Weekly Briefing 21/06

ACORN hustings, primary school cutting, Post Office shutting and more.

Weekly Briefing 21/06
Source: The Brighton Seagull

Good morning, and welcome to the Brighton Seagull's Weekly Briefing. June solstice last night—though sunnier days are yet to come, they're going to get shorter from here on. Not too much shorter just yet, though—we've still got another month or so before the sun dips below the horizon enough to meet the technical definition of night.

News This Week

Union to hold general election hustings in Brighton Pavilion

ACORN Brighton, the community union, will be holding a hustings event in Brighton Pavilion on Wednesday 26th June, 7-8:30pm at Community Base.

Pavilion candidates have been invited from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Conservatives, with Sian Berry (Green) and Ashley Ridley (Liberal Democrats) having already confirmed attendance.

Other such hustings took place last week: one for Hove at Platform 9 on Monday 17th June, and one for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven at Saltdean Lido on Tuesday 18th June.

Both hustings were dominated by questions about Sussex Water, Gaza, and about the protection of the Equality Act.

Ellen, a spokesperson from ACORN said:

Brighton Pavilion is likely to be a close race, with different parties offering very different visions for the future of our city.

This will be an opportunity to make sure candidates know what is important to ordinary people, and to hear their views on ACORN's four areas of campaigning for the election: Housing, Debt Justice, Public Transport and Tax Justice.

Post Office closing at end of July

Islingword Road Post Office will be closing at the end of July because of 'unsustainable' rising costs.

The business is being sold to a property group, and it is not yet known what the plans for the site are.

Sean Sherman, the postmaster of the post office, said:

We never fully recovered from Lockdown, when many of our shop customers were put off by the endless Post Office queue and just stopped coming. Since then, the increasing overheads leading to price increases has kept them away. It's simply a case of not enough customers buying stuff in the shop and the old adage of "use-it-or-lose-it" couldn't be more apt.

So it is with a very heavy heart that we will be closing on 27th July. It has been a really difficult decision, particularly as we have really enjoyed working for our wonderful community and we are really going to miss you.

Please spare a thought for the superb staff at the Post Office who have given such loyal and dedicated service over the years and who will all be unemployed at the end of July. They have been truly wonderful and stuck with me through very difficult times.

Want to read more stories like this? Subscribe for our weekly email newsletter here.

🖋 News in Brief 🖋

  • The Sussex Grocer may be taking over the former HISBE shop on York Place. The retailer works with Morrisons to provide goods, and is hoping to focus 'as much as possible on locally produced products as it has done in existing stores in the group'.
  • Work is starting this week to make a sand sports area on the beach in Hove. It will be able to accommodate beach volleyball, tennis, rugby and football, it will be between the croquet lawn and the sunken garden, and is set to open next summer.
  • Toys R Us is returning to Brighton: having closed in 2018 when the company went into administration, it's now going to be inside WHSmith, and will be open on Saturday 29th June.
  • Congratulations to all 12,000 people who took part in the London to Brighton bike ride on Sunday!
If you have a story for Seagull, please get in touch with our editor at [email protected].

The Big One

Primary school closure moved to December after pupils unable to find school places

Source: The Brighton Seagull

What's happening? St Bartholomew’s Primary School is closing its doors for good at the end of December.

I thought it was meant to close in August? It was, but after a review by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator of the council's decision to close the school at the end of August, it was moved to the last day of the year.

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator is a group within the Department for Education who decide on objections and variations to admission arrangements, appeals from schools directed to admit pupils, significant changes to schools and ownership of school land.

Why was a review needed? It followed a referral from the school’s governing body objecting to the decision, as nine pupils, several of whom have Special Educational Needs, could not find a school place for September.

What reason did the council give for the delay in closing? The council says it's to 'provide more time for transition, especially for the most vulnerable among the existing school community'.

What has the council said about the closure? The council said the decision was 'very difficult', but that 'action to reduce the number of the excess places and the structural underfunding this creates is needed to secure the long-term future of the city’s schools'.

What do other councillors think? This decision has been heavily criticised by the Greens, who call the decision 'rushed, and are calling on Labour to bring a report to the next Full Council meeting, exploring how the school could be saved.

Councillor Sue Shanks, former opposition spokesperson on the Children, Families, and Schools Committee said:

Green Councillors welcome this decision by the Schools Adjudicator, which comes closer to reflecting what school staff, governors, and parents have been asking for from the very start. Labour’s decision was rushed through with little consideration for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, many of whom would have been left without a school to go to this September, had the Schools Adjudicator not stepped in.

We urge Labour to use this as an opportunity to reconsider their disastrous decision to force this school to close. Now is the time for them to produce a report on our proposal to save both St Bartholomew’s and Bright Start Nursery, which they refused to even consider earlier this year. It’s not too late to correct course and do what is best for local families.

What can I do if I disagree with the decision? Write to your local councillors!

That's all for this week—please subscribe, and forward to friends who might be interested!