Friday, 22 December 2017

West Pier illumination.

The remains of the West Pier are now being permanently illuminated by a new lighting installation installed on the British Airways i360 boarding deck. The equipment was designed by Do Architecture, the firm which created the British Airways i360 tower lighting system. It uses specialist marine LED technology with sophisticated lenses to create a series of intense and focused beams of light, while consuming very low amounts of energy and requiring little maintenance. The scheme  is the result of a cooperation between BAi360 and the West Pier Trust.

Each evening after twilight, and after the starling murmuration has finished,  white light will pick out the standing ruin until midnight. The illumination will throw focused beams of white light out to the structure that will occasionally play off the rolling waves, creating a fitting adornment to the historic structure and extending the reach of its visual presence from day into night.

Earlier temporary lighting

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Projects progress

Two prestigious building projects are scheduled for completion in 2018

After a seemingly quiet period work is in full swing on the Seafront Shelter hall.

The Hannington Lane development seen from Brighton Place

 Hannington Lane seen from Meeting House Lane

The new North Street entrance to Hannington Lane with the exposed Puget's Cottage behind.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Brighton Herald now online

1st. edition. 
Brighton Museum have  recently released over 4000 digitised copies of the Brighton Herald newspaper on their Digital Media Bank for free online browsing or download.

The Herald was the first newspaper dedicated to Brighton, publishing its first issue on 6 September 1806.  The name of the paper changed to the Brighton Herald and Hove Chronicle on 19 July 1902, and to the Brighton and Hove Herald on 4 November 1922. The final edition, after 165 years, was produced on 30 September 1972 when the Herald was absorbed by the Brighton and Hove Gazette. The digitised newspapers released cover the period from 1806 to 1920. There is intermittent coverage for the early years, but a complete run is available from 1832 onwards.

The newspapers are available as PDF files, which were scanned from microfilm copies. As a result, the quality of the text varies, but the text has been scanned with optical character recognition (OCR) software, so it is possible to search for keywords within the newspapers. The Search Tips page on the Digital Media Bank advises how to run searches by date and/or keyword.

Over the next two years the Museum will be releasing more historic Brighton newspapers online, and they will be made freely available to view online or download to computer.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Brighton Square proposals

Strada Trading Ltd. have applied to erect a poycarbonate & laminated timber  pavilion in Brighton Square (see BH2017/03651) to provide covered restaurant space. 

The design would not be unattractive in a more spacious public park but here it would severely restrict circulation within the Square and deprive the Old Town of one of its few public open spaces. One also fears for the susceptibility of the panels to vandalism.

The proposal also requires the reconstruction and repositioning of the Dolphin Fountain which, it seems, would also prohibit unobstructed views of it from the surrounding walkways.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Toad's Hole proposals

Aerial view of the site looking south

Toad's Hole Valley, the largest greenfield development site in the City, is allocated in the City Plan to provide a modern, high quality, sustainable mixed-use development comprising new family and affordable homes, office space and community facilities. Following  consultation with residents a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to guide the development was adopted by the Council earlier this year.

St Congar, the holding company for the land, is working with the landowners to bring forward the site in line with the SPD. St Congar will not build out the site themselves, but will sell parcels to other developers and/or housing associations to deliver over the coming years.

To facilitate this St.Congar have now published outline proposals for the development based on the SPD which seem to match or improve on the aspirations of the City Plan.

School (blue) & business areas (pink) in the bottom of the Valley

Ponds, swales, soakaways and permeable paving
Energy saving, solar energy, rainwater storage, ecological mitigation.

It is somewhat surprising that access to the site is proposed via 7 new junctions on to  King George VI Avenue. The effect of vehicles exiting the site and having to accelerate up the hill should have a notable calming effect on traffic speeds. The extra traffic at the Dyke Road roundabout might also cause problems.

King George VI Avenue

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Madeira Terrace Fund soars through target.

In a last minute surge of donations the fund has reached £466,114, exceeding the original target figure by £44,231. 

Well done Brighton & Hove.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

'Save Madeira Terrace' Fund

The fund to start the restoration of the Madiera Terrace has reached 94% of its target with only 3 days left. 

