Monthly Archives: December 2016

November 2016 Reported Crime Statistics

Sussex Police have released the latest reported crime statistics for November 2016, the latest figures available.

Click on the map for detailed information.

november-2016-crime-map

Here is a brief summary of the crime information for the past two months:

 

October 2016

November 2016

All crime

79

81

Anti-social behaviour

24

20

Bicycle theft

12

5

Burglary

4

3

Criminal damage and arson

3

12

Drugs

1

2

Other crime

3

1

Other theft

7

3

Possession of weapons

0

0

Public order

5

3

Robbery

0

1

Shoplifting

0

0

Theft from the person

0

0

Vehicle crime

9

12

Violence and sexual offences

11

19

Please visit https://www.police.uk/shape/AnxkDj/ for more information including outcomes for these crimes and contact information for your local policing team.

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The Old Railway Allotments

The disused allotments between the railway line and the Open House and several adjoining houses are in process of being cleared of trees preparatory to the building of four houses, the wall separating the land from the station bridge has also been partially demolished for access.

The land was recently sold at auction with planning permission, which had been renewed after lapsing.

Our local councillors, Julie Cattell and Leo Littman, have been in touch with the council to investigate whether the pre-commencement conditions have been complied with.

The site has legitimate planning permission and the breach of the wall is not a planning matter but an issue between the owner of the wall and the developer.

Concerned residents can contact Julie Cattell, who has regular meetings with the head of planning and team leaders, at julie.cattell@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

SRRA provides a forum where residents can come together to work collaboratively over local concerns. Our next meeting is on Saturday 21st January at 10 am at the One Church.

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Three projects that could turn Brighton and Hove into ‘city of concrete’

From The Argus

The Anston House proposal

The Anston House proposal

Three high-rise developments bringing almost 300 new homes and 10,000 sqm of business space have been given the go-ahead despite concerns they will change the very nature of Brighton and Hove.

Projects to redevelop Anston House, a vacant lot in Blackman Street and a former petrol station in Kingsway, Hove, estimated to be worth around £100 million were given planning permission at the city council’s planning committee on the 14th December.

Residents claim the approved plans will set a precedent for much higher buildings – turning Brighton and Hove into “a city of concrete blocks” like Croydon.

Furious campaigners were also critical that the two housing projects fell well below the council’s requirement for 40 per cent affordable housing and warned it was setting “a very low bar” for developers.

Labour councillor Lloyd Russell-Moyle said the council needed to be less “lily-livered” on affordable housing and council policies should be beefed.

The approved schemes will bring back into use three sites that have stood vacant for more than half a century between them.

Councillors were unanimous in their praising of office plans for the vacant lot in Blackman Street which had been a desolate “eyesore” for more than 20 years.

The seven-storey block will bring “desperately needed” grade A office space to the city and potentially support 680 jobs.

A nine-storey block of 55 flats and the redevelopment of the historic Alibi pub in Hove have also been granted consent with just twelve affordable homes.

Save Hove campaigner Valerie Paynter described the old Texaco petrol station project as “a cacophonous pile of boxes” while Conservative Carol Theobald said the building was “ugly”, “too high” and looked like a Lego building.

Anston House sparked the most heated debate during a long planning session with ward councillor Kevin Allen and said the “grotesquely high” towers would be a “Manhattanisation” of the city.

Green councillor Leo Littman warned councillors not to allow “desperation” to cloud their judgement on the decision.

In backing the scheme, Councillor Phelim MacCafferty said it would create a “visionary welcome to the city” while Conservative Lynda Hyde warned that asking for too much from developers would stop them bringing forward schemes.

Resident William Shaw, who spoke against the Anston House redevelopment, said councillors “had nowhere left to go” under pressure to meet housing requirements and meet national housing policy.

He said: “People will be very shocked what is going up in the middle of Brighton.

“For better or worse, this will set a precedent for what Brighton becomes and we don’t want Brighton to become Croydon.”

October 2016 Reported Crime Statistics

Sussex Police have released the latest reported crime statistics for October 2016, the latest figures available.

Click on the map for detailed information.

october-2016-crime-map

Here is a brief summary of the crime information for the past two months:

September 2016

October 2016

All crime

101

79

Anti-social behaviour

43

24

Bicycle theft

5

12

Burglary

11

4

Criminal damage and arson

6

3

Drugs

1

1

Other crime

1

3

Other theft

4

7

Possession of weapons

1

0

Public order

0

5

Robbery

1

0

Shoplifting

1

0

Theft from the person

1

0

Vehicle crime

7

9

Violence and sexual offences

19

11

Please visit https://www.police.uk/shape/AnxkDj/ for more information including outcomes for these crimes and contact information for your local policing team.

Plans for selling parts of Downs put on hold

From The Argus

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Campaigners are celebrating after plans to sell publicly owned downland were put on hold.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy, resources and growth committee voted last night to stall any sales of the remaining sites which had been earmarked.

A joint amendment from Conservative and Green councillors admitted the plans should have received greater scrutiny and changes to council policies were required to prevent such sensitive sales going under the radar in the future.

It followed an intervention by the Keep Our Downs Public campaigners who have been fighting the proposals. Pressure has been mounting on Brighton and Hove and Eastbourne councils to back down over controversial plans to sell publicly owned downland.

South Down chief executive Trevor Beattie this week became the latest environmentalist to call on the councils to rethink their plans while campaigners have again made their voices loud and clear at a public meeting.

Brighton and Hove City Council is in the process of selling more than a dozen buildings and downland farm sites to help fund its project to restore Stanmer Park to its 18th century roots.

The sale of sites at Plumpton Hill and Poynings have been put on hold until January while alternatives to fund the Stanmer Park project are drawn up.

