Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Burning the Clocks 2016

Brighton's celebration of the shortest day.

The parade was impressively long.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Council statement on the Berlin attack.

The leaders of the three political groups in the council have released a statement on the Berlin terror attack.

“Brighton & Hove sends its sympathies and support to the people of Berlin.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of 12 lives and injuries – some life changing -  to 48 others who were so senselessly killed while they visited a Christmas market.

On behalf of the city of Brighton & Hove, we send our condolences.”

Councillor Warren Morgan, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council and Leader of the Labour and Co-operative Group

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, Leader of the Conservative Group

Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, Convenor of the Green Group.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Burning the Clocks

2011 procession

On the shortest day, Wednesday, December 21st. the 'Burning the Clocks' event brings the whole city together to celebrate the turning of the year.

The lantern procession will set off from New Road at 6.30pm and arrive at Madeira Drive at approximately 7.15pm, where lanterns are passed onto a bonfire and a firework show begins.

The event finishes at around 8pm.

From New Road, the parade will make its way through North Street, Ship Street, Bartholomews and then onto the seafront via East Street and crossing the A259. The parade then goes to Madeira Drive for the finale.​

2011 procession

The fireshow will take place on the beach with viewing from Madeira Drive and the Upper Terrace on Marine Parade.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas at the Royal Pavilion

Don't miss the magical Christmas displays at the Royal Pavilion. The fires are lit, the Royal Pavilion Christmas poster candles are flickering, the spectacular Banqueting Room table is laid for a Royal feast and the building is transformed with festive decorations and glittering trees. Pavilion-inspired decorations, including butterflies, birds and flowers bring sparkle, glamour and Christmas cheer for all the family, with drop-in activities and a themed trail for children.

Photography in the Pavilion is normally banned but on this special occasion you can enjoy the chance to take your own festive photo in the spectacular Music Room where George IV entertained his guests in style.

Share your festive photos on #RoyalPavilionXmas.

Entrance Fee for residents £6.15.

Big Belly Bins Beaten

Latest technology defeated by Brighton's litter. (Or maybe it just hasn't been emptied?)

See also:- Brighton bags iBins

Monday, 12 December 2016

Carols at Queen's Park

Latest TV's William Ranieri gets all festive as he heads to The Friends of Queen's Park's Christmas get together.. to enjoy the warm beverages and jolly sing-songs.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Brighton's answer to BandAid

Elderly legends such as Disco Pete and Dancing Ann have teamed up with local celebrities to release a Christmas tune.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Big Park Conversation results

Queen's Park
The council survey between August 23 and October 28 into the future of Brighton & Hove’s parks brought a record 3,500 responses  from residents – and many generous offers of help.

Patcham Memorial Park
The survey set out to establish what residents’ spending priorities were for parks and open spaces in times of reduced funding. Between 2009 and 2020, the council’s parks service will be losing around one third of its money, down from £4.7m to just £3.4m.

Most popular suggestions were for the council to use more volunteers (403 mentions), create new revenue streams such as caf├ęs, sponsors, events and charges (217 mentions) and to have more wildflower or overgrown areas (211 mentions).

About three quarters of respondents favoured replacing play area equipment with natural play features such as logs, which were cheaper to maintain.

87% of respondents tend to agree or strongly agree that residents should be allowed to cut grass verges using their own tools under certain circumstances.

Hove Park

56.4% of people were interested or fairly interested in volunteering to help maintain parks. Litter collection was the most likely thing people would offer to help with. Weeding or pruning were other possibilities. Over 1,000 people left email addresses because they might be interested in volunteering.

Business sponsorship or advertising in parks should be explored as a way of raising funds, according to 54% of respondents. 67% said options should be explored for getting not-for-profit organisations to maintain parks or raise funds for them.

Horsdean Park
Surrenden park
Preston Park
Results will help inform an open spaces strategy report going to the environment committee on January 17.

The survey was publicised via news outlets, the council website and social media, 10,000 flyers distributed in various ways, 3,000 postcards to random addresses and adverts in community magazines. 36% of people heard of the survey through social media.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Bond Street La(i)ne 5 years on.


Some local hero is still periodically blanking out the intrusive "I" in this street nameplate. 

Nearly 5 years ago The Brighton Society applied to the Council to have the street renamed without the "I" on the grounds that it fed and perpetuated the confusion over the correct historical use of the words "lane" and "laine" in Brighton. The Council started a public consultation as it is legally required to do but as there was one objection the request had to be referred to the Magistrates Court. At this point, owing to the likely costs involved, the Council withdrew from the case and the single objector won the day.

Ever since the "I" has been regularly appearing and disappearing. Evidently for at least one person a battle was lost but an armistice not signed.