It's not too late. Donate at:-

New restaurant for Hanningtons Lane

Surprise, surprise, the new Hanningtons Lane will include a new restaurant. It is shown above adjacent to Puget's Cottage giving views towards Brighton Place in one direction and along the new lane in another. From this picture it appears that a 'green wall' is being considered for the south elevation of Puget's Cottage; perhaps to foil so-called graffiti artists.

Talks are underway with prospective operators of the restaurant.

Site of the restaurant - no.7 (light green)

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Brighton & Hove Way Association

The Chattri would be at the approximate mid-point of the route.

A new group has been formed in the city with the exciting aim of establishing a waymarked trail around the whole perimeter of the city, a distance of about 17 miles.

Further aims are:
  • To assist with the monitoring, upkeep and improvement of the Brighton & Hove Way and any access and alternative routes.
  • To promote and encourage the responsible access, use and enjoyment of the Brighton & Hove Way and the wider network of Rights of Way and Access Land.
  • To promote and celebrate the cultural, historical, wildlife and landscape features found along the trail and context within the City Downland Estate, The Living Coast UN Biosphere and the South Downs National Park.
  • To promote the recreational, social, economic, educational, health & well-being, and sustainability benefits of the Brighton and Hove Way and it's setting.
  • To promote access, use and enjoyment of the Brighton & Hove Way by all people, without discrimination, especially encouraging use by those from under-represented groups and marginalised communities.
Volunteers are needed to keep an eye on sections of the trail, checking every 3 months if all is ok. You can find a leaflet describing what is involved here.  If you would like join the Volunteer Path Warden Scheme email

You can follow the progress of the scheme on facebook.

Provisional Saltdean to Stanmer section 

Provisional Stanmer to Portslade section.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Valley Gardens latest.

 Looking south along Marlborough Place

Detailed designs for the city’s Valley Gardens project go before the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on 28 November for what could be final approval.

If approved these plans would see around 3000 square metres of highway space turned over to open space – a seven per cent increase equivalent to the area of  11 tennis courts.  New public squares would be created south of St Peter’s and opposite the Richmond pub.

At the same time, the road layout would be radically simplified, making it easier to navigate. New improved routes would be created for sustainable transport including walking, cycling, buses and taxi

Traffic lights will be modernised – using MOVA technology which can detect vehicles and change lights to optimise throughput at junctions.

Local contractors have been appointed to plan how to minimise traffic disruption caused by roadworks as the scheme is built. The aim is to keep both northbound and southbound traffic flowing throughout the works, except for short periods of resurfacing.

The main changes to roads involve putting both north- and southbound traffic on the east side of the Valley. Buses, taxis and traffic bound for the North Laine area would use a quieter road on the west side, which would form much less of barrier between the city and the green space.

Nearly all of the £11m cost is funded by government money which, by law, can only be spent on Valley Gardens.

If approved works should start next spring and be completed around spring 2020. 

Christmas 2107 at the Royal Pavilion

Experience a magical Christmas at the Royal Pavilion. The fires are lit, the candles are flickering, the spectacular Banqueting Room table is laid with after dinner treats 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. 

Drop-in activities and spotting  George the playful Cat on a family trail:
  • 21- 30 November 2017 at 10:00 am until 4:30 pm.
  • 1 - 5 December 2017 at 10:00 am until 4:30 pm

Activities at the weekends 2 & 3, 9 &10 & 16– 24 December
  • Storytelling in the Music Room between 12-4pm (on the hour, lasting 25 minutes). Free with admission
  • Make your own tree decorations, 12-4pm. Free with admission, drop-in.

(On 24 December activities will end at 2pm as the Palace closes at 2.30pm.)

