Monthly Archives: January 2015

Brighton and Hove is the least affordable area in the south east for young people wanting to buy their first home

The views expressed here are those of Andy Winter and not necessarily those of SRRA.

 

Andy Winter's Blog

Shelter has produced a report showing that, outside London, Brighton and Hove is the most unaffordable town or city in the south east when it comes to young people trying to get onto the housing ladder.

Shelter calculates that a childless couple would have to save for 10.2 years, a couple with children for 18.6 years, and a single person for 21 years, before being able to afford a deposit. The figures are based on average wages, house prices, rents and spending on essentials.

In my opinion, the chances of first time buyers being able to afford a home in Brighton and Hove has been well beyond the reach of ordinary people for some time. They have been priced out by escalating property prices caused by an acute shortage of affordable housing, people selling up in London and moving to the coast, and private investors, some of whom have no…

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Saltdean Lido restoration wins £2.3m

From The Argus

Lido

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dream of bringing an iconic art deco lido back into its prime has moved a step closer with a £2.3 million financial boost from the Government.

Plans to return Saltdean Lido to its 1930s glory have moved a step closer to reality with the significant investment from the Coastal Communities Fund announced today.

Saltdean Lido is one of four projects in Sussex sharing almost £5 million with projects in Worthing, Eastbourne and Hastings also getting backing from a nationwide pot of £36 million.

The news comes at the start of a big week for Lido campaigners with an announcement on another sizeable multi-million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund expected within days.

If successful, both grants would go a long way to meeting the estimated £10 million cost of the project which has doubled in the past year as the need for more extensive work has been found.

The Coastal Communities Fund investment will go towards plans to modify the Lido’s main pool in removing a segregating wall, building a new volleyball court, refurbishing the paddling pool facilities and five-year consent for temporary changing rooms and toilets with timber decking, an entrance kiosk and beach huts which won planning permission last month.

Funding is also needed for refurbishment work on the historic Grade II* listed lido building which project organisers hope to transform into a year-round tourist and leisure destination, community hub and heritage centre.

The lido closed to the public in 2010 and the Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company were granted a 60-year lease by Brighton and Hove City Council in 2013.

Rebecca Crook, chairwoman of Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company, said: “Today’s news is a massive boost for the lido.

“We will now be able to restore the pools and outside area and provide residents and visitors with a beautiful place to swim and relax.

“I would like to thank the volunteer directors who continue to dedicate hours and hours to restore this unique space and local MP Simon Kirby.”

‘Schoolboy error’ blamed for refuse workers’ industrial action

From The Argus

Union bosses claim a “schoolboy error” has led to binmen taking up renewed industrial action.

Refuse lorry drivers have revived ‘work to rule’ after talks broke down between members of the GMB and Brighton and Hove City Council.

The latest campaign of industrial action is part of the same dispute over job descriptions, which resulted in a work to rule from September to November last year.

Mark Turner, GMB organiser, said the council had made a “schoolboy error” by setting up a “corporately led” panel to look at the proposals without union input, with members complaining it was not impartial.

The union boss argued a new evaluation of job descriptions to reflect drivers’ responsibility and efforts had taken “a step backwards”. Mr Turner said that despite increased financial and legal responsibilities, the job did not move up a single point on the council’s grading scale.

He said: “We could not possibly comment on future strike action; we could not rule it in and we could not rule it out.

“We hope it does not happen but we hope the employer sees some sense.”

Councillor Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour group, said: “We are very disappointed that this dispute hasn’t been resolved and that residents will again see their bins go unemptied.

“We want to see Cityclean compete and expand into commercial waste collection, and that can’t happen while industrial relations are so bad.””

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “The trade union bosses need to accept the verdict of the independent job evaluation panel so that the workforce can get on with the job that residents rightly expect them to do.

“Residents are sick to the back teeth of these antics, which don’t seem to happen anywhere else in the country.”

Richard Bradley, head of Cityclean and Parks, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the GMB has notified us of the driver charge hands’ intention to ‘work to rule’.

“It is a decision that will lead to further disruption to residents at a time when we would want to be working together to put the service in the best place possible to face future challenges. The union has a right of appeal against the job evaluation, which they have not yet pursued.”

Campaign to “save” Preston Park velodrome

Thousands of cycling enthusiasts have joined a campaign to “save” the Preston Park velodrome after it was declared unsafe for racing.

Preston Park velodromeThis week British Cycling said that it no longer met competition standards which means that the clubs who use it such as the Sussex Cycle Racing League have had to suspend racing events there.

A Facebook page set up yesterday stated its aim as to: “not just make things ‘good enough’ for British Cycling to confirm that it can once again be used for racing, but that we raise enough pressure to make sure the track is improved to the highest degree so that future generations of cyclists can enjoy track racing in Brighton.

“The track could be the centre of excellence for cycling.”

By 7pm on Wednesday 21st January, more than 3,640 people had joined the campaign there, and a petition on Brighton and Hove City Council’s website signed by about 250 people.

The council, which owns the track, said it was looking into ways of repairing the track.

A spokesman said: “We are in communication with British Cycling and working with them. The cycle track in Preston Park no longer meets their competition standards as they are very different from day to day requirements.

“The cycle track is safe for non-competitive use and continues to be well used on a very regular basis.

“The council is looking to identify the cost associated with bringing the cycle track up to British Cycling competition standards and we are hoping British Cycling will assist us with this exercise. We then need to explore potential sources of funding.”

