Friday, 30 September 2016

Seven Dials repairs

Works to repair crumbing kerbstones and resurface the roundabout are now set to be complete by next Tuesday morning - 4 October.

This will entail the roundabout being entirely closed overnight on Monday 3 October into 4 October.  This is 3 days earlier than originally estimated. All entrances and exits to the roundabout will be shut from 7.30pm on Monday night until an estimated 6am Tuesday morning.

It is intended that suppliers will foot the repair bill, not the council.

The project was essential because a low kerb encircling the roundabout had started to break up.  This was happening because it stood above the level of the road surface and was being frequently struck by vehicles. Recent works involved lowering the kerb flush with the tarmac and resurfacing the whole roundabout.

The junction was radically altered in 2013, to make it less dangerous while improving the environment and streetscape of Seven Dials village.  The previous chaotic mini-roundabout was replaced with a longer, oval traffic island.  This sought to integrate traffic more gradually instead of vehicles converging on a central point.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tall Buildings Discussion Forum

What part should tall buildings play in meeting the city's urgent need for more housing?
Come and have your say at:-
City College, Pelham Street. 
at 7pm on the 19th October.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

‘Elephant Bones’ in Wish Park

A new artistic creation ‘Elephant Bones’, designed to represent an elephant’s rib cage, is now providing seating and shelter for visitors to the Wish Park playground. The design also incorporates short poems about elephants written by local children, which have been burned into the cladding.

According to a local legend, an elephant, part of a travelling circus, sadly died whilst performing in the park and was laid to rest in the grounds.

Park users and members of the local community, including the Friends of Wish Park, were involved in planning and designing the eye catching structure, taking part in workshops run by Richard Wolfströme from Threshold (part of the Love Architecture Festival.)

Designed by Brighton company Chalk Architecture with structural engineering by QED Structures, also based in the city. It was built by R J Dance & A Roberston, local contractors.

The construction includes ‘ribs’  made of ‘glulam’ (glued and laminated) wood a strong, light, durable material, used to build bridges, church domes, and other buildings. The cladding on the back and the bench are partly made from recycled pier decking, and the whole structure is wheelchair and pushchair accessible.

The project has been funded through ‘Section 106’ contributions from the development of the Nuffield Hospital in New Church Road.

Monday, 26 September 2016

The Clock Tower key returns.

Photo:Tony Mould
A key to the Clock Tower that was presented to the town of Brighton in 1887 has travelled all the way across the world to be returned to the city 129 years later.

Brett Dubois, the great great grandson of Alderman Edward Martin, the Mayor of Brighton in 1887, came over from Australia to present the key back to Brighton & Hove.

James Willing, who gifted the clock tower to the city, gave the key to Alderman Martin and the town of Brighton.

It was then passed down from generation to generation of Alderman Martin’s family, finally ending up with Brett.

Brett and his partner, Yan Pothin, stopped by the mayor’s office where they returned the key to Mayor Pete West and Former Mayor, Councillor Denise Cobb and visited the clock tower.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Kent's Court

1898 map.
St.Paul's church is in the bottom RH corner.
South-east corner with Russell Street 

Kent's Court was one of a warren of cul-de-sacs that had existed for about 100 years between Russell Street and West Street. Those opening on to West Street went with road-widening in the 30's; those on Russell Street were demolished, with Russell Street,  for the Churchill Square development.

Kent's Court first appears in an 1846 street directory apparently accommodating only a "Coal and Marine Dealer". It is later described as containing "small tenements". In 1898 18 properties were occupied and included a blacksmith and a french polisher.

By 1958 the Calvinist Chapel had become the "Halliwell Memorial Hall", the sole occupier of the Court. The wholesale butcher shown in the photos extended along the south side of the Court but had an address in Russell Street.

The site of Kent's Court now lies under the easterly shops of Churchill Square lower mall about where Lakeland is.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The John Lewis proposals

The proposal includes significant gains for the public realm in one of the most congested part of the city.

The existing Boots builds right to the edge of the site, which provides minimum space for the public realm on North Street and Queens Road and no pavement on Windsor Street.

The proposal sets the new building back from the ownership line to create more pavement space to all roads.

A new main entrance will be provided at the corner of North Street and Queens Road. This is further set back and splayed to create an easily accessible entrance with 10m of space between it and the pedestrian crossing.

In setting the façade back on North Street, views of the Clock Tower that were blocked by the existing building will now be visible, enhancing its relevance to the spatial orientation of the city.

On the top floor of the building an external terrace will be provided that will give views to the sea and pier.

For full proposals see:- John Lewis in Brighton & Hove.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Station steps

The design of these steps on one of the main access routes to the station leaves much to be desired. They are precipitous, wide without a central hand rail,  have only one landing and are poorly lit at night.

Also, as can be seen from the photo in bright sunshine, the lips of the treads are hard to pick out. This could lead to a catastrophic stumble, especially for people with poor eyesight. In well-designed stairs contrasting strips are incorporated along or near the edges of the treads.

We could surely have hoped for something better on what is an important pedestrian route to the station for many people.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Shelter Hall - planning permission granted

The council’s planning committee agreed plans for rebuilding the historic Shelter Hall, subject to conditions, at its meeting in Hove Town Hall today (14 September 2016).

The £11m project is essential because the Shelter Hall has become structurally unsound – a serious matter as it partially supports the A259 seafront road.

Rebuilding will double the commercial space of the building, helping earn revenue for the council which could contribute to future upkeep of the seafront.  The West Street junction above will also be remodelled to improve safety and the environment.