Last previous post:- Bond Street La(i)ne - council withdraws

The Rockery - best park in England

At the Fields in Trust Awards Ceremony at Lord's Cricket Ground last night the Rockery, Preston Park was named best park in England.

"England’s best park is a unique garden with a vibrant mix of horticulture, wildlife and beautiful landscaping. The biggest municipal rock garden in the UK, nominator Andy Jeavons described it as 'a truly magical experience'."

The overall winner for the UK was Rouken Glen Park.
"The UK's Best Park 2016 is a rich mixture of grassland, meadow, glen and woodland, meaning there's always somewhere exciting to explore. Nominator Katy Green said it is 'a place for people and nature'."

Read more:- Fields in Trust Awards 2016
Previous post:- Vote for your Park

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Festive Lights

Kensington Gardens 
Duke's Lane
Brighton Square
Brighton Place
Druids Head
Market Street
East Street
North Street.

Diplock's Yard

Diplock's Yard, 73 North Road

North Road began to be built up in the 1820s and the first street directory in which it appears is for 1867.  In that year number 73 is occupied by the Regent Iron & Brass Foundry, and it continued being used in the iron trade until c1892. From 1895 to c1916 it was occupied by a plumber.  In c1895 David Diplock a "truck proprietor" sited his business there. It remained in the Diplock family until 1975, hiring out small barrows and trucks. In 1958 it was being operated by the Misses Diplock.

Last year Diplock's Yard was the subject of a planning application to erect a part single, part two storey building to provide 8 office units. The application was refused, and an appeal against the refusal was dismissed.

So Diplock's Yard remains an historic yard to widen our shopping experiences and enliven our streets.

Addendum: 20 Dec. 2016. My optimism proved to be unfounded.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Preston & Patcham Society - a new website

The Preston and Old Patcham Society was founded in 1973. Their work is concerned with maintaining a sense of continuity in the community and matters related to conservation issues.

The Society embraces the area between Ditchling Road, Springfield Road, Dyke Road, Snakey Lane, Patcham village, Withdean, Westdean, Varndean and the surrounding downland.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Westdene Library

One of Brighton’s far-flung community libraries, Westdene in Bankside, has been spruced up and re-opens at 9am on November 29.   It has been closed for alterations to create a new classroom for Westdene Primary School next door.

Under the council’s Libraries Extra initiative it will now be open seven days a week and staffed on Tuesdays.  On other days library members can enter with their library card and PIN number. Facilities include a range of books, electronic media, computers, printing and free wifi.  There is also a new public toilet.

The library will also be on the lookout for volunteers.  For information on this or any other aspects of the library visit or call 01273 290800.

The opening hours are:-

Monday - 9am to 7pm (Libraries Extra)
Tuesday - 9am to 5pm
​Wednesday - 9am to 7pm (Libraries Extra)
Thursday - 9am to 5pm (Libraries Extra)
Friday - 9am to 5pm (Libraries Extra)
Saturday - 9.30am to 5pm (Libraries Extra)
Sunday - 11am to 5pm (Libraries Extra)

Thanks to 'Libraries Extra' Brighton is  bucking a national trend where access to libraries is shrinking due to budget cuts. Most Brighton & Hove community libraries are now operating ‘Libraries Extra’ scheme which provides:-
- a dedicated phone helpline
​- easy-to-use self-service kiosks to borrow and return items
- volunteer help on some days
​- constant monitoring by a security company with CCTV and live audio
- a dedicated intercom to the security company in case of emergency

To use Libraries Extra, members need to upgrade their membership card for free at their local library. They must bring two proofs of identity, one with an address, and agree to new terms and conditions of membership.

'Blue' Plaques - a web page

Brighton's blue plaques, of which there are more than 120 and increasing, now have their own webpage on the Council's 'Visit Brighton' website. 

The link is:-

On this page you can find a link to download a complete list of plaques grouped by area.

For a list of plaque names in alphabetical order see also:-

On the website you can also find out how to nominate someone for a blue plaque and a link to download a nomination form.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The 'Skylight' - The Age of Quirky?

Bartholomew Square from the south-east

With proposed 'Skylight' 

Moshimo's planning application BH2016/03008 details a highly innovative extension to its Bartholomew Square ground-level premises. However the site is within the Old Town Conservation Area and this may have been the main reason that  the city's Conservation Advisory Group recommended refusal of the application. In spite of this the plans have now been approved by the Chairwoman of the Planning Committee. This has provoked much concern amongst the City's conservation/amenity societies.

