Tag Archives: Brighton and Hove City Council

Two years to fix Brighton’s broken bins service, says new boss

From The Argus

Give it six more months and Brighton’s bin collection problem will start clearing up.

Overflowing rubbish bins in Hove.

That is the promise made by new Cityclean chief Rachel Chasseaud to long-suffering residents.

She says the main issues within Cityclean are poorly planned routes, uncompetitive salaries and a breakdown in communications, which has seen staff morale plummet.

High sickness day rates have also played a part in people’s bins not being collected regularly since late last year.

There is a long road ahead and Ms Chasseaud insists it will not be a straightforward task – and it will be about two years until the inadequate £10.3 million service is functioning the way it should be.

Ms Chasseaud’s plan is to restructure the routes for refuse collections so places that are being missed more frequently are targeted, though this is expected to take half a year.

In an interview with The Argus, she said: “It’s amazingly complex as to why there’s been problems. It’s something that’s happened over a period of time, not overnight.In six months people will see a big change.

“The round restructuring will take six months. There are some fantastic people at all levels within Cityclean. They want to be providing a really good service and they do really care that it isn’t working.”

Cityclean has about 90,000 refuse collections, 45,000 recycling rounds and 600 communal bins to clear, in total, per week.

As part of a “modernisation programme”, the service is due to undergo an overhaul, led by Ms Chasseaud, which will see a mapping system put in place to track collections.

This will make it easier to tackle areas where bins are not collected as regularly, Ms Chasseaud said.

Communication with staff has also been a big issue, with many frontline workers feeling their relationship with managers has been non-existent in recent times.

Ms Chasseaud, who started her £80,000-a-year job as assistant director on September 3, has been getting to know staff and rebuilding burnt bridges with them and the GMB union.

She described the service’s relationship with the union, which in August threatened to take strike action, as “complex” but said a good bond between them is crucial.

Ms Chasseaud said: “What I hope I’m already changing is relationships within the service. I’m spending a lot of time talking and listening to staff. That’s something I believe is very important.

“One thing I’ve noticed is staff morale has been very low. I think it’s because communications have broken down. People are feeling stretched. There have been cuts in the service, meaning a reduction in management to have conversations with staff.”

She is also working on improving communications with residents as soon as possible.

Speaking about GMB, she added: “A good relationship with the union is really important. I don’t think it’s the union that’s caused the problems. It’s not all management’s fault either – it’s historic. Sometimes certain actions start happening – strikes are one of them.I haven’t heard the union raise anything that I don’t agree with. The union knows we need to do round restructures too and more around health and safety.”

Another reason given for the poor service has been staff shortages.

A Brighton and Hove City Council report released last week revealed the £20,138 salary for drivers – significantly lower than £25,500 offered in East Sussex – is to be reviewed in a bid to retain workers.

The council is currently looking to recruit two additional drivers and four binmen.

Ms Chasseaud said: “One problem is recruiting drivers. There’s been a real change in the market and there’s a bigger demand and it’s driving up wages. At Gatwick, drivers can make more money. In other local authorities around Brighton and Hove wages are higher than in the city.”

High staff sickness has also been a contributing factor to the bins debacle which has seen some residents wait more than three weeks to have their rubbish collected.

A Freedom of Information request by The Argus revealed a total of 7,228 sick days were taken by Cityclean’s 275 members of staff, which includes office workers and managers as well as binmen, from January 2017 to August this year.

The council said the sickness rate is higher among Cityclean workers, and Ms Chasseaud is aiming to improve some health and safety aspects of the service, such as ensuring workers are wearing sufficient personal protection equipment.

She said the workforce is of a slightly older generation, too, increasing the risk of injuries on the job.

The council report, which is being presented to the environment, transport and sustainability committee today, highlighted staff sickness and stated workers will be offered free health checks.

Ms Chasseaud said: “When you’ve got a large number of people doing manual labour, you always expect some increased sickness. Another factor is staff morale. That has an impact. There’s been a good take-up on the health checks. I’m going to do a lot of work around wellbeing. We expect to see an improvement in sickness levels. There are no major health and safety issues.”

She has confidence in her own ability and has even received the backing of opposition councillors, with Conservative Dawn Barnett believing Ms Chasseaud is the right person for the job.

Her contract lasts a year, but she is hoping to impress and take it on permanently.

Ms Chasseaud said: “I would like to be part of a longer term strategy to really turn things around.”

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Help us design buildings and spaces for people

From Brighton & Hove City Council, Planning Policy –

In the next eighteen months, Brighton & Hove City Council will be preparing the Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document (UDF SPD).

