Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Brighton & Hove’

Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) is calling on Brighton & Hove City Council to agree to the revised modifications to the City Plan.  These are due to be considered at Policy & Resources Committee on Thursday.  While BHFOE remains concerned about the threat to the urban fringe, a greater threat would be had by having no City Plan at all.  In addition, the Council is proposing to delete its previous amendment to the urban fringe Policy SA4 which would have allowed development on any proposed housing site listed in the Urban Fringe Assessment.

BHFOE is reassured that this is no longer the case and urban fringe sites will be scrutinised and subject to further consultation before they can be allocated for development.

Chris Todd from BHFOE said:

“While we are not entirely comfortable with the place we are in, the Council is between a rock and a hard place.  Without a City Plan it would find it increasingly difficult to resist unsuitable development right across the city, not just in the urban fringe.  Also it would be more susceptible to losing planning appeals and having costs awarded against it.

“We would much rather the focus be on brownfield development but the time for that debate is over at this stage in the process.  The inspector has specifically asked the Council to review the urban fringe and if they had not done so the Plan would have been found unsound.

“By supporting the adoption of the City Plan, we are not agreeing to sites being developed.  That is a battle which we will need to gear up for on another day to safeguard our parks and allotments from inappropriate development.

“We fully appreciate that some politicians are in an uncomfortable position and are grateful for their support last time round in getting the Council to rethink its policy.  However, we now need them to step up to the plate and agree this Plan for the greater good, just as we have done.”

Read Full Post »

News Release issued, Thursday, 10 July, 2014

Green light to urban fringe development a mistake

Photo opportunity:  1.30pm, outside Hove Town Hall, Friday 11 July.  Groups / public to demonstrate about Council’s threat to urban fringe

Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) is calling on Brighton & Hove City Council to pull back from making a serious mistake with its proposed modifications to the City Plan.  These are due to be considered at Policy & Resources Committee tomorrow [1].  BHFOE is particularly concerned about the proposed amendments to the urban fringe Policy SA4 [2] which would allow development to take place on any proposed housing site listed in the Urban Fringe Assessment [3].  This is before the proposals have been scrutinised and the sites allocated for development.

BHFOE understands the pressure the Council is under to get the City Plan approved, and it also recognises that there will be some sites in the urban fringe suitable for development.  However, it is concerned that in the haste to proceed, the Council could make a terrible mistake.

Chris Todd from BHFOE said:

“Sites are not meant to be allocated for development until Part 2 of the City Plan, at a much later date.  Yet the Council’s proposed new policy would allow development to take place on any site listed in the Urban Fringe Assessment as soon as Part 1 of the City Plan is adopted.  In effect, setting in stone the right to develop all of these sites before the case for doing so has been scrutinised.

“Therefore the Council’s promise that there would be a consultation on allocating the sites at a later date is worthless.

“The Council needs to step back from the brink and amend what it is proposing.  Otherwise it will be making a grave mistake and sites wrongly assessed in the Urban Fringe Assessment could be lost forever.”

[1]   BHCC’s Policy & Resources Committee meets at 2pm, Friday, 11 July, 2014 in the Council Chamber at Hove Town Hall, to discuss the proposed modifications to the City Plan, which includes amending the amount of housing across the whole city, not just the urban fringe.

[2]   The Council is recommending changing the policy on the urban fringe (SA4) to the following:

Development within the urban fringe will be permitted where:

a) a site has been allocated for development in a development plan document; or

b) a site (or part of a site) has been identified in the 2014 Urban Fringe Assessment Study as having potential for residential development; or

c) a countryside location can be justified;

and where it can be clearly demonstrated that:

d) the proposal has had regard to the downland landscape setting of the city;

e) all any adverse impacts of development are minimised and appropriately mitigated and/or compensated for; and

f) where appropriate, the proposal helps to achieve the policy objectives set out above.

       [the bold section is the new wording proposed to be inserted into the policy]

BHFOE wants b) above deleted as it believes it is premature and will prejudice which sites will be developed before there has been any scrutiny of the Urban Fringe Assessment or before they are considered in Part 2 of the City Plan.

Part a) already covers allowing development to take place once a site has been allocated for development.  Therefore there is no need to insert this new part b).  The proposed supporting text for the policy sets the context perfectly adequately.

