Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Make Brighton Rock!

To make Brighton better, Make Brighton Rock! is inviting you to submit ideas and vote on the best ones.

They are looking for ideas to improve travel, education, safety and more around Brighton and Hove. Register, enter your idea, comment on other people’s and vote for your favourites.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Reform of the Banking System

Early Day Motion, DM 1141, proposed by Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas, 06.12.2010.

"That this House notes that the bank bonus season is beginning; is outraged that whilst people suffer cuts to their services and brace themselves for the forthcoming rise in VAT, the banks are back to business as usual; condemns the proposed payout of nearly 7 billion in City bonuses this year and further notes that 7 billion is more than the first wave of public spending cuts being made in the wake of the banking crisis-driven recession; welcomes the increasing number of grassroots public campaigns springing up in 15 nations as part of the fast-growing counterweight to the power of the banks, including the New Economics Foundation's Take Back Our Banks campaign; and calls for radical change in the banking sector, including the separation of retail banking and speculative activities, the introduction of country-by-country reporting to ensure banks disclose information for every location in which they trade, the introduction of a Robin Hood tax, a more ambitious bank levy and permanent new controls on bankers' bonuses."

There were 47 signatories.

Burning the Clocks

Slideshow of last night's parade from Nige B on flickr.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

New Falmer flyover opens

From a City Council press release:

A new road junction and flyover, seen above during construction, have opened on the A270 near the Albion's Amex Community Stadium at Falmer.

The £5m scheme, funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and led by Brighton & Hove City Council, was a condition of planning permission for the stadium.

As well as being linked to the stadium project, the new road layout will improve access to academic buildings along the Lewes Road and the proposed new historical archives centre, the Keep, which secured planning permission earlier this month.

The junction offers access to Stanmer Park and major buildings nearby, while the 300m flyover enables traffic from the Lewes direction to bypass this and head straight into central Brighton. Read more.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Council's new customer service centre

"Not only will Brighton & Hove City Council’s new customer centre on the ground floor of Bartholomew House, on Bartholomew Square, save public money by combining three sites into one, but the customer experience will be improved. The centre will be fully wheelchair accessible and open next summer.

Customers will be welcomed to the centre by ‘meeters and greeters’ who will provide short and simple answers where possible, set up specialist interviews in one of the 21 interview booths or direct them to the self help area where residents can access information online.

The modern and colourful ground floor centre will also improve Bartholomew Square itself by removing the existing colonnade." Read more.

The 'Keep' gets a go-ahead

News from Brighton reports that the proposed £19m history centre, "the Keep", to be built to the north of Brighton, has been approved by Brighton and Hove City council’s planners. It is hoped it will be completed in time for opening in 2013 with work now expected to begin at Woollards Field, near Falmer, see above, next summer.

The project is a collaboration between East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Sussex.  It will provide a secure home for all the archives and historical resources of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, and the Special Collections of the University of Sussex, including the internationally  renowned Mass Observation Archive. The building will also include the library and headquarters of the Sussex Family History Group.

News from Brighton quotes Councillor Bob Tidy, community services member at East Sussex County Council, who said:
“The Keep will be the new home for over 900 years of historical resources and collections of local, national and international importance. It will house over six miles of archives including written records, maps, plans, films, photographs, prints and drawings. Councils up and down the country are looking at all their planned new schemes and only putting forward those they believe are their key priorities and for which funding has already been planned. The Keep falls into that category and I’m delighted that it has been given the go-ahead.”

Shown below is an accurate photomontage of the appearance of the Keep from Ringmer Road and an artist's impression viewed from north-east:-:-

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Travellers' Vans

Hove Street South, near the King Alfred, Hove. No signs of any parking tickets or penalty notices attached to their windscreens. One wonders if it is one law for them and another for the law-abiding, tax-paying motorists who use the adjoining pay & display car park and are fined £30 for overstaying their time by just a few minutes.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Dyke Steep Grade Railway

This railway operated from 1897 to 1908, enabling visitors to the Dyke to descend the steep north flank of the Downs to the west of Poynings Village and, probably more importantly, ascend again to take the conventional Brighton to Dyke railway back home. In those days the transport from Poynings to Brighton was probably rather limited. The gradient here is as steep as 1 in 1.5 in some places. The remains of a  platform can be found at the top of the hill and the track of the railway can still be discerned when viewed from below.

The use of the funicular system, in which one car provides a counterweight to the other, dates from at least the 16th century but there was a big surge in their construction in the latter half of the 19th. Throughout the UK about a dozen still remain in operation, including, in Sussex, the West Cliff at Hastings. This provides easy access from the promenade to Hastings Castle. The Hastings East Cliff railway closed only recently.

City lights

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A Winter Landscape

To mark the season Brighton Museum is displaying, in pride of place on the staircase, the very atmospheric, "A Winter Landscape with Distant Village" by Denys van Alsloot.