The new structure will be visually similar to, but larger than, the original Shelter Hall, which dates from the 1880s.  To create more space it will be moved several metres towards the sea, protected by a new sea wall, which is already complete.

Commercial space inside the buildings will increase from 718sq metres to 1530 sq metres,  The main building would be two storeys including a partial mezzanine.  Permission has been granted for restaurant use, plus a shop to house an existing tenant and new toilets to serve the seafront.

Above, at upper prom level is a new rotunda, providing a café / restaurant space of around 100 sq metres.  The listed wooden kiosk which once stood on the spot is being rebuilt for installation on the seafront near East Street – subject to planning permission.

The project will involve closing the pedestrian tunnel under the seafront from September 19 until next spring, prior to Easter.

Most of the funding – around £9m - has come from the government, with the remainder coming from council transport budgets.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Gigins, bakers & confectioners

The Russell Square branch (corner of Clarence Street) still in business in 1963.
Viewed from the south-east in Upper Russell Street.
In 1964 shortly before demolition for the Churchill Square development.
Gigins had headquarters at the Goldstone Bakeries in Newtown Road, Hove and in the 1950's had 18 branches throughout Brighton & Hove.

The Gigins site is now occupied by the service building on the right. The end of the remaining Russell Square houses can be seen on the left.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

A John Lewis for Brighton

John Lewis have long expressed an ambition to have a presence in Brighton and, in December 2014, they acquired the conspicuous corner property, 129-133 North Street, occupied by Boots.

Now, prior to submitting a planning application later this year, John Lewis are holding an exhibition of its plans and inviting the public to share its views on their proposals.

The exhibition will take place at 133 Queen’s Road (next to Boots)
on Friday 16th September from 11am – 8pm.
and Saturday 17th September from 11am – 4pm.
The exhibition boards will also be online at:
and comments can be left online from 16th – 26th September 2016.

If plans are approved, the new shop would provide in the region of 250 new jobs.

John Lewis Brighton would likely offer an edited selection of its fashion, beauty, home, electrical and consumer electronics goods and services to Brighton, while computer terminals would enable shoppers to browse the wider John Lewis assortment online.

John Lewis operates 45 John Lewis shops across the UK (32 department stores, 11 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK’s largest example of worker co-ownership and all 30,000 John Lewis staff are Partners in the business. John Lewis, ‘Best Clothing Retailer 2015’ , ‘Best Electricals Retailer 2015’ and Best Homewares Retailer 2015’’¹, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. stocks over 280,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Stanmer Park - A Heritage Lottery Bid

Brighton & Hove City Council has now bid for a £3.7 M grant toward the Stanmer Park and Estate Restoration Project. This £5.8M project aims to restore around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape and Grade II listed buildings  and plans to cover the remaining costs through match funding and revenue.  A decision is expected to be made in December.

Stanmer Park is a working landscape which includes opportunities for many leisure activities, farming, grazing and food growing. It is also home to residents living in Stanmer Village and a base for several businesses, including the council nursery, South Downs National Park Authority offices and community groups and organisations.

In July 2014 the council made two applications for Heritage Lottery Funding for Stanmer Park. They were a ‘Heritage Grant’ application to renovate Home Farm, and a ‘Parks for People’ application to regenerate the Walled Garden and other parts of the Stanmer landscape.

The applications were made as part of a wider, long term plan to restore Stanmer Park. The Heritage Grant application was unsuccessful, but the Parks for People application resulted in the council being awarded almost £300,000 to develop proposals.

Since then, council officers have been working with Plumpton College and the South Downs National Park and other organisations (including Heritage England) to prepare a Masterplan for the park and a final application for stage 2 funding to Heritage Lottery Fund/Big Lottery Fund. The plan aims to prioritise restoration and improvement work and develop a long term vision for the estate over the next 10 years.

The Masterplan aims to improve the main entrance and 18th century parkland main and approach to Stanmer House, Walled Garden and Nursery and the adjacent depot area.

This includes:
Restoring the landscape and heritage features
Addressing traffic and parking issues, and improving access to the park
Relocating the council’s City Parks depot
Restoring the Walled Garden Nursery and surrounding area
Delivering horticultural and heritage gardening training and food production
Providing educational and learning opportunities
Explaining the heritage and importance of the Estate.

In addition proposals include opportunities for volunteering and training in horticulture, heritage gardening and food production, along with facilities for learning about the heritage of the estate, historic landscape and the South Downs.

Plumpton College has agreed, in principle, to manage and maintain the walled garden on a lease from the council.

Brighton bags iBins

Brighton & Hove City Council has launched a set of solar powered bins that can swallow up to eight times more waste than a normal bin

The ‘Bigbelly bins’ use the sun’s powerful rays to compact any litter placed inside, meaning they can stomach loads more rubbish.

The 100 hi-tech bins also use super-smart ‘cloud-based’ tracking systems to send text and email messages to the council’s street cleansing teams when they are full and need emptying.

At present staff need to check and empty the ordinary bins every day, some up to five times every 24 hours. However the Bigbellies’ compacting and message systems mean the new bins won’t need daily attention, which will allow the street cleansing teams to concentrate on other areas of the city. 

A Bigbelly unit takes up roughly the same footprint of an existing street bin but runs entirely on the sun's energy and in low light is powered by a 12 volt battery.

The Bigbellies are so effective they are now being used throughout the UK and major cities.The first set of bins will be in place from Thursday 1 September at Brighton Rail Station, Queens Road and West Street. The bins will also be located at other busy pedestrian areas.

The council will also carry out a ‘deep clean’ power wash of all the streets where the bins will be located, with the aim of removing chewing gum, dirt and grime.​

All sounds good.