Fighting hyper development of Brighton Gasworks

AGHAST are raising money to afford the expertise that will help our community fight the unsafe & inappropriate hyper development of the Brighton Gasworks site.

AGHAST stands for ACTION on GASWORKS HOUSING AFFORDABILITY SAFETY and TRANSPARENCY. 

In Summer 2020, Berkeley Homes/St William started a poorly advertised consultation on their plans to redevelop the East Brighton gasworks site into 9 tower blocks of new luxury flats up to 15 storeys high for 700 owners.

The site is currently more appropriately earmarked on the adopted Brighton City Plan Pt1 as offering scope for a mixed development of 85+ dwellings plus commercial and semi-industrial space.

AGHAST was formed by concerned residents in the mixed community around the site who share grave concerns about St William’s plans.  Initially aiming simply to do the work St William hadn’t managed to, and inform the community about what was being proposed, we have since started to learn about the environmental and planning issues involved and understand the huge problems that the current plans pose.

Click here for further details and a short explanatory video.

Consultation – changes to travel and transport in the city.

From Laura Wells, Brighton & Hove City Council.

Today we have launched a consultation on changes planned for travel and transport in the city, running until 14th March. The proposals are designed to support active, inclusive and sustainable travel and are funded from government’s Active Travel Fund.

These proposals are located on:

  • Western Road
  • Preston Circus to Patcham Roundabout (A23)
  • Old Shoreham Road (A270) (both new and existing temporary changes)
  • Seafront (A259) (both new and existing temporary changes)

Find out more and have your say:

Please find attached further information, which can also be found at: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/onejourneybetter Via this link you will also be able to give us your views through an online survey until 14 March 2021.

I would also like to invite stakeholders to online stakeholder workshops where you can find out more about the proposals and ask questions of the project teams:

  • Stakeholder workshop – Western Road and A23 – Tuesday 9th February 10am – 11am
  • Stakeholder workshop – Old Shoreham Road and Seafront (temporary schemes) – Thursday 11th February 4pm-5pm
  • Stakeholder workshop – All schemes – Thursday 25th February 10am-11.30am

To book a place on any of these workshops please email transport.projects@brighton-hove.gov.uk stating which session/s you would like to attend and which organisation you represent.

To request a paper copy of the information, together with a copy of the questionnaire, or to request information in an alternative format or language, please email transport.projects@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 293614 and leave a message with your request.

We look forward to hearing your views in the consultation.

Best wishes

Laura Wells | Principal Transport Planner – Policy & Strategy Brighton & Hove City Council

City Transport, Ground Floor, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, HOVE, BN3 3BQ

Email: laura.j.wells@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Brighton Gasworks redevelopment proposals

If you would like to express an opinion on the following please make a comment on this post so we can formulate a group response.

Brighton Gasworks Development

To: Southdown Rise Residents Association

The Brighton Society and five other amenity societies have joined forces with AGHAST, the group which has been set up to oppose the massively overdeveloped proposals for the Gasworks site in East Brighton by developers Berkeley/St William.

The other groups are:

The Regency Society, The Kemp Town Society, The Regency Square Area Society, The Montpelier and Clifton Hill Community Association, and the Edward Street Neighbourhood Action Forum.

Those seven groups held an initial meeting via Zoom on Thursday evening 21 January.

All groups represented agreed that other community groups in the city should be invited to join the campaign against this development proposal.

There was a consensus that the Gasworks site was a potentially suitable location for new housing or a mixed use development including new housing, and should be developed in order to make a significant contribution to the Council’s efforts to provide more affordable and sustainable housing in the city, hopefully supporting the City’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, so long as no risks are taken that might harm the health of residents living within a mile of the site.

So it’s a case of YIMBY (Yes in my backyard) NOT  NIMBY (No in my backyard).

But Berkeley’s proposals for a conglomeration of tall blocks up to 15 storeys to provide 700 new dwellings constitutes a massive overdevelopment of the site and is not an acceptable solution. Brighton deserves better.

The allocation in the City Plan for this site is for only 85 new homes, though we all consider this is far too conservative an estimate and that a realistic figure could might be much more than that.

So the question is not whether the site is developed but how it might best be  developed safely and well.

All groups expressed a preference for a low-rise high density scheme perhaps arranged around courtyards or crescents.

The main issues we need to consider are:

1.    Context: the effect of the Council’s inability to meet its housing targets and the consequent loss of control over its own planning policies.

2.    Alternative design ideas:

       We need to get the developer to go back to the drawing board using these principles of designing for low-rise high density. We have set up a sub-committee to look at alternative design approaches.  Work on this has already started.

 3. Contamination issues: AGHAST have made contact with other groups , including those who have experienced Berkeley Group’s attempts at decontamination of gasworks sites. These have all reported persistent toxic odours and increased levels of sickness, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, breathing difficulties and even cancers. This information, including the evidence of media sources and scientific experts, can be used to ask questions of Berkeley, examine evidence, and find out how well-informed the Council is (or otherwise).

4.    Interrogate the developer: draw up key questions, for example contamination issues, design issues, density, building heights and overshadowing of open spaces, amount of affordable housing, vital relationships with the seafront and the open spaces up to South Downs etc. etc.

5.    Hold an early meeting with Planning Officers once the points above have been developed into a discussion document and before a planning application is lodged.

6.    Question developer statements – armed with information from any responses from the developer and meeting with the Council.

7.    Get support from other community groups using the information gained.

       This means you.

8.    Set up a social media campaign and canvass political support from councillors and MPs.

Next steps

Key to the next steps is to get as many community groups as we can to join and support this campaign. 

The council will have to listen if there is a wide community base strongly expressing its concerns about Berkeley’s proposals.

Invitation

We invite you to our next Zoom meeting which will be held on Thursday 28 Jan at 8.00pm.  This will update all groups present on progress to date, and allow all those attending to express their views on Berkeley’s proposals and our campaign strategy.

This invitation is being sent to fourteen community groups in addition to the seven groups already involved.

We are preparing a draft statement which we hope can be agreed by all 21 community groups expressing the concerns listed above, to persuade the Council to insist that Berkeley consider alternative low-rise high density approaches to the designs for new housing on this important brownfield site.

Once this statement is agreed, it will then be tabled for discussion at a meeting with the Council planning department.

I hope this gives you some useful background and food for thought.  We would be delighted to see you on Zoom at our meeting on Thursday 28 January.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Mustoe

Chairman, Brighton Society

Background information:

Berkeley’s proposal:

https://brightongasworks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/brighton-Gasworks-Public-Consultation_June-July-20201.pdf

Brighton Society response to the public consultation:

https://www.brighton-society.org.uk/brighton-society-response-to-the-public-consultation-on-the-development-of-the-brighton-gasworks-site/.

Get rid of your old electrics – from the comfort of your home

From Brighton & Hove City Council:-

New online app service aims to collect 10,000 unwanted electrical items and provide at least 500 reused electricals to residents within the first year of operation.

City residents now have a free and easy way to dispose of unwanted electrical items like laptops, mobile phones and small appliances while helping charities and the environment.

A new service – the first of its kind in the country – has been set up in Brighton & Hove where people can simply book online through a special app and have their old tech or electricals collected from their doorstep.

Goods that are working or can be refurbished or upgraded will be donated to charity. Anything that can’t be saved will be dismantled and recycled responsibly.

Any data will be professionally wiped

Importantly, people can be reassured that any items with personal information stored on them like PCs, mobiles and laptops will have the data completely wiped by professional security experts.

The new scheme follows on from the hugely successful Tech-Takeback service that has been running a series of e-collection pop-up events in partnership with the council’s Cityclean service for the last three years.

During that time, a total of 600 residents have donated more than 5300 items of tech, with over 2500 items data erased and many of these recycled.

Charities benefit from donated tech 

Approximately 250 pieces of tech have been distributed to a number of charities for reuse, repair and upcycling, including the Sussex Homeless Support Charity, the Green Centre, The National Tech4Good Awards, The Bevy Community Pub, Artists at Bloomtown Festival, Brighton Pride HQ and Screwed Sculptures.

Although the pop-ups were extremely popular, it meant people had to take their unwanted tech to a certain place to drop it off.

Now, residents don’t even need to leave their homes as we’ll come and collect the items once an appointment is booked.

Just download The ZeroNet app here or from the Tech-Takeback website, book a collection appointment and the TTB staff will collect from your doorstep – all done within Covid social distancing and safety measures.

A full list of the items we collect can be viewed here.

‘Everyone benefits from donations’

Councillor Amy Heley, chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “This is a fantastic service and one that benefits everybody involved.

“Residents know their unwanted goods are either being donated to charities, to people less able to afford technology or are being recycled in an environmentally-friendly way.

“That means the charities or other resident’s benefit, as does the environment. The other great thing is people don’t even have to leave their homes to dispose of their unwanted goods.”

The service, called RevaluElectricals, is funded by new not-for-profit organisation Material Focus.

The council fully supports the new service

RevaluElectricals is run by Tech-Takeback Ltd and The ZeroNet with support from the council’s Cityclean service and the Recycle Your Electricals campaign.

Tech-Takeback managing director Dr David Greenfield and The ZeroNet’s founder and chief executive Paul McSweeney, said: “We’re excited to launch the first app-based collection of end of use electricals in England, known as RevaluElectricals.

“Residents can now donate unwanted tech for a second life, if feasible, in the knowledge that their data will be securely erased, together with other small household electricals.  Reusable items donated will be shared via our reuse partners including Digital Brighton & Hove and Freegle.

“The new service makes it easy to donate, with collection from the resident’s home booked via the free to download The ZeroNet app, at a time that suits them.

“Residents don’t have to worry about travel, parking or queues. Once booked, our driver will carry out a free collection from your doorstep using our electric van, while remaining compliant with COVID-19 social distancing measures.”

‘We’re hoarding 527 million small items’

Scott Butler, executive director of Material Focus, added: “This project is vital to ensuring we make good use of our old electricals. Whether they are re-used or recycled, these items contain valuable materials that will otherwise be lost forever.

“Our research has shown that in the UK we are hoarding more than 527 million small electrical items, an average of 20 per household, which is why we have recently launched our Recycle Your Electricals campaign.

“We’re delighted to be working with Tech-Takeback. The innovative app is why we chose to work with them as it will be key to making it easier for Brighton & Hove residents to re-use and recycle their electricals.”

You can find more details at techtakeback.co.uk.

Downs Juniors needs grown-ups to keep pupils safe!

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Downs Junior pupils have staggered start times so they gather in waves,outside the school gates in Grantham Road.
They and their parents are being given more space to socially distance while they wait by closing that part of Grantham Road to motor vehicles temporarily each school morning, from 8.15am to 9.15am. 
Volunteer marshalls close the street with plastic barriers, letting authorised vehicles through occasionally, chatting for a while and then reopening the street by removing the barriers. 
It’s easy, helps the community, gives you some fresh air and gives everyone a feelgood at the start the day. 
Most importantly, the kids stay safely distanced in the street while waiting for their staggered entry times.
Please will you help by volunteering? Contact the office at Downs Juniors to say you’re interested in the School Street. Phone 01273 558422 or email office@downsjun.brighton-hove.sch.uk.

Report of Blakers Park mugging.

There is an unconfirmed report of “another” knifepoint mugging in Blakers Park at 8.45 pm on Friday 11th September.

Please be aware and share this information, particularly with young
people who may be going out.
 
We will follow this up if and when we have any further information.

16.46 Saturday 12 Sep.

From the Fiveways Community Notice Board Group on Facebook:-

COVID 19 Track & Trace Scam

This is from Facebook so the usual caveats apply but it rings true.

“PLEASE SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE ESP TELL ALL OLDER PEOPLE YOU KNOW!!
It’s a SCAM but will get lots of less savvy people …And so it begins!

Just to let you know these phone calls are going round.

‘Good morning, I’m calling from the NHS track and trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test.’

‘OK. Can you tell me who that person was?’

‘I’m not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.’

‘Right. Um… so ….’

‘But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?’

‘OK (gives address)’

‘Thank you – and I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you.’

‘Sorry – a payment card? I thought this was all free?’

‘No – I’m afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £50 for the kit, and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you’re ready.’

‘No – that’s not right. This is part of the NHS so there’s no charge.’

‘I’m afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please – this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.’

Puts phone down.

This is how scammers work. And vulnerable people will fall for it.”

Crime in Rugby Road

From a resident:-
“We saw a new LED street light with a recharging box on it in Rugby Road being vandalised
today, and photographed what appeared to be 2 young men on bicycles who were doing it –
they must have unscrewed the cover and appeared to cut one or more wires with snips before
we saw them reattaching the cover. In broad daylight. Have you heard of any similar reports?
We have reported to the council and police.”
This could be preparatory to a burglary so please be careful and share it with your neighbours.

Recent Crime in Springfield Road

From a resident:-

“In the early hours of Sunday morning (14 June) several houses and cars in Springfield Road were daubed with offensive graffiti, including swastikas, and some damage was done to front gardens. This was reported to the police. Local residents worked together to remove the graffiti.  The identity of the perpetrators is unknown but they are believed to be three teenage boys. They are also believed to have returned to Springfield Road on the night of 15/16 June.

The graffiti included three names, but it is not clear whether these were the names of the perpetrators. Police are asking for CCTV evidence.

If anyone has any CCTV footage of this, or any other relevant information, please contact Simon French of Sussex Police, irc@sussex.pnn.police.uk “.

 

Update on Springfield Road Trees

A message from the Springfield Road Save The Trees group.

“In 2017-18, members of SRRA raised some money for the replacement of 6 dead and dying trees in Springfield Road.

We had been advised that the cost of tree replacement was £314 per tree, and, thanks to the generosity of local residents,  we actually raised more than that, but the tree replacement was unable to proceed because the funding required to remove old stumps and carry out the necessary road works has not been forthcoming.

At the beginning of 2020 some of us discussed raising a petition to the Council to request that they make up the difference, so that our trees could be replaced. We consulted our local councillors and agreed a wording for the petition; the plan was to take it to a meeting of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee in May … but then the virus struck, and clearly knocking on people’s doors was out of the question.

However, one of our councillors, Amy Heley, has written to the Chair of the committee to plead our case, and requesting an update.

If you were one of those generous people who contributed to our fund, and have been wondering why there has been no action, hopefully the above will explain this. We will continue to work with our councillors and will proceed with the petition when it is safe to do so.”