Yet the proposals are for a superimposed,  essentially transient structure which requires no visible alterations to the bland 1980s buildings on which it sits. Whether its presence enhances or detracts from those is a matter of trivial opinion.  It is certainly in striking contrast to the neighbouring Victorian Town Hall but standing in the best position to admire the frontage puts the Skylight behind you. Nor will the Skylight be visible from Market Street. Consultee Historic England considers the Skylight has the "potential to radically enhance and uplift Bartholomew Square by providing an exciting new attraction".

The 'Skylight' from the north-west

View now.
The most intrusive and potentially damaging view of the planned Skylight Restaurant is from the corner of Black Lion Street and Prince Albert Street as shown in the above visualisation. Being two-dimensional this view probably exaggerates the impact somewhat. The end of the Skylight is, in fact, set back from the Zizzi corner by about 55 metres. This spatial displacement would be immediately apparent to the passer-by in the street. Historic England acknowledges that views are kinetic and, as one passes along the street the Skylight quickly disappears again.  In fact the transient glimpse of the Skylight from Prince Albert Street will provide a dramatic dialogue between old and new and could result in a net enhancement of the streetscape. Another mitigating factor is that the 'box' is to be glazed and reflective of the sky. 

View into Bartholomew Square from Market Street.
The Skylight is hidden on the RH side.

Judging by the extraordinary changes in London's skyline over the last few decades it seems as if we are living in the Age of the Quirky. Perhaps we should determine to accept new developments that may bring benefits while, in the manner of an observation wheel, not entailing irreversible alterations to the existing architecture.

See also: The 'Skylight' proposal.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Clarence Yard & Poplar Place

The above photo show a view across what was once known as 'Poplar Place' into Clarence Yard. The viewpoint is from the west end of what is destined to become the new 'Hannington Lane'. Poplar Place was named after a row of poplar trees which once grew down the centre of the lane. It is now part of 'Meeting House Lane' and the only evidence of its existence is in the slowly disintegrating nameplate above the corner shop.

August 2013
November 2016
Clarence Yard has no street nameplate but is first mentioned in the 1846 street directory when it contained a wheelwright and a coachsmith. One can just begin to visualise the vibrant scene it must once have presented with the clatter of coaches, passengers, trunks being loaded/unloaded, ostlers caring for the horses, and the noises of the workshops. Even in 1973 the yard still housed a motor engineer. Now it only has a tattoo parlour. 

It would seem to be especially worthwhile in a tourist area to preserve some evidence and ambience of the past. Ceramic tile nameplates, of the type shown, where individual letters are housed in a cast iron frame are being restored by the Brighton & Hove Heritage Commission in other parts of the city.  Perhaps they have 'Poplar Place' already on their list. Perhaps even 'Clarence Yard' could be dignified with its own period-style nameplate.

Previous post:- The Clarence

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The 2017 outdoor events programme

Pride, Preston Park 
An Oktoberfest German beer festival, a new hub for the Brighton Fringe and a programme of events to celebrate LGBT History Month are among the range of outdoor events being planned for Brighton & Hove next year.

Members of the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee are being asked to give landlord's consent for a varied programme of events planned for the city’s parks and open spaces, at a meeting tomorrow.

The 2017 proposed programme includes regular events, such as Pride, the city’s biggest event attracting 150,000 people, the Brighton Marathon in April, now established as one of the leading marathons in the country, and the return of the Brighton International Triathlon, held for the first time in the city last year.

Promoters of the popular Together the People Festival in Preston Park have asked the council for permission to add an extra day, September 1, to provide opportunities for more local artists to perform, and the Coles Funfair and fireworks event, which attracted 4,000 people last year looks set to return to Preston Park on October 20.

New events include a LGBT History Exhibition from February 3 to 19 which could see a Big Top style tent on the New Steine hosting a range of events including a comedy gala night, photo exhibition, self-defence workshops, conferences and lectures.

The Oktoberfest 3 day festival, based around a traditional German beer festival with food, music and live entertainment, is scheduled to take place on The Level from October 12 to 14.

Other events proposed for parks and open spaces include the Moscow State Circus, Brighton Kite Festival, an off-road bike ride, Paddle Round the Pier, Heroes vs Villains Superheroes Run and a Fiery Food Festival.

Dukes Mound closure

Dukes Mound on Brighton seafront is to be closed on Monday 21 November for around three months for essential structural repairs to the high retaining wall which supports the A259 seafront road above. It will reopen on 3 February 2017.

In consultation with traders, the downhill side of Dukes Mound will reopen at weekends (Friday evening until Monday morning). The road will also be opened over the Christmas period – between Tuesday 20 December and 4 January.

The closure has been planned to avoid conflicting with any events on Madeira Drive.

Works form part of a £100m council programme of improvements.

Dukes Mound is named after the 6th Duke of Devonshire who owned Fife House, 1 Lewes Crescent, situated immediately north of this site.