Monday, 30 January 2012

Bond Street La(i)ne ePetition response

This petition closed with a respectable tally of 50 signatories. Many thanks to all who added their names. The response from the Environment Dept. of the Council was as follows:-

"Brighton & Hove City Council has a statutory duty to carry out the street naming and numbering function for properties within the city. Section 17-19 of the Public Health Act 1925 applies.
In accordance with the above legislation the council has the power to rename an existing street or part of a street if requested to do so.
In order to implement a change of street name the council is required to carry out a consultation process which requires notices to be displayed on the street under Section 18 of the Public Health Act 1925.
The notices are to remain in place for at least 1 month before a change of name can be implemented.
Any person or persons objecting to the name change has the right of appeal to the magistrate's court within 21 days of posting of the notice.
If an appeal is made to the magistrate's court, the local authority must wait until that appeal is heard before a name change can take place
If no appeal is made the name can be officially changed and a new nameplate erected.
In order to begin the consultation process an application must be made to the Street Naming and Numbering (SNN) Officer either in writing to:

Street Naming and Numbering,
ICT SmartSpace,
Hove Town Hall,
Norton Road,
or by email to or by completing an on line application form at"

That is how the matter stands at the moment. Follow this blog for further developments. In the meantime I notice that the "i" of the offending SNP remains neatly blanked out.

The Greenway bridge 'locomotive'- update

The life-sized metal silhouette of an early steam locomotive to be installed on the Greenway bridge seems to be nearing realisation. See earlier posts:- 'Ghost' train chugging closer . . .  & 'Locomotive' art-work for the Greenway bridge.

The piece is now complete in Jon Mill's workshop and is expected to be installed later this year at a date to be confirmed.

A final stage in the project will be the council entering a licence agreement with landowners Network Rail.

Cabinet councillor for culture Geoffrey Bowden said: “This is a fitting memorial to the railway works – a huge and often unknown aspect of the city’s history.

“It’s also an achievement to have put this stretch of railway back into use - replacing one eco-friendly form of transport with another and providing some intriguing new views of the city."

A report on the final steps of the project will go to the next of Councillor Bowden’s regular decision-making meetings on February 7.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

New RSC Hospital gets planning go-ahead

Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning committee has today unanimously approved a £420m redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Eastern Road, Brighton.

Main components of the scheme are a central block shaped like a letter ‘W’ rising to 12 storeys, plus a five-storey building to the west, mainly housing a new cancer centre.

The existing Thomas Kemp Tower will have a helicopter pad added. An unusual feature will be the dismantling and re-siting of a grade 2 listed hospital chapel.

The old main hospital buildings dating from 1826 will be demolished as they have become unsuitable for delivering modern medicine.

The development will bring £550,000 worth of public transport improvements plus a roof garden on the lower new building, open to patients and the public. The development will provide modern wards, expand the neurosciences centre and create a Major Trauma Centre for the region. There will be 100 additional beds, the Sussex Cancer Centre will be rebuilt and there will be an expansion of teaching facilities. It will provide the cutting edge health facilities that our city deserves.

Some 390 parking spaces will be available to patients and visitors. Currently limited parking on site is mostly taken up by staff, leaving a shortage.

New buildings will reach national ‘excellent’ environmental standards. The entire project will take around 10 years to complete. Work will be undertaken in phases to ensure continuity of service.

From a Council press release

Friday, 27 January 2012

Brighton's successful bid for Turner watercolour

The Chain Pier by J M W Turner

The Royal Pavilion & Museums have successfully bid for the watercolour, The Chain Pier at Brighton, at an auction at Christie's in New York.

The painting was purchased for $352,500 (£225,000). A significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) helped secure the picture for the city and the nation; along with an award from the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, and a donation from the Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation, a registered charity that raises funds to support the Royal Pavilion & Museums.

Once the painting is brought back to Brighton, it will be placed on display in the Royal Pavilion for a short period. Following this, in 2013, the watercolour will be the centrepiece in a new temporary exhibition at the Royal Pavilion. The exhibition will explore the town’s development in the early 19th century and the important relationship played by the Pavilion in Brighton’s development. It will also explore the changing relationship Brighton has had with the sea: from its humble beginnings as a fishing town to its fashionable status under George IV as a seaside resort and latterly as a tourist attraction.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

B&H Museums win £2m (Council press release)

The city council is expecting to receive at least £2m from the Arts Council for radical improvements and apprenticeships within Brighton & Hove’s museums service.

