Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Green Flags for 7 city parks

Easthill Park
This year seven city parks have all been awarded prestigious Green Flags for excellence. These Flags are handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy to recognise the best parks and green spaces across the country. They are given to parks with the highest possible standards which are beautifully maintained and have excellent facilities.

St Ann’s Well Gardens in Hove flies the flag for the 18th year, Easthill Park in Portslade for the 15th, Hove Park for the 13th, Kipling Gardens in Rottingdean for the 10th, and Stoneham Park for the 8th.

Kipling Garden

Preston Park flies the flag for the 17th successive year and the Level for a 4th.

Preston Park

The Level

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Preston Road School

The Preston Road school building of 1880 by Thomas Simpson occupies a prominent corner site and lies on one of the main routes into the city. Its steep roofs, flamboyant pedimented gables and tall chimneys are a notable feature of the skyline and the school contributes positively to the setting of the grade II* listed viaduct of 1846-46, which is built of similar brick. The school was locally listed in 2015. 

Planning application BH2017/01083 proposes conversion to 25 flats of one, two and three bedrooms, all with mezzanine floors. Rooflights will be inserted in the existing tile roof to extend the accommodation area into the loft. A rear infill extension will be inserted at first floor level. Other associated works include cycle and bin store, new pedestrian access to the building, communal garden space and associated landscaping. The development is to be car-free with cycle parking only; residents are to be forbidden parking permits.

Locally-based Yeo Architects seem well apprised of the building's heritage value. The Heritage Statement recommends retention of the best original features of the building and elimination of subsequent excrescences. An existing later building to rear of property will be demolished. Iron railings in the style of the originals are to be installed at the front & side of the property A cobble wall at the rear of the property, which predates the school, is to be restored.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Madeira Terraces - public appeal

A crowdfunding page to kick-start the repair and regeneration of a section of the Madeira Terraces will launch on 26 July 2017. BHCC has already met with local businesses who have pledged to support the campaign through a series of activities that include offering discounts and organising fundraising events.

The aim of the campaign is to raise an initial target of around £400k from public pledges with £100k confirmed on 13 July at the council’s Policy Resources and Growth Committee as the council’s contribution to the target.  After this initial target has been reached, other revenue streams such as a Heritage Lottery funding and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership grants will also be sought. The money raised will be used to begin work to transform two of arches along Madeira Drive.  Restoration costs for all 151 arches are estimated at £24m.

The campaign will be led by the city’s official tourist destination unit, VisitBrighton who already work with over 540 local businesses to promote the city as a destination to both leisure and conference visitors and has a strong social media presence throughout the UK and abroad.

For more information about the Madeira Terraces crowdfunding campaign

Help to create a clean beach bonanza.

BHCC’s Seafront Team has joined the #2minutebeachclean campaign, alongside several local businesses. The initiative was launched on 5 June to mark World Environment Day.

The #2minutebeachclean is a simple campaign to provide beachgoers with the opportunity to ‘do their bit’ for the beach they love, encouraging them to spend two minutes picking up litter before beginning their journey home.

To increase awareness of the fate of the beaches and oceans, people are encouraged to take photos of themselves cleaning the beach and upload them to social media sites using the hashtag #2minutebeachclean,

Four distinctive #2minutebeachclean A-boards have been placed along the busy seafront, with local businesses as official ‘guardians’.

The stations hold several litter pickers for public use and a supply of standard reused supermarket plastic bags which can be dropped into any council waste bins.

You can find them at: 
  • The Seafront Office
  • The World Cetacean Alliance (just east of the Palace Pier)
  • Molly’s Coffee shop at Rottingdean Beach
  • British Airways i360

​Three of the A-boards on the seafront have been funded in a joint initiative by the council, Surfers Against Sewage and local sustainable design studio Claire Potter Design. The fourth guardian of a #2minutebeachclean board is British Airways i360, where staff are keen to encourage people to keep the beach tidy.

The #2minutebeachclean campaign was founded in 2014 by writer, surfer and beach lover Martin Dorey who lives in Bude, Cornwall.
The first beach clean station was set up at Crooklets beach in Bude. Since then more than 200 beach clean stations have been set up across the UK and Ireland.

Local businesses interested in becoming a guardian or sponsoring a #2minutebeachclean station can contact Charles at the Seafront Office on 01273 292716.

For more information about the #2minutebeachclean campaign, visit And at, an initiative has been launched by Claire Potter Design for businesses in the city to reduce reliance on single use plastics, supported by the Seafront Office.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

UK's Most Entrepreneurial City

According to a survey carried out by Instant Offices, Brighton takes the top spot for Most Entrepreneurial City in the UK with London only coming 12th.

John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices says “I can understand the appeal of Brighton and the south coast of England. It is a bit of an antidote to the hustle and bustle of the capital while possessing a strong, creative industry and really appealing to business owners and workers seeking a more relaxed alternative to London. We have seen record demand for office space in Brighton and also a large increase in the number of operators trying to set up space in the city to cater for its growing business community.”

19/20 The Square, Patcham - update

The cottages in 2008

2017. The nearer cottage has been rebuilt. The furthest one has been restored.

A new single-storey dwelling has been added at the north-east end of the plot
Landscaping has evidently yet to be carried out.

Monday, 10 July 2017

First BikeShare docking stations

East of the Palace Pier.

