Monthly Archives: January 2017

Downland sales halted again

Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth

City Councillors have rejected a recommendation to resume the sale of Plumpton Hill and Poynings Field. The sales had been suspended in December, as a result of widespread outrage at the prospect of flogging off these vital parts of the City’s historic 12,500 acre Downland Estate.

At a meeting on 19 January Conservative and Green councillors passed a motion requiring the sale of the two vulnerable sites to be referred to a new Policy Review Panel. The sales were intended to part-fund the controversial Stanmer Park Project and to contribute to the alleviation of the Council’s debt.

All the Downland that has been sold or is threatened with sale is within the South Downs National Park.

Keep Our Downs Public is a coalition of local people which was formed in 1994-5 to successfully fight the proposed privatisation of the whole Downland Estate by the then ruling Labour Party. A new Keep…

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IKEA store, 600 homes and 1,000 jobs in £170m development?

IKEA will finally be coming to Sussex as part of a £170 million development led by Brighton and Hove Albion, The Argus can reveal.


The Swedish furniture giant’s first Sussex store will be built alongside 600 new homes and a primary school as part of the major redevelopment of a former landfill site off the A27.

The development is set to create more than 1,000 jobs in total, contribute £11 million to the local economy and bring £40 million of transport improvements including the removal of the Sussex Pad traffic lights.

The plans at New Monks Farm in Lancing represent the biggest project financially in Albion’s history – larger even than its award-winning stadium.

It is hoped that Ikea could be opened by summer 2019 with the mix of houses and flats delivered over an eight year period.

A £20 million investment in new warehouses at Shoreham Airport will “secure the long-term future of the airport”.

A 28 hectare country park is planned to maintain a green gap between Lancing and Shoreham while Albion will form a management company to deal with flood risk issues on the site.

Thirty per cent of the homes will be affordable, the club is in detailed discussions with Cala Homes to deliver the housing on site.

Adur District Council will benefit from £2.75 million in council tax and business rates from the completed scheme.

Martin Perry, director of Albion subsidiary New Monks Farm Development Ltd, said the scheme would bring huge benefits to the local economy while helping to protect the club’s neighbouring £30 million training ground and pay off some of the £200 million chairman Tony Bloom had invested into the club.

He added: “In addition to the significant employment generated through this development by IKEA, 600 homes for local families will be created, supported by a new primary school, a country park and replacing the Sussex Pad traffic lights with a major new roundabout on the A27 will improve the situation for commuters and open up new job opportunities on Shoreham Airport.”

The 35,000 sqm IKEA store will include a restaurant, crèche and children’s play area creating 430 full and part-time jobs in customer relations, sales, interior design and food services.

IKEA real estate manager Tim Farlam said: “This site presents a great opportunity, given its scale, accessibility and location.

“A new store here would provide people from the greater Brighton area with relevant home furnishing solutions and will create local jobs.”

Councillor Neil Parkin, Adur District Council leader, said he was pleased to see strong investment interest being shown in Lancing.

He added: “We are clear that we want to attract world class developments which create homes and jobs for local people.

“The proposal must fully address concerns the local community has around flooding and sustainable development at this key site through a clear and convincing business case.”

Brighton and Hove City Council leader, councillor Warren Morgan, welcomed the news.

He said: “Brighton and Hove City Council helped IKEA review sites within the city with a view to finding a home for a new store but we were unable to find anywhere that was suitable.

“We are delighted that IKEA is locating within the greater Brighton area, particularly given their commitment as a real living wage employer.

“The jobs and training opportunities that the new store will bring is great news for everyone living in the greater Brighton region.”


Sussex has been trying to wow Swedish trendsetters IKEA for years.

Sites in Crawley and Ferring were mooted but nothing ever materialised.

The statement IKEA issued last week to local media was the same issued in 2013; it had been considering Sussex for a long time but never found the right location. That is until Albion entered the fray and snapped them up.

Executive director Martin Perry said: “IKEA have been looking around, they did a review of sites in Brighton and we were aware of this interest.

“We approached them, they came and looked at the site, liked it and it went from there.”

Mr Perry said IKEA was an ideal partner because they shared a similar ethos.

He said: “IKEA share our values, they are exemplar employers, they are a real living wage employer.

“IKEA have very strong sustainability credentials, wherever possible they like brownfield sites and this site ticked that box because it was used for landfill.”

There was also a financial necessity for bringing in IKEA – few retailers operate on a similar scale.

Mr Perry said: “The costs of the infrastructure are massive. This development secures the airport’s long-term future but you have to fund it so you need a substantial development.

“That’s why IKEA is the perfect solution. What they provide goes towards the more than £40 million infrastructure costs.”

The project has been in the club’s thinking since gaining permission for its £30 million training ground in 2012.

Last year the club bought up the 150-acre site which has planning for a golf course.

Mr Perry said: “When we bought the training ground site we were very conscious that it was in the local plan and was going to be developed.

“Having invested more than £30 million, it was important we protected our investment.

“The key issue was making sure the flood risk was dealt with on an ongoing basis so the best course of action was to develop it ourselves.”

The flood risk of concreting over absorbent fields is one of the biggest concerns residents have. Adur District Council describes the site as having “some flood risk issues”. The site is graded flood zone 3a, the second highest Environment Agency rating.

Mr Perry said: “We have prepared a flood risk assessment which shows not only will the development not increase the flooding risk, it will improve the situation for residents of Manor Close which, in severe weather, floods.

“We will form a management company to deal with ongoing maintenance and protect the whole area of the development, our training ground and Manor Close.”

To accommodate new residents and thousands of IKEA shoppers, a new road system is proposed to the west of the Sussex Pad.

Mr Perry said: “Highways England’s aspiration is to create one junction opening up the whole development, they don’t want a junction here, a junction there, a junction there.

“The Sussex Pad is not in a brilliant location so we are proposing to move it down into a significant junction, a signalised roundabout the size of a football pitch.

“It will make it much safer and create a linkage across the road for cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians to access the South Downs.”

For the club, the new development marks the latest in a decade of major investments beginning with the rumbling of diggers in 2008 at Falmer.

Mr Perry said: “In terms of development cost it’s bigger than the stadium, it’s about the same number of jobs.

“If you add together all our economic activities, we have created more than 2,000 jobs and we will be contributing around £50 million to the local economy.”

All that development has been bankrolled by the deep pockets of Albion chairman Tony Bloom.

It is hoped New Monks Farm could begin to repay that generosity.

Mr Perry said: “Clearly there is a profit. It’s not spectacular, but we will make a developer’s profit.

“If somebody says to me we’re just doing it to make money, the fact is Tony Bloom has put more than £200 million into this football club so if we can repay some of that, or reduce that burden, as well as all these other benefits, then I don’t feel guilty about that.

“The creation of 2,000 jobs from the developments he has undertaken is absolutely huge.”

THE New Monks Farm development in numbers:

  • £170 million total investment creating more than 1,000 jobs
  • 35,000 square metre IKEA store creating 875 jobs
  • 600 new houses and flats – 30 per cent of them affordable
  • £40 million road improvements including new roundabout
  • Contribution to local economy £11 million
  • Contribution to council £2.75 million
  • 28-hectare park, new primary school and community centre
  • Relocated traveller site from A27 layby – expanded to 16 pitches
  • Albion’s total contribution to the economy – £50 million and 2,000 jobs.

Dates for the diary:

  • Public exhibition Friday 27th Jan. from 2pm to 8pm at the Shoreham Centre in Pond Road.
  • Public exhibition, Saturday 28th Jan. from 10am to 2pm at the Shoreham Centre.
  • Public exhibition, Wednesday 1st Feb. from 4pm to 8pm at Lancing Parish Hall.
  • Planning application submitted by end of February/ beginning of March.
  • Adur planning committee expected to make decision around June.
  • Work on the first phase of housing could begin by the end of the year.
  • Work on new A27 junction beginning summer 2018.
  • New junction and IKEA to open by summer 2019.
  • Final section of housing to be completed by 2025.


Work to begin on £21m makeover of Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre

From The Argus


Work to transform two venues as part of a wider £41 million regeneration project will begin next month.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced it has put the project to restore the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre in the hands of Britain’s oldest construction firm.

The project is the first step in what is hoped to be a transformation of the world-famous Royal Pavilion and Museums estate.

Next month work will start on the £21.5 million first phase to restore the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre including the refurbishment of back of house facilities for staff and performers and new public spaces.

The authority has appointed R. Durtnell & Sons Limited as the contractor for phase one of an ambitious heritage project.

The firm was founded in 1591 and has a proven track record in delivering a number of high-profile heritage restorations including Dulwich Picture Gallery, Turner Contemporary in Margate, and Brighton College’s music school.

Brighton Dome Concert Hall will remain open throughout the redevelopment.

New images, produced by architect Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, show the transformation of the Corn Exchange, which was built as the Prince Regent’s riding house.

The work will reveal and restore previously hidden heritage features as well as providing extra seating and a new viewing gallery.

The Studio Theatre, which was built as a supper room, will also undergo major improvements with balcony seating, a new artists’ creation space and a café opening onto a plaza at street level.

The majority of funds for the £21 million phase one have already been secured from a range of sources, including Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as charitable trusts, individual donors, council capital funding and a public works loan. Fundraising for the remaining money will continue throughout the build.

Council leader Warren Morgan said: “This is the start of another ambitious project the council and partners have worked hard to bring to fruition.

“The Royal Pavilion Estate attracts visitors from all over the world and the venues make a significant economic contribution to Brighton and Hove.

“The buildings are magnificent but they are facing unique challenges and are in need of refurbishment and upgrade.

“We are very relieved and proud to have found a viable way forward to restore and safeguard these treasured buildings for years to come and look forward to seeing phase one of the project brought to life by the newly appointed construction team.”

Nurture Network

From Sally Macleod –

Hi all, just wanted to let you know that the Nurture Network space is open every Monday, 11-2pm at One Church Brighton. It offers parents a chance to meet other parents while their children have plenty of space to play. One mum described the group as

“A chance to connect with other mums who may not be at the same stage as you in the parenting journey and therefore have huge wealth of knowledge to share and a perspective which is very helpful. It’s also a group with excellent facilities and great coffee! “

Hope to see you and your little ones soon!


The state of rough sleeping in Brighton and Hove

Andy Winter's Blog

(This is the text of my column that first appeared in the Brighton Argus on Saturday 14th January 2017)

img_4847Twenty five years ago, those ending up on the streets were usually care leavers, ex-military, women escaping violence and abuse, people with mental health problems and/or addictions.

Today the picture is almost the same. Only the numbers are greater, and there is a new group: those becoming homeless because of the end of assured shorthold tenancies and the lack of alternative, affordable homes.

There is a perception that the numbers on the streets has grown significantly over the last three years. I don’t believe that to be the case.

The recent count of rough sleepers suggested a 100% increase in their numbers over twelve months. As Cllr. Clare Moonan, who is leading the work in the City Council to end rough sleeping in the city by the end of the decade…

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RadioReverb Launches Its Own Politics Show

From Brighton Business

A new radio show is about to be launched, which is destined to become essential listening for anyone interested in what is happening on the political front in Brighton and Hove.

The Reverb Politics Show hits the air-waves on Sunday 12 February at 5pm, and will be hosted
by home-grown broadcaster and former city councillor Geoffrey Bowden who, in a former life,
regularly broadcast on the Armed Forces network BFBS and has run a PR company in London
and Brighton for nearly 40 years.
Geoffrey Bowden

Geoffrey Bowden

The Reverb Politics Show will remain politically neutral but will invite guests into Reverb’s new studio in Brighton Open Market, to speak about local issues, and put them under the microscope. It will challenge those who are making the decisions and will be an opportunity to ask them the questions that listeners really want to hear.