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Toads Hole Valley exhibition

In 2016 the City’s Development Plan designated Toads Hole Valley and Court Farm for development as ‘a modern, high quality and sustainable mixed use development to help meet the future needs of the city, improve accessibility and provide new community facilities to share with adjacent neighbourhoods’.
The Plan calls for the following to be delivered by 2030:
  • A minimum of 700 residential units
  • Office employment space (3.5 – 4.5 hectares)
  • Site reserved for a new secondary school – (5 hectares)
  • Public open space with children’s play space and informal sports facilities (2 hectares)
  • Shops, cafes and a multi-use community building
  • Food growing space (0.5 hectare)
  • Green infrastructure integrated through the site to deliver Biosphere objectives and contribute to Biodiversity Action Plan targets
Holding Company St Congar is in the early stages of developing proposals for the site in line with the aspirations.
St. Congar are now hosting a Public Exhibition to allow residents to view their proposals for Toads Hole Valley. The details of the Public Exhibition are:
  • Saturday 2nd December, 10am-2pm at St Peter’s Church Hall, Court Farm Road, West Blatchington, BN3 7LQ
  • Tuesday 5th December, 4.30pm-8.30pm at Hall 2, Hangleton and Knoll Project Harmsworth Crescent, Hove, BN3 8BW

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Welcome back HMV

The new HMV store on the lower mall of Churchill Square is like a welcoming cave of treasures. Evidently the pleasure of browsing for physical objects hasn't yet been displaced by cyberspace.

Brownfield Land

The Church Street/Portland Street site. 2017

The council has opened a consultation on its Brownfield Site Register. They are inviting developers, landowners, agents and the general public to submit brownfield sites which they wish the council to consider for inclusion on the Register. For inclusion on the final Register sites must meet the following criteria:
  • 0.25 hectares or more in size or capable of accommodating at least 5 dwellings;
  • Suitable for residential development: this means the land has planning permission for housing or housing-led development; or has been allocated for such development in a Local Plan; or is considered appropriate for such development by the council;
  • Available for residential development: this means that there is no impediment to development in terms of either ownership issues or legal constraints on the land;
  • Residential development of the land is achievable: the land is likely to be developed within 15 years of being entered on the register.
One would think that the first priority should be getting the existing  sites developed before adding to them. The Church Street/ Portland Street corner has lain derelict for at least 10 years. An application for mixed use development submitted in 2011 is still under consideration. The council can't force an owner to develop a site but there is such a thing as compulsory purchase still on the statute book. Even the threat of it might work wonders.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Christmas Lights switch-on '17

 This year’s big switch-on event will take place on Thursday 16th November from 5:15pm

From 5pm on Thursday 16th November, Brighton city centre will burst into festive spirit with a FREE party in East Street. The event, organised by Brilliant Brighton is in association with 107.2 Juice FM and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, while the Christmas lights are being sponsored by Southern Water.

This year’s event showcases the enchanting 40-strong all-female Brighton choir, We Bop, along with the angelic young voices from Hove’s Singing’s Cool and performers from renowned The Theatre Workshop, starting the feel-good family festivities.

Comedic group AFOUR will also be performing their fun, tongue-in-cheek Christmas song Four Kings.

There will also be a raffle with fantastic prizes from Brilliant Brighton businesses, with all donations going directly to children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House.

Googlebox stars Chris Butland-Steed and Stephen Webb (who live locally) will have the all-important task of counting down and flicking the switch to unveil Brighton’s festive lights. These will  include the new "Ho Ho Ho", voted for by the public, in September.

The event is staged by Brilliant Brighton,  an organisation formed of 517 businesses who put on the switch-on event and collectively pay the £75,000 per year fee to ensure the city is lit up at Christmas, and sponsored by Southern Water.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Blog stats

"Dyke Road Tavern" knocks "Odeon Cinema parking" off top place.

All time views.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Burning the Clocks 2017.

'Burning the Clocks 2017, East' by Graham Carter.
Help make it happen from just £5.

Extra funding for City Parks

In the current year BHCC will be diverting almost £102,000 from a general budget underspend to parks and open spaces.

£82,000 will be spent on the play facilities in Victoria Recreation Ground, Hangleton Park, Dyke Road park and replacement or repair to surfacing and new gates at a number of play areas.

A further £20,000 has been allocated for planting in the Green Flag parks Easthill Memorial Garden, Preston Park, The Level, Stoneham Park, Kipling Gardens, St Ann’s Well Gardens and Hove Park, as well as improving bins in the city centre parks and signage in Kipling Gardens.

