Monthly Archives: November 2015

Parking permit shake up could include direct debit and online payments

From Brighton & Hove News

Residents could be able to pay for parking permits online and via direct debit as part of a proposed review of the city council’s permit system.

parking sign pay and display limited stay

A range of tweaks to the current regime are being proposed in response to a survey carried out over the summer.

For full report click here.

Search begins for a new traveller site

From Brighton & Hove News

The search for where to put a new traveller site in Brighton and Hove is set to begin early next year after the government told the city council it needs to provide 19 new pitches by 2030.

Travellers in Wild Park in August following the closure of the Horsdean site

Travellers in Wild Park in August following the closure of the Horsdean site

Brighton and Hove City Council is [requesting] South Downs National Park Authority to begin to identify possible sites for another 32 pitches, 19 within the urban boundary.

The last search for a suitable site for new pitches lasted years, with about 50 possible sites assessed. Horsdean was eventually chosen, despite opposition to building in the South Downs National Park and fears of possible water contamination.

It’s likely that some of the sites within the city previously dismissed, such as Hangleton Bottom and Sheepcote, will now be reassessed.

Meanwhile, the number of unauthorised traveller camps on public space is expected to rise following the closure of Horsdean so it can be extended to build 12 new permanent pitches to add to the existing 21 transit pitches.

A traveller strategy update, to be discussed at Tuesday 24th November’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee says while capacity was reduced at Horsdean last year for drainage investigations, the number of unauthorised camps rose, from 52 in 2013/14 to 89 in 2014/15. The report says the rise was also due to travellers being moved on 17.5% more quickly in 2014/15 compared to the previous year.

The closure of Horsdean not only means the travellers staying there were moved out, but also that police are not able to use one of the powers available to them to move on camps quickly, which requires an official site within the local authority boundaries to be available. The site is due to reopen next summer.

Committee chair Gill Mitchell said: “Whilst it is difficult with the closure of our transit site, the opening of the new site in 2016 will means that Brighton and Hove has taken a major step in increasing its pitch capacity to help tackle unauthorised encampments and meeting our duty of care.

“We remain committed to taking a firm and fair approach that will not only reduce the inequalities experienced by travellers but will also support community cohesion.”

The report notes that since 2012, the average stay of an unauthorised encampment has dropped from 20 days to eight. It also details defences improved at city parks, while saying that lack of money and the park’s topography limits what can be done to proactively prevent camps.

It says: “Defences have been improved on the car parks at Stanmer but this has largely just displaced the travellers onto the grass areas within the park but has kept the car parks clearer for the public to use.

“A new type of width restrictor at Wild Park has recently been installed which will restrict access by larger vehicles when the café is not open.

“Mobile cameras have not been installed but are still being considered. The difficulty has been that cameras that will provide evidential standard images can not be run from batteries. It would therefore require significant investment to install and maintain cameras and in a time of limited budgets the potential effectiveness needs to be considered carefully. ”

The council in conjunction with the police are looking at the possibility of using public service protection orders (PSPOs) to protect the most sensitive parks.

It has also been in liaison with the Environment Agency and Southern Water to enhance our sensitive site profiles and include environmental risks and risks to water supply so that this can be taken into account when assessing the potential impact of a UAE.

Police have reviewed and amended their PIER (Prevention, Intelligence, Enforcement and Reassurance) plan and are providing three dedicated Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officers.

As well as site availability and community cohesion, the report also focuses on traveller health, safety and wellbeing and education outcomes.

The new Traveller Education Unit reports an improvement in school attendance from Traveller children. All primary school age children residing on the transit site enrolled in school and 140 pre-school children have accessed the Playbus.

However, there was poor take-up from secondary aged children and while the transit site is closed, it has been difficult to engage traveller children with education opportunities whilst they are on unauthorised encampments.

Viaduct Road plantpots could be replaced by communal bins

From Brighton & Hove News

Controversial plantpot chicanes placed in Viaduct Road have been declared a success and will now pave the way for a permanent traffic calming scheme –  which could replace them with communal bins.

Viaduct Road pic

The big black plant pots, rescued after they were taken away from the front of the Duke of York’s to create a mini-square, were placed in the road in February, to the consternation of many motorists.

But in just the first week, speeds in the 20mph road dropped from an average of above 40mph to 23.5mph – and now the planters have had a chance to be monitored over several months, a permanent scheme is on the way.

And at the request of residents, it could make space for communal bins by providing build-outs in the road – which would also help solve the problem of wheelie bins being left on the narrow pavements.

A council spokesperson said: “The temporary planter chicane scheme in Viaduct Road has been successful and traffic speeds have significantly reduced.

“We are now in the process of designing a permanent scheme which could also incorporate communal bins which have been requested by residents.”

The trial followed requests from the London Road Local Action Team, which approached the council about ways to spruce up the whole road.

A request to house owners to freshen up their paintwork prompted two landlords to commission renowned Brighton graffiti artist AroeMSK to paint two murals across four houses.

