Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A&E Expansion at the RSCH – public engagement event

Plans have been drawn up for a £30M expansion of A&E at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and planning permission will be applied for shortly. Meanwhile a public drop-in event is being held between 4.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday 28 June at the Bristol Estate Community Room, on Donald Hall Road.

Anyone interested in the scheme is welcome to attend, view the plans and ask questions. The display boards that will be on show at the event are also available online.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Royal Pavilion tunnel & basement tours.

Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the basement and tunnel of the Royal Pavilion and discover more about life below stairs for the servants, from the rat catcher to George’s principal private secretary. The tour ends with a visit to the tunnel which led to George IV’s royal stables and riding school (now Brighton Dome).

Lasting about 45 minutes, the tours offer an unpolished, behind-the-scenes glimpse of areas of the building not normally open to the public. Photography for personal use is welcome.

Please note: due to the service areas covered in this tour it may be subject to last minute cancellations and alterations.

Upcoming Dates:
3 July 2017 at 4:15 pm until 5:15 pm
10 July 2017 at 4:15 pm until 5:15 pm
17 July 2017 at 4:15 pm until 5:15 pm
24 July 2017 at 4:15 pm until 5:15 pm
31 July 2017 at 4:15 pm until 5:15 pm

Admission: £12; members of the RPM Foundation, £10. Book in advance.

  • You can buy tickets by telephoning the Events Booking line on 03000 290902 (Mon-Fri) 
  • You can also email if you have any queries. 
  • A £1.50 booking fee may apply to some events. 
  • Tickets cannot be reserved without payment. 
  • Please book early as an event may be cancelled if too few tickets have been sold.
See also: The Pavilion - Dome tunnel restored.

Francis Street frustrations

Changes are being proposed to a revamped city centre street, beside Brighton’s Open Market, in response to residents’ complaints.

Since Francis Street was reopened in 2014 as part of the market’s redevelopment, householders have been having problems with pavements and private garages being blocked by market delivery vehicles, illegally parked cars and Blue Badge holders’ cars. Vehicles are travelling too fast and street furniture like lamps and cycle stands are claimed to be poorly positioned.

Now, changes proposed by council transport officers include:

* Making the street a ‘Restricted Zone’ with ‘access only’ arrangements to prevent rat-running. The street will only be legally used by drivers with business there
* Planters and bollards to protect pavements from cars
* Restrictions confining loading or waiting to designated bays
* A raised entry treatment at the junction with Ditchling Road to cut vehicle speeds and emphasise the street as a pedestrian route
* Signage underlining an existing ban accessing Francis Street from London Road, except for cyclists.

A report on the proposals goes the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee for approval on June 27.

Final changes are expected to be in place by the end of the year after consultation on legally-required traffic orders.

Royal Pavilion & Museums - £2.8M successful bid

The Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM) has successfully bid for nearly £2.8 million over four years (£689,507a year) from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

This offer is conditional on an agreed business case for invigorating the Booth, Hove Museum  and Preston Manor and bringing the collections across the city closer to communities, through digital and schools activities to exhibitions, events and outreach.

At the Booth Museum a new ‘evolution gallery’ will feature a specially commissioned replica of an ‘Iguanodon Mantellisaurus’ (a type of dinosaur) and the story of its local discoverer Gideon Mantell. From birds to butterflies, flora to fossils, the Booth’s Designated collection will evolve into an interactive science centre, to share the story of what it is to be human in the natural world.

The Booth will also build on its popular events programme to attract new audiences; it has hosted award-winning life drawing classes, promenade theatre, sell-out pub quizzes, acoustic gigs and taxidermy demonstrations that have shown the venue and collections in a new light.

Hove Museum’s profile will be developed as a ‘museum of making,’ encouraging and inspiring a wide audience to experience the Craft and Film & Media collections. Programming, exhibitions and activities will explore the processes and the people behind objects in the museum with a ‘Maker in Residence’ from the University of Brighton sharing the collections with visitors.

Collaboration with local film organisations such as the Brighton Youth Film Festival, Cine-City and Film Archive South East will explore new ways of using the spaces and collections at Hove Museum.

At Preston Manor, the emphasis will be on providing greater access to parts of this historic building, and revitalising the kitchen gardens. Improvements to the visitor experience will build a better understanding of the house, collections and those who lived and worked there.

On the Royal Pavilion Estate a series of exhibitions and displays will mark key milestones over the next four years such as the 200th anniversary of the Royal Pavilion’s creator, George IV’s, ascension to the throne, and the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings.