The council has also increased security in city centre parks where there has been antisocial behaviour, currently targeting Norfolk Square, St Nicholas Rest Garden, Dorset gardens, The Level and Queens Park.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Lego® Wind Turbine comes to Brighton

This November, the LEGO® Wind Turbine moves to its new home at Park Square, Brighton Marina, in celebration of LEGO reaching its target of 100% renewable energy capacity a 3 years early.

In May, LEGO was awarded a Guinness World Record for creating the world’s largest wind turbine made from LEGO bricks and now you too can visit the impressive 7.5m model in Brighton Marina from Saturday 4th November and throughout the coming months.

A team of LEGO experts from Czech Republic, Hungary, France, and UK spent around 600 hours building the LEGO brick turbine, using 146,000 LEGO bricks.

Stanmer Park restoration plans

Friday, 27 October 2017

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Royal Pavilion Gardens

It comes as no surprise that the grade II listed Royal Pavilion Gardens have been put on the Heritage at Risk Register. It has been evident for several years that the Gardens are losing the battle with the sheer weight of people using them, and the seemingly growing antisocial night-time behaviour. 

Being on the register means that the specific issues facing the gardens can be openly identified and provides the opportunity for working with Historic England and others to find solutions, such as through a Conservation Management Plan. It also means that there are greater opportunities for access to funding for restoration and improvement schemes, particularly from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Large areas of grass alongside paths never recover

Low attractive fencing used effectively in some place

Some problems are easy to identify and the only alternative to ever- widening paths would seem to be the installation of fencing. This already seems to be effective in some parts of the Gardens. The fencing need not be purposed to prevent access to grassed areas but simply to discourage casual straying from the paths.


Overflowing bins
To cope with night-time anti-social behaviour the only option would seem to be making the perimeter secure and preventing entrance at night between times to be decided. Luckily the gardens are fairly well enclosed already and the amount of boundary fencing needed would not be prohibitive. Clearing the gardens at closing time would require an ongoing expenditure.

The council has appointed Blackboys-based landscape specialists Chris Blandford Associates to prepare a Conservation Plan and 10 year Management Plan for the garden. But there is no need to wait for their report before doing what is obvious.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Shelter Hall progress

The site today.

In total 135 piles almost a metre thick have now been sunk up to 20 metres into the ground. During the task, contractors shipped in 750 cubic metres of concrete in hundreds of cement lorries. The next phase will involve a similar quantity of concrete to create a solid slab half a metre thick on which to build the new Shelter Hall.

Piling in progress
A lorry compound on the upper prom and second diversion to the cycle lane are expected to be in place until June 2018.

Access to the beach and all businesses on the lower prom remains the same.  A temporary pedestrian crossing in front of the Brighton Centre will also stay.

Once groundworks are complete, a reinforced concrete frame will be created. External finishes will mean the new building looking similar to the Victorian structure it replaces.

The new building is expected to open in Spring 2019.

Mister Adam in Rottingdean

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A new Valley Gardens park

Work continues behind the scenes on plans to improve the environment and transport links through the central valley leading to Brighton seafront and city centre.

The Valley Gardens project aims to reduce the impact of traffic between St Peter’s Church and the Royal Pavilion, to better link the green spaces to the city centre.

Features include an improved network of paths for cyclists and pedestrians. General traffic will be placed on the east side of the valley, going in both directions. On the west side will be a quieter route, just carrying buses, taxis and other local traffic headed for the North Laine area.

Most of the £10m cost is being paid for with government money coming via the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The money can only be spent on Valley Gardens.

A planning application covering re-landscaping the area is hoped will go to planning committee in November. Subject to approval, work is expected to start next spring.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The William IV pub renovation


The William IV pub on the corner of Bond & Church Streets has no doubt gone through many transformations in its 170year+ history. The latest this year by the pub group Indigo has revealed the original cobble walls and retained the United Ales green tiling. It has also regained a hanging sign,

But the painted signage looks cheap & nasty compared with the previous raised gilt lettering. I hope they've kept the letters for when the fashion cycle turns back again.