🏳️‍🌈LGBTQ+ depression, house building progression, Woodingdean park transgression and more🛝

Plus music from Powderpaint and house prices rising due to holiday lets.

🏳️‍🌈LGBTQ+ depression, house building progression, Woodingdean park transgression and more🛝
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Monday Briefing! It's a big week here at Seagull HQ as we celebrating reaching 100 newsletter subscribers at the weekend—thank you so much to everyone who reads us every week, and shares our posts, it really does make a huge difference and we really appreciate the love.

To make up for lots of our recommendations from Friday being cancelled, here's one that definitely won't be: friends of The Seagull, Powderpaint, have released a long-awaited new song! 'The Way You Want' is a feistier offering than the band's previous work, exploring the demonisation of trans people in a society that is increasingly antagonistic towards them. The song is taken from their upcoming second EP due to be released in 2023. Enjoy it while you read the latest news!

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

News This Week

A picture of blocks of flats in the sunlight
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Brighton and Hove house prices 46.2% higher than the rest of England and Wales, report reveals

A council report has revealed that not only does the council have no powers to license short term lets, but holiday lets have doubled in the last five years are are raising the cost of rent across the city.

The report, which is due to be presented to the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee this week, said that the increase in short-term lets has had major adverse consequences on the housing market, 'inflicting disruption, distress and exacerbating the housing supply crisis'.

It also revealed the average rent levels from 2021-22, based on a sample of 3,720 lets, were 'consistently higher' than England and South East comparators.

They are:

  • £516 for a room
  • £715 for a studio
  • £930 for a one-bed property
  • £1,259 for a two-bed property
  • £1,541 for a three-bed property
  • £2,235 for a four-bed property

The demand for properties has also driven up house prices, with the average price for a terraced house now £494,000 and a semi-detached house £556,000. The overall average property price in June 2022 was £438,264.

The report also shows a £138,408 difference between average prices in the city and average prices in England and Wales, meaning Brighton and Hove housing prices are 46.2% higher .

Overall, it reveals that the amount of holiday lets reduce the number of properties available for long-term rent, and increase the amount of noise and anti-social complaints to the council—with 54 having been made in 2021 linked to holiday let properties—up from 13 in 2018.

In response, the report recommends the council develops registration and licensing schemes. It says:

This would ensure that short-term and holiday lets are brought in line with rented accommodation in terms of the standards we expect and enforce as a local authority.

We would also request that powers are delegated to local authorities to designate a minimum percentage of housing to be reserved for long-term lets and place a cap on the number of short-term and holiday lets.

It suggests any scheme introduced is funded by contribution from short-term and holiday let hosts, proportional to property size.

The Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee meets at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday.

A picture of cranes above a construction site.
Source: The Brighton Seagull

More than 2,000 more homes on the cards for the city

Thousands of houses and jobs could be created if councillors approve a plan this week.

City Plan Part Two, as it is known, will be presented to councillors on Thursday and is intended to work alongside City Plan Part One, which was brought in six years ago—both identify priorities for the city going forward.

It includes brownfield sites, numbering 39, to which could house a minimum of 1,570 houses and businesses, and 16 greenfield sites which could be home to over 900 homes.

Brownfield land is previously developed land not currently being used, but that may also have issues including pollutants and contaminants—former petrol stations or dry cleaners, for example. Greenfield sites lack constraints imposed by prior work on the site, and are brand new projects, as opposed to building on a pre-existing site.

Areas of specific note for building more houses include the Sackville Trading Estate in Hove, Brighton General Hospital, and New England Road in Brighton.

The plan also provides hope for limiting HMOs, and specifies that all new housing developments should contribute to the 'creation and/or maintenance of mixed and sustainable communities', taking account of housing needs in the local area.

The Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee meets at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday.

