Thursday, 27 September 2012

Hannington Lane

Plans are afoot to develop a neglected, unregarded area of the Old Town into a vibrant, sympathetic extension of the famous Lanes. The area in question is the old Hannington's service yard which has vehicular access from Brighton Place and a shabby footpath from Meeting House Lane.

A new lane directly linking to this area will be created by rebuilding Timpson in North Street with a ground floor passageway.

New shops will be created along this new footpath, around the service yard and along the north side of the footpath to Meeting House Lane. The elevations will use materials traditional to the Lanes; render, brick, timber boarding, tile-hanging, including mathematical tile. 

Part of the service yard and the footpath leading to Meeting House Lane
Entrance to the service yard from Brighton Place
The east side of Brighton Square will be remodelled and an extra storey added to provide a Boutique Hotel. The fountain will be removed, the sculpture relocated and the Square re-landscaped with semi-mature trees to create a "Green Oasis".

The footpath in the north-east corner of the Square ((centre picture above) will be re-opened providing  another link to the new lane. 

The scheme is sponsored by local property company Centurion and West Register, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The architects are Morgan Carn of Stanford Avenue, Brighton.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Lord John Russell

Norman Baker MP today unveiled a plaque at 14 Sussex Square to commemorate the stay there of the famous Whig and Liberal politician Lord John Russell. Youngest son of the 6th Duke of Bedford, he was twice Prime Minister and occupied nearly every other Office of State during his political career. It was at Sussex Square that his beloved wife, Adelaide, Lady Ribblesdale,  tragically died after only 3 years of marriage.

Lord John Russell was the grandfather of the 20th century philosopher, mathematician, pacifist, atheist  and CND supporter, Bertrand Russell.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Proposals for Brighton Station Northern Gateway

Rail replacement buses are relocated to the west of Stroudley Road, using space no longer needed for taxi ranks and enabling footways to be widened on the eastern side. 
The western arm of the mini roundabout is paved over, creating a better route between the car park and bus stops and the northern entrance. An additional bus stop is provided for the new number 38 service. 
The wider scheme can only be completed once the future of the new cycle parking facility is clarified.   

New proposals for Brighton Station Gateway

A revised proposal to improve the area around Brighton Station has been drawn up by Brighton & Hove City Council in response to feedback from the public. The proposal will be presented to the Transport Committee on October 2,

The main features of the new proposal are:-

Buses - will remain in their current arrangement directly in front of the station. Improvements will be made to the design of this bus area and a ticket office added, which will also provide tourist information.

Taxis - A new taxi rank will be provided in front of the station in Junction Road, and a queuing area for taxis waiting to join this rank will be provided in Frederick Place and under the bridge in Trafalgar Street. The arrangement will mean taxis are still close to the main entrance to the station and easily accessible, while the existing rank will be used to create a new public space providing better access to the station for pedestrians, and room for other facilities such as stalls and possibly a new ticket office.

Pedestrians - Pedestrians will have direct access to Queen's Road, without having to negotiate taxis.  Subject to agreement with Network Rail, a new pedestrian link to the North Laine will be provided, and pavements in Queen's Road will be widened by around three metres on each side. Improvements will be made to junctions outside the station to make them easier to cross and the pavement will also be widened in Surrey Street.

Cycling - Most cycle parking will be provided at the north of the station, however some will be provided in the area currently occupied by taxis. A contraflow cycle lane will be provided in Queen's Road to provide access to the main entrance of the station for cyclists.

Traffic flow - Queens Road and Surrey Street retain their current gyratory arrangement. The current one way traffic flows in Frederick Place and the western ends of Trafalgar Street and Gloucester Road are reversed to enable taxis to wait on a rank in Frederick Place. Amendments to the current one way system in the North Laine are proposed to reduce current levels of through traffic, while retaining access for residents and businesses.

The proposal could be introduced alongside measures to restrict non-local through traffic in the area.  This will also be something for Transport Committee members to consider.

If the proposal is approved by members of the Transport Committee the public will then have an opportunity to comment.

The full committee report can be read here.

Previous posts:-
Brighton station gateway
Brighton Station Gateway 2

Victoria Gardens: then & now

The apparent tranquillity of the top scene provides a poignant hint of how much the urban environment has deteriorated over the last 100 years. Even had the benches survived to the present day they would not be popular, situated just a few yards from heavy traffic in Gloucester Place. The situation is not helped by the removal of the perimeter shrubbery. I am not sure of the 'when' and 'why'. Perhaps it suffered from modern traffic pollution. Perhaps it was removed as a cost-cutting exercise; or the authorities' aversion to enclosed public spaces on the grounds that they encourage anti-social behaviour.

The Council has recently embarked on public consultation on a Valley Gardens improvement scheme. The object of this is to draw up a comprehensive programme of modifications to paths, traffic flows,  planting etc. to enhance the user's experience of the area. Surely one "no-brainer" requirement is to reinstate the shrub border using a tough, pollution resistant plant variety, and narrow or even eliminate these side paths. As has been often suggested, a path down the centre of the garden would give the pedestrian a much greater sense of isolation from the traffic.

Other related posts (oldest first):-
North Victoria Garden scheme
Victoria Gardens update
Victoria gardens revisited
Valley Gardens consultation
Valley Gardens consultation - update

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Preston Park parking 6

This photo of the Gallops in the north east corner of Preston Park was taken on a recent fine afternoon. It shows the remarkable effect of the recently-introduced parking charges on the number of parked cars. It was taken after the start of autumn term but, previous to charging, this area would have been packed with cars on any afternoon. It seems likely that a fair proportion of drivers had been using the Gallops for long-term parking, but it is also suggested by some that the number of visits to the Park itself has declined. 

