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Argus Alerts – May 2021

Argus Alerts

For the last couple of years one of our members has been writing regular synopses of relevant news items published in The Argus to inform the committee of items of interest on a day to day basis.

As these form a useful historical record as well as being informative (and often include asides which are both pertinent and entertaining), we have decided to post them on the members’ page on the Brighton Society website exclusively for Society members.

Because they represent only the views of the author we make no claims about the accuracy or otherwise of the reports, but trust that the wider membership will find them as informative and entertaining as the committee have over the last 24 months.

The notes often include abbreviations.  The commonest of these are:

PMacC or Phelim C            Phelim Mac Cafferty (Green cllr, council leader)

ETS cttee                               Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee

P&R                                        Policy & Resources committee

TECC cttee                           Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee

LGA                                        Local Government Association

BADGE                                  Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere


Saturday 8

Page 2-3 Election results. The council is now: 20 Greens, 17 Labour, 13 Conservatives, four independents. Hollingdean and Stanmer by-election was a Green win from Labour (Zoe John). Tories held Patcham, new cllr is Anne Meadows.

Page 7 Plan for 5G phone masts on top of building are refused (sic) Unanimously refused. 161 objections. Cllr Wilkinson said was first case he had come across of phone companies seeking to put masts on homes without the permission of residents or freeholders. Need has been met by masts elsewhere. Must give weight to preserving the setting of the listed buildings in CA, duty to protect them. Spokesman for EE said mobile operators were putting more masts on buildings rather than ground sites. Would help meet high demand. The Government has said telecommunications is to be treated as a critical sector as part of new legislation brought in recognising that reliable mobile connectivity is critical in supporting mass home working, emergency services and hospitals.

Friday 7

Page 6 Yet another league table. Worthing is the worst seaside town in Sussex. A survey of 4,000 by Which? Poor old Worthing was the 6th worst in the country scoring only 58%. Brighton got 70% but only 2 stars for value for money. Rye came top in Sussex with 81%. Top of everywhere was Bamburgh.

Page 7 Wildlife corner. A giant African bullfrog named Burger, who will grow to 24cm, is being looked after by the RSPCA and needs a new home. They say he is “a good eater”.

Page 11 Letters. Unfair to motorists says John Armstrong of address supplied. Crawled though city in single lane of traffic while cycle lanes empty. One cyclist was riding in the main road, holding everyone up as unable to pass in single lane system. If I drove in the cycle lane I would be fined. But arrogant cyclist can cause congestion with immunity from prosecution. Is this right? Has council sold all the Mayoral and council cars? Do functionaries now travel to official functions on bikes?

View from the Leader – PMacC. Working hard to create a ‘must visit’ destination. [Bit about places opening up and Brighton Festival] Want to thank council teams who made Bank Hol successful – more collections, temp loos, more bins. Cleaner city centre after 12 nights of deep cleaning, second time this done since I became leader, want it to be a regular feature. Putting £100,000 into graffiti budget, have fast response contract in place to remove graffiti on seafront, have now fined 851 fly tippers and allocated extra £55,000 every year to tackle litter on A23 and A27. We take seriously the challenge to provide warm welcome for every visitor. [More on other stuff] [ No mention of any graffiti vandals being fined]

Page 14 Let’s tackle graffiti says a heritage society as city centre bus shelters repeatedly vandalised. Brighton Society on Twitter. Council losing the battle to protect heritage, public to help catch vandals. Police have passed photos to “the relevant team”. BSoc monitors graffiti, tagging accelerated during lockdown, level of vandalism appalling. Has photographed tags all over city including Old Steine bus shelters and The Dome.

Thursday 6

Page 10 Letters.

Council must seek advice from the right experts, says Ken Norman, Hon. Alderman of Brighton. Green Wall. Astonished at blame game going on in the Green administration. Blindly going ahead with cycle lanes that may affect historic plantations, should seek advice not only from officers, so-called “expert” Green groups, but also experts in management of all historical plantations in our once wonderful city. I am a qualified and experienced RHS horticultural judge and could have recommended someone.