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🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • A new multi-use games area at Woodingdean Central Park in Rudyard Road has been vandalised, and police are still trying to identify those involved. The incident happened at around 6pm on Sunday 4th September, and a police investigation has been launched.
  • Cineworld has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, but says cinemas—including the Duke of York's and Duke's At Komedia—will stay open. This allows the company to keep its assets and continue trading while it arranges a financial solution.
  • Residents at Rose Hill Court seniors housing scheme have been nominated for two national awards—Community Engagement award Habitat Creation Project of the Year—for their transformation of their communal garden. They planted wildflowers and vegetable plots, and installed bird baths and boxes, hedgehog shelters, rainwater butts, compost bins and stopped mowing the grass, which has significantly increased the wildlife in the area.
  • Polio has been found in London sewage, so testing is now available in the city and people are encouraged to make sure themselves and their families are vaccinated against it. Contact your GP to arrange vaccinations and testing.
  • The Seagull congratulates all those who took part in the London to Brighton cycle ride yesterday!
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

A "Trans Love Beats Terf Hate" sticker on a traffic light pole in front of the Phoenix Art Space
Source: The Brighton Seagull

What's happening? The Covid-19 pandemic had a particularly strong negative impact on the LGBTQ+ communities of Brighton, according to a Switchboard report that has now been released in collaboration with Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

Wasn't everyone negatively impacted? Yes, but this report shows the unique ways in which the LGBTQ+ communities have been. Of the 595 people who responded, 24% said they could not access support when they needed it, rising to 35% of trans and n0n-binary people, and 74% reported experiencing depression during lockdown. This rises to 81% of trans and non-binary people, and 92% of those aged 18-24. Two-thirds of people considered suicide, rising to 68% of those under the age of 24 and 43% of trans and non-binary respondents.

People also reported using alcohol and drugs to help their mental health—40% of everyone, rising to 47% of trans and non-binary people. 49% of those using substances reported having a mental health condition, while 13% of all respondents said during lockdowns, addictions worsened.

The lack of shared LGBTQ+ spaces also had a negative impact. 72% felt impacted by not being able to go to LGBTQ+ venues, with 30% feeling a need for non-alcoholic LGBTQ+ spaces. (Fortunately, this year has seen the opening in the city of the Ledward Centre and The Queery, both sober LGBTQ+ community spaces.)

Financially, 32% of people reported a loss of earnings, rising to 38% of BAME respondents and 37% of those aged 18-24.

Was anyone able to get support? Yes: 8% of people contacted an emergency helpline, rising to 15% of trans and non-binary people, and 25% started counselling or medication. However, many people did not find Zoom counselling as effective as in-person: 53% said they preferred in-person appointments.

What about those with bad home situations? 22% of respondents experienced unsafe living situations, a percentage rising to 40% of trans and non-binary people. 27% of those aged 18-24 had to return to living with their families during lockdowns, with 60% of 18-24 year olds experiencing an unsafe living situation.

One respondent said:

Being in a home where I constantly get dead named and misgendered has made my gender dysphoria much worse, affecting my mental health as I haven't been able to reach out to friends as I normally do.

Were there any positive impacts? Yes! Lockdowns were attributed to some positive outcomes for people's mental health. For example, 23% of respondents, and 45% of trans and non-binary respondents, reported enjoying not having to navigate spaces where they felt uncomfortable or unsafe because of their identities. 33% said their mood improved during lockdown, enjoying working from home (40%) and not commuting (41%), as well as spending more quality time with their household (34%). And finally, 35% felt lockdown meant they paid more attention to their mental health, and had more time to reflect on their gender and sexuality.

What can I do to help? The report suggests:

  • Increasing access to timely LGBTQ+ affirming mental health support
  • Providing safe housing for LGBTQ+ people in unsafe or insecure living situations
  • Increasing access to gender affirming care for trans and non-binary people
  • Supporting LGBTQ+ venues in recognition of their importance as a protective factor in peoples health and wellbeing, reducing social isolation and fostering informal community spirit
  • Providing LGBTQ+ affirmative support around specific issues such as grief, loss, relationships, ageing and disability, from Switchboard and other community organisations.

These might be a bit of a big ask for you as an individual but you can contact your MP to ask them to lobby the government on your behalf. And if you can, support or volunteer with the groups locally and nationally who help LGBTQ+ people, like Switchboard, The Clare Project, All Sorts Youth Project, and Navigate.

The Brighton Seagull would like to encourage any readers struggling with their mental health to reach out for help. Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on their website or on 116 123 for free.
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