Thursday, 31 May 2012

Historic message from the Saltdean Lido Campaign

This really is a very brief email as more details and information will follow soon but the campaign group are delighted to announce that late Wednesday afternoon Brighton & Hove City Council finalised an agreement with the leaseholder to recover the lease.  The Council hope to have the keys back to the site this week!

As you will imagine we are delighted but a massive thank you must go to all of our supporters who really have helped drive the campaign with their continued support for the campaign's efforts. We will now move into the next phase which is for the community to take ownership of the lease so we still need your support to make this happen.

Next week all local households will be issued with a newsletter containing fuller details and this will also be available on our website.  There will also be extensive local press coverage starting with BBC Radio Sussex this morning at 8am where we will be giving our reaction to the news and discussing whats next for the site.

Thank you again so much and here's to the future of Saltdean Lido...if you have questions please do not hesitate to contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Kind regards, from all at the Saltdean Lido Campaign
Rebecca Crook
Saltdean Lido Campaign 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Park table tennis

Preston Park
In addition to Preston Park, St Ann’s Well Gardens now has its own permanent table tennis table and more tables are planned for other city parks later in the year.

Visitors can borrow bats and balls from park attendants or bring their own equipment to play on the concrete tables. There is no charge to use the permanent tables or borrow the equipment.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s Sports Development Team arranged for the tables to be set up in the parks. The tables were donated by the English Table Tennis Association.

Table tennis is gaining a keen following and the addition of these tables is set to boost ping pong playing in the city this Olympic summer (table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1998).

The new tables also provide a chance for people to test their skills in preparation for the city-wide event PING! taking place next month. PING! will see 36 standard ping pong tables set up around the city for six weeks from June 29 2012. The PING! project aims to see as many people as possible ping pong playing at locations including Jubilee Square, Churchill Square and the seafront.

Saltdean Lido Campaign - success at last!

Saltdean Lido is to be handed back to the council by the businessman currently leasing the Grade 2-star listed building.

The move follows months of legal discussions between the lessee and council, which owns the building.

A decision by the council to take back the property was made this afternoon at a special policy and resources committee (May 30).  The authority will accept the lessee’s offer to vacate the property in return for an undisclosed financial settlement.

It would mean the Lido being handed back to the council with immediate effect.

The move follows a lengthy campaign for the lease to be relinquished, by residents concerned at the deteriorating fabric of the building and its opening times.

Legal processes underway will result in the Lido not being immediately open. However the council is exploring possible temporary arrangements to ensure access is available as soon as possible. The library and community centre on the site will not be affected.

In the longer term the council is likely to put the facility out to tender, seeking either a new lessee with obligations to ensure the building and pool are well maintained and regularly opened, or a  contractor prepared to provide services to an agreed specification.

Councillor in charge of economic development and culture Geoffrey Bowden said: “I was determined to find a solution to this longstanding issue and am very pleased that we have. It was a very complicated matter, which has been resolved through the dogged determination of dedicated officers working carefully within the constraints of the law and recognising the rights of all sides at all times.  Local residents have demonstrated the depth of affection there is for this iconic 1930s building. Now that the building is about to be handed back to the  council, we will be working with the community to find the best way to ensure that this beautiful seaside Lido can be maintained and kept accessible for  local people.”

The change is still subject to legal agreement between the two parties.

Brighton station gateway

I believe this happened in the 60's and I wonder what failure of the then planning system allowed anyone to think it was a good idea to build a substation that blocks up half the pavement and the entrance to a staircase leading up to the station forecourt. This is especially the case when one realises that just to the left in the photo is the entrance to the disused cab tunnel and just to the right is a side street. Either of these places would have seemed a better site for a substation. Or am I missing something?

The staircase was not of great utility for passengers arriving at the station with suitcases but it was very handy for making a quick exit into the Trafalgar Street area. It would be even more useful nowadays with the burgeoning popularity of the North Laine area. Even some people needing to complete their journey by bus could find it convenient to walk down to the St. Peter's bus stops to catch north-bound buses. These factors would all help to relieve pressure on the forecourt area.