Planning for 2015 – after the AGM

London Road Station Partnership Blog

Xmas 2014 decorations at LRB Xmas 2014 decorations at LRB

It’s that time of year. We’ve moved on from Christmas, but it’s still dark and wet. Never mind – a good time for meeting and looking forward. We’ve just had our Annual General Meeting: our report and accounts can be viewed under Documents above or by clicking here. And here are four key things we want to work on for 2015, in addition to our usual work on the edible plot and the shady triangle of shade-loving ornamental plants.

1. We hope to be bringing splashes of colour again to the area when we plant up (or renew planting in): 3 planters on station platform, the tree pits in Shaftebury Place, 2 planters at The Signalman and the hollows of the trees cut down on Ditchling Rise. We’ve overwintered and propagated lots of geraniums and fuchsias ready for late spring planting, we’ve also got alyssum seedlings…

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Council waste panel recruitment

Brighton & Hove City Council is looking for volunteers to take part in residents’ focus groups about waste, recycling, street cleaning and parks’ services.

You’ll receive a high street shopping voucher that can be used across a wide number of stores, in return for sharing your experiences and views on the way your council deals with these facilities.

You should be able to commit to taking part in three group meetings over a six-month period (for a maximum two hours each time).

It is important to hear your feedback and to help shape future services particularly in light of the forthcoming budget reductions.

The council would like to hear from a cross-section of people, so whether you are a homeowner, sharing a flat or renting a property, if you are interested in participating, please send us your details using the online waste panel recruitment form on our consultation portal.

We’re looking for a maximum of 15 people from across the city and will get back to you to confirm as soon as possible.

Many parking charges to rise under new plan

From The Argus, full story here

Parking charges in some areas of the city are set to double if new proposals are accepted.

The planned set of charges has been published by Brighton and Hove City Council ahead of a decision on January 20.

As well as an increase in fees at most of the local authority’s car parks, there is also a planned widespread rise in permit fees.

Most on-street parking charges will also go up.

One hour of parking at the council’s Regency Square, Trafalgar Street and The Lanes car parks would increase from £1 for the first hour to £2 (100%).

There are other proposed increases across the car parks with two hours at Trafalgar Street up £3.50 to £4 (14.3%), four hours up £6 to £7 (16.7%) and an hour at the weekend up from £2 to £2.50 (25%).

However, there are falls in charges at Regency Square car park with two hours down from £5 to £4 (-20.0%) and four hours falling from £12 to £7 (-41.7%).

Meanwhile a quarterly season ticket would fall from £650 to £300 (–53.8%) and an annual season ticket from £2,000 to £1,000 (–40.0%).

The proposals also include a fall in quarterly season tickets at Trafalgar Street from £1,000 to £400 (–60.0%) and annual season tickets down £2,000 to £1,200 (–40.0%).

However, there is little else in the way of savings for motorists with residents also facing a rise in the cost of parking permits.

If the plans are accepted, a one year permit would increase from £120 to £125 (4.2%) with visitor day permits going up 7.7% from £2.60 to £2.80.

Much of the city’s pay–and–display parking will also increase above inflation if the proposals are accepted.

The changes include an increase in one hour tickets in Madeira Drive, west of Madeira Lift, Marine Parade and King’s Road, from £3 to £3.20 (6.7%).

Elsewhere two hours will increase from £4 to £4.20 (5.0%) along Kingsway east of Fourth Avenue, Central Brighton North (Cheapside and The Level), New Steine, and Madeira Drive east of Madeira Lift.

The proposals will be discussed and voted on at the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee on January 20.

It is predicted the changes would raise an extra £800,000 for the council. The extra cash would be put towards other transport schemes.

Last year the local authority raised £25.8 million from its parking operations – the highest out of any council in the country outside London.

The £11 million profit was used to fund concessionary bus travel, road maintenance, road safety and public transport improvements.

Members of the council’s Conservative group have slammed the proposed above inflation increases – describing them as “counterproductive”.

Councillor Graham Cox, group transport spokesman, said: “The proposed increases are completely inappropriate and are a further blow to residents, businesses and visitors in the city who have already had to put up with huge increases in previous years.

“We will do everything we can to try and reverse these proposed hikes and to put an end to the parking rip–off reputation that Brighton and Hove has unfortunately gained in recent years.”

Coun Ann Norman said the council was “blind” to the fact it would drive visitors away.

The council’s Labour group also spoke out against the proposals.

Coun Gill Mitchell, the party’s environment spokesman, said: “We have always been clear that above–inflation price increases to parking charges are unacceptable and we are astounded to see the Greens propose 100% increases to some charges.”

Green coun Ian Davey, the council’s lead member for transport and chairman of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, pointed out many prices would be frozen.

He said: “The Conservatives are again choosing to ignore the fact that for the third year running many prices are frozen and others, following last year’s price cuts, are going down again by over 50%.

“We reduced the one hour rate in city centre car parks in 2012, even with this proposed increase they remain 20% cheaper than the Tories’ charges when they were last in power.”

Among the charges to be frozen include all charges other than the one hour fare in The Lanes car park and one hour parking across the council’s medium and low zone pay–and–display.

However, Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said the proposals were worrying for residents and businesses.

He said: “We are spending more than we are taking and the poor motorist is paying the cost.

“The motorist is paying for everything but getting the least space on the road. The bicycle lanes are getting wider and everything has to be paid for by the motorists – it is unfair.”