The restoration of the Royal Pavilion’s Saloon will be completed in 2018 and the funding will enable an accompanying display to showcase the ‘behind the scenes’ work of  a range of specialists involved, including carpet makers, silk weavers, upholsterers, decorative artists and historians.

The Arts Council has previously recognised RPM’s sector expertise in the use of digital programming and technology to engage audiences. During  2018-22 a digital publishing programme will promote exhibitions, events, and the unexpected stories behind the collections. RPM aims to reach a million sessions per year across their various websites by the end of the four year period

Fire safety in BHCC tower blocks

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust gets off the ground

Nine people have been recruited to make up a shadow board for the Royal Pavilion & Museums new cultural trust. The shadow board will be responsible for guiding the inception of the new organisation and shaping its structure, service operation and development in future.

The members are:

  • Glynn Jones (chair), chair of a number of local charities and not for profit organisations
  • Tim Aspinall, CEO of Aspinall Consultants
  • Jane Weeks, museum consultant
  • Michael Bedingfield, trustee of the National Museum of the Royal Navy
  • Julian Crampton representative of The Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation
  • Danny Homan, representative of The Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival
  • Cllr Robins, South Portslade, The Labour & Co-operative Group
  • Cllr Norman, Withdean, Conservative Party
  • Cllr Mac Cafferty, Brunswick & Adelaide, Green Party, Covener of the Green Group

Brighton & Hove City Council currently manages the Royal Pavilion & the city’s museums.  The decision to move governance of the venues into a cultural trust was made by the council’s Policy Resources & Growth committee in January 2017 and progress is being made towards completing the transfer by April 2018.

The trust is seen as a significant step towards the council’s future aim of creating a dynamic, resilient cultural and heritage trust for the city and bringing the Royal Pavilion & Museums and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival together in a single entity.

The board will hold its first meeting at the end of June when it will begin to agree legal arrangements with the council and set up its charitable status.  The trustees’ positions are unpaid though individuals will be able to claim reasonable expenses such as travel and subsistence in certain circumstances.

Further details of the board members can be seen here.

Beach bins bolstered

Good news that booming Brighton & Hove is bolstering its beach bins with fifty extra 240-litre bins. These are  being delivered in time for the coming weekend. 

The hottest weather in decades has seen the beaches packed recently and heavily strewn with litter, much of it left during the night. The council has been clearing up to 50 tonnes of litter from the beach on the busiest weekends.

Extra litter-picking staff are also being deployed to be added to the usual 15 dedicated to the seafront.  A further four are on standby from an agency.

A Parks Foundation?

Queen's Park

Plans are being drawn up for a Parks Foundation to be set up to attract funding for the city’s parks and open spaces. The Foundation would lead fundraising initiatives aimed at attracting investment in the council’s parks and open spaces and could be set up by the end of the year.

Members of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee will decide whether to give the go ahead   at a meeting on June 27th. Research has shown that a Foundation could be established quickly and easily with minimal financial commitment from the council. If agreed, the Foundation would be chaired by the Chair of the council’s Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee – currently Councillor Gill Mitchell. Three independent trustees would be also appointed to the Foundation Board which would be supported by officers from Brighton & Hove City Council.

The proposals are part of the council’s Open Spaces Strategy which was approved by committee members in January. The Strategy was drawn up following the council’s Big Conversation, when over 3,000 park users took the opportunity to have their say on how to protect and maintain the city’s parks and open spaces into the future.

Committee members are also being asked to consider a way forward to identify new management arrangements for the tennis courts in the city council’s parks. This follows a consultation with representatives of the local tennis community and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) who agreed that there should be a city-wide approach to the provision of tennis in the city. Members are being asked to give the go ahead for the LTA to work with tennis players to develop two volunteer led proposals and also to explore other options including working with local/community groups and professional organisations, or splitting the sites and opening up a new tender process.

A further report on tennis proposals would be brought to a future Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee for a decision on the management arrangements.

Committee members will also be updated on other Open Spaces Strategy proposals including: allotments, cemeteries and churchyards, heritage, open space hire, outdoor sport & physical activity facilities, parks & gardens, sponsorship, advertising and donations and volunteering.

Preston Park

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Do a two - minute beach clean

Excellent idea.

A Visit to St. Wilfred's

St. Wilfred's, Elm Grove, grade II listed, was designed 1932-4 by modernist architect Goodhart-Rendell, a local resident, who also designed Prince's House in North Street. The style is said to be Rational Eclectic but showing influences of Norman Shaw and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In other words it is pretty unique and Brighton is lucky it has survived albeit in the form of residential apartments. The conversion has, however, been sensitively handled.