The council now has a consultation open on various options for improvements to the southern approach to the station. They all involve re-routing traffic, re-siting bus stops and taxi ranks and increasing the pedestrianised area, but two of the options also call for establishing a "new" south-eastern entrance and siting the taxi rank in Frederick Place. The question of re-opening the cab tunnel, which would be much easier for modern taxis to negotiate than it was for horse-drawn hansoms, has apparently not been considered.

Frederick Place

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Patcham Village new elms

Patcham's five new elms are seeing their second spring in the village and look to be doing well.

Previous post:- Patcham gets new elms

Monday, 28 May 2012

6 Kings Road . . .

. . . is tucked away behind the Queen's Hotel and difficult to photograph. It was Grade II listed in 1952. The description reads:-

"Terraced house, now part of Queen's Hotel (not included). c1825. 

Designed by Amon Henry Wilds. Stucco. Roof obscured by parapet. 


3 storeys and attic over basement with dormers above. 3 window-range. Ground floor rendered as banded, chamfered rustication becoming voussoirs and keystones to 3 segmental-arched openings. The side openings are filled with segmental-arched windows, a sill band to each. Basement windows below these are also segmental arched. The centre opening leads into a shallow porch, trapezoidal in plan, the returns panelled. The entrance is flat arched and has an overlight. 

There is a plain entablature band to the ground floor. 4 giant, fluted pilasters to first and second floors. The design of the capitals is a hybrid design, where the volutes of a Composite capital are replaced by Ammonite Shells, a reference to the architect's surname. There is an entablature with dentil cornice above the giant portico. The upper fascia of this entablature is level with the sills of attic windows. Applied to the attic storey are 4 plain pilasters aligned with those below and supporting an entablature above. 

The parapet topping the composition has 4 moulded piers, continuing the axes of the pilasters below. All upper-floor windows are flat arched with architraves, those to first and second floors with moulded, projecting sills. The first-floor windows have, in addition, a raised panel in the spandrel below each sill; above each lintel is an entablature with a boldly projecting cornice. The centre first-floor window has a deep pediment. The centre window on the second and attic floors is blocked."

Saturday, 26 May 2012

110 years ago . . .

 . . . the flags were out for the coronation of Edward VII. This view looking west along the still narrow Western Road could have been any time from June 1902, when the coronation was first planned to take place, to August. 

Everything had been arranged for EdwardVII to be crowned on  26 June, but two days before on 24 June, Edward was diagnosed with appendicitis. Appendicitis was generally not treated operatively and carried a high mortality rate, but developments in anaesthesia and antisepsis in the preceding 50 years made life-saving surgery possible. Sir Frederick Treves, with the support of Lord Lister, performed a then-radical operation of draining the appendix abscess through a small incision. The next day, Edward was sitting up in bed, smoking a cigar.Two weeks later, it was announced that the King was out of danger. Treves was honoured with a baronetcy (which Edward had arranged before the operation)and appendix surgery entered the medical mainstream. 

Edward VII was finally crowned on 9th. August 1902

(with acknowledgements to Wikipedia)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cuckoo heard in Patcham . . .

Coney woods
 . . . at about 6am today. I know we should expect to hear cuckoos at this time of year but it evidently being inside the Brighton by-pass makes a mention seem worthwhile.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

20 & 21 Western Road, Hove

Number 21, The Western Hotel, is included in the Local List for Hove where it is described as a; "splendid, exuberant, largely original Edwardian pub now known as O’Reillys". That was back in 1996. It has since been the "Jugglers Arms" and is now "The Paris House", which does seem to suit the style to some extent. However, one wonders as always, what is wrong with the original name  especially since the original, fine mosaic is still largely intact. The Brighton & Hove Pevsner gives the building a passing mention by calling attention to its; "opulent Late Victorian display". "Victorian" seems more accurate than "Edwardian", especially if one is referring to style rather than date. Shame about the neglect of the upper floors and the modern slapped-on lamp-fitting.

The contrast in style with number 20 to the left could not be starker. Its upper floors are Grade II listed with English Heritage and the reason becomes clear when one's eye falls on the ammonite capital. It is said to be by local architects Charles Busby and Amon Henry Wilds. Unfortunately the ground floor was gutted for a new shopfront only a few years ago. In the listing, attention is drawn to; the hipped or pyramid concrete tile roof concealed behind parapet; the curved corner frontage at the junction of Western Road and Upper Market Street; the Ionic pilasters to curved corner and framing window bay onto Western Road, and the plinths cut by inserted fascia of 36-pane bow window with shallow half-dome.

Number 20 was built some 70 years before the Western Hotel. It is otherwise difficult to understand why one should enjoy statutory protection and the other not. They form a fascinating pair and each would be poorer without the other.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Old Town traffic

Prince Albert Street.
The section in the foreground could be closed to traffic.

The Council's proposals for Old Town traffic improvement includes some interesting background information:-
  • Currently a significant proportion of traffic in the Old Town is through traffic, with 40% of vehicles entering the Old Town via Ship Street leaving within five minutes
  • On a typical Saturday an average of 200 vehicles an hour drive in to the Old Town, compared with 600 pedestrians entering using East Street alone.
These are street layouts that developed long before age of the motor car and it seems inequitable that the comfort and safety of modern day pedestrians should be compromised by large numbers of cars in search of a limited  number of parking spaces. Neither is the Old Town on a through route to the nearest multi-story car park, i.e. "The Lanes" in Black Lion Street, which is accessed from King's Road.

In both its proposals A & B, the Council suggests closure of Ship Street at the North Street end. This seems an essential first step.
Option A further calls for restricted access from the seafront via Middle Street,  Ship Street & Black Lion Street; restricted access would allow for deliveries, residents, parking, taxis & emergency.
Option B allows free access from the seafront but closes to traffic the small length of Prince Albert Street between Ship Street & Black Lion Street.

As the restricted access of Option A would be difficult to enforce it seems likely that Option B would produce the most noticeable improvement for pedestrians. But one also wonders why an Option C is not on the table, i.e. Option B together with restricted access from the seafront.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Old Town improvements

The council has launched a  consultation on proposals for improving the Old Town for the hundreds of thousands of people that walk through the area year each year. On a typical Saturday 600 pedestrians come into the Old Town through East Street alone. Originally the heart of the old fishing town of Brighthelmstone, the Old Town has developed since the 13th century and retains its original  pattern of narrow streets, which was not designed for the volume and type of traffic currently using it.
Existing traffic flows
The aim of the consultation is to get  views on ways of reducing traffic while still allowing essential vehicle users to access the area.


Option A would restrict vehicles from accessing any of the Old Town unless they have a specific reason for being there, for example they are delivering to a business, are a resident, parking for shopping, taxi or an emergency service.

Option B would allow vehicles to continue to come into the area with overall vehicle flow reduced by using restrictions designed to deter through traffic. In addition the section of Prince Albert Street between Black Lion Street and Ship Street would become traffic-free, and East Street would become an ‘access only’ area.

There will be an unstaffed exhibition in the foyer of Bartholomew House from 23 May to 29 June and staffed exhibitions at the Friend’s Meeting House in Ship Street on Thursday 14 June, 12 noon–8pm and Saturday 16 June, 9am–5pm and at Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Thursday, 28 June, 8.45am–4.45pm.

You can comment on the proposals by completing the consultation survey. The survey will be open until the beginning of July.

Old Town traffic improvement proposals.

May May

Otherwise; Quickthorn, Hawthorn, Whitethorn or Crataegus monogyna

Monday, 21 May 2012

Rainstorm over the Sea . .

. .  .by John Constable RA, painted in Brighton during the period 1824-28 and gifted to the Royal Academy by one of his daughters Isabel in 1888. For the benefit of his wife's health Constable had rented a property in what has since become Sillwood Road. 

He did not like Brighton, finding it rowdy and describing the beach as "Piccadilly or worse by the seaside". His reservations are perhaps not surprising given his country roots and the pastoral idylls which made him famous. Thankfully they did not deter him from painting and sketching the locality. His wife died in 1828 of tuberculosis and is buried in Hampstead. Plans are afoot to mark the Sillwood Road house with a blue plaque.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

63 East Street

Red-brick Queen Anne style c.1888 has been rendered boring and easily missable by a drab, uniform paint job. The gable-end has typical timbering and pargeting with an unusual and attractive floral design, worth picking-out one would think . . . .

Friday, 18 May 2012

Electric car for City Mayor

New Mayor Councillor Bill Randall will take to the road in a clean, low cost, electric powered vehicle.

The Fluence Z.E. car has been provided free of charge by Renault and will be used to take the Mayor to hundreds of community events across the city.

Renault is providing the free car for six months, with the possibility of an extension. The council will cover the insurance and running costs.

"This is great news, not just for the environment, but for the taxpayer too as the electric car won’t cost them a penny,” said Cllr Randall.

Kept at Kings House, the car can be charged at the many electric car charging points in the city, and even plugged into a normal domestic socket!

The existing Mayor's car, a hybrid Toyota Prius, which was due for replacement, will be put up for sale.

Running costs for the Fluence are expected to be lower than the Prius, which switches between an electric motor and petrol engine, depending on driving conditions.

The six month loan of the car will enable to the council to look at the viability of replacing the Prius with an electric car once the loan period is over.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Green Ridge & Coney Woods

This would be a pleasant, even idyllic, prospect on Green Ridge if it were not completely spoilt by the obtrusive noticeboard. Someone on the Council's staff seems to have a particular penchant for these objects, (see also "Down with seafront & other signs"). It seems the public cannot be allowed to enjoy the outdoors at face value but have to be 'educated' at the same time. Why not just leave us to enjoy the view and, if we feel so moved seek out supplementary information for ourselves? 

Now it is announced that the local wildlife group Keep the Ridge Green (KTRG) has secured a grant of £27,269 from the Big Lottery Fund, the money to be spent in providing a package of improvements for Green Ridge and Coney Woods.  The work suggested is:-

  • Creating new habitats for dormice, owls, butterflies & bats.
  • Nature trail for families.
  • Adding rustic seating near the pond.
  • Improving footpaths.
  • Creating glades in Coney Woods.
  • Improving steps and providing handrails.
One hopes that none of this work will result in a further proliferation of noticeboards. 

Coney Woods
Green Ridge Grant - Press release
Keep the Ridge Green

Monday, 14 May 2012

Plans for hotel at Patcham abandoned

Plans to redevelop the Patcham Court Farm site on the outskirts of Brighton (see previous post) are back on the drawing board after a major hotel group withdraws.

De Vere now says it is targetting a site nearer to the city centre in a move that would still generate a significant number of new jobs and inward investment. As a result, the council intends to put the site back on the market. The 3.6 acre plot at the junction of the A23 and A27 is earmarked in the local plan for employment uses.

It is expected that permission to re-market the site will be sought from the new policy and resources committee at its meeting in June.

Council press release

The Rampion Wind Farm - update

The proposals (see previous post) for a wind farm off Brighton by the energy company E.ON are entering the end game. The public consultations, by means of a series of exhibitions ended on the 6th May 2012. They displayed the following visualisations of the wind farm as viewed from the seafront & Devil's Dyke:-

195, 3.6MW turbines

100, 7MW turbines

100, 7MW turbines
Click on the images to view full screen and the turbine arrays become visible. They can hardly be described as obtrusive or offensive to the eye. The effect will be more subtle. Where once there was nothing between here and France there will now be the hint of clutter, a loss of 'wildness'. A part of the English Channel will have been colonised to serve our energy needs. This may be a small sacrifice that has to be accepted, so long as we can be sure that wind power is an essential element of the plans for energy security & diversity. At least offshore arrays seem infinitely preferable to the equivalent on land.

Mojave desert - forest of wind turbines on skyline
The proposal has now moved to a formal statutory consultation including statutory bodies and publicising the application. The city council will submit a Local Impact Report, giving details of the likely impact of the proposed development on the authority’s area. E.ON will then refine its application, for submission  in August to the Government's Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for development consent. The IPC decision is expected in Autumn 2013.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Rest is Silence

Each year Brighton's 'Dreamthinkspeak' company seems to achieve new surprises and scale new heights of artistic ingenuity, and this year's production of Hamlet at the Malthouse Estate, Shoreham, is no exception.

The audience assembles first in a temporary bar and at the appointed time files down a long dark passageway and enters a large black-painted, square chamber with walls of large rectangular, reflective panels. There is no seating and the audience can circulate at will. As the performance is 90 minutes long many ended up on the floor.

Suddenly one whole wall lights up with a back-projected video of Hamlet's father wandering through a wood. This finishes and, equally suddenly, on another wall we find ourselves viewing live-action in a brightly-lit bedroom, with Gertrude making up in front of a dressing table. So the play progresses with a mixture of live-action, revealed in a series of different rooms around the chamber, video projections and music. The ceiling is not neglected, with Ophelia's drowned body floating above the audience and earth raining down on her coffin. The acting was excellent and the acoustics far exceeded anything one experiences in a normal theatre. Truly theatre-in-the-round par excellence.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Misses Fuggle

This elegant villa in Powis Villas was once the home of the Misses Fuggle Academy for Girls, the Fuggles in question being Sarah & Eva, two of the five daughters of Thomas Fuggle, b.1839 and Margaret b.1841. There were no sons. 

At the outbreak of WW2 Sarah will have been about 72, Eva about 64. On Empire Day the whole school would file out of the front door, circle a flagpole sporting the Union Flag in the garden, salute one of the Miss Fuggles, who I can only remember as a mountain of fustian topped by a grey head, and pass back into the school by the french window. Which Miss Fuggle took the salute I had no idea, no idea even that the Fuggles were plural.

My other abiding memory is of the maths class taken by a Miss Paste. Presumably because numbers attending the school were fairly low, all ages were taught together. As a consequence I gained a knowledge of the mechanics of long multiplication long before understanding the theory. Miss Paste seemed to suffer from perennial rhinitis and had frequent recourse to a dainty handkerchief which she conveniently kept tucked into the leg elastic of her directoire knickers.

The Misses Fuggle, who must have been comfortably off, lived just down the road at 25 Clifton Terrace.

By 1958 just one Miss Fuggle was living there, apparently the only Brighton 'Fuggle' left.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Revival for "West Laine"?

According to the Regency Society of Brighton & Hove a proposal has been submitted to the Council to give the area around Preston Street, off the Western Road, its historic name of "West Laine". The area would be clearly identified with street signs with the object of helping to promote regeneration, as in the now-flourishing North Laine.

This surely makes it all the more important that the current campaign to maintain the correct meaning of "laine" is successful otherwise we would soon be hearing about the "West Laines" or reading about the "West Lanes" in estate agents windows. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Votes for Women

In 1909 the local branch of the National Women's Social and Political Union opened its offices in Brighton. Now, during the Fringe Festival you can join Karen Antoni on an informative and highly entertaining walk through Brighton as she recalls the suffragettes' struggle and local campaign of nuisance and disruption.

The walks begin at 6.30pm outside the Pavilion shop, Pavilion Buildings, and finish at (or in) the delightful Windmill pub in Upper North Street. They take about 1 hour.

Tickets £6.50 on arrival or from the Fringe Festival.

Walk dates are:-
May 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26.

Highly recommended.