[3]        The Brighton & Hove Urban Fringe Assessment, by consultants LUC, has been produced without any stakeholder involvement nor has it been subject to public scrutiny to test whether its recommendations are sound.  BHFOE is aware of at least 2 sites where the sites appear to have been allocated under false premises.

Read Full Post »

BHFoE will be taking part in the following upcoming events around the UK. If you are interested in volunteering with us, we always welcome people to come along and lend a hand for as long as you feel like, or just join the event and say hello! If you would like more information about any of these events, or would like take part, please email monicabhfoe@yahoo.co.uk, (add “to the attention of” the contact person named below):
  • Hassocks Garden Centre, April– Monica
  • SE Regional Gathering, London, 26 April – Carol
  • Energy Meeting,Pelham Tower, Brighton, B’ton Fringe, 17 May – Carol, Coo
  • Green Film Festival, Brighton, June – Carol,Coo
  • National Base Camp 13-15 June, Derbyshire – Chris
  • Hollingbury Woods Bee Bank clearance, June/July – Monica

Read Full Post »

News release issued Monday, 24 March, 2014

Free Sunday parking could cost us dearly:  Bus services and air quality could be at risk

Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) is condemning calls by Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrats for free Sunday parking [1] as financially irresponsible and potentially damaging to the city in the long term.  The Lib-Dems petition on this is due to be discussed at Brighton & Hove City Council’s Full Council meeting on Thursday.

Local authority budgets are under severe constraint and with bigger cuts coming over the next few years, as indicated in the recent Budget, BHFOE believes that to reduce income which could be used to improve the city’s crumbling infrastructure is foolish.  BHFOE also believes that making a substantial amount of parking free on Sunday could cause even more congestion and pollution as cars drive around the city looking for free spaces.  The measure would also risk undermining Sunday bus services, which are often less profitable than weekday ones.  Loss of these services could see some people become more isolated, while others might feel they need to own a car whereas previously they didn’t.  This would then create more congestion and pollution and put more pressure on residents’ parking.

Chris Todd from BHFOE said:

“These proposals from the Liberal Democrats are just plain daft.  They are jumping on the free parking bandwagon without thinking through the consequences.  Who is going to pay is clear.  We all are.  Our roads are crumbling and services for the needy and vulnerable are under severe pressure.  From the budget last week it’s obvious that things are only going to get tougher for local authorities with even more cuts on the way.  So chucking away income from Sunday parking would be financially irresponsible.

“Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, when he was Transport Minister, probably did more than any minister previously to support the bus industry.  Yet here are his colleagues in Brighton & Hove proposing a measure that could lead to a loss in bus services.

“We would urge the City Council to ignore this rash petition.  If the Liberal Democrats really care about the city, they should support measures to reduce car use and improve air quality, while making it safer and more pleasant for people of all ages to walk, cycle and use public transport.”

[1]   The Liberal Democrats are proposing that parking charges are scrapped for all council run car parks and on-street parking bays on Sundays

 

Read Full Post »

BHFOE recently complained to The Argus about its reporting of the Council’s decision on extending the 20mph speed limits across more areas in Brighton & Hove.  To its credit, The Argus published our letter in full, however, the editor, Michael Beard said the following underneath:  In response to Chris Todd, we carried out an extensive vox pop in Portland Road to gather views of residents and found the response was against it.  our reporter contacted Mr Todd as soon as he was able to.  Mr Todd is always welcome to contact The Argus if he wishes to make a point.  In addition, the fact that someone advertises in The Argus has no bearing whatsoever on the editorial judgment of the paper.

In response to Michael Beard, The Argus said that it spoke to 100 people in Portland Road, 43 of whom supported 20mph.  In terms of balance, we therefore felt that at least one, if not two, of the four vox pops quoted should have been supportive of 20mph, not all four against it.  This is not sour grapes, not least because we supported Portland Road being 30mph out of concern for the impact on the bus services.  However, we are concerned at the content and quality of the articles appearing on transport in The Argus.  More recently, there has been as article about how free parking has helped boost trade in the city.  Yet it contained absolutely no evidence to support this, other than anecdotal.  The most likely reason for shop owners having a good two weeks’ trade is the upturn in the economy and the fact that it’s only a few weeks to Christmas

Read Full Post »