An epetition to the Council calling for free parking to be re-established for park users has so far attracted 64 signatures. It closes on 11th October and will be presented to the Council on 25th October.

See also:-
Preston Park parking - an epetition
Preston Park parking
Preston Park parking proposals
Parking (not) in Preston Park Avenue
Preston Park parking update
Preston Park parking

Monday, 17 September 2012

Preston Drove plaint . .

Until a few months ago this was an attractively bosky section of Preston Drove, with much of the cricket pavilion screened with foliage, while the entrance to the Tennis Club on the right was overhung with leafy branches. Now it looks rather like a builder's yard.

This fine beech tree was condemned due to the presence of two types of decay fungus. The standing trunk has been left as a "habitat pole" (for the time being). Unfortunately it looks rather sad and does nothing to enhance the scene.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Goodbye to the old Level

A last look at the southern section of the Level before it is closed for extensive restoration:
Looking south
On the left is the graffitied skatepark, which will become a garden and petanque court; in the centre a bleak, unnecessarily large, area of paving; to the right a toddlers' play area with seating for parents, this will be replaced by an outdoor seating area for the new cafe and a sensory garden. In the distance are a few scattered swings etc. for older children.

The existing skatepark
This area had always been paved and contained playground equipment but was orginally screened by a wisteria, rose-clad pergola. The pergolas are to be reinstated as part of the restoration scheme.

Looking north-west
The very unsympathetic paddling pool occupies a small fraction of the original model-boating lake the extent of which is indicated by the pink paving. The lake was cross-shaped and each of its two lateral arms extended under the bridges towards the pavilions. The pavilions, one of which is shown above , were shaped to curve around the ends of the lake. In the distance is a gardeners hut which is to be replaced by a modern cafe. Remnants of the pergola are still to be seen in front of the pavilions.

With one exception, every play or leisure feature has been included as a result of suggestions by the public during the fraught but extensive public consultation carried out by the Park Project Team. The exception was, I believe, the substitution of fountains for still water over the whole footprint of the original lake. This was justified on the grounds of safety and ease of maintenance.

Unbelievably, some people, perhaps only a few, are still voicing somewhat nebulous objections  about the restoration scheme. It seems that they are comfortable with what to them has become familiar; perhaps overlooking that, to another section of the population, the Level's desecrated, neglected state has provided a source of grievance for decades.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Emergency repairs for Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido is to get £130,000 from Brighton & Hove City Council’s emergency funds for urgent and crucial repairs it has identified following extensive inspections by experts.

But the authority, which recently took back the building from a commercial operator, says so much other work is needed it is hard to predict when it might re-open.

A report to the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee on September 20 says repairs needed to the building are so extensive that it may not reopen in time for summer 2013.

Chair of the committee Cllr Geoffrey Bowden said: “We have inherited a building in a worse state than we or anyone else anticipated.  Like so many residents both locally and across the city we dearly want the Lido returned to a good condition and opened to the public.  The debate is about how that happens, not whether it should happen.”

The authority also says coming up with a way of running the Lido will take a little while longer.  Among three broad options being considered are the council running it in-house; seeking a not-for-profit external operation; or taking on another commercial operator.

Officials will be scheduling informal meetings with potential operators, including the local group Save Saltdean Lido Campaign, to hear their ideas for the Lido, says the report.

Councillor Bowden added:  “Some people are suggesting simplistic solutions, that ignore the law and rights and obligations of third parties. The council cannot simply hand the keys over to an interested party. It has a legal duty to explore all the options and has a rigorous process for doing that.  That means thoroughly testing whether any potential operators have a financially-sound plan for running and maintaining the Lido over the long-term.  We’re not at that point yet.”
The report says the initial £130,000 is needed for things such as insurance, an investigation of the state of the pool and other plant, fire risk assessments and electrical work, asbestos removal and upgrading the water supply and heating.

Other repairs needed to the fabric of the building will potentially cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, says the report.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Mathematical tiling

The scaffolding has finally been removed from the front of the "Olde Bunne Shop" revealing new mathematical tiling on the first floor bay. At the time of this photo they had yet to be pointed and finished off with a top row of specially cut tiles. Perhaps the contractors were worried about their colour. At first glance they do not appear to exactly match the rest of the frontage. This may be partly an optical illusion caused by the unglazed terracotta. Examining them in detail it is possible to pick out individual tiles that seem very close in colour to some of the old ones.

Before repair
The description "mathematical" is believed to stem from an archaic use of the term to mean anything "precise" or "regular", although that description could as easily be applied to conventional tiling or brickwork.

This 1794 building, 9 Pool Valley, has been Grade ll* listed since 1952 and was used as a bun shop by the Cowley family for 150 years.

The one-time signboard with royal crest over the window was made by John Walsh, Carver & Gilder, born c. 1849 in Preston, Lancs.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Has Jesus passed his sell-by date?

Wednesday 5th September 2012.
The Lord Nelson Inn
Trafalgar Street, Brighton.

The Brighton & Hove Humanist Society presents a talk by Ken Humphreys:-

"Has Jesus passed his sell-by date?"

730pm for 8pm start