End is nigh for ugliest building in Sussex

From The Argus

Anston House

The clock is ticking for Sussex’s ugliest building as its demolition date draws closer.

Demolition of the infamously unaesthetic landmark Anston House, which has been leering over Preston Park in Brighton since 1969 and been vacant for almost two thirds of its existence, is due to begin later this year.

It looks set be the first of three developments worth £100 million whose construction has been held up by red tape and complex negotiations since they were given the green-light in December.

In total, the three developments, which include Station Street in Brighton and the former Texaco garage in Kingsway, Hove, will deliver almost 300 new homes, 10,000 square metres of business space and nearly 1,000 jobs on sites that have been derelict for more than half a century combined.

The planning committee decisions to grant consent to the three projects, all in excess of seven storeys, was greeted with criticism and derision in some quarters by campaigners who claimed the schemes would set a precedent for the city to be transformed into “Croydon-on-sea”.

Anston House developers First Base have been involved in complex discussions with Brighton and Hove City Council over Section 106 agreements with site preparation underway as the developers deal with a number of issues including slow worms.

But haters of the building will not get the chance for a cathartic moment watching the structure being blown to the ground. Instead its demolition will be a gradual process over a number of weeks.

The construction of its replacement will take the best part of two years, with residents due to move in in 2019.

The site next to the King Alfred in Hove is said to be “under construction” though the fenced-off site has not altered since the petrol station closed in 2015.

A nine-storey block of 55 flats and the redevelopment of the 109-year-old Alibi pub are planned for the site by Rocco Homes, which has four projects in the pipeline around Worthing, including 32 apartments in Chapel Road and 76 flats in The Causeway in Durrington.

For the long derelict corner site of Station Street, currently used as an ad-hoc car park, a seven-storey grade A office block has been granted consent.

Developer McAleer & Rushe will announce later this year when work is set to begin on the site.

A First Base spokeswoman said: “We are excited about the possibilities for Anston House which has been derelict for too long. We are in the final stages of completing the Section 106 planning agreement and have been carrying out preliminary survey work ahead of construction. It is hoped that work will start in the near future.”

 

Historic Victorian building to be transformed into 25 apartments

From The Argus

A building used to train up scores of builders over the years is now to receive its own makeover to give it a new lease of life.

The former City College construction and trades centre in Preston Road, Brighton, is set to be transformed into 25 apartments.

Work on the transformation of the locally listed Victorian red-brick property is expected to start within the next five months and be completed by the end of next year.

Brighton-based Yelo Architects said the conversion would give house hunters the rare opportunity to secure a loft apartment in the city.

The scheme, which was granted planning consent by Brighton and Hove City Council planning committee last week, involves a mixture of one, two and three bedroom apartments.

Developers Aligned Property bought the site in October after it became surplus to the requirements of Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, formed from the merger of City College and Northbrook College.

A new £9 million training centre opened at its East Brighton campus in Wilson Avenue, Brighton, in April.

The building was used by Preston Road School for more than 50 years before its closure in 1937. It was later taken over by the Brighton Junior Technical Institute.

City regeneration council officers backed the proposal to convert the site into housing because the building had “passed its usefulness” as an educational centre.

Heritage officers, who described the 1870 building’s gables and tall chimneys as a notable feature of the city skyline, also backed the plans after later amendments.

Forty per cent of the new apartments will be affordable, five affordable rent and five shared ownership, and the scheme will also bring more than £130,000 of improvements to nearby open spaces, schools and indoor sport facilities.

The renovation will not alter the scale of the existing building but will require external renovations to replace windows and restore the original school bell while a pre-fabricated building at the rear of the site will be removed.

Andy Parsons, founder and director of Yelo Architects, said: “It is a beautiful building. We need to do very little but just reveal that beauty again.

“It has come to the end of its life as a college building because they are relocating but it will work really well as beautiful loft apartments.

“Loft apartments are not that common in Brighton so it will be a rare product coming on to the market.

“There will be little change to the exterior of the building but we will be replacing all the windows, putting the railings back in and carrying out work to the roof.

May 2017 Reported Crime Statistics

Sussex Police have released the latest reported crime statistics for May 2017,

the latest figures available.

Click on the map for detailed information.

 

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

April 2017 May 2017
All crime 76 80
Anti-social behaviour 21 28
Bicycle theft 5 3
Burglary 7 1
Criminal damage and arson 7 8
Drugs 1 1
Other crime 2 1
Other theft 6 9
Possession of weapons 0 0
Public order 4 6
Robbery 0 1
Shoplifting 0 0
Theft from the person 0 1
Vehicle crime 9 3
Violence and sexual offences 14 18

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

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

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.”