Inside the tower.
The white walls are those of the inserted apartments. 
An original upper walkway

An added walkway

Narrow aisles allowed for a wide nave giving all worshippers a clear view of the altar.

St.Wilfred's has an added claim to fame in the murals that were added to the plain walls of the Sanctuary in 1940. These were by the Modernist artist Hans Feibusch.

LH wall, the Three Kings

Behind the altar, 'the Nativity'

RH wall, 'The Shepherds'
The murals deteriorated seriously after the church closed in 1980, due partly to a leak above the LH wall. They have now been restored thanks to a fund-raising campaign led by the Hyde Group who manage this property and contributions from American Express and Axis.

The area in which the murals are situated is self-contained within the building and above one end of the ground floor car-park. The possibility thus exists for the murals to be made accessible to the public by inserting a small staircase or lift. Phase 2 of this Hyde Group project is to raise the funds for this through a crowdfunding campaign.

Interest in the works of Hans Feibusch has soared in recent years with growing appreciaton of the Modernist Movement in the first part of the 20th Century. One of his murals in St.Mark's, Coventry, which is 40ft. high, is also undergoing restoration.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

New safety measures for the Level

The improvements are:-

  • In the playground two play units will be modified and made ‘open sided’ so users can always be seen.
  • Park lighting will be improved. The central columns near the fountains will be raised to provide additional light over the lower park area near the pavilions. 
  • There are plans to install an additional police CCTV camera on a new column.
  • The council is also hoping to secure funding for a full time park manager to work at weekends as well as during the week, carrying out daily park-wide inspections and maintenance.
  • To help tackle litter problems, large bins will be installed on the edges of the park.
These improvements will compliment other measures to enhance safety on The Level introduced over the past few months. They include:-

  • Additional motion-sensitive lighting installed on the community pavilions;
  • Additional 24-hour monitored CCTV cameras, linked to the police station, , including a new one on the café building, bringing the total to 13.
  • Windows at the community pavilion reinforced with toughened protective layers
  • New signage on park noticeboards and inside community rooms giving people direct contacts to report concerns at the park.
  • City Parks staff carrying out litter picks and playground inspections at weekends.
  • Increased police visits and patrols including use of drug dogs
  • Community Safety partnership group expanding to include more council and community representative
  • Initiatives to attract public use of park outside normal hours have also helped increase community safety. The new café is now open 7 days a week, the two community rooms are used regularly and  the park offers varied a programme of volunteer- led activities, community group events and activities

For more information about events, activities and volunteering opportunities at the level visit:

After the Festival 2017

St. Peter's Open Space, north

Yellow grass can be tolerated since it eventually recovers but this area is badly churned up and will need levelling and turfing. The public is now denied use of this popular space for the rest of the summer. Should Fringe Events that cause this order of damage be allowed?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Trial to restrict Sale & Letting boards

From now until next June the council is trialling a one year pilot scheme in the Coombe Road area of Brighton which features terraced streets of houses set close to the pavement with clear geographical boundaries. There has been a high proliferation of residential sales and letting boards in the area, creating an unsightly environment for residents.

The council has consulted the Brighton & Hove Estate Agents Association and Southern Landlords Association in drawing up the scheme to promote alternative ways to advertise properties for sale or rent. Estate agent boards are already banned in certain Conservation Areas in the city.

Planning officers have drawn up guidance for agents to encourage a move towards the display of a single internal window sign or smaller wall-mounted sign attached flush to the front wall of the property.

Approval to set up a voluntary scheme was given by the Economic Development & Culture committee last November.

If successful, the trial may be extended to other affected areas of the city. The new Tourism, Development & Culture Committee will review the effects of the scheme next year.

The pilot has support from local groups and organisations such as Rent Smart Brighton and Hove, the Coombe Road Area Local Action Team and the Universities of Brighton and Sussex.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The ABBA plaque

In Church Street.
The Brighton & Hove Commemorative Plaque Panel (CPP) was not involved in the design or siting of the new ABBA plaque.

The CPP has, since 2006, standardised on glazed ceramic plaques on account of their high legibility and resistance to weathering. The ABBA plaque appears to have an enamelled surface. This has a high gloss surface which reflects light and washes out the lettering unless the viewer carefully positions him/herself. The blue/white contrast is also poor.

A CPP plaque on Pavilion Buildings

It is also somewhat surprising that Listed Building Consent was granted. A building like the Dome could be legitimately associated with many famous people and notable events. Will other requests for plaques be refused or will the Dome end up peppered with blue spots? It was to avoid this situation that the Mir Dast plaque was sited in Pavilion Buildings, outside the Pavilion Estate.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Blue Plaque for Abba

A Blue Plaque to be unveiled at Brighton Dome honouring music legends Abba who launched their career after winning the 19th Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden at the Brighton Dome on 6 April 1974.