Terrific trolleys says Ian Steedman of Worthing, on June 30 it will be 60 years since said goodbye. They weren’t slow, up Elm Grove easily. [Etc. Plenty of trolleybus enthusiasm and detailed knowledge of routes. ]

Nice and clean says Lara Jay of Eastern Road. Walked along on Sunday and impressed how clean and rubbish free it was. A very pleasant change.

Protect heritage says Rob Heale of Chatham Place. People concerned about attitude of Greens towards our heritage, including culture and social history, important to our city. Lack of commitment to restoring and improving heritage associated with Madeira Arches, Terrace and Drive areas, important to residents and visitors. Demolished Sherrys site, soundproofed and purpose built music venues might have a bearing on our reputation as an important entertainment venue. Grade I listed arches at shore end of West Pier demolished for i360 – which has cost £££££. Also the Cobbler’s Thumb with little or no consultation. It helped to prevent a controversial road widening scheme in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Royal Pav bus shelters neglected, should be improved as part of Valley G scheme. Important to protect heritage, it reflects our shared history, often being multi-cultural. Of interest to visitors. Creates local jobs. This administration needs to respect our local heritage and economy.

Wednesday 5

Page 2 Portable toilets blown over by strong gales ….

Page 10 Letters: Bobby Zamora’s plan is not good for this area, says John Gander of address supplied. As promising as this consortium make this scheme sound, they missed off two words “cha-ching”. [Sic. No idea what that means] Buying up commercial or social ground cheaply and cashing in on private sell properties has to be stopped [Is it a cash register noise?] These consortiums get their way but nobody is challenging the lack of infrastructure required to accommodate swelled population. I speak from experience, I lived in Chadwell Heath where West Ham’s training ground was. They closed community centres, knocked down toilets and garages, pubs, school annexe, playing fields and a local church and rebuilt with a four-storey flats complex. As we left, were laying foundations to install first stage of 250 prefabricated homes on greenfield park area with small lake. No infrastructure alterations made. Please avoid this at any cost, you don’t know how lucky you are.

Page 11 Trolleybus facts from Christopher Tullett of Brighton, prompted by photos of trolleybuses in Saturday’s Argus. It was heading down Ditchling Road, not up [! for heaven’s sake] Trolleybuses ideally suited to Brighton hills. But electricity became more expensive than diesel. [Lots more, if you need trolleybus info, Christopher is your man]

online Debate – 5G masts on flats. “no thought for aesthetics” – the irony – Coombe Lea with others a horrible eyesore; They have to go somewhere, why not Coombe Lea?; A lot of factory buildings look a lot nicer than Coombe Lea, I used to live on The Drive, we thought Grand Avenue a bit of a tip, with exceptions; Not a case of ugly building judgement, would you like to have a mast on top of your building or house without having a say?; If you have a mobile you can hardly complain about where your signal comes from surely?

Page 12 Investigation launched into green wall’s demise. PMacC has approved investigation into why workers cut back the green wall so severely. And a review of how decisions were made to be considered by Audit and Standards cttee. Follows outcry across social media platforms. Not approved by councillors. Focus on how can rapidly scale up work to revive the greenery. Actions being taken. Profoundly disappointed this happened, determined to act to uphold high environmental standards city expects and deserves. Developing future management plan for the whole of the wall, with Building Green. Nick Hibberd has apologised. Excessive, and officers had not consulted cllrs and stakeholders. Will look at whether contractual issues to be addressed or whether planning or wildlife rules broken. Building Green should have been consulted. Report to go to cllrs.

Tuesday 4

Page 6 Council is to vote on 5G phone masts plan. Coombe Lea. Residents demonstrate. To cttee tomorrow. 158 objections. The Conservation Area Group and the council’s heritage team object.

Page 10 Letters. Future’s bright, says Ian Steedman of Worthing. Hippodrome. Lot of work to be done. Brighton v different than was 20 years ago, people dine out, 30,000 students, all possible customers. New hotel in Middle Street. Brighton Festival and Fringe. Great home for the Fringe. Looking forward to seeing Hippodrome back at the top.