Brighton is fortunate to have such a painting since only about 30 of van Alsloot oil paintings survive. The painter lived 1573 - 1626, the son of a tapestry maker in Brussels, and joined the artists guild there in 1599. In the same year he was named official artist to Archduke Albert and Archduchess Isabella, for whom he created landscape paintings, images of court festivities, and designs for at least one set of tapestries. In 1615 he was commissioned to produce  a series of paintings recording the Ommegang, a splendid court procession through Brussels, during which Isabella was made Queen of the Crossbowmen's Guild. One of these paintings fetched €13,000 at auction in 2008.

See also: A Winter Landscape - a postscript.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Special Seasonal Parking Offer

Until 31st December 2010 you can park for 3 hours at Regency Square Car Park for the special price of £3.

This car park is just as close to Churchill Square as North Road Car Park where you would be stung  £16 (£20 on Saturday & Sunday) for the same parking time.

See Council's website here for other rates at Regency Square.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A glimpse of the American West

Notwithstanding the economic climate the retail sector seems to steamroller on, manifested locally by the opening in Churchill Square of the fifteenth UK Hollister Store. The outfitting costs must have been considerable but no doubt a US chain originating back in 1922 is able to look beyond surviving the next year or two. The decor is quite extraordinary. In the entrance one is greeted by a large low-slung crystal chandelier and two deep armchairs: inside is deep, but somehow comfortable, gloom with the merchandise picked out by a few well-directed spot lights.  It immediately called to mind the 1905 El Tovar Lodge, in  Grand Canyon Village, Arizona; but no doubt the style is much resorted to throughout the American West where  dark interiors seem designed to provide relief from the summer heat and sun.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Carols at the Bandstand

Brighton's historic seafront bandstand will be holding a carol concert on Saturday December 11 from 4pm to 5pm.

The Salvation Army Band will be playing on the ornate Victorian bandstand, which was restored to its former glory last year by Brighton & Hove City Council.

The free event promises to get the festive season underway in resounding style.

Since the restoration of the Grade II listed structure was completed it has become an increasingly popular venue for a variety of events, from weddings and civil partnerships to concerts, poetry readings and dance sessions. The above photo shows the Patcham Silver Band playing at the opening ceremony.

Council leader Mary Mears said:  "We restored the bandstand so we could have lovely community events like this. It should be a rather magical occasion and help inject some welcome tradition into the hubub of Christmas shopping."

More trees - More good

The Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods (FHBW) is one of the first in the country to receive 105 free trees from the Woodland Trust as part of its "More Trees, More Good" campaign. Across the UK More than 70,000 trees will be planted in hundreds of neighbourhoods this winter.  The group was in the woods on Saturday 4th December, and will be in the woods again on 11 December and Sunday 2nd January to plant as many of these trees as possible.  Local residents are very welcome to join in and try their hand at planting a tree.

Further details here.

Winter Warmer at the Pepperpot

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Patcham Carols

Urban Rabbits

It is not too difficult to imagine how foxes, with their long legs and ground-consuming lope,  penetrate our inner cities but how did a small mammal like this rabbit arrive in the Pavilion Gardens? It's not as though it could have set out down the A23 one night. There must presumably be a chain of breeding colonies stretching from  the Pavilion all the way back to Patcham or somewhere else on Brighton's rural border. Even so it is difficult to imagine how they leap-frogged areas of dense urban development such as the London Road shops.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Hove Seaside Villas

From the south-east
Hove Seaside Villas, now popularly described in the local press as 'Millionaire's Row', is, notwithstanding its name, invariably referred to in the local press as being in Portslade, or even Shoreham. Hove Seaside Villas comprises nos.1 to 10, Western Esplanade. Western Esplanade runs from opposite Walsingham Road, Hove, to the east end of Aldrington Basin, which end is also in Hove. From here one has to travel a good 1/4 mile to the west to where the Hove/Portslade boundary runs down the centre of Boundary/ Station Road (and then straight out to sea) in order to reach Portslade.  Shoreham, of course, is several miles further to the west although the Aldrington Basin forms part of the Shoreham Harbour area.

The confusion presumably arises because the Post Office for it own convenience, and apparently without reference to local maps and geography, has arbitrarily decreed that Hove Seaside Villas should be in Portslade, but this doesn't mean it is.

The eastern half-mile of the Aldrington Basin lies within the City boundaries and the City Council is thus involved in the redevelopment plans for the harbour.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Queens Park Carols

Friends of Queens Park are presenting Carols in the Park on Friday 10th December.   The Salvation Army Band will be playing round the Clock Tower from 6 p.m. and there will be
refreshments available for a small charge from 7 p.m. onwards in the Tennis Club.