The plaque will be unveiled on BBC Music Day (Thursday 15 June) between 6.45pm and 7pm, live on BBC Sussex. Bjorn Again will be performing Waterloo in the Pavilion Gardens shortly after the unveiling and everyone is invited to come down and join in the celebrations.

A new Volks railway station.

Being loaded on to a transporter.

A new station for Brighton’s Volks Railway is due to be craned into position near the Sea Life Centre, tomorrow (15 June 2017)

Designed by Hove-based ABIR Architects and built by Boutique Modern at their warehouse in Newhaven, the new Volk’s Railway Aquarium station has just been loaded onto a lorry for delivery to Madeira Drive today. Estimated arrival time is around 8.30 – 9.00 pm.

Tomorrow morning the three elements of the modular building will be craned into their home on the beach on Madeira Drive.

The new building will house the Volk’s Railway Aquarium Station and a new visitor centre.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Brighton Society

Join The Brighton Society to help protect our city.

If you contact the Society now you will receive a membership form, sample newsletter and a copy of the annual report. Membership costs £10 per year per household, £15 per organisation.

You can pay your subscription by cheque or standing order. Please remember to include your name, address, phone number and email address. Subscription address for correspondence below. Please make cheques payable to ‘The Brighton Society’.

Lyn Lynch White
Hon Treasurer, The Brighton Society
4 The Village Barn
Church Hill


Shelter Hall update 2017

Stanmer Park Restoration

Monday, 12 June 2017

New cycling map

A new online cycle map has been created by the city council to help cyclists in Brighton & Hove choose routes which suit how they like to ride. It shows features like cycle lanes and cycle contraflows as well as handy spots like cycle shops and parking.

The map is aimed at local cyclists wanting to know more about recent cycling improvements, and visitors looking for things like cycle hire and repair, traffic free routes or rural rides on the city’s downland fringe.

Map users can select the area they want to cycle in and look for the type of route they prefer. They can also add landmarks, street names, cycle parking, light-controlled crossings, cycle shops and repairs. Many more features suggested by local cyclists have been included.

There is also an option to print or save a copy of a customised map and to add notes. 

Some cycle lanes.
The council says it welcomes feedback from users, which can be sent via a link on the map.

The map will be updated regularly to include new features, such as the city’s forthcoming cycle hire service – due for launch in September.

The map can be found at 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

St. Wilfred's mural restored

A historically-significant mural in a converted Brighton church has been restored, thanks to a fundraising campaign initiated by the Hyde Group. The mural is the oldest surviving one in the UK but had suffered in recent years from a leak in the roof of the building. This has since been repaired, but left the mural damaged. The restoration to stabilise the plasterwork and bring it back to its former glory has been carried out by a specialist company.

The Nativity was painted on the walls of St Wilfrid’s church by renowned 20th Century artist Hans Feibusch. The artist is one of note in the art world, with paintings held at the National Gallery, and his personal collection is held at the Pallant Museum in Chichester.

Feibusch was a prominent artist in Germany between the World Wars. When the Nazis rose to power in 1933 he emigrated to England and undertook a number of commissions for the Chichester Diocese. His work has been exhibited at the Tate in London.

Hyde Group are now aiming to crowdfund further work to make the mural accessible for public viewing. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Temporary car-parking changes at RSCH

From Monday 12th June until Sunday 25th June the normal route to the multi-storey car park, from Bristol Gate across the hospital site, will be shut. This is to allow the delivery of large modules for a new building in the hospital.

During this period drivers should follow the signposted route (shown in blue on the image above) to reach the hospital’s multi-storey car park.

To help manage traffic during this period:
  • The bottom of Whitehawk Hill Road will be made one way (from north to south), as shown in red on the image below.
  • Parking bays next to the hospital on both Upper Abbey Road and Whitehawk Hill Road will be suspended.
Visitors are advised to allow extra time if driving to the hospital and wish to park in the multi-storey car park. If possible parking elsewhere is advised or to use a different way to reach the hospital. Links to information about using public transport to the hospital can be found on the RSCH information page.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

An Amble on the Arm

The Marina east arm to be precise. This arm is 0.7 miles long from the Undercliff to the end. A walk from the Marina bus-stop to the end and back is 2.5 miles.

The wave-screen. A swing or lifting bridge is planned which could eventually connect the end of this to the West Quay.