The authority has actually bid for £2.7m from the Art’s Council’s Renaissance programme for the period 2012-2015.  However the final sum awarded will be subject to negotiation.

The successful bid had to meet strict Arts Council criteria encouraging excellence; audiences; resilience; leadership and children and young people.

Among improvements will be better access to exhibits via digital technology - the internet, wifi, smartphone apps and gaming technology.

The funding will pay for more exhibitions and collaborations – including universities.  Skills training will be made available for artists – especially those from under-represented groups.

Apprenticeships will be created and efforts made to involve more diverse groups in museum work.

Better marketing of museum services to tourists and improved fundraising methods are also on the cards.

There would be a programme aimed at children and young people – especially in deprived groups.

Council leader Bill Randall said:  “A key skill in running museums these days is bidding for funding in this way.  We keep a very keen eye on potential sources of money and have become very expert at securing it.

“We’re already a regional leader in museums provision and this money will help us go from strength to strength and create apprenticeships.

“This is all about getting away from the image of museums as dusty places for the few but making them dynamic, fascinating places children will be tugging their parents to.”

See also yesterday's post.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Royal Pavilion & Museums win Arts Council backing

The Royal Pavilion and Museums has won recognition as one of the 16 'Renaissance Major' partner museums announced by the Arts Council today. These 16 Renaissance Major partners will together receive approximately £20 million a year in funding for the next three years as part of its Renaissance programme for regional museums.

To read the full Arts Council press release which includes further details of the Museum Development Fund go to:-

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Royal Alexandra Hospital redevelopment

Graham Towers, the chairman of the Montpelier & Clifton Hill Association, was interviewed on the BBC1 "Britain's Empty Homes" programme this morning when it featured a tour of the Royal Alexandra Hospital redevelopment. The relevant section of the programme can be viewed here.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Preston Park parking proposals

Following a public consultation the council has produced proposals for controlling parking within the park and for increasing usage of pay & display in Preston Park Avenue. Parking within the park will also become pay & display and will be confined to the Gallops and the southern section of the Ride, both shown in red. The section in blue will be restricted to pedestrians with the exception of 3 spaces for disabled drivers.

Parking within the park will be limited to a maximum period of 6 hours at a charge of £3 but in the southern section of Preston Park Avenue the maximum period allowed will be increased from 4 hours to 11 hours at a charge of £5.

The proposals are intended to discourage commuters and other non park-users from using the Park as a free car park at the same time providing pay & display alternatives in Preston Park Avenue. There will be more spaces within the park for park users as a result. The changes are intended to be self-funding with any surplus being ring-fenced for use in the park itself.

A report containing these proposals will be considered by the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Cabinet Member Meeting on January 24.

See also earlier posts:-

Video tour of the Royal Pavilion tunnel.

The tunnel is not very deep and probably constructed by cut & cover. It used to be lit, at least in daylight hours, by skylights into the Pavilion gardens. These are now covered over externally but the remains of one can be seen from within the tunnel at the end of the video.

(Uploaded by BrightonMuseums 12/01/2012)

The Clock Tower "time ball" rises again . . .

The gilded copper time ball was originally designed to rise up the mast as every hour approached and then, on a telegraph signal from Greenwich, drop down again as the hour was struck. It was turned off soon after the tower was inaugurated in 1888. Nearby residents had complained about the noise created by the wind whistling in the longitudinal slots up which the ball rose, and to cure the problem the slots were covered in.

During the Clock Tower's extensive renovation in 2002 attempts were made to re-activate the ball mechanism, and although it worked for a while problems soon arose. It would be interesting to know details of the endeavours that have finally been crowned with success. Someone surely deserves a medal for dogged persistence!

I don't know if they've cured the noise problem but a friend who lives  directly opposite isn't complaining so far. Maybe modern flats are better insulated or we have become accustomed to a higher level of background noise in which mere wind-whistling is lost.

The Clock Tower was commissioned by a local advertiser James Willing to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. It was designed by a London architect John Johnson and, although it has come in for much criticism in the past, even threats of demolition, the Brighton Pevsner now describes it as "supremely confident and showy". It is Grade II listed.

Friday, 13 January 2012

The Chain Pier by J M W Turner

The Chain Pier, Brighton by J M W Turner RA, 1775 -1851
This wonderful watercolour, painted shortly after the Pier was completed in 1823, has only recently surfaced after many years in a private collection. Apart from being a spirited seascape, in the background can be made out many fascinating details of the early 19th century town; the Royal Pavilion and the Royal Albion Hotel both, at that time, only recently completed, and on the hill behind, St. Nicholas Church and Vine's mill. On the seafront to the left can be seen Lamprell's circular baths, later Brill's baths, demolished in 1870 when grander premises were built between East Street and Pool Valley. 

The painting is being auctioned by Christie's, New York on January 26th. Estimated price $300,000 -$500,000.

It really belongs in Brighton Museum . . . 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bond Street La(i)ne ePetition update

This petition is now ended with 50 signatories and a response has been received from the Council. This informs that to implement a change of street name the council has to carry out a consultation process which requires notices to be displayed on the street under Section 18 of the Public Health Act 1925. The notices are to remain in place for at least 1 month before a change of name can be implemented.

Any person or persons objecting to the name change has the right of appeal to the magistrate's court within 21 days of posting of the notice.
If an appeal is made to the magistrate's court, the local authority must wait until that appeal is heard before a name change can take place.
If no appeal is made the name can be officially changed and a new nameplate erected.

In order to begin the consultation process an application must be made by a member of the public to the Street Naming and Numbering (SNN) Officer, ICT SmartSpace, Hove Town Hall.

The petition was not, of course, about a renaming but the correction of a spelling error. The Complete Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989, makes this point quite clear. It gives the following definitions:-

laine: A name given to certain tracts of arable land at the foot of the Sussex Downs.
lane: is "a narrow way between hedges or banks, a narrow road or street between houses or walls, a bye-way."

It is an open-and-shut case that an appropriate name for this passage-way leading off Bond Street, and lying within the area known as North Laine is "Bond Street Lane". The presence or absence of an "i" may seem to some people a minor matter but it is also regrettable that the misuse and consequent devaluation of a word should be perpetuated in permanent official street signs. Unfortunately there are legal ramifications which require the Council to follow the set procedure even in this case. In other words the Council cannot correct its own mistakes unless formally requested to do so by a member of the public.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Latest TV - "The Vote"

"The Vote: Brighton & Hove is Latest TV’s answer to Question Time!

Three heavyweight politicians – Lord Bassam of Brighton, Council
Leader Bill Randall, and Mike Weatherley MP – look out over the city
and debate the big political issues in Brighton and Hove. Your referee
for the event is Frank le Duc and as you might expect it makes
exciting viewing.

We also feature a film on Occupy Brighton, and Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP is interviewed about new local energy from wind farms and the launch of The Eco Technology Show 2012 in Brighton and Hove.

The Treason Show’s Mark Brailsford adds the essential government

Friday, 6 January 2012

Open Market - redevelopment begins

The transformation of Brighton’s historic Open Market starts next week – beginning with the relocation of market traders to a specially-built, temporary home in nearby Francis Street.

A variety of stallholders will trade from the new base between Ditchling Road and London Road, starting on Monday July 9.  They will be selling a range of goods including flowers, eggs and bacon, pet food and supplies, haberdashery, fish, fruit, veg and groceries alongside the market cafĂ©.

Housing association, The Hyde Group, will then begin work on the £18m major transformation of the old market – beginning with demolition scheduled to start mid January.

Full Council press release.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sir Simon Jenkins & the Brighton Centre

Sir Simon Jenkins, the new President of the Regency Society, in an interview in today's Argus vociferously condemns the design of the Brighton Centre on Kings Road describing it as an "outrage".

The Brighton Centre
Some people may consider this judgement a little harsh and even wonder if he is confusing it with the Kingswest Centre next door. . . .

The Kingswest Centre

Timothy Carder in the Encylcopaedia of Brighton describes Kingswest as 'probably the most heavily criticised in the town for its appearance in such a prime location.' The Brighton & Hove 'Pevsner' calls it 'intrusively aggressive'. Perversly for such a prime location it once had no windows at all. The one shown here, added later, does provide some relief to the starkness.