The one hour monthly show will tackle subjects such as youth serve provision in the city, homelessness, healthcare, and what happens now to Brighton and Hove even though the city didn’t vote for Brexit!

Geoffrey explains “Politics affects everyone, whether people choose to exercise their vote or not.  The programme will put the spotlight on those people elected to represent our interests and whose decisions affect all our lives.

“At the same time, we will be speaking to those on the frontline who dedicate their working lives to delivering vital services to many of the city’s most marginalised and vulnerable citizens to find out from them how political decisions impact their work.”

 The show is a 3-month pilot sponsored by Brighton-based online accountancy firm Crunch, which provides support and advice for the UK’s freelance and micro-business community. Crunch regularly campaign for fairer political representation of the UK’s growing self-employed community.

Listeners can hear the The Reverb Politics Show on RadioReverb at 97.2FM, on DAB and on-line at

The show will be repeated through-out the month on Mondays at 11 am & 4pm. Further shows will broadcast on Sunday 12 March and 9 April at 5pm. The Podcast of the show can be found behind RadioReverb’s Listen Again button. If you would like to contact the show you can go via the website or contact Geoffrey Bowden for more information on or via Twitter @sussexsquare.

Get involved!

The next meeting of the Southdown Rise Residents Association is on Saturday 21st January, 10 am, in the crypt of the One Church, Florence Road (Southdown Avenue entrance).

The main item on the agenda will be the development at London Road Station, if you want to be involved please join us.

Looking forward to seeing you.

£3.8m lottery funding for Stanmer Park approved

Brighton & Hove City Council’s bid for £3.8 million Lottery funding to restore Stanmer Park has been successful.

Brighton & Hove City Council has received a confirmed grant of £3.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme, and the news is being welcomed across the city.

“It’s fantastic news,” said Cllr Gill Mitchell, Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

“This project has the potential not just to restore a substantial part of Stanmer Park to its former glory, but develop the area and provide exciting new experiences, employment and opportunities for residents and visitors both now and in the future.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the New Year!”

The Stanmer Park and Estate Restoration Project will see around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape, and Grade II listed and other buildings restored and given new life. The total cost of the restoration project is £5.8 million and the council plans to cover the remaining costs through match funding and revenue and contributions from partner organisation and donors.

For the past two years council officers have been working with representatives from Plumpton College, the South Downs National Park and other organisations including Historic England, to prepare a Masterplan for the park following a £300,000 grant from Parks for People.

Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive for the South Downs National Park Authority, said:
“Stanmer Park is a unique survival from the Georgian age and this grant will restore its original landscape. It will also make it much easier for the people of Brighton and Hove to access the National Park on their doorstep.”

Alma Howell, Assistant Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas for Historic England added: “The success of this bid will start a process of helping to remove Stanmer Park from our Heritage at Risk Register by delivering a number of restoration projects and a stronger heritage led vision for the estate.

We look forward to continuing to work with the council to find positive sustainable solutions for the remaining ‘At Risk’ factors.”

The Masterplan aims to improve the main entrance and 18th century parkland, Walled Garden and Nursery and the adjacent depot area.

This includes:
• Restoring the landscape and heritage features
• Addressing traffic and parking issues, and improving access to the park
• Relocating the council’s City Parks depot
• Restoring the Walled Garden and surrounding area
• Delivering horticultural and heritage gardening training and food production
• Providing educational and learning opportunities
• Explaining the heritage and importance of the Estate
• A long term vision for the estate over the next 10 years.

The proposals also include re-allocating car parking, creating some additional spaces, and overflow provision, to accommodate some of the extra 300,000 visitors expected each year.

The car parking improvements include a new landscaped car park at the Patchway – an area currently used for car parking and the Cityparks depot which will also replace parking areas at Stanmer House.

The Lower Lodges will see the current parking areas formally laid out and landscaped to include an extra100 spaces while smaller car parks and ad-hoc parking along the main drive will be removed.

A Transport Plan includes cycle parking, a proposed cycle hire hub, improved walking and cycling routes, and signage from Falmer station.

