Category Archives: Environment

Family Ecotherapy Walk this Friday, 1st September.

From Corinna Edwards-Colledge –

Hello all

A local Arboriculturalist and keen walker, Greg Sweeney, has been kind enough to provide a free Healthwalk with an accent on wellbeing, mindfulness and enjoyment of the local countryside, this Friday 1st September.  It’s suitable for all ages, individuals and families and is, as ever, completely FREE!   Please do join us outside Stanmer House this Friday at 11am. Full details below.

 

Best wishes

Corinna

Active for Life Manager

Healthy Lifestyles Team, Public Health

Brighton & Hove City Council, Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JE

01273 292564.

http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/sports-and-activity/healthwalks

TW: @HealthwalksBH. FB: brightonhovehealthwalks

Healthwalks: Queens Award for Voluntary Service Winner 2014

Advertisements

Streets Ahead

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

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

More funding for staff in parks

From The Argus

New funding will increase staffing at “under-pressure” city parks such as The Level

MORE funding has been made for staff to monitor Brighton and Hove’s “under-pressure” parks.

A Brighton and Hove City Council budget underspend of more than £600,000 will be used to pay for a weekend manager at some of the city’s busiest parks.

Money will also be made available to contribute to the Shoreham Memorial, a loan to Saltdean Lido, more support for unions and to launch a community scheme for ward councillors.

The move was criticised as irresponsible by Conservative councillors who proposed initially putting the sum into reserves until the end of this financial year in which the authority has to make £21 million of cuts.

They described increased union funding as a bribe to keep them quiet after recent threats of industrial action over the outsourcing of the learning disability accommodation service.

The Tories also claimed additional money for ward councillors was “papering over the cracks” of criticism of the council’s support for its members expected in the yet-to-be-published Local Government Association peer review.

Green amendments reduced the amount set aside for the ward member community budget scheme from almost £300,000 to £60,000, undid almost £200,000 of cuts from February’s budget and raised parks funding by a further £27,000.

Councillor Tony Janio, Conservative group leader, said the minority Labour administration should have brought forward a “mini budget” allowing all councillors to vote on how to use the underspend.

He said: “Instead what we find is £800,000 suddenly being thrown around at the administration’s will.

“This administration is a fiscally incontinent machine, it sees money and wantonly spends it.

“They should take the underspend in month two when there is little idea what the outcome will be in month 12, and put the money in reserves and then have a proper discussion of how to benefit the citizens of the city.”

Fellow Tory Andrew Wealls described the move as: “£300,000 to bung to councillors to spend in their own wards.

“The LGA report doesn’t say bung money to spend, it says support them with casework.

“It doesn’t say bung the unions £50,000.

“The idea of giving unions support through this process is complete and utter nonsense. “The unions have done everything in their power to uphold the transfer to Grace Eyre. “Now they want to bribe them to go away and stop making life so difficult for us.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell, deputy leader, said the underspend showed the administration was showing good financial management which the Conservatives should welcome.

She said: “It is responsible from the administration to get additional grass cutting and getting additional eyes and ears in parks when it is needed into evenings and weekends.

Anston House – from the Brighton Society

From Brighton Society

The latest application for the Anston House site with three tower blocks of up to 15 storeys was approved in December.  We were extremely disappointed as it ignores many critical planning policies and sets a precedent for similar high rise buildings across the city.

We submitted a twelve page objection to the application emphasising that it did not comply with planning policies that were the reason for rejecting the previous application.

We pointed out that a low rise, high density, development was entirely possible. And we provided an overshadowing analysis showing that the Rose Garden and adjacent areas of Preston Park would be in shadow for 6 months of the year.  Our objections were not mentioned at the committee meeting.

For such a crucial application we were expecting an intense level of discussion but many critical questions were never debated or even asked.  And there were so many questions that should have been asked.  Why the massive overdevelopment of the site  – 230 flats, and towers twice the height of any nearby buildings? Why were the issues of scale, height, overbearing impact, important views, overshadowing and overlooking not discussed and why were the policies that cover these issues completely ignored?  How could it be acceptable for such high towers to be built up against small terraced housing?  Whatever happened to the planning policies that specify that developments have to be sympathetic to the local area? How could the committee meekly accept that 13% affordable housing was acceptable when 40% is the current requirement? The local residents’ group presented a strong case for rejection because of over-development, overbearing presence in the surrounding area, and detrimental effect on the listed Preston Park and on the houses in Dyke Road Drive – all contrary to numerous planning policies.  In addition, the percentage of affordable housing was minimal and the amount of commercial space was inadequate. The previous application was rejected for similar reasons so logically this one should have been too.

To add insult to injury the spokesman for the Conservation Advisory Group, who is ex officio a member of the planning committee, was only called upon to speak after a majority of the councillors had confirmed that they were going to approve the application.  So much for any consideration of the conservation issues.  Reasons given by councillors for it were: a liking of tall buildings; the site has been derelict for years so anything is better than nothing;  dislike of the design but something has to be built; we ought to be thankful for 13% affordable homes because it’s free.  Only two councillors voted against the application on planning policy issues.

The result has driven massive holes into the planning policies. It will create a miserable environment for residents in the adjacent terraced housing, will dominate and overshadow Preston Park and will set a precedent for 15 storey tower blocks to become the norm.  And the acceptance of 13% affordable housing sets the bar so low that other developers will see this as what they will be able to get away with.

The views expressed are those of the Brighton Society, not of SRRA.

The webcast of proceedings can be viewed here – http://brighton-hove.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/203922.