Monthly Archives: July 2017

Cityclean litter survey – Win £50!

From Cityclean

We want to hear your views on litter. Cityclean at Brighton & Hove City Council is starting a new campaign to reduce litter, working with the environmental charity Hubbub (www.hubbub.org.uk).

Please complete the 4 questions in this survey and you could win a £50 prize. Thank you.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BrightonHoveLitter

Tracy Phipps

Head of Business Support & Projects

Cityclean, Brighton & Hove City Council

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Bins in the Southdown Rise area

Email sent to Leo Littman, Julie Cattell and Kevin Allen (our councillors)  –

Dear Leo

Thank you for offering to act as an intermediary to allow SRRA members to liaise with Damian Marmura on the question of the bins issue. Recently we had a follow-up meeting to discuss the various issues that came up at the AGM. Here is a summary of the points that arose.

  1. There is widespread concern about the proposal to introduce more wheelie bins for recycling. The pavements in this area are narrow, and are already severely cluttered. This presents a particular obstacle to wheelchair users and to people with buggies etc.
  2. Many of the existing green wheelie bins and black recycling boxes get left out on the pavement all week. This not only causes obstruction, and necessitates single file for those able to walk; it has also meant that approximately a third of the width of some pavements is unusable, inviting fly-tipping, and allowing weeds to grow and bushes to overhang. New wheelie bins will make a difficult situation impossible.
  3. Some of the houses in this area have little or no room to keep bins off the pavement; however, many do have room, but we believe the occupants simply aren’t aware of the rules. The existing green bins were delivered without notice or consultation, and in fact shortly after residents had been told that Springfield Road, at least, was not suitable for wheelie bins. It is true that letters have since been sent out by the council, explaining the rules, but as these were delivered in envelopes and addressed to “The Occupier”, it is doubtful whether many were even opened, let alone read.
  4. We have never had street signs such as the ones in nearby Shaftesbury Road, which inform residents of their collection day and explain that bins must be kept off the pavement on other days. We have a rising student population, and it appears that neither landlords nor the universities inform them of how they should use their bins.
  5. Neither SRRA nor individual residents have been consulted about the proposed new wheelie recycling bins. We understand these bins were “piloted” in areas such as Hangleton which are quite different, having bigger gardens, etc.
  6. It appears that Springfield Road, at least, no longer has a street cleaner. There have recently been several instances of rubbish being strewn across the pavement as a result of residents not placing it in secure containers to protect it from gulls, foxes and the wind. The result is that it simply gets left to blow around.

We would like to work with you and the Council to deal with these problems. They should surely be dealt with before there is any talk of new bins. Some possible remedies might include:

(a)     Street signs explaining the collection day and what to do with bins between collections. Some streets which already have these signs clearly don’t need them, so perhaps they could be transferred here at minimal cost?

(b)     A real effort to inform residents of the rules about bins and the problems caused to other residents and users of the pavement if they are left out. This would require, as a minimum, properly individually-addressed letters, and possibly also home visits in particularly troublesome areas. SRRA can assist with this.

(c)     Refuse collectors to be asked to return bins to the premises after emptying, and not to leave them on the pavement as at present.

(d)     Residents who have difficulty moving their bin to be offered help. SRRA can help with this.

(e)     Consideration given to the provision of communal bins instead of individual ones; such bins would have to be properly labelled to explain who they are for, and possibly lockable. Also more information given about existing nearby communal bins such as those in Preston Park.

(f)     The removal of unnecessary wheelie bins from residences which currently have too many. Also replacement of large bins with smaller standard ones, which take up less pavement width and are easier to move when full.

(g)     The abandonment of separate glass collections, which would obviate the need to retain one black box per residence, as we believe is proposed. Other parts of the country manage to deal with mixed recycling including glass; we do not see why these cannot be separated at the depot.

(h)     The reinstatement of street cleaners.

Perhaps we could meet with you and Damian in the near future to discuss this.

Best wishes

Jim Grozier

For SRRA committee

The Whistler – Summer Salutations

The Whistler

SUMMER SALUTATIONS

The doors are flung thankfully open,

As teachers breathe an intense sigh of relief,

Parents hit with cheers, squeals, laughter,

A tsunami of marauding rucksacks,

It is SUMMERTIME!

Sweet, creamy honeysuckle wafts,

Fluffed caramel bees, soft rosy glints

Ball pits of brightly bobbing sunhats

Fuchsia-pink strawberries, sandy footprints.

Smiling faces, loud joyous whoops,

Sticky fingers, melting ice cream,

Spritzes of icy water, unsuspecting faces,

Waves’ crisp summery gleam.

I raise my eyes up to the sky

Speckled with fresh flickers of lemonade sun,

Rich earthy forests, silently, lazily serene

Celebrate! Winter’s gone, and summer has begun.

Thanks to Scarlett Baldwin (12) who loves writing and sent us this poem

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Hospital trust struggles to fill almost 1,000 staff vacancies

From The Argus

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust currently has 972 empty posts which need to be filled, giving it a vacancy rate of 11.8 per cent.

Bosses say they are working hard to recruit and keep staff and new workers are due to start in the coming months.

