5 min read

🏫New Saltdean beach huts, Hove Park sixth form shuts, bendy buses finally cut and more.🚍

Plus care home takeover, bike scheme makeover, Madeira Lift repair wait over and more.
Picture of the sky over New Dorset Street
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing. There's 134 more of you now than there were last week, so welcome everyone, come on in, the news is lovely and warm—we've got sixth form closures, bike scheme hiatuses and a final fond farewell to bendy buses.

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

News This Week

Homelessness prevention charity to use former Jewish care home to house rough sleepers this winter

A picture of Brighton in the snow
Source: Kate Fisher

St Mungo's is set to temporarily use a former care home for Jewish people to house rough sleepers this winter as part of its No Second Night Out service.  

Hyman Fine House, in Burlington Street, will be used by the homelessness prevention charity to allow people to access accommodation, support services and food for a short-term period, while long-term support is being arranged.

Any income St Mungo's receives from rent in the 45-bed building will go to services that support older people in the Brighton and Hove Jewish community, as will proceeds from the eventual sale of the building.

The building ceased operation as a care home in July of this year: since its closure, former residents are now in suitable alternative accommodation.

The building's synagogue will be closed to St Mungo's, and any religious items and sentimental items to the Jewish community are either with their donors or being looked after safely until new homes can be found.

Brighton bike scheme paused from New Year's Eve ahead of new look

A picture of some of the BikeShare bikes by Hove Lawns
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Brighton & Hove's BTN BikeShare scheme is going on a hiatus next month ahead of a refreshed fleet to be launched next year.

The five-year-old bikes are looking worse for wear, and experiencing technical issues preventing a significant percentage from being used.

Annual memberships and renewals were paused in May to prepare for the new scheme, but anyone with an annual membership can have a refund for their remaining unspent months, or donate the cost to a local cycling charity.

Pay as you go members, active in the last 8 weeks, with unspent balances of more than £3 at 31 December 2022 can also request to reclaim or donate these.

The bikes will begin to be removed from service from Monday 19th December, and close entirely from New Year's Eve.

The new fleet will see several changes, including:

  • At least 60% of the new fleet of bikes will be electric
  • 312 new pedal-only bikes to replace the existing pedal-only fleet with a further 468 E-bikes to make up a fleet of 780 total.
  • More bike docking stations around the city to make the scheme truly city wide
  • A range of tariff options for users
  • A new sponsor partnership offer

The Seagull will update readers as soon as a return date is known.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • Brighton and Hove Buses is putting on an extra special final farewell for the bendy buses today. It sets off from Portslade Station at 10am, taking bendy bus lovers all the way to the university. There is no charge for this journey. However they will be encouraging donations to a local charity from those who may wish to make one, on the day. If you would like to go on this final bendy bus journey, email [email protected] with your name and contact details (in the next three hours, presuming you're reading this at time of publication).
  • Restoration of Madeira Lift has been unanimously supported by the Planning Committee, in which planning permission was granted on Wednesday. The first phase of repairs, which will cost £7 million, will see the lift upgraded from next autumn, as well as a new staircase from Madeira Drive to the terrace. It will be available for use 24/7, and fully lit. We hope that this is the precursor to the construction of a funicular, the best method of transport up and down any kind of vertical surface. You can't spell fun without funicular!
  • New beach huts are going to be built in Saltdean—14 of them, in fact. The waiting lists for the existing 105 beach huts across Hove, Rottingdean, Madeira Drive, Ovingdean and Saltdean are closed at present, due to overwhelming demand (our technical director checks every month, and has done for about two years).
  • Part of the south-west corner of West Pier broke off last week during Storm Claudio, due to the high winds; a poignant reminder that the weakened structure won't be with us forever. Read Sara Darling's ode to the West Pier in the Seagull here.
  • Only 146 days until the Volks returns!
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

School's sixth form looking to close due to low admission numbers

A picture of Hove Park School
Source: Simon Carey

What's happening? Hove Park School is looking to suspend its sixth form from September 2023 due to low admission numbers.

Why? The school has had falling sixth form numbers over the last five years. In the academic year 2017-18 it had 187 students in sixth form, versus 50 in the academic year 2021-22. Admissions in year twelve went from 103 in 2017-18, to a low of just 24 in 2021-22. The school says projections going forward suggest these numbers are not likely to change significantly in the foreseeable future.

A graph showing the decline in Hove Park School sixth form student numbers
Graph: The Brighton Seagull, Data: Brighton & Hove City Council

How many students does it need? Hove Park School has found from data it gathered that viable sixth forms offer around 27 subjects, and have approximately 200 students. It found that roughly 110 students would allow them to deliver a sixth form provision that is cost neutral. The school says with the current figures, the sixth form provision is not financially sustainable. By suspending sixth form admissions, resources can be reallocated to improve the school for students in years seven to eleven.

What other sixth forms are there? Currently there are two other schools offering sixth forms (Cardinal Newman Catholic School and Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA)), and three colleges (BHASVIC, Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (MET), and Varndean College).

Is this a permanent closure? If the proposal is agreed by the Children, Young People and Skills Committee today, the school would review this decision in relation to admissions from September 2026.

What about current students? Existing sixth form students would complete their studies in June 2024, with no sixth form provisions from September 2024.

A consultation document is being sent to pupils, parents, carers and staff today, and the Children, Young People and Skills Committee will meet this afternoon at 4pm at Hove Town Hall.

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