This planning guidance will set out and provide examples of what features high-quality, accessible buildings and spaces should be included when new larger planning applications are put forward.

Local communities will have the opportunity to give their comments on the first ‘issues and options’ stage of the UDF SPD.

We are keen to gather your views and the Issues and Options paper which will be out for stakeholder consultation between 5 July and 13 September 2018.

View & comment online by visiting www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/udfThe deadline for stakeholder comments is midnight on 13 September 2018.

Response to City Plan 2 – your support needed

An ‘HMO’ is a House In Multiple Occupation, as the name suggests a property where several different individuals or groups live together, often a shifting population such as students or perhaps separate flats which may or may not share facilities. The classification began primarily to ensure that such properties met with basic safety requirements, but as time progressed the licensing of HMOs turned in addition to regulating how many could be sited in one area, and what rules applied – for instance clearing away rubbish from the pavements outside. In Brighton the huge expansion of student housing in particular led to a proliferation of privately owned HMOs and sadly some of these are not as well managed as they should be. To its credit the council recognises that where there is a high concentration of HMOs problems can arise, particularly while the City would wish to protect families and the elderly in existing communities from undue change a surge in HMO properties may actually have a ‘clearing effect’ upon existing communities. This is a hot topic in Planning as well. The council therefore is consulting upon what is a fair approach to HMO’s in Brighton. All views are eligible and welcome through its website, whilst one group of residents in East Brighton have specifically asked if we as the SRRA group might consider reading and supporting their proposed response.

From East Brighton Neighbours:-

“Dear Neighbours,

Having got the council to agree to begin the survey process that we hope will lead to an Article 4 Direction to restrict the spread of student HMOs in our area, we’re now asking for your support in our response to the council’s Draft City Plan Part Two.

The plan has a section dealing with future policies on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and the more of us who put forward our views, the more likely we are to influence what goes into the final version of the City Plan.

We have formulated the attached response –  RESPONSE TO CITY PLAN 2.

Please find the time to read it and, if you feel you want to support it, just reply to eastbrightonneighbours@gmail.com with the following content:

Name

Address

Email address            

and underneath:

I support and endorse East Brighton Neighbours response to Draft City Plan Two.

That’s all you need to do.  We will attach your email endorsements to the response and submit it to the council.

THE CONSULTATION PERIOD ENDS ON SEPT 13th, so please send us your email response as soon as possible.

You can view the whole of Draft City Plan Part Two here,  and if you prefer to submit your own response, they have an online consultation portal.

Also feel free to pass on this email to anyone you think would also be interested in supporting our response to the Plan.

Many thanks for your support so far.

Regards,

Louise, Michaela, Chris, Tony, Brian, Marlene, Claire, Paul, Pete. (East Brighton Neighbours)”

Is it a bird, is it a plane………?

From Brighton & Hove Council

No – it’s a Superbin!

The first Superbin in Brighton & Hove will land in Preston Park on Thursday, and be unveiled by the Mayor Dee Simson.

The bin will be the star attraction at the annual Mayor’s Big Tidy Up,  when council parks staff and dozens of volunteer litter pickers will be in action, rolling up their sleeves and sprucing up the popular park.

At first glance, the Superbin looks like a normal litter bin, but open the door at the back, and you’ll find a stash of litter picking equipment for use by volunteers.

The bin has been installed as part of the council’s Tidy Up Team project. Trained volunteers will be given a code to the bin store, where equipment including litter pickers, gloves and bags are kept, make litter picking events easy to arrange.

The council launched the Tidy Up Team last year in a bid to encourage local people to help keep their parks and green spaces tidy by taking part in, and organising litter picking events. The scheme is co-ordinated by Cityparks staff and supported by Cityclean and local community groups.

“The response has been better than we ever hoped with hundreds of local people coming forward to offer their help, and keen to organise and run their own community events,” said Park Ranger Garry Meyer.

The council runs monthly training courses for volunteers to become Tidy Up team members, so they can safely collect litter in their local parks and green spaces.

As a result, litter picking events are now taking place regularly across the city, run totally by volunteers.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the environment committee said: “It’s fantastic that so many residents are coming forward to sign up to the Tidy Up Team projects and help keep our city’s parks and open spaces looking lovely all year round.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our first city Superbin, which I hope will be a welcome addition to the park and its team of hard working volunteers.”

The new Superbin is unveiled at the Mayor’s Big Tidy up, on August 9 from 11am to 2pm.  The bin will enable trained Preston Park Tidy Up Team volunteers to arrange events at short notice without waiting for equipment to be dropped off and picked up.

The event will also see the launch of the council’s BIG Tidy Up scheme and information pack, which will enable community groups, schools and businesses to organise their own litter pick events.

Tell us about the places in your neighbourhood

From Paula Goncalves – 

The council is developing new guidance – the Urban Design Framework – to help shape buildings and spaces around the city. The aim is to make them easier to use and more attractive to people.

As the city grows we will be presented with proposals to develop and build new buildings and places. This provides the opportunity to improve existing areas as well as making sure we get usable, flexible and high quality new buildings and attractive public spaces.

To help us achieve this aim, the council wants to learn about your experience of the city to help create more welcoming buildings and public spaces through design.

Everyone in Brighton & Hove is invited to take part in a survey to share their views about the places they use and how they think these places could be improved.

All over the city there are close-to-home places that people have access to and enjoy spending time in. These can include parks, streets, squares, common areas of schools (eg playgrounds and playing fields), transport facilities and shopping areas.

Please fill in the survey at https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/udf-places The survey is open until 13 September 2018.

The information you provide will help shape the Urban Design Framework which the council, developers and landowners will use to make sure buildings and spaces fit the needs and aspirations of everyone who lives, works, studies in and visits the city.

Paula Goncalves
Planning Policy, Projects & Heritage Team
Brighton & Hove City Council

Email: planningprojects@brighton-hove.gov.uk
W: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk

Consultation on the Draft City Plan Part Two

Consultation on the Draft City Plan Part Two. 5th July – 13th September 2018.

What is the Draft City Plan Part Two?

City Plan Part 2 will support the implementation and delivery of the adopted City Plan Part 1 and builds on previous consultation and stakeholder engagement on City Plan Part Two undertaken in 2016.

The Plan includes:

Site allocations for new housing, student housing and employment sites.
Tougher controls on houses of multiple occupation (HMOs).
Policies for minimum internal space standards, usable outdoor space, self-build housing, homes for older people and wheelchair-friendly properties.
A new policy to help protect public houses as community benefit.
Recognition of important shopping parades in neighbourhoods.
Policies for the protection of town centres, business space, and leisure development.
A policy for encouraging new and safeguarding community facilities.
Transport, design, heritage, and environmental themed policies.

Your comments at this stage are important in helping to inform the final version of the City Plan Part Two.

How do I submit my comments?

In order for us to handle your comments efficiently we recommend that you make your comments using the council’s online consultation portal https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/cityplan-part2consultation

Responses can also be submitted using our MS Word representation forms:

By email to planningpolicy@brighton-hove.gov.uk
By post to Draft CPP2 Policy Projects & Heritage Team, Brighton & Hove City Council, First Floor Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Grand Avenue, Hove BN3 3BQ
All comments must be received by the Council no later than 5pm on Thursday 13 September 2018. Please kindly note that we cannot accept responses received after this time/date.

Where can I view the Draft City Plan Part Two and its supporting documents?

Electronically via: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/cityplan-part2

Hardcopies of Draft City Plan Part Two and its supporting documents can also be viewed during normal opening hours at: –

Brighton Customer Service Centre, Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square Brighton BN1 1JE
Hove Customer Service Centre, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road BN3 3BQ;
Jubilee Library, BN1 1GE
Hove Library, BN3 2EG
Portslade Library, BN41 1XR.

The Draft City Plan Part 2 and a small selection of its supporting documents will also be available to be viewed at all other city libraries.

Brighton and Hove bids to be Channel 4’s new home

From Brighton and Hove News

Channel 4 is being urged to relocate to Brighton and Hove as it looks for premises outside London.

The state-owned television company invited pitches from across the country last month as it started its search for three new “creative hubs”.

Brighton and Hove City Council, working with the local television sector, put in a bid on Friday 11 May.

The bid also involves the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, Sussex University and Brighton University.

It outlines Brighton and Hove’s “distinctive offering as a major digital and creative centre”, the council said.

It said: “In April, Channel 4 launched its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy and invited pitches from cities and regions across the UK.

“The company plans to open three new creative hubs, including a national HQ, bringing 300 jobs to the regions.

“The Brighton and Hove bid highlights the city’s established success in media, digital innovation and the arts, its unique character as a location known for its quality of life and independent spirit, and its excellent transport links nationally and internationally, including its close proximity to Gatwick Airport.

Visit Brighton has said it’s delighted to support the bid, as the city’s reputation for digital innovation and the arts, and its excellent transport links would make it an ideal destination for Channel 4.”

Click here for the full story.