The restoration project will include a variety of opportunities for volunteering and training in horticulture, heritage gardening and food production, along with facilities for learning about the heritage of the estate, historic landscape and the South Downs.

Plumpton College has agreed, in principle, to manage and maintain the walled garden on a lease from the council.

Ian Rideout, Head of Faculty Forestry, Horticulture and Foundation Learning at Plumpton College said: “We are delighted to be a key partner in this project that will greatly benefit the local community.

“We look forward to continuing to provide learning opportunities at Stanmer Park for local people to access education and training in the walled garden.”
Work on the project will start in the New Year with most restoration works carried out in 2018.

Bike hire scheme to begin in summer

From The Argus

A Smartbike is tried out along Brighton seafront

A Smartbike is tried out along Brighton seafront

Brighton’s Boris Bike-style scheme will be up and running by June.

More than 400 bikes will be located at 50 docking stations across the city.

Bike sharing company Hourbike will run the £1.45 million scheme on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council with charges ranging from £2 per journey.

A day pass will cost £8 and an annual pass, which includes 30 minutes free each day, will be £72.

The scheme is funded with £1.16 million of taxpayer cash courtesy of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) with the council providing £290,000.

Despite the LEP funding, the majority of the start-up costs, the council will become the owners of the scheme, including the bikes and stations.

Hourbike will be responsible for operating the project, including call centres, mechanics, and vans and drivers to relocate and redistribute the bikes. It will also fund any maintenance.

It is thought five jobs will also be created.

The company’s incentive is in advertising on the bikes and revenue from users.

Hourbike will keep charges paid by cyclists up to a threshold, after which profits will be shared with the council.

It is estimated the local authority will make between £20,000 and £25,000 each year.

Hourbike, which has signed a three-year contract with the council, has also unveiled the Brighton bike as the SoBi Smartbike.

The Dutch-style bike comes with seat suspension, basket, front and rear lights and a computer tracker.

The scheme has been welcomed by groups across the city.

Simon Hughes, chairman of Brighton Mitre Cycling Club, said it would encourage users to be responsible on the roads.

He said: “It’s a nice place to cycle. The traffic doesn’t move very fast and it has some good cycle lanes, so it is great for inexperienced cyclists.

“Although people using the bikes will need to be sensible and considerate to pedestrians and other road users.”

It is hoped the scheme will also eliminate around 300,000 car journeys a year, helping reduce congestion and improve air quality.

However, there has been criticism about the proposed locations of the docking stations.

The 50 stations will be based along the seafront and up Lewes Road towards the university campuses.

Click here for the full story.

Sussex Police Peoples’ Voice

Sussex Police continues to recruit to its new-formed ‘Sussex Police Peoples’ Voice’; a group who represent people’s views in Sussex.

You can be part of this important group which give their views and opinions on policing by taking part in anonymous electronic surveys up to four times a year.

This is an extra way we will collect feedback as well as continuing to use our telephone, postal and face to face consultations. For example we would like to hear about people’s experiences as victims of crime.

We are appealing to those from a range of backgrounds to take part in this new initiative as it’s vital we have voices which reflects the diversity of the county we serve.

The group is the first of its kind in the force and has been created at a time when we are undergoing significant change. Getting involved is an opportunity for people to help shape the future of the force.

Members will give feedback on subjects ranging from visibility of the police in their communities, to their opinions around how well we are doing and concerns around policing in their local areas.

A summary of results of every survey will be published on our website, available first to group members, along with the detail of how the results will influence our plans and priorities. The first survey is due to be sent out to all members this week.

In the past Sussex Police has used feedback through surveys to identify priorities within communities, understand the impact on victims of anti-social behaviour and improve the experience that people have when they report crime and incidents to the force.

To be one of the voices in the group all your need to do is spend around 20 minutes completing an anonymous online survey up to four times a year.

If you can spare a small amount of your time each year and want to make a difference then join up through our website here.

Help us keep Sussex safe

Seen something suspicious or have information about a crime or incident? Please contact us online, email us at or call 101.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at

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