Between now and early September 50 bike share docking stations are being installed around the city. Their locations are:

  • Brighton Centre (Odeon cinema)
  • Brighton Palace Pier (seafront)
  • The Grand Hotel (seafront)
  • Hove Lawns CafĂ© (seafront)
  • Madeira Drive (Yellowave)
  • Metropole Hotel (seafront)
  • Peace Statue (seafront)
From 10 July 2017:
  • Brighton Station (Surrey Street)
  • Edward Street
  • George Street (Hove)
  • London Road (opposite Baker Street)
  • New England Street (Sainsbury's supermarket)
  • Old Steine 
  • Preston Park (Preston Road)
  • Seven Dials (Vernon Terrace)
  • St James Street (Kemptown)
From 17 July 2017:
  • Hartington Road
  • Hove Town Hall
  • Western Road
Locations for the rest of the 50 stations will follow. 

The scheme is operated by Hourbike for BTN BikeShare in association with Life Natural Spring Water. It will offer 450 smart bicycles with built-in GPS and wireless capabilities. Users will be able to locate and rent “Life Bikes” locked in any location across the city via an app, or online. Riders can return bikes to any docking station or lock them up at any legal location around the city.

Brighton & Hove is the first UK city bike scheme to feature Sobi smart bikes, a high-tech brand used in New York, Portland and Santa Monica. Other local businesses are now being invited to sponsor the bikes with packages ranging from £5k to £50k. 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Passacaglia postscript


The existing 'information' plate

It is poignant to consider that it won't be many years now before Charles Hadcock's 20thC tour de force cradles an empty patch of sea. In the meantime a legible information plate might underline its status in the world of art and satisfy the curiosity of interested passers-by.

The location on the beach is vulnerable to both extreme weathering and casual vandalism.  It suggests the use of cast or engraved bronze firmly anchored into a concrete base.

See also: Passacaglia & Fugue.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Dolphin Cottage

This cottage is thought to have parts dating from c1720. It could thus be said to vie with Puget's Cottage for being the oldest in the Old Town were it not for later alterations. These could naturally arise if it has been in continuous occupation and so being gradually upgraded to meet changing needs and whims. It was grade II 1996.

It was originally a pair of cottages and part of a terrace running northwards. It may never have had street frontage but have been in a back court with twitten access. Brighton once had many such properties now mainly gone. It is now completely embedded behind later buildings with no public access.

The front wall is in English Garden Wall bond, three rows of stretchers to one row of headers. This was used from the late 18th century onwards, and very rarely found on buildings outside the north. The roof appears to be of slate.

It has two horizontally sliding sash windows which first made an appearance in the Georgian era. They are also known as "Yorkshire windows" due to their origin. Coupled with the particular brickwork in makes one wonder if a northerner once owned the property.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Dodgy dodgems

RP&M image store

A photograph taken just over a year after the end of WW2 shows a miniature race track at the shore end of the West Pier. 

These differed from conventional dodgems which pick up electricity from an overhead metal mesh and return it through the conductive rink surface. 

On the West Pier the stadium-shaped track was made of wooden planking separated by narrow metal strips. These strips were of alternating polarity across the track and so provided 'go and return' paths for electricity. Brushes under the cars were spaced across an odd number of planks to contact the metal strips and supply power to the electric motors. Contact tended to be intermittent and there was much sparking when the cars veered across the track; which all added to the excitement. 

I have no idea what voltage was used but at that time direct current motors would have been the norm and much of Brighton was still on a 230V direct current supply. Nevertheless, the attendants used to walk across the track with apparent impunity. Perhaps they had rubber-soled shoes. 

The new RSCH - video visualisation.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Patcham flint wall damaged

The flint wall to 18thC, grade II listed, Wootton House in Patcham Village has been badly damaged by a reversing lorry.

Wootton House lies on the corner of Ladies Mile Road and Old London Road, a bus route, the configuration of which is notoriously difficult for large vehicles to negotiate. A situation which is often made worse by cars illegally parked while the drivers just "pops into the Coop for 5 minutes".

Traffic delays at Marine Gate.

From 10 July, for about eight weeks, the council will be creating a dedicated bus layby at the west-bound Marine Gate bus stop. There will also be a new toucan crossing to help people leaving the bus to cross the road towards Kemp Town. These measures will make it easier for cars to pass stationary buses, as well as making things safer and easier for people using the bus, walking or cycling.

To enable this work lanes will be temporarily narrowed along the A259 from next week.

Since 2010 there have been eight casualties from accidents at the spot. A particular problem is stationary buses blocking pedestrians’ views of the road as they try to cross towards a central island.

This changes will also help guide cyclists from the cycle track on the southern side of the A259 towards other nearby cycle routes into east Brighton.

Petition: Affordable housing - developers should come clean

Require developers to make their viability assessments public if they claim they cannot meet council targets of affordable housing in new developments.

Current planning law states that if a developer will make less than 20% profit on a new development, they can ignore a council's regulations about building affordable and social housing.

Leaked documents from several developers have shown that the maths they use to work out their profit margins are purposefully misleading, allowing them to claim they will make less than 20% profit on a development by undervaluing the prices of the houses they will sell and over-costing the labour.

To combat this Islington, Greenwich, Lambeth and Bristol councils have introduced a policy that forces developers "viability assessments" to be made public.

By bringing these dodgy maths into the public domain, Councils, campaigning groups and individuals will be able to hold developers to account and force them to use more honest maths.

Sign petition here:-

Monday, 3 July 2017

Views from Hollingbury Hill Fort

Whitehawk Hill
East Brighton

Southwick & Shoreham Harbour. The loom of the Isle of Wight can just be made out on the horizon.

The i360

St. Michael's Church with Brighton Station in middle distance

Chanctonbury Ring and Truleigh Hill

Sunday, 2 July 2017