Thursday, 23 June 2016

Council gets tough on trailers

Caravans, trailers and other engineless vehicles left stored on roads or pavements in Brighton & Hove could be removed under a new council policy in an attempt to tidy the streets and free up parking spaces.

Kingsway , Hove
It would entail the council invoking already-available powers under the Highways Act 1980.  In a survey 82 per cent of respondents said they support action being taken.

So-called non-motorised vehicles or NMVs are seen as an increasing problem.  Since 2012 the council has dealt with over 400 reports.

Historically the council has only ever removed NMVs using refuse disposal powers.  But this requires them to have been abandoned. Lived-in vehicles are tackled by the council’s travellers team. Until now there has been no policy on vehicles which are neither abandoned nor lived in.

However Section 143 of the Highways Act allows removal of structures from the highway – regardless whether they are owned or abandoned.  Legislation requires the council to issue a notice. After a month the vehicle can be removed.  Costs can be recovered from any identified owner.

Implementing the policy would cost an estimated £5,000 to £10,000 a year.  Costs would be reduced where possible by charging owners for the return of trailers or by selling them.

A report on the matter goes to the environment committee on June 28.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Shelter Hall - The Planning Application

The proposal
The long-anticipated application for the rebuilding of the Shelter Hall is BH2016/01877. It calls for the demolition of existing building and external steps; the erection of a two-storey building at lower promenade level and new external steps. The new building to incorporate a mezzanine floor and a single storey rotunda building on the upper promenade level on a raised plinth. The development will provide retail/cafĂ©/restaurant/public toilets. 

Looking west former view
Looking west after proposed rebuilding

South contextual elevation
The design is being handled by Solar Architecture Ltd., of Upper Beeding, who were also responsible for the design of the award-winning West Pier arches. We can be hopeful that the new Shelter Hall will attain the same high standard.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Restoration of the Seafront.


Sweethill from Old Court Close
Thankfully Sweethill, 427ft. high, still looks worthy of its name and very few traces remain of the 'shack & track' settlement that once covered its flanks.  This settlement resulted from the sell-off in 1921 of part of the Abergavenny Estate. Plots at £10 per quarter acre were snapped up by ex-servicemen to turn into small holdings.  The settlement grew rapidly but with only cesspools for drainage.

Unfortunately the land was in the catchment area for Brighton's water supply but was in the jurisdiction of Steyning RDC who had to rely on the very limited powers of the 1932 Town & Country Planning Act. Finally Brighton Council was forced to promote a Parliamentary Bill to secure the land which became part of Brighton in 1928.  The settlement was cleared and the hiatus of WW2 completed the process of disintegration.

During and after the war the area became very popular with Brighton residents who, in the autumn would take a short bus ride, or cycle, to avail themselves of the produce of the abandoned plots; apples, damsons, crabs, and as rewilding progressed, luscious blackberries.

In 1960 proposals surfaced to develop land on Sweethill as a film studio,  but nothing seems to have come of it. Sweethill is now in the South Downs National Park.

Today there are only two properties left. At estimated asking prices of c.£800,000 we can probably feel fairly relaxed about their means of sewage disposal.

Brighton's new hospital.