Eastbourne Borough Council is looking to sell more than 3,000 acres of its downland holdings to farmers to finance its development of Devonshire Park.

But moves have come under increasing pressure from environmentalists.

Mr Beattie’s intervention may be the most significant intervention yet as both councils have defended the sell-offs by claiming the land will still be protected by the national park.

He said: “They are not just local assets, they are national legacies. “In every case we have made our concerns clear and called for a rethink about these countryside sales. We urge councils to consider their responsibilities and, if they believe that there really is no alternative, put in place covenants or conditions to protect the land from damaging uses which might not be caught by the planning system.”

At the committee meeting Keep Our Downs Public campaigner Dave Bangs told members there had been “a major failure of vigilance” in allowing the majority of sales to go through already. He called for a permanent stop on all downland sales, redefining of downland as core assets and to begin a public discussion as to the future of the authority’s 12,500 downland estate.

Meanwhile Chris Todd of Friends of the Earth has said it was not enough for Eastbourne Borough Council to give assurances the land would remain as farmland. He said: “When the council received the downland it was on the understanding that it would remain open chalk downland. It was not ploughed up until after the Second World War. What the council really wants to be doing is considering how they can restore some of that open access. People love their downlands which politics seem to forget at their peril.”

Stanmer Park restoration edges closer

From The Argus

stanmer-park

The restoration of a historic park has moved a step closer despite environmentalists’ concerns it will become choked with cars.

The £5.8 million plans to return Stanmer Park to its 18th century roots have moved a step closer after gaining the unanimous support of the South Downs National Park Authority.

The plans were criticised by environmental groups for proposals to increase car parking spaces by 50 per cent with a new car park of more than 250 spaces at the park’s heart.

The park already attracts 300,000 visitors by car annually but that could rise by 40 per cent by 2020.

The next hurdle for the project will come next week when the Heritage Lottery Fund board decide on the project’s funding.

The plans include the restoration of the historic Lower Lodges entrance and doubling its car park, a new kiosk with cycle hire and café, a Green Drive for pedestrians and cyclists and the restoration of the listed Frankland monument.

The park’s Walled Garden will be turned into a working garden with cafe, garden centre and education facilities while the Citypark depot will make way for the new car park and meadows.

Scores of objectors wrote to the authority raising concerns about the loss of trees and increased car parking.

Planning committee members welcomed the project but echoed concerns about car parking in the historical park.

But members also said that it was important the park had sufficient capacity for the growing number of visitors it would need to become sustainable.

Brighton and Hove City Council parks development manager Rob Dumbrell said the restoration project was designed to take Stanmer off Historic England’s at risk register and bring its heritage to wider public attention.

Steve Ankers, speaking on behalf of the South Downs Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England in opposing the plans, said more car park spaces would encourage more motorists when the council should be focussing on sustainable transport options.

He said that commercial growth from a new café and garden centre would come at the expense of the enjoyment of the park.

Speaking after the meeting, Chris Todd from Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, said: “When we supported a national park it was to stop this sort of highly damaging development.

“The superstore sized central car park will generate a large amount of traffic in the park which will undermine its special qualities and could set a dangerous precedent elsewhere in the South Downs.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell, Brighton and Hove City Council’s environment committee chairwoman, said: “We are really pleased that the SDNPA supports our designs that have been influenced by public consultation to restore Stanmer Park to its former Victorian glory.

“Today’s decision is a major step forward in being able to bring the vision of the council and its partners to reality.”

Is it finally the end for Anston House?

From The Argus

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A building dubbed ‘Sussex’s ugliest’ could come tumbling down within the next six months if developers get the green light next week.

Brighton and Hove City Council planning officers have recommended Anston House should be levelled and replaced by a 229-flat complex despite the objections of more than 450 residents. Should planning committee members agree with officers next week, building work could begin early next year and be completed in 2019.

Developers First Base and Hyde Housing are the latest to try their luck in seeing off the nine-storey building which has stood derelict off Preston Road for almost 30 years and which has been the subject of a dozen unsuccessful planning applications in the last 15 years.

The partnership are proposing three towers of between 13 and 15 storeys and three smaller blocks totalling 229 flats though the scheme falls below council’s requirements for 92 affordable homes offering just 46 for shared ownership.

The independent District Valuer has agreed with developers that it is only economically viable to provide half of the required 40 per cent affordable housing.

The applicants say additional café and flexible office space will support 280 new jobs as well as hundreds more during the construction phase as well as bringing £1.3 million of funding for school, transport and recreational improvements through s106 payments. The site will also have 111 car parking spaces which opponents to the scheme have labelled both too many and not enough.

The plans have attracted 465 letters of objection and a petition of more than 3,700 signatures but it does have the backing of Brighton Chamber of Commerce while the Friends of Preston Park believe any overshadowing would not harm visitor’s enjoyment of the park. Opponents to the scheme say it is too high, will have a detrimental impact on parts of Preston Park, offers too few affordable homes and described the design as an “unwelcome return to 1960s and 70s anti-social and unsightly high rises”.

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The council’s heritage officers have also objected saying that at 50 metres in height, the tallest tower would be “unduly assertive and overly dominant”.

A First Base spokeswoman said the firm had designed the buildings to minimise “impact on the local area”, in particular any impact on Preston Park’s rose garden and rotunda while maintaining views of the park for residents living behind Anston House.

She added: “We are really pleased that the planning officers are recommending the plans for approval. We have spent the best part of two years talking to local residents to understand what they want from Anston House. It was really loud and clear that residents wanted to see it go, it is a real blot on the Brighton landscape, and they wanted to see much needed homes and jobs delivered which Brighton needs.”

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