Monthly Archives: February 2015

Pay-as-you-feel cafe makes most of landfill food

From The Argus

Real Junk Food

CHEFS are creating dishes from ingredients destined for landfill at the first “pay-as-you-feel” community cafe in Brighton.

Based at One Church, Gloucester Place, the weekly cafe celebrated its launch event on Friday, February 20, by inviting the hungry and the eco-conscious in equal measure.

Currently known as The Real Junk Food Project Brighton Cafe, the chefs take food that can no longer be sold in supermarkets and turn it into healthy meals. Director Adam Buckingham, 29, said: “We collect food from various places, but usually anywhere that is kind enough to donate it to us.

“We are trained chefs so we know how to trust our senses – our knowledge isn’t based upon what date it says on the packet.

“Our aim is to abolish waste and highlight the scale of the problem so we can sustainably get to a zero-waste future.”

A big part of the appeal is that those with nothing can still eat at the cafe.

Mr Buckingham added: “The pay-as-you-feel system values the individual because everyone deserves to eat and everyone has something to give, be it their time, their effort, their ideas or their inspiration.

“We want to encourage people to think about what that plate of food means to them and what they can give as an individual.”

Customers who attended the launch event praised the quality of the food on offer and voiced their support for the idea and aims of the project. Chloe Thwaites, 27, a primary school teacher from Worthing, said: “What’s so incredible is that this food would have been in a landfill.

“It’s fresh, it’s gorgeous and I couldn’t tell the difference.

“I think cafes like this work really well and should be more widespread.”

Anne Weinhold, 35, who works at Sussex Wildlife Trust, added: “It’s a very fair pricing system. Those who can afford to pay, pay. Those who can’t get a free and wholesome meal.”

Currently staffed entirely by volunteers The Real Junk Food Project Brighton Cafe is expected to be open at One Church every Friday from 1pm to 3pm, but is looking for a more permanent home so it can be open for the whole week.

For more details visit facebook.com/pages/The-Real-Junk-Food-Project-Brighton/246123485595051

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Open Market shortlisted for awards

From Brighton & Hove News

Brighton’s popular Open Market, has been shortlisted for a hat-trick of national awards.

The market has been nominated for the best regeneration, best community involvement and best tourism/leisure project in the upcoming Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors south east awards.

The new Open Market officially reopened for business on Saturday, 19 July 2014 after several years of development and as part of the regeneration of the London Road area.

Over 50 tenants now offer fresh, locally sourced food and goods, as well as a variety of arts, crafts, services and garden goods.

Green councillor Geoffrey Bowden, Brighton and Hove City Council’s tourism and culture spokesman, said: “The Open Market is an excellent example of regeneration and community involvement which has been many years in the making.

“I’m really pleased that it has now been shortlisted for this award, which further highlights the contribution it is making to the revival of the London Road area of our city.

“With its offerings of local produce, crafts and even entertainment, the Open Market is a great focal point for residents and is fast becoming a visitor attraction in its own right”

Managed by the Brighton Open Market Community Interest Company (CIC), as a social enterprise run for the benefit of the local community, its board has representatives from the market traders, the council, The Ethical Property Company and The Hyde Group, who developed the site and run 87 homes for rent and shared ownership adjacent to it.

£8 million funding of Valley Gardens project confirmed

From The Argus

£8 million funding of Valley Gardens project confirmed

£8 million worth of funding for the transformation of Brighton and Hove city centre has been confirmed.

Brighton and Hove City Council has been granted £8 million of government funding for the Valley Gardens project following a Coast-to-Capital LEP meeting today.

The Green administration said the confirmed funding brought the total of external finance that has been won during their term for city improvements to £70million.

Under the scheme, general traffic will be restricted to the eastern side of the central junction around Victoria Gardens while the western side will be used by buses and taxis.

A central green space will be increased with hundreds of extra trees and improved transport for pedestrians and cyclists. The first two phases of the scheme will require an additional £2 million from the council.

On Monday, Labour transport lead Gill Mitchell voted against taking the funding bid to the LEP citing fears of the long-term financial risk the scheme opened the council up to.

Green councillor and transport lead Ian Davey said pulling out of the bid at such a late stage would have damaged the council’s “credibility” and put a further £12m worth of bids at risk.

He added: “This is brilliant news for the city: a ‘thumbs up’, at national and regional level, for the Green administration’s ideas for improving travel and the local environment.

“The project will carry on the fine work that has been done at The Level, and the ongoing improvements at the iconic St Peter’s Church, stretching down through the gardens to the Royal Pavilion, transforming this green heart of our city.”

Slow Ride Around Preston Park Cycle Track

Post updated 20 Feb 2015.

From Brighton & Hove News

Organisers of a campaign to save the Preston Park Velodrome are to stage a slow-ride around the track to raise awareness.

The ride, which is billed as the first of many, will take place on Saturday, 28 February at 11am.

The velodrome has been closed for racing since mid-January after British Cycling said it was too dangerous to use for competitive events.

Within hours, a campaign had been launched, and less than a month later, a petition urging Brighton and Hove City Council to make repairs has now got 3,164 signatures.

Preston Park velodromeCampaigner Kim Fortescue Talwar said: “It’s brilliant to see so much support for the Velodrome, and an raised awareness of the risk of losing competitive cycling at Preston Park’s historic track is important in ensuring that the council is aware of, and acts on, the concerns of the cycling community.

“Since the launch of the petition, the council and British Cycling have had further meetings to discuss the repairs and costs involved, and agree a way forward for the work required. I am, however, unable to give you any further details of these costs at this time.

“The local cycling community, including Preston Park Youth Cycling Club, continue to be proactive in ensuring that a future is secured for Preston Park Velodrome and all cyclists in Brighton and the South East.”

A spokesman for British Cycling said: “British Cycling recognises the value of the Preston Park facility to local users and we are working with Brighton and Hove City Council to find a solution as quickly as possible.

“The track was closed to competitive cycling after users of the track identified, in particular, the fencing but also other aspects of the track as in need of repair.

“Some repairs were carried out by Brighton and Hove City Council but concerns remain about certain parts of the track where it is thought that safety may be compromised in competitive events.

“British Cycling has met with representatives from the council to discuss the work. They acknowledge there are still some challenges which need to be addressed and they have agreed they will to look into what will be required to bring the track up to standard.

“In the meantime, British Cycling has commissioned a condition survey of our own which will include an assessment of the cost to repair the fencing and carry out the remedial work required.

“Like the hundreds of people in the area who value the facility, we look forward to competitive cycling returning to Preston Park in the near future.”

Local Children’s Centres saved from merger

From Brighton & Hove News

Two children’s centres which were facing closure under plans to merge them with larger centres are no longer at risk under revised budget plans.

The original plans to merge Hollingbury & Patcham and City View centres were part of the Green administration’s substitute budget which would be implemented should a referendum be held and voters reject plans for a 5.9% council tax rise.

But following what the council called “overwhelming feedback”, the council today said these cuts would no longer form part of that substitute budget, which would instead use one-off early years funding to keep them open.

However, the West Hove and Cornerstone children’s centres would still have services such as new parent courses and stay and play sessions cut and be downgraded to linked sites.

And while Labour today pledged to table amendments to keep all four centres open, it is not known how the Conservative’s preferred option, a council tax freeze, would affect them.

Founder of the Brighton Children’s Centres Campaign Leila Erin-Jenkins said: “We are not happy with this as it is still a cut, just a slightly lesser one. It’s just not good enough and it only solves this for one year.

“And this one-off early years funding, is this not robbing Peter to pay Paul? This looks like a cut in another area that will affect children, it’s a red herring in our opinion.”

“There is still a million being cut from social work teams, this is still a major concern to the group.”

Pinaki Ghoshal, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Executive Director of Children’s Services, said the council had listened to parents.

He said: “We have listened to parents, staff and partners and what we have been told is that our children’s centre services are highly valued. Parents strongly argued that universal groups are effective in reaching all parents including those who need most support.

“We have now adjusted our proposals in response to this feedback. We will offer drop-in groups for parents with babies that are not yet crawling but will no longer offer separate courses for new parents. The savings we have to make mean that we have to reduce the number of Stay and Play groups that we run.

“These proposal will now go to budget-setting council meeting on February 26.”

“No children’s centre will be ‘closed’. The title ‘Children’s Centre’ is a statutory legal definition. Under the revised proposals two of the 12 centres would lose this specific legal status and those are West Hove and Cornerstone.

“All of these buildings would remain open and would continue to provide some services for young children including health visiting. Cornerstone is a community centre that runs a wide range of services.

“We have been working very successfully for a number of years to develop the capacity of local parents and carers to run or assist on a volunteer basis at groups that operate at children’s centres.

“Many parents have found this role very enjoyable and fulfilling, and in some cases the training and experience they have gained has enabled them to find paid employment. We want to increase the number of parents able to volunteer in this way. We would continue to offer rooms at all our centres free of charge to parent-run groups. We are not trying to stop these groups happening and we hope they will continue to operate.”

However, the changes were dismissed as not going far enough by Labour group leader Warren Morgan.

He said: “This is a minimal and knee-jerk response by the Greens to Labour’s pledge to fund all services at risk using the money they set aside for a referendum.

“Labour is committed to defending family services.”

The original proposals set out in the consultation were put together by Children’s Services in the context of a funding gap of £100 million over the next four years due to rising costs and the council losing government funding.

The council’s priority has been to maintain services for those families in greatest need of support. Proposals included reducing the number of designated children’s centres from 12 to 8 and time limiting groups open to everyone with an eight week course for new parents and a term long course for children under two.

The consultation closed on 2 February with 842 responses. A summary of the consultation is being published on the council’s website. The majority of responders disagreed with the rationale and the proposals. Half of all responders agreed that children and families who need more help should be given priority for services.

Hollingbury and Patcham, and City View will be retained as designated children’s centres while Cornerstone and West Hove will be re-designated as linked sites. This means that they will continue to offer provision for young children and their families.

All designated children’s centres will offer an on-going, open-access drop-in group for non-mobile babies. There will be fewer stay and play groups across the city but each children’s centre will offer one open access group, with more groups in areas where children have the lowest education and health outcomes.

Council staff will continue to provide home based interventions for families with the highest needs and funding will be retained for childcare places for children with child protection and early help plans. Transition funding will also be offered for voluntary sector partners.

The revised plans include one-off funding from the Early Years element of the Dedicated Schools Grant set aside for early years work.

This funding means that the impact in the proposed reduction of the council’s funding for children’s centre funding falls from £779,000 to £510,000.

The DSG will fund child care places for children with Early Help and Child Protection Plans for 2015/16. The use of childcare places will be reviewed as part of the children’s services value for money programme.

The Brighton Children’s Centres Campaign are still intending on holding a protest march next Thursday, 26 February, starting at New Road at 4pm and travelling along Western Road to Hove Town Hall for the 4.30pm full council meeting.

Speeds on Viaduct Road drop by 20mph in first week of planter experiment

From Brighton & Hove News

Cars driving along Viaduct Road after a controversial trial involving plant pot chicanes are travelling about 20mph slower than before.

Viaduct Road picThe pots were placed in the busy road, which forms part of one of the city’s main arterial routes, on Monday.

The trial followed a drive by the London Road Local Action Team to improve the feel of the residential road, where 80% of drivers exceed the speed limit.

And in the first week, average speeds have dropped from being in the early 40mphs to 23.5mph – which is still above the 20mph limit.

The scheme has drawn criticism from motorists who say it is only a matter of time before they cause an accident.

But the council says the planters are safe if motorists stick to the speed limit. It also says although the pots are adequately lit according to guidance, it will be adding further traffic signs to each one.

The council’s road safety team manager Martin Heath said  “We are closely monitoring the effectiveness of the scheme along with any feedback from residents and other road users.

“These obstructions will not present a problem to compliant motorists travelling at reasonable speeds (20mph speed limit).

“Average off-peak speeds pre-planters was in early 40mphs. During Week one this has reduced to 23.54mph (highest speed recorded 56mph). Further measurements will be taken in week two.”

Petition to allow 30 mins free parking in Preston Drove

Fiveways Traders Association have launched a petition to allow up to 30 minutes free parking for their customers.

“We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to amend the Zone J pay and display parking scheme to allow free short term parking for customers visiting Preston Drove businesses. We are requesting specifically that free parking should be allowed for up to 30 minutes with no return within 2 hours

Introduction of Pay & Display parking in Preston Drove has had a detrimental impact on trade for businesses in the area.

We believe that allowing customers to park for free for the first 30 minutes of their stay will encourage shoppers to return to regular use of local shops. We understand that precedent has already been set, as such a scheme currently operates in Matlock Road.

We would hope that this option would also be considered when the new zoned parking to the North of Preston Drove is operational.”