Playbus under threat from looming council cuts

From Brighton and Hove News

Brighton and Hove’s popular Playbus could be permanently cut after Christmas as it becomes the latest potential victim of the city council’s cuts.

The council's Playbus team

The council’s Playbus team

The bus’s Facebook page announced the plans, which it expects to be decided at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting in November.

Now, scores of people have signed a petition started by Hangleton ward’s Conservative councillors Dawn Barnett, Nick Jewry and Tony Janio.

Brighton dad David Allen commented on Facebook: “If Playbus goes it will be a disaster as it really is a unique service and will hit areas of the city where it is needed most.”

And Brighton mum Gemma Trilochun added: “I really hope this can not and will not happen. I can not imagine a school holiday without you all on the Playbus and watching my girls enjoying the freedom to play safe outside.”

The Playbus is one of many council services under threat of cutbacks as a result of an expected 40% decrease in the city’s Government grant over the next four years, totalling £100m or £25m a year.

SRRA Committee Meeting Tues. 10th November

The next committee meeting is on Tuesday 10th November at 7.30 pm, in the hall of the One Church, Southdown Avenue entrance.

 Agenda –

Welcome and apologies

Minutes and Matters Arising

Sub Group reports:

Streets in Bloom, Trees and Environment

Outreach

Treasurers Report

Xmas Party and Streetplay

Membership of committee and future planning

AOB 

All members are welcome, if you have any topics you would like to raise please let us know by email – southdownrise@gmail.com or via the website.

Plans to repair Madeira Terraces taking shape

From Brighton & Hove News

Details of how Brighton and Hove City Council plans to restore the Madeira Arches have begun to emerge after council leader Warren Morgan gave residents a sneak preview.

Madeira terraces fenced off. Picture by Ken Frost

Cllr Morgan posted a page from a report to be discussed by councillors next week on a Facebook page set up to discuss how to repair the Victorian walkways and arches.

It revealed the council has made an application for a £50,000 grant to develop a master plan and investment options, which should be decided next Sunday, and that the Greater Brighton Economic Board agreed to put the terraces in its project funding pipeline.

Posting last night, Cllr Morgan said: “This is an extract from the Major Projects report going to the Economic Development and Culture Committee on the 12th.

“It is the preliminary step of the restoration process and whilst it does not detail our plans, I hope that it shows that a process, however slow, is underway.”

Parts of the terraces have been closed since December 2013 after engineers uncovered serious structural flaws, and after it was discovered the whole structure is compromised, fencing has been erected around it in case of collapse.

The report reads: “Surveying showed that the steel beams embedded in the concrete, supporting the deck of the Terraces, have corroded and the cast iron has come to the end of its useful life.

“Repairs cannot be made and a rebuild is likely to be needed. Engineers recently advised that the entire length of the structure should now be closed. The temporary fencing will be replaced with a more permanent anti-climb fencing in the winter following the busy summer season.”

Another report due to be heard by next Thursday’s economic development and culture committee about Madeira Drive road closures says: “The closure of the Madeira Terraces has not currently resulted in a reduction in proposals for events on Madeira Drive.

“However, the safety fence adjacent to the Terraces has impacted upon the operational requirements of some events. The council is seeking a long term solution to replace the Madeira Terraces which are beyond repair.

“It will be important that this solution enhances Madeira Drive as an events venue and assists with the long term economic sustainability of the 157 area. In the meantime, the council is liaising with tenants of seafront businesses in the area to identify potential improvements in the short term. ”

 

How much would you pay for policing in Sussex?

From Katy Bourne, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner –

How much would you pay for policing in Sussex?

One of the responsibilities of Police and Crime Commissioners is to set the budget for policing.

A small proportion of the cost of policing is paid from your council tax with the rest coming directly from Government. This local council tax element is called the precept, which I set each year following close consultation with local taxpayers.

As your PCC in Sussex, I have to consider the Chief Constable’s operational policing plan and determine whether the amount you pay for policing locally should stay the same or rise to allow investment in key areas.

I have launched a public consultation to find out if local taxpayers would be prepared to pay an additional amount next year, per household, to enable me to invest directly in two areas that the Chief Constable has highlighted as priorities for policing:

1. Protecting children and vulnerable adults in Sussex from exploitation and abuse.

2. Digital forensic capability to retrieve, analyse and store information held on computers, mobiles and tablets.

You can find out more about these investment proposals and have your say in the public consultation here: https://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/public-consultations/.

I hope you will complete the short online survey and encourage your networks to have their say in the consultation as well. Your feedback is important to me – thank you for taking the time to tell me what you think.

The consultation will remain open until Friday 8 January 2016. Once it has closed I am duty-bound to inform the Sussex Police and Crime Panel of my considerations. This decision will be reviewed by the Panel on Friday 22 January 2016.

Best wishes

Katy Bourne

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner