The Weekly Review 6
In the Headlines
Selling off Our Heritage:
A man offered for sale, on Facebook, some Victorian bollards from Brighton’s seafront.
How can our seafront ironwork find its way onto Facebook to be auctioned off to the highest bidder? Why did this man think, for one minute, that he could sell these Victorian bollards? Were they given to him? Were they just abandoned for him to take? He must be stupid to think that he could get away with selling them on a social media platform. Did anyone in the council notice that there were missing bollards along the seafront? So far, the council have said that it is possible that these bollards are not actually from the Brighton seafront, as with a similar case last year. Perhaps a quick phone call to the other councils along the East Sussex coast might solve the mystery by asking them: Are you missing any bollards?
The taking of heritage assets is not a new phenomenon. In 2020 our historical seafront lanterns were up for sale on Facebook after being removed by a council contractor for repair. A council spokesman said: “We do not sell or dispose of architectural or iconic infrastructure to the public.” Yet, bizarrely, when the council decided to call the police regarding this matter the contractor, Colas, subsequently apologised and said they were put for sale due to an “uncharacteristic human error”.
The seafront lanterns have yet to switch places with their functionally dull “temporary” replacements and shine bright again, unless there are anymore “uncharacteristic human errors”.
What is happening to the safeguarding of our once proud heritage? Where has the pride in our city gone? Successive councils have had scant regard for our major historical assets, such as the Madeira Terrace. Our historical assets are left to rot, or they are taken away and forgotten, or surreptitiously sold off.
To date it remains a mystery as to how the bollards got into the hands of a member of the public. So, we go back to our earlier question: Did anyone in the council notice that there were missing bollards along the seafront? Perhaps we don’t have to worry about this matter as the council have reassured us by saying: “We will take appropriate action to retrieve the bollards if they are, or were, council property. We will not hesitate to involve the police if necessary. However, we would stress that at this stage we don’t yet know if these are genuine seafront bollards, but given the style and paint colour they certainly might be.”
Some people in the city might think heritage is a load of bollards. We don’t.
Partly Sourced from Brighton and Hove News – 28 October 2022
It was fascinating to read the opinion piece on 29th October in The Brighton and Hove News by Councillor Siriol Hugh Jones, the Green deputy leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, concerning the delight the council have in adopting its City Plan Part 2. This is the policy document that is intended to help the council decide what can and cannot be built in the city.
The councillor is reported to have said: “We could not allow perfection to be the enemy of the good.” (An admirable thought, yet it begs the question as to what their criteria is for perfection?) She went on to say: “We accepted that, even with our concerns, the greater risk to our city and environment was not to have a plan.” Absolutely! She also said that not having a plan meant that: “This would expose the city and its green spaces (known as the urban fringe) to uncontrolled development under the government’s National Planning Policy Framework. It could see more green spaces under attack and even less affordable housing being built.” Well, we’ll see how that goes.
Then we had the inevitable political accusations (which the Brighton Society, being apolitical, can only observe from the side-lines). The councillor said: “It has therefore been disappointing to see Conservative colleagues misleading residents into thinking that not adopting the plan would mean the protection of green spaces such as Benfield Valley.” Ha! But here’s the rub. The councillor informs us that: “The council must satisfy the Secretary of State that there are sufficient sites coming forward to ensure an adequate supply of new homes. As a result, the council has earmarked about 7 per cent of the urban fringe for possible development, suggesting (in City Plan Part 2) that this may be suitable for self-build and community-led housing.” That sounds exciting but the council must satisfy the Secretary of State and the would-be developer who might see things differently.
What got our attention was where Councillor Siriol Hugh Jones says: “If we were ever in any doubt, the pandemic has shown us the importance of outdoor space.” (Yes, those canyons of concrete in Circus Street and the Preston Barracks developments where the blue sky is seen only if you bend your neck upwards, and as for green space…)
Councillor Siriol Hugh Jones tells us that: “Brighton and Hove already has a chronic shortage of affordable housing. We cannot add to that. Across the country there have been instances of tower blocks being replaced with rows of low-density identikit homes. The result? A massive loss of affordable housing.” Note, she says: “Rows of low-density identikit homes.” In recent years we have had a building programme of dull, unimaginative tower blocks, many costed out at London prices. These low-density identikit homes that she dismisses enables people to have a real sense of community that is unlikely to be attainable in a tower block. But, maybe, we are being a little hard on Councillor Siriol Hugh Jones, after all she may live in a tower block herself.
Partly Sourced from Brighton and Hove News – 29 October 2022
Tweets of the Week
Film of the Week
Cityclean are going to clean Ship Street of graffiti. Here’s what awaits them.
People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians. – George Lucas
Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson