Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Church St./Portland St. site - added aggravation

This valuable site has been an eyesore in the city centre for 24 years. Now the owners have apparently decided that half an acre is not quite enough to do nothing with.  The hoardings, much to the inconvenience of pedestrians, have been moved out to the kerb lines both in Church Street and Portland Street.

Earlier post: The Church St./Portland St. development site

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Court Farm Cottages

These cottages of the former Patcham Court Farm, on what is now Vale Avenue,  bear the terracotta insignia of the former vast Abergavenny Estate. The date of their construction is recorded in half-embedded large glass marbles. The builders of the Edwardian era obviously took a pride in their work. After 109 years the brickwork, woodwork & tiling appear as sound as the day they were built. 
They are locally listed as a good and relatively rare example of early 20th century farmworker’s cottages. 

It is therefore disappointing to see them vacant. Unused and unheated properties are prone to accelerated delapidation even if vandalism is avoided. 

The Patcham Court Farm site has in the past been suggested for a park & ride scheme and in May 2012 the DeVere Group withdrew proposals for a 'boutique' hotel. The site has not been put on the Council's brownfield register yet buildings elsewhere on the site are being allowed to fall down. 

At a time of acute housing shortage there seems no reason that the Abergavenny Cottages should not be brought promptly back into use.

Friday, 26 January 2018

A 'Royal Pavilion Estate' Trust.

A report to the Policy, Resources & Growth Committee this Thursday (25 January) recommends the decisions necessary to establish the city’s long-anticipated trust, bringing together the entire historic Royal Pavilion Estate. Previously the council had proposed a two stage process, creating an interim trust and then merging this with Brighton Dome & Festival. The new proposal recommends moving to a single charity in one stage to enable the benefits of joint working and the generation of additional income to support the service, to be felt sooner.

Under the proposal, the RPM would be led by the existing management team, supported by a new board consisting of the shadow board and the current trustees of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival Ltd. This would maintain the focus on providing professional standards of museum management in the service while allowing for innovation in working across the Royal Pavilion Estate and the city’s other museum sites. The trust would also build on the successful Royal Pavilion Estate project which is bringing together the city’s cultural heart by reconnecting the historic Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings and landscape to create a reunified estate.

The new trust, yet to be named, will have a 25- year- contract which will secure the future of the RPM for the long term. Able to take full advantage of charitable giving, tax and rate relief benefits and access a range of fundraising and commercial development opportunities. Other trusts across the country have been very successful in increasing attendances and raising their own income.

Brighton & Hove is a leading tourist destination with the Royal Pavilion, museums, Brighton Dome venues and Brighton Festival among the most popular visitor attractions. More than 11 million people visited the city in 2016, and the Royal Pavilion Estate’s economic impact is around £62 million a year.

Update 29th Jan 2018

Plans to move the Royal Pavilion & Museums to a single new cultural Trust with Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival have been  agreed by the Policy, Resources & Growth Committee. The move will take place on 1st July 2018.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Listed Almshouses graffitied

A huge graffiti mural has been sprayed on the end wall of the Percy and Wagner almshouses in Lewes Road, dating back to 1795. It is thought to have been painted on or about 8 January. The mural, on the side of a charity's Grade 2 listed building is signed with an Instagram 'handle'.  A council investigation is underway

No permission was given by the property owner -  a charitable trust -  or the council, as the body in charge of authorising changes to listed buildings. 

Planning enforcement officers say under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act, altering or extending a listed building without council permission is a criminal offence. The planning authority has spoken to the Chair of Trustees, who is responsible for the almshouses, requesting the wall be repainted within 14 days.  The council says the Trust are equally dismayed at the image and have told officials the wall will be reinstated within this timeframe.

The Trust will have the option to consider civil action against the perpetrator, for costs and damage to the property.

Removing graffiti from private buildings is the responsibility of owners. However the council can intervene to remove racist or obscene graffiti from any surface.

The Corn Exchange - Winter 2107 timelapse

Thursday, 18 January 2018

RSCH redevelopment - stage 1 progress

Bird's-eye view of the construction site for the Stage 1 Building that will open in the winter of 2020/21. It is the larger of the two new buildings the redevelopment will provide. Eastern Road, the main road past the front of the hospital, is at the top of the picture.

The foundation piles for the building have been completed and the excavation work is well underway. Most of the site, except the area immediately adjacent to Eastern Road, will be dug down two and half storeys. This is to accommodate underground car parking and the building’s plant rooms.

Excavations are complete across the north of the site (the bottom of the picture). The buidling’s foundation slab is being constructed in that area. Looking carefully it is possible to see the places where some of the building’s lifts will be installed, towards the bottom of the picture.

Two of the four tower cranes that will be used in the construction of the building are already in place. A third crane is on top of the tower block, working on the construction of the helideck.

Over the next three months: excavations will be completed, the foundation slab will be nearing completion and the other two tower cranes will be set up on site.

An Introduction to the Royal Pavilion

Be transported back in time with an expert guide. Hear stories of King George IV’s impressive banquets, balls and concerts and learn more about the architecture and decorative interiors of the Royal Pavilion.

This event is running on selected dates between 20 January 2018 and 24 March 2018. It is next occurring on 20 January 2018 at 2:30 pm.

Upcoming Dates:
20 January 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
27 January 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
3 February 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
10 February 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
17 February 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
24 February 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
3 March 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
10 March 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
17 March 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm
24 March 2018 at 2:30 pm until 3:30 pm

£4.90 (plus Royal Pavilion admission).
You can buy tickets by telephoning the Events Booking line on 03000 290902 (Mon-Fri), in person at any of our venues, or you can buy tickets online. You can also email if you have any queries.

City gets more cycle stands

Last autumn 74 stands were installed in the Hanover/Elm Grove zone

The city council has just started a last phase for 2017/18 which will see stands installed for 124 bikes, mainly in central Brighton & Hove. Among 10 locations are Western Road, West Street, The Level and Palmeira Square. Two hundred new cycle parking spaces will have been installed in central Brighton & Hove by the end of this financial year.

Since 2006 the council has installed parking for almost 2000 cycles.

Anyone can submit suggestions for locations for cycle stands using a form on the council website New requests will be considered for the 2018/19 financial year.

Abandoned bikes occupying racks – or anywhere else - can be reported on 01273 292929.

Cycling to work across the city doubled between 2001 and 2011 according to the census. Just under five per cent of its population cycle to work. Nine per cent of adult residents cycle at least once a week.

The local BTN Bikeshare scheme, launched last September, is reportedly the UK's most-used outside London.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Litter-picking opportunities

Tidy Up Team member Judy Richardson with litter collected by 11 volunteers in Stanmer Park.

BHCC is setting up the Tidy Up Team - trained volunteers who pledge to spend some of their free time picking up litter in their local park. All Tidy Up Team will be  provided with equipment, materials and tools to collect and dispose of litter safely.

They will be supported by the council’s grounds maintenance and City Clean staff who work hard to keep the city’s green spaces and parks litter free.

The project is being co-ordinated by the council’s Rangers who came up with the idea after residents came out in force to support Great British Spring Clean events last year.

Around 70 volunteers have already signed up for the scheme and are undergoing training. They are asked to spend at least 15 minutes each week picking up litter – there is no maximum time limit and they are encouraged to spend as long as they like! They should also own a mobile phone and have access to email and the internet.

As well as carrying out their own litter picks in their local green spaces, volunteers can join organised monthly litter picks in some of the city’s most problematic areas. Forthcoming events include:

East Brighton Park – BIG Tidy Up Sunday February 4th from 11am
Three Cornered Copse - Great British Spring Clean Saturday March 3rd from 10am
Brighton & Hove Way BIG Tidy Up - Stanmer Woods/Upper Lodges, Sunday March 4th, 10am to 12 noon
Preston Park – #StreetsAhead/Tidy Up Team launch event Sunday March 4th 11am
Victoria Park, Portslade – BIG Tidy Up 14th April

Tidy Up Team volunteers are also encouraged to set up their own litter pick events.

Anyone interested in becoming a Tidy Up Team volunteer can visit the council website and fill in an online form. They will then be added to the waiting list for a training course.

Any questions should be emailed to city parks  or telephone 01273 292929.

Regency Square 200

Do you know:
  • how a schoolmaster managed to start developing Regency Square in 1818?
  • the connection between Welsh coal and Regency Square?
  • Who was the most famous person to live in the Square?
  • What dire crimes were perpetrated in its houses?
  • What is missing from the above photo?
Answers to these fascinating questions and much else will appear in an illustrated book now being researched and written by two long-term residents of the Square.