Staff shortages put extra pressure on already overstretched workers at the trust’s hospitals.

They also have a financial impact because it means the trust has to pay for agency or bank staff to cover shifts or wards will be dangerously understaffed.

The highest proportion of vacancies, 429, is in nursing, particularly in speciality medicine.

There are also 322 jobs that need to be filled across the administration and clerical and ancillary support staff groups.

The trust has a turnover rate of 14.3 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 12 per cent.

A report to the trust board said recruiting and keeping staff was a key priority.

Recruitment days have recently been held for healthcare assistants (HCAs) and nurses in a bid to boost numbers and more are planned.

In the latest events, jobs were offered to 29 HCAs and 22 qualified nurses.

Staff have also been recruited from abroad.

Chief nurse Caroline Davies told board members the trust was contacting nurses who had left to come back to work.

About 600 have been approached so far.

The trust is also looking at the reasons why people are leaving, to see if there is a pattern and if anything can be done to tackle it.

There is currently a national shortage of nurses and trusts around the country have been struggling to fill vacancies.

Many nurses are also leaving the profession due to increased pressures and demands.

Student nurse Graeme Stokes, from Brighton, is chairman of the city’s branch of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

He said issues around low pay and long hours made it hard to attract people to the nursing profession.

Some nurses are having to resort to using food banks and take on second jobs to make ends meet.

Mr Stokes said: “Staff are are working tirelessly and some are avoiding taking annual leave simply because they have not been able to.

“It all leads down to the problem with recruitment and with trying to bring staff back to the NHS.

“Some have left to go and work abroad while others have joined agencies or private health care.

“The profession is simply not attractive.

“If you are a teenager looking to go to university why would you want to saddle yourself with a £45,000 debt with a starting wage of £22,000?”

The RCN is planning a summer of protests calling on the Government to scrap the one per cent cap on NHS pay.

It is also threatening to hold a ballot for strikes after a poll showed nine out of ten members would support the move.

Unison south east regional organiser Caroline Fife said the high cost of living in Brighton and hove was another factor.

She said: “When the pay is the same then people are going to take other issues into account, such as property, rental and public transport.

“It is cheaper to live in Worthing than Brighton and so given the choice people may opt for there instead.

“There are also uncertainties over Brexit and how it will have an impact on staff from EU countries in the future.”

Albion claim the Amex stadium is safe

From The Argus

The home of Brighton and Hove Albion does have cladding like that used on Grenfell Tower – but the club insists the stadium is safe.

That is the message from the football club after it emerged that plastic panels on the side of the American Express Community Stadium were made by the same company that provided the panels for the building in London where at least 80 people died.

Last month The Argus reported how checks were being made on materials used at the Amex following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Those checks have been made and the club has decided the stadium is safe.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Albion said: “While we cannot comment on the materials used on Grenfell Tower, we do have Reynobond ACM cladding to our east and west elevations at the stadium. At the time of construction the cladding fully-complied with building and fire regulations. It was inspected during the construction process and signed off by the local authority.

“Since the start of our investigations we have been in direct communication with Brighton and Hove City Council building control, our main building contractor, and our fire management consultants, and have found no concern in the design of or implementation of products used. We have also reviewed our current fire risk assessment and have no reason to amend this document at this time. These reports are also in line with the recent issue of the Sports Ground Safety Authority safety checks document dated June 29, 2017.

“All of our materials comply with current building regulations (Building Regulations Approved Document B) which was the relevant standard at the time of construction and to date is still current.

“We would also emphasise that the stadium cannot be compared with a residential tower block; we have sophisticated fire detection and fire suppression systems, CCTV monitoring, 24-hour security staff who are regularly trained in evacuation procedures, and multiple escape routes in the event of an emergency.”

One of the differences at the Amex is that the cladding system uses a non-combustible brickwork backing wall.

Reynobond PE has now been withdrawn from sale for use in buildings over 18 metres in height.

An independent company, BRE, is now conducting tests for the government to see how different combinations of insulation and cladding perform in the event of a serious fire.

There is an ongoing inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower, which took place on June 14 and is believed to have started in a fridge-freezer.

SRRA Meeting today!

The next SRRA meeting will take place today, 25th July at the One Church, Florence Road between 7.00 and 8.30 pm.

We will be discussing plans for our activities for the next year including issues raised at the AGM, click here for the minutes; as well as electing officers.

All residents are welcome, please try to attend if you want to help improve our neighbourhood.

Rail union suspends strikes

From Brighton & Hove Independent

The RMT has suspended strike action by both drivers and guards on Southern Rail after being approached for direct talks with the Secretary of State.

The RMT union has suspended the industrial strike for guards planned for Tuesday, August 1, after the union’s general secretary was invited to meet with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for transport.

A driver strike on Tuesday, August 1, Wednesday, August 2, and Friday, August 4, has also been called off.

“We instruct the General Secretary to arrange the meeting and to place back before this NEC an update on the progress of the talks by Tuesday, August 1,” a spokesman said.

“RMT will be making no further comment at this stage as we arrange details for the talks and allow them space to take place.”