Monday 3

Page 8 Row over drinking at big new seafront venue. Shelter Hall. A licensing condition was plastic glasses because of drink related crime in the area and disorder [some would say the licence should not have been granted at all, but the site is owned by the Council]This lowers the tone they say and is deterring a Better Class of Drinker. And plastic waste. Who wants to drink their champagne out of plastic? And lots more on their application to vary the licence terms. The committee will make decision known in 5 days.

Page 10 Letters.

Rolling with it, says Eric Waters of Lancing. Was taken aback in Malta when expected to pay for loo paper sold by ladies sitting outside. Now looks as if will be an entrepreneurial opportunity in city for loo paper sellers along the seafront for feckless tourists who come without their own.

Mayhem and chaos says Joy Sprode of address supplied. When driven along seafront cycle lanes empty and only cyclists were on the pavement causing mayhem and chaos. Ludicrous, nobody wants them. Don’t value roads because don’t pay for them. Should be tested, taxed and insured. If they don’t know how to share or are scared of traffic shouldn’t be there. Remove lanes and make A259 8 lanes, get traffic flowing and reduce pollution. Madeira Drive two-way. Visitors heading off to Worthing where better facilities and spotless toilets. Free park and ride. Hove Lawns from Kingsway to Peace statue unused, turn into a car park for 3000 cars. Valley Gardens would make a perfect park and ride [??? that’s what she says]. Let’s be bold and make Brighton great again.

Alternative view from John Butler of Portslade. Interesting report on council advertising to attract visitors. Should say: cars not welcome, unless pay exorbitant charges, cyclists and campers welcome, pitch tent anywhere. Green spend money on ridiculous ideas, knowing that when not in power will not be enough money to undo misdemeanours, so get away with their travesties.

Page 11 online Debate – on temporary loos on seafront: Portaloos – lovely – smarten things up – would think city had never had to deal with influx of daytrippers ever before, to be caught short on toilet front, though city doing best to put off visitors with war on cars, neglect of heritage and shortage of benches and loos – time to convert the i360 into 24 hr toilet/changing/left luggage locker? – it’s not doing much else these days; Hope they have on site cleaners 24/7 or disgusting quickly – charge 50p; During week cleaned x3 per day, at weekends when busiest x2 – what planet are they on – should be x4 at weekends [That’s enough on portaloos, Ed]

Page 12 Anger over bid to drop plans for temporary GPs. Heath Hill Student Developments, Bevendean. Student flats on site of former surgery, application to relax key planning condition to drop requirement to provide a temporary surgery during construction. Officers advise agree, to cttee on Wednesday. Previous surgery demolished 4 years ago, no pressure on other surgeries resulting. No demand in Bevendean. Residents say otherwise, nearest surgery 2 bus rides away.

Saturday 1

Cover, pages 2,3 Bobby’s high rise. Albion legend’s plan for 126 flats… is 11 storeys high. Large image on cover, 3 blocks one black, one green and one red. Bobby Zamora – a footballer – plans for an acre site in Portslade. Wellington Road and Camden Street, close to harbour. Labour cllr Les Hamilton says over-development, too tall and not enough parking. Site currently used by studios, gym, car wash and parking deck. Offices and 65 flats, 31 one-bed. Phase 2 and 3 are neighbouring blocks nine and seven storeys high, 71 homes, more offices and leisure space. Council granted a previous scheme in 2019 for up to 7 storeys high.

Letters of objection are sent to council over development. Five so far, details redacted. Effect of more cars in area on local businesses in North Street. Commercial area, not residential. To cttee on Wednesday.

Page 4 Some of city could end up under water. Brighton is city most at risk from climate change in the UK with parts expected to be under water by 2100 [that’s not what the last report said, where places to the west were far more at risk] Brighton scored 6.2 out of 8, above Belfast, Cardiff, Exeter and London. Bton scored highly for storm damage and temperature rise. All this from online estate agents Emoov. [Who they? Where getting their info from? I have quoted them previously on this sort of thing] [Is this the same report again? Bits seem familiar]