If you have any photos, letters or personal memories about the Square they would be most welcome. Please contact:
01273 321 794

If you would like to receive a copy of the book and have your name listed in it as a subscriber send a minimum donation of £10 to 'RSAS Bicentenary Fund' to:
Nicola Floyd
1 Queensbury Mews
Brighton, BN1 2FE

The East Street Kiosk

The kiosk before restoration. (West St.) 

Restored and relocated
The former Shelter Hall kiosk at the bottom of West Street has been nicely restored and relocated to the bottom of East Street. A good job seems to have been made of the decorative cast-iron finial and cresting but, so far,  the pendant frieze hasn't reappeared.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Tourism 2016

Latest figures released by Tourism South East show the city attracted a total of 11,234,000 visitors in 2016, an increase of 6.4% on 2015.

On a regional and national level, the overall picture shows that Brighton & Hove is performing well, while England saw visitor numbers increase by 4%, the South East, overall, recorded a decrease of 2%.

Total expenditure by visitors to Brighton & Hove is estimated to have been in the region of £885.9 million in 2016, an increase of 3.2% compared to 2015.

The data also shows the city had  9,627,000 day trippers,  a 5.8% upturn on 2015, while the amount of money spent during their trip increased by 6.2% to £353 million.

The number of overnight stays in the city showed the biggest increase at 1,607,000, just over 10% up on 2015.  Domestic visitors were shown to be the group that had contributed most to this growth with almost 15% more overnight trips made by UK travellers compared with 2015 figures. 

The only figure to have dipped slightly is the number of overnight trips made by overseas visitors, which was down marginally, by 2.1%, though both the length and value of each trip has increased.

About Tourism South East (TSE)
TSE is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to provide services and expertise that supports the performance and growth of tourism businesses and destinations. Services provided include:  domestic and international marketing campaigns, PR and web promotions, training courses, research and visitor information services, networking opportunities and advocacy.

Read more about the Economic Impact of Tourism Study, Brighton & Hove

Stanmer Woods Plan

BHCC Parks Projects Team have put out a draft Stanmer Woodland Management Plan for consultation. The plan will strive to bring the woodland in the Stanmer estate back into active economic management with the aim of sustainable production of timber and woodfuel through the application of sound woodland management practices. This plan will also aim to ensure that the nature conservation, landscape and historic features of the woodland are protected and where practical enhanced. Public access provision will be maintained and the woodland will continue to provide a peaceful and pleasant setting for informal recreational activities.

The draft plan sets out how the woodland can be managed over the next 10 years to:

  • Maintain and preserve open access.
  • Build resilience against Ash Dieback and other diseases and ensure existing woodland cover is maintained.
  • Increase biodiversity and protect nationally and locally rare flora and fauna.
  • Produce semi commercial timber extraction of coppice products, wood fuel and timber. 

The plan is also supporting the Stanmer Restoration Project HLF application by:
  • Protecting historical, archaeological, and environmental elements on the estate.
  • Providing related activities such as rural skills, forest schools and wood based produce.
  • Increase the city’s offer for volunteering work such as coppicing, pollarding, scrub clearing and general woodland management practices.

The Stanmer Park Restoration project is a joint initiative between Brighton & Hove City Council, Plumpton College and South Downs National Park Authority and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) .

Ancient woodland
Find out more and make comments.

Public information sessions will be held on Thursday February 1 and Saturday 3 February 2018 at Stanmer Tea Rooms from 9am to midday.

The plan can also be viewed in full on request at Hollingdean Depot Learning and Resource Centre (please contact the parks projects team 01273 294737 to arrange) and will be available at the Stanmer Tea rooms sessions.

The consultation closes on 12th February 2018.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Graffiti scourge.

From the Brighton & Hove Heritage Commission:-

In the past twelve months Brighton and Hove has become the victim of an epidemic of graffiti, artlessly and indiscriminately scrawled across every unguarded wall and render, or so it seems. No building is safe. Even security shutters are not safe. Property owners hardly dare put up scaffolding for fear of enabling access to these talentless vandals.
It is a well known fact that graffiti, if not removed immediately, quickly leads to even more graffiti which in turn leads to defacement of the whole neighbourhood, like a cancer, bringing the area down both aesthetically and economically as it increasingly resembles a ghetto. Our city already suffers from a large number of empty commercial premises and these are even less likely to be re-let if graffiti is allowed to proliferate. Read on.