone boxes which he says 'continue to be prime targets for all manner of anti-social and criminal behaviour'.
Black Rock rejuvenation progresses
Progress continues to be made along Madeira Terrace as the new accessible boardwalk is opened by town mayor, councillor Alan Robins.
It runs 850 metres along the beach from Duke's Mound to Black Rock Station, with crossings over the Volk's Electric Railway and jetties allowing easy access to the shore.
The boardwalk also runs through the new wildlife site on the beach, allowing close views of the emerging habitat in the wildlife and plants, created jointly between the council and Kew Gardens at Wakehurst.
The work isn't quite finished, as more than 100 low-level lights are set to be installed along the length of the boardwalk next month.
It is made from 220 tonnes of a recycled plastic composite, which is said by the council to be a more sustainable option than timber which would require more ongoing maintenance.
Councillor Alan Robins said:
I’d like to congratulate everyone involved with the creation of this wonderful new addition to the eastern seafront, from the project board team and builders to the landscapers and horticulturalists.
This stunning new boardwalk marks another step forward in ensuring our city is accessible to all, and I’m sure it will be a huge hit with both residents and visitors as a new way to enjoy our world-famous beaches.
🖋 NIBS 🖋
- Recent sabotage on cycle lane petitions have led to calls from people for the process to be made more rigorous. Until recently, petitions could be signed without address or email checks, but the council have now made it so they have to be verified. It now requires name, email, password, address and postcode, and user details can only be confirmed via a confirmation email.
- Lakeland in Churchill Square is set to close this Saturday, with all the staff losing their jobs, according to a shopper's post in the Hanover Community Notice Board.
This edition of The Brighton Seagull is sponsored by Cybersyn, a friendly digital analytics consultancy based right here in Brighton.
💥The Big One💥
Petition for cleaner air in the city
What's happening? A petition has been launched urging the council to implement a Clean Air Zone, or an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in Brighton and Hove.
Why? Brighton, especially the area around the Clock Tower, has the third-highest pollution level in the country according to Friends of the Earth. Specifically, it has high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which comes from traffic fumes and is, according to the group, twice as high as it should be. They said the Clock Tower was found to have an annual average level of 90.8 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air, when the target is 40.
Yikes. Air pollution is no joke! Petitioners say the whole city has air pollution higher than the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. And Clean Air Strategy DEFRA 2019 found that air pollution causes asthma, COPD, dementia, cancer, lung, heart and kidney disease, miscarriage, eye degeneration and a whole host of physical and psychological health issues. It's not only bad for children, the elderly, pregnant people and those with pre-existing health conditions but everyone else too.
So what will an ULEZ do? It would discourage the most polluting vehicles by charging a small fee when they enter the zone. That money would go towards helping improve air quality through vehicle upgrades, improving zero emission transport and thereby improving health and lowering emissions. Adrian Hill, an air quality campaigner in the city, says:
A Clean Air Zone or ULEZ applies to just the 10% most polluting vehicles, these vehicles cause 30 to 40% of the pollution in our city.
A Clean Air Zone is the most effective tool our city has to improve the healthiness of our air.
So who would pay it? A Clean Air Zone would apply to only a small proportion of vehicles, those that don't mean the emissions standards. For example, in London the ULEZ standards are:
- Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
- Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
- Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles
The standards are enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age.
What can I do to help? Join the 630+ people who have signed the petition, which has runs until Tuesday 26th April and will be presented to the full council on Thursday 21st July.
👉Finger On The Pulse👈
Honey Moon, Hammer and Tongue, Hi Cacti
🎶Gigs: Dreamy alt-pop indie Larkins are at Chalk on Tuesday, just after their debut album JCOY was released last year; very fun crowds turn out for them, our editor wants to go but she needs an early night ahead of a 7am flight to Edinburgh; Honey Moon are at The Green Door Store on Saturday; our editor once saw them supporting Wild Front at the Hope and Ruin and they made one of her favourite band t-shirts ever; very good melancholy pop music for £6.90 here.
🎤Poetry: Hammer and Tongue, slam poetry, tickets are cheaper if you're slamming so go along and try your luck ;Thursday 21st April at The Rialto Theatre, tickets here.
🌱Gardening: Albion Community Garden is offering volunteer sessions on Thursday and Sunday this week and next from 1pm to 4pm, weather permitting.
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: Starfish & Coffee have to be our brunch pick as well as our dinner; they specialise in brunch including pancakes, vegan hash (which our editor loves) and a green goddess Buddha bowl.
Dinner: Slicadelica Pizza Co by Starfish & Coffee has opened in Duke Street; they opened as a pop-up at the end of last year and took that feedback on to make pizzas they say 'have a crispier crust... focaccia-like characteristics... you can eat a big slice and not feel bloated'. We'll have to judge that for ourselves soon!
🔜 Next Time 🔜
That's all for this week—don't forget to fill in our contributors form if you'd like to get involved, 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: