Brighton & Hove City Council




4.30pm19 December 2019


Council Chamber, Hove Town Hall





Present:   Councillors Phillips (Chair), Robins (Deputy Chair), Allcock, Atkinson, Barnett, Bell, Brown, Childs, Clare, Davis, Deane, Druitt, Ebel, Evans, Fishleigh, Fowler, Gibson, Grimshaw, Hamilton, Heley, Hill, Hills, Hugh-Jones, Janio, Knight, Lewry, Littman, Lloyd, Mac Cafferty, Mears, McNair, Miller, Moonan, Nemeth, Nield, O'Quinn, Osborne, Pissaridou, Platts, Powell, Rainey, Shanks, Simson, C Theobald, Wares, West, Wilkinson, Williams and Yates








        Declarations of Interest


        Councillor Powell declared a personal but not prejudicial interest in Item 57, a report of the Executive Lead Officer for Strategy, Governance & Law concerning the proposed Corporate Plan 2020-23 as it referred to partner organisations and her daughter she worked for Sussex Police.


        No other declarations of interests in matters appearing on the agenda were made.






        The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on the 24 October 2019 were approved and signed by the Mayor as a correct record of the proceedings.




        Mayor's Communications.


        The Mayor informed the council of the sad news of the death of Barry Sanders, a former Mayor of Hove Borough Council.  She also offered the council’s condolences to Councillor Hamilton whose mother, Olive Hamilton who was mayoress to Leslie Hamilton senior when he was Mayor of Hove Borough Council in 1978/79 and 1996/97.


        A minute’s sielnce was then held as a mark of respect.


        The Mayor noted that the Council had recently agreed to sign-up to the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter which sought to protect rights at work for those facing terminal illness. She stated that she was pleased to welcome Laurie Heselden from the TUC to the meeting and noted that Laurie, along with Councillor Nancy Platts as the Leader of the Council, the Chief Exceutive, Sue Beatty from Unison and Mark Turner from GMB would also be co-signatories to the Charter.  She then invited them to come forward to sign the Charter.


        The Mayor stated that she wished to congratulate the council’s Access to Education Team who, working with Public Health colleagues had won a joint national award from Modeshift for the SMILE Project.


She note that the 'SMILE project' focused on journeys we make every day - in particular our journeys to nursery and to school. It helped children, parents and carers build activities into their daily lives to improve their mental health and well-being. The SMILE project’ showed how we can do these activities on our everyday journeys.


‘SMILE’ was a child-friendly version of the ‘5 ways to well-being’. The ‘5 ways to well-being’ were five evidence-based steps people can take to improve their mental health and well-being.

The Mayot then invited members of the teams involved along with Councillor Moonan to come forward to collect the award.


        The Mayor then stated tha she would like to offer the council’s  congratulations to the Brighton Table Tennis Club who won Club of the Year at the Pride of Sports Awards in November and to Whitehawk football Club who won in the category of Active Sussex Club of the Year. The annual event was organised by Active Sussex and recognised inspirational and ground-breaking heroes involved with sports and physical activity


        The Mayor stated that she also wished to personally thank the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Alan Robins and former Mayors, Councillors Dee Simson, Pete West, Garry Peltzer-Dunn and Carol Theobald for representing the Mayoralty during the election period.


        The Mayor then reminded colleagues that the next gala dinner in support of the Mayor’s charities was taking place on the 27th March. Anyone who would like to purchase tickets should get in touch with the Civic Office.


        Finally, the Mayor stated that she was aware that the Council usually sought nominations for the Deputy Mayor-Elect at the December Council meeting and she had therefore agreed to take this as a late item as listed in the addendum papers.




        To Receive Nominations for the Deputy Mayor-Elect for the 2020/21 Municipal Year


        The Mayor sought nominations for the Deputy Mayor-elect for the municipal year 2020/21; and called on Councillor Bell.


        Councillor Bell nominated Councillor Mary Mears to be the Deputy Mayor-elect for 2020/21.


        Councillor Wares formally seconded the nomination.


        Councillors Gibson and Platts extended the Green and Labour Groups support respectively for Councillor Mears’ nomination.


        The Mayor noted that there were no other nominations and therefore put the motion that Councillor Mears be the Deputy Mayor-elect for 2020/21 to the vote which was carried unanimously.


        The motion was agreed.




        To receive petitions and e-petitions.


        The Mayor invited the submission of petitions from councillors and members of the public.  She reminded the Council that petitions would be referred to the appropriate decision-making body without debate and the person presenting the petition would be invited to attend the meeting to which the petition was referred.


        Councillor Yates presented a petition signed by 318 residents concerning the replacement of a bus shelter in Grand Avenue.


        Mr. Hawtree presented a petition signed by 112 residents concerning the condition of pavements and curbs kerbs throughout the city.




        Written questions from members of the public.


        The Mayor reported that one written question had been received from a member of the public and invited Ms. Sapat to come forward and address the council.


        Ms. Sapat asked the following question;


Please can the Council provide us citizens the overall comprehensive transport strategy for Hove that takes into account the actual and proposed development in all areas where proposed development is possible. Can you please confirm that this transport strategy has actual and proposed traffic modelling underpinning the strategy, and accommodation for pedestrian crossings and achievable bike lanes that don’t destroy existing trees and verges?


        Councillor Pissaridou replied; Thank you for your question Bhavna, which is in a number of parts, so I apologise for the length of my answer, but I want to ensure that all your points are answered. The council’s overall transport strategy for the whole city is set out in its Local Transport Plan and the council’s strategy for all development in the city, including the Hove area, is set out in its City Plan.  The development of the City Plan included a thorough assessment of the potential transport impacts of all of the proposed development up to 2030, including over 13,000 new homes, and identified how those impacts would be reduced to a satisfactory level.  This work was based on traffic modelling and the results are included in a document that is called the Strategic Transport Assessment. 


The City Plan was the subject of extensive public consultation and an independent examination over a long period of time before it was adopted in 2016.  All of these documents can be found on the council’s website.  Because the assessment was for the whole of the city, it did not include details about pedestrian crossings and cycle routes.  I suggest that I send you a full written response that will address these points.


        Ms. Sapat asked the following supplementary question; Can the Council give the citizens of this neighbourhood, who are adversely impacted with a loss of amenity, adequate assurance with:


          Public meetings to explain the proposed accommodation of traffic for these areas- Sackville Trading Estate and Toads Hole Valley;


          That the Council will not give approval to the initial plans of Toads Hole Valley Development without showing the citizens how our neighbourhood will accommodate these developments and ensure the roads can accommodate the increase traffic without adverse impact;


          Please confirm to us if Sackville Trading Estate Development dwelling residents have been offered visitor parking of 100 per year, and which zone they will be in.


        Councillor Pissaridou replied; There has already been a public meeting about the Toad’s Hole Valley site, which was arranged by your local councillors.  It was held on at Aldrington Primary School in January of this year and there were many questions asked about traffic and transport.  Representatives of residents’ groups have also met with councillors and officers at Hove Town Hall to have their questions answered.  


The council’s Planning Committee will consider the planning application in a meeting next year that will be open to the public to attend.  It will take into account all of the information and evidence that has been submitted, including representations from residents, before making its decision.    


According to the council’s website, only a small area of the Sackville Trading Estate is currently within the boundary of Parking Zone R.  People who live in that zone can currently buy 50 visitor parking permits per year at a cost of £3.50 each.  Only people in Zones L, P, S and W can buy 100 visitor permits.  Final decisions will only be made about parking permits if the committee decides to approve the development.


        The Mayor thanked Ms. Sapat for her questions and noted that concluded the item.




        Deputations from members of the public.


        The Mayor reported that one deputation had been received from members of the public and invited Mr. Nigel Smith as the spokesperson for the deputation to come forward and address the council.


        Mr. Smith thanked the Mayor and stated that: I have lived in Rottingdean for many years and am very familiar with bus and car travel along the A259 to the City.  I am part of the A259 action group which is endorsed by Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council.  Together we are looking at ways to ease air and traffic pollution on the A259 between Brighton and Eastbourne - and address the growing delays to our vital bus services.


This stretch of road was recently named as a Major Road Network (MRN) by the Government.  As such, the A259 is now eligible for funding from central Government to improve how it transports people and provides access to the Strategic Road Network and Rail Network.


Lewes District Council is funding a £50,000 survey of this stretch of road. This detailed piece of work will form the evidence basis of future funding bids. I am here today because we have two main problems:


1.    The surveyors need detailed and well-modelled information about the Valley Gardens scheme.

2.    If the Valley Gardens phase 3 scheme ends up adding to local congestion, then this may undermine any bids for funds to improve our transport corridor.


I appreciate that Valley Gardens phase 3 is an issue that some of you are weary of - and that you want to just get on with it.  However, put simply, the A259 Action Group is worried that our bids for funding will be jeopardised if the relevant bodies have the slightest concern about the calculations on which the VG3 plans are based.


Our consultants have already identified a number of errors in the business model for Valley Gardens phase 3.  The queries they have are complicated and difficult for the non-expert to grasp. Four examples:

          The congestion “disbenefit" has been miscalculated.  It should actually be £22m, possibly £26m, rather than £17million.      

          The delay time given during the evening is too low, most likely as road widths were not factored into the traffic models and bus traffic has not been adequately assessed.

          VG3 does not tackle estimated “do nothing" congestion costs of c.£200m plus its associated carbon and Air Pollution.

          The benefits of VG Option 1 are difficult to reconcile with the data, raising suspicion that another accounting error of up to £4m is involved. 


I hope you agree that we need to tackle congestion, delays, pollution and the high carbon footprint along the A259 corridor as well as in central Brighton.


To ensure that future funding of the A259 is not jeopardised, I am here to request that an independent audit of the source data and analysis that the Valley Gardens project is based on is undertaken, followed by open publication of their conclusions.


Ideally the Department for Transport should be asked to perform this audit. 


        Councillor Pissaridou replied, Thank you for your presenting your deputation on behalf of the A259 Action Group about the A259 and the Valley Gardens Phase 3 project, Nigel.  As a stakeholder group, I am sure that the County and District Councils will have due regard to your comments and views about their projects and studies, such as the A259, alongside those of others.  I have also noted your comments about the A259, as we also strongly lobbied with both East and West Sussex County Councils to ensure that the A259 was recognised and included in the Government’s Major Road Network. 


We are aware of the A259 study that the county has chosen to put forward for funding as part of the Major Road Network programme.  The city council’s priority for money from that same fund is focussed on the essential reconstruction of the A259 Seafront Highway Structures (or Arches) that hold up the A259 in the central area of the city.  It really is important that we take every opportunity to secure as much external funding as we possibly can to invest in our transport infrastructure.


Councillor Fishleigh recently asked a question about the A259 study at a council meeting in October, which I replied to.  As I said then, once this council has a clearer understanding of the detail and extent of that study, we will be able to fully consider what information may be available that could help to inform it.  We have not been approached for any information yet, and therefore your reference to the need for certain information about Valley Gardens appears somewhat premature. 


I therefore can’t accept your suggestion that the Valley Gardens scheme will undermine a funding bid to the Government for a large section of the A259 in East Sussex, because the study criteria and methodology have not yet been fully defined yet; there has been no consultation; and a scheme design has not been developed.  However, should the Government ever require any further scrutiny or audit of the information that it requires to be submitted as part of its future funding processes, such as a complex computer-based transport model, then we would respond positively to such a request.


I am aware that the technical points that you have mentioned about the Valley Gardens project are the same as those within the ongoing correspondence that you are having with council officers, as I have also been in receipt of those e:mails.   However, as you know (but I will repeat for the benefit of the councillors and members of the public here) the Business Case has been considered on several occasions by the Local Enterprise Partnership.  This process has included an independent review, carried out at the request of the Local Enterprise Partnership, which has confirmed that it is robust, and this has therefore enabled the £6 million pounds worth of Local Growth Fund money to be allocated to the council. 


We have carefully considered the design of the busy and dangerous Palace Pier junction on the A259 to ensure that it is more people-friendly, and not dominated by vehicles.  This will help contribute to the council’s ambitious target of achieving carbon-neutrality by 2030, by making it safer, more attractive and easier for people to walk and cycle.  The new traffic signals will use the latest technology and enable us to manage movements and minimise congestion at peak times in the mornings and evenings, and at busy weekends or event days. Where air quality levels are poor, we will also ensure that legal levels are not exceeded.


I remain confident that we have done everything that is required of us to progress the final phase of the Valley Gardens project.  Having secured the funding for it, I am looking forward to the next stage of the design process so that we can complete it project and start to see the regeneration and transport benefits that it will bring to the city centre and adjacent areas for years to come.          


        The Mayor thanked Mr. Smith for attending the meeting and speaking on behalf of the deputation. She explained that the points had been noted and the deputation would be referred to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee for consideration. The persons forming the deputation would be invited to attend the meeting and would be informed subsequently of any action to be taken or proposed in relation to the matter set out in the deputation.


        The Mayor noted that concluded the item.




        Petitions for Council Debate


        The Mayor stated that where a petition secured 1,250 or more signatures it could be debated at the council meeting.  She had been made aware of 1 such petition.


        The Mayor then invited Mr. Charles Ross to come forward and present the petition. 


        Mr. Ross thanked the Mayor and sated that the petition was in no way a personal attack of either the Duke or Duchess of Sussex; but rather sought to highlight the unfair and hierarchical situation faced by citizens of the country.  He had no objection to invitations to Harry and/or Rebecca Windsor being invited to visit the city because of their personal actions but not as members of the royal family.  He believed it was time for the city to show its position as a republican city and noted that the petition was the third highest to come before the council for debate.  There was no need to continue with the feudal system and he hoped that the city council would have the courage to set Brighton as open republic.


        Councillor Platts thanked Mr. Ross for bringing the petition to the council meeting and stated that I am aware that there are passionately held views on either side of the argument about the monarchy which are legitimate. However, that is not a matter for local authorities and we obviously do not have the power to remove titles. That is a matter for the Crown.

The Council has a number of pressing issues it has to prioritise, such as homelessness, climate change, the effects of austerity, ensuring we and the economic and social wellbeing of the City’s residents. Although I fully respect the views held by people on both sides of the argument, given the more pressing challenges we have, I do not believe this would be a proper use of council time and resources to progress the proposals in the petition.


I would therefore ask the Council to note the petition and thank Mr Ross for presenting it.


        Councillor Bell stated that he respected the arguments for both sides in relation to the issue and noted that the petition had only been signed by just under 4,000 people and the city’s population was over 270,000.  The title had been given by the Queen and as a Conservative Group he stated that they were proud to have the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and they would support the monarchy.


        Councillor Mac Cafferty stated that the Green Party had a long-standing tradition of supporting republicanism and his own preference would be to have a report on the matter, although he was unsure what action the council could take.


        Councillor Platts noted the comments and stated that she had nothing else to add.


        The Mayor thanked Mr. Ross for attending the meeting and presenting the petition.  She then put the recommendation to note the petition to the vote which was carried.


        RESOLVED: That the petition be noted.




        Call Over for Reports of Committees.


(a)          Callover


        The following items on the agenda were reserved for discussion:


Item 57  -     Corporate Plan 2020-23


Item 59  -    Sussex Health and Care Plan – The Local Response to the NHS Longer Term Plan


(b)         Receipt and/or Approval of Reports


        The Head of Democratic Services confirmed that Items 57 and 59 had been reserved for discussion; and that the following report, Item 58 on the agenda with the recommendations therein had been approved and adopted:


Item 58  -     Review of the Constitution.


(c)          Oral Questions from Members


        The Mayor noted that there were no oral questions.




        Written questions from Councillors.


        The Mayor reminded Council that written questions from Members and the replies from the appropriate Councillor were taken as read by reference to the list included in the addendum which had been circulated prior to the meeting as detailed below:


             Councillor West - Resident Parking Permit surcharges


        What additional administrative cost is incurred from offering quarterly or half yearly residents parking permits? Given digital transaction costs are low, is the current and proposed surcharge justifiable? Low income households can experience cash flow difficulties which prevent their paying upfront for longer permit periods. Will the Budget proposal ensure the surcharge is minimised and only covers justifiable cost?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        The unit cost of a resident permit is £5.22 which consists of direct material costs, direct staff costs, other apportioned direct costs and apportioned overheads. 4 quarterly permits per year costs £20.88.


The current proposal for 20/21 is to raise the price of an annual resident full scheme permit from £130 to £150 but keeping quarterly prices (£45) the same to reduce costs to those who find the upfront annual costs more difficult.


             Councillor West - Business Parking Permit Surcharges


        Is the proposed 15% surcharge on quarterly business parking permits, over and above the proposed annual charge, justifiable on the basis of additional administrative cost?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        The unit cost of a business permit is £5.22 which consists of direct material costs, direct staff costs, other apportioned direct costs and apportioned overheads. 4 quarterly permits per year costs £20.88.


The current proposal for 20/21 is to increase the price of business permits (£350 to £400 yearly and £100 to £115 quarterly) but also double the allocation of business permits from two permits to four permits.


This is a good value permit allowing use of resident / shared bays for a particular zone at any time (just over a £1 a day).





             Councillor West - Budget readiness for carbon neutrality


        Transport makes up over a quarter of the city’s carbon footprint, much of which relates to the use of the city’s 100,000 private cars. Private car use needs to be reduced to help tackle air pollution, congestion and road danger in the city; freeing space and supporting more people to travel actively on foot and bike or by public transport. The Council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Parking charges are a strong lever the council is able to use to encourage less car use. The Administration’s draft budget proposes to raise income from parking charges by a very modest amount, is that sufficient? Will the budget as a whole show strong ambition in readying the city for carbon neutrality?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        The proposed 2020/21 fees follow a review of parking demand in the city and the objectives set out in the councils Local Transport Plan, therefore changes to the tariffs will not reflect the assumed 2% standard budgetary inflation value.


A number of proposed increases have been made in high demand off street car parks as well as parking spaces on the seafront which are also at capacity in summer periods. In terms of paid parking charges within the wider Controlled Parking Zones the focus for 20/21 has been on increasing the price of various permits across the city where vehicles displaying these permits have been shown to park in a significant amount of shared parking spaces across the city. If the proposals are agreed this officers will then review these paid charges in Controlled Parking Zones for 21/22.


             Councillor West - Park and Ride and “EV Car Revolution”


        Meeting the challenges of climate change requires bold, community-focused change. So, I am concerned the Chair of ETS is intent on including consideration of Park and Ride in LTP5. Park and Ride is not a solution, it merely shifts toxic car emissions from one part of our city to another – it will not cut congestion, reduce air pollution or make the option to travel by bike or on foot safer and more attractive. It’s also difficult and costly to implement. For decades successive Labour and Council councils have promised Brighton & Hove voters Park and Ride, yet never delivered it. Despite this truth, the Labour Party just can’t let go of their fantasy of a ‘big solution’. Just last week, we also read the Leader of the Council, Nancy Platts, stating that an ‘electric car revolution’ is on its way. Emissions from transport equates to more than a quarter of our local carbon footprint, with personal car travel a big contributor. There are 100,000 cars in the city, can that continue? Will changing them all for electric cars make much difference? Given the investment that would be required in electricity generation, transmission and charging infrastructure, as well as the high level of energy embodied in making the vehicles, the answer is probably no. We must acknowledge for many, cars are still the only accessible mode of transport – but that an RAC survey found that people would ditch the car, if public transport was cheaper and more available.  


Let’s be clear: piecemeal solutions will not meet the challenge of climate crisis. If we agree there is an emergency, we need to shift our conversations towards supporting people to make positive changes. Whether it’s pushing for action on dirty air pollution, a boost to public transport, walking and cycling, or a Green New Deal to create jobs in renewable energy sectors, there are important and ambitious ways to create a positive change. We need our leaders to grasp the scale of the problem and lead the way on city-wide solutions – not put all their energy into promoting ineffective sticking plasters.


Will the Chair of ETS make clear that Park & Ride will not aid realising carbon neutrality by 2030, and therefore will not be progressed in LTP5?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee.


        It is correct to say that there is a need for a strategy and joined up to delivering a sustainable and active transport strategy for the city.  Any consideration of Park & Ride therefore needs to be explored with the context of the city and wider region’s overall transport strategies, 


We are currently reviewing the transport strategy for the city (the Local Transport Plan).  It will include a new and exciting long-term strategy for transport and travel in the city.  It will probably look ahead as far as 2030 - that critical date for all of us in terms of the climate emergency – and it will be bold and ambitious. 


It will need to address many issues – safety, accessibility, health and the economy, for example – and in doing so, it will recognise that our city is a place that has a diverse and wonderful mix of residents, workers and visitors.  They all have many different needs and travel habits, so we have to plan for all of those in the short, medium and long term. 


It is recognised that Park + Ride is not a panacea to the city’s transport or wider problems, but it has worked effective in other cities where it is integrated alongside other sustainable transport schemes and initiatives.


Park + Ride should also not just be viewed as part of sustainable transport solution for the city but could also serve the wider city region.   The city has the South Downs National Park on our doorstep - a magnificent, nationally recognised landscape that we want everyone to visit and enjoy – but we don’t want it clogged by cars and traffic.  A Park + Ride site might help us and other authorities manage those issues in more economically and environmentally sustainable ways.  


Electric vehicles are also part of our journey towards decarbonisation.  It’s happening nationally and globally, and we need to be a part of it to ensure that we are playing our part in reducing harmful emissions that affect people’s health and our environment.


It is important that we engage with local residents and business on these issues.  We also need to take action.  We are in the process of one of the biggest roll-outs of electric vehicle infrastructure in the country, with over £1 million pounds of investment.  Investment in infrastructure that will enable people to choose to use an electric vehicle and make our local air quality much cleaner and healthier for everybody.  The current, limited availability of that infrastructure is preventing them from making those choices.  It is also recognised that electric vehicles are not the only solution to a sustainable transport system but are one step towards a cleaner and more sustainable transport system.   


        Buses will also be part of the city’s future transport strategy, and we fully intend to continue to work in partnership with operators to seek and secure more Government funding on our Road to Zero [Emissions] by bidding to become the country’s first all-electric bus town.   This will build on the fantastic level of investment that they have already put into their fleets.            Likewise, walking and cycling be an essential part of our strategy and the current development of our Local, Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan will form a key part of future strategic approach.



             Councillor Heley


        At the last full council meeting I was delighted that the Green New Deal Motion that myself and Cllr Hills proposed received unanimous, cross-party support. Will the Leader of the Council provide an update on the Green New Deal report that was requested in the motion, including details on:


- If any stakeholders are involved

- Who the lead officers are that have been assigned to this report

- What the proposed timescale is

- When the city can expect to see the final version.


Reply from Councillor Platts, Leader of the Council.


        At the full council meeting on 24 October, I was also pleased that the council approved a Notice of Motion (NoM) on a Green New Deal. The NoM requested that certain issues relating to a Green New Deal be referred to P&R for decision.

A report on the Carbon Neutral 2030 Programme and Climate Assembly was taken to the following P&R Committee on 5 December. This included a Recommendation to note the Notice of Motion agreed at 24th October Full Council and agree that work on these measures be taken forward as part of the Carbon Neutral 2030 programme.


Through the programme we will be working with residents and a wide range of stakeholders to address the Climate Emergency. We are already working with the Greater Brighton Economic Board and its Infrastructure Panel to develop an Energy Plan.  The overall aim of the Greater Brighton Energy Plan is to identify opportunities for energy infrastructure that will support the city region in achieving its objectives in terms of decarbonisation and economic growth. It is anticipated that the Energy Plan will be finalised in April 2020, and deliverables include a project pipeline and development models. The Greater Brighton Water Plan follows a similar approach and timetable and will identify water projects aimed at improving water efficiency.


We will also work closely with Coast to Capital LEP, particularly around the emerging Local Industrial Strategy, and regional collaboration to lobby government for funding for low-carbon, ‘green’ jobs and decarbonisation projects.


             Councillor Heley


        Does the Administration have any plans to change existing emissions-based tariffs for residents parking permits, e.g. to expand beyond the 2 tiers of high and low emission vehicles? In order to tackle air pollution and to incentivise use of low emission vehicles, it would be good to have a further breakdown of emission levels with more being charged for higher emitting vehicles?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee.


        This is very complex and although the review has begun officers do need time to prepare a comprehensive emissions model. This would take into account Vehicle age, fuel type and engine size, in addition to CO2 emissions.  This is also requires detailed discussions with our parking IT system operators to discuss any limitations with the current application systems and take into account future IT modernisation. Therefore, this is something that will be a focus for the financial year 2020/21, with intended implementation 2021/22 at the earliest.


             Councillor Ebel


        Can you please give us an update on how many of the Non-British EU citizens in Brighton & Hove;

          have applied for Settled Status so far

          have been granted Settled Status so far

          have been granted Pre-Settled Status so far

          have not yet applied for Settled Status

          have used the service in Brighton Town Hall to scan their ID and documents to apply for Settled Status

The New European and other newspapers recently revealed that the Android app that is used to apply for Settled Status can be easily hacked and that sensitive information, such as passport information, passwords and facial scans can be stolen without circumstance. Can you please confirm that the scanners provided by the Council in Brighton Town Hall have been checked following these revelations and that the security flaws do not affect the scanners?


Reply from Councillor Platts, Leader of the Council.


        Thank you for your question regarding the EU Settlement Scheme and the city’s EU nationals.


Latest EUSS figures released by the Home Office on 7th November 2019 show that 9,750 EU nationals in Brighton & Hove had applied to the scheme between 28th August 2018 - 30th September 2019.


Of that number 8,070 applications concluded with:

          4,860 granted settled status

          3,140 granted pre-settled status

          70 given ‘other’ status

Which leaves 1,680 that were still ‘in-process’ at the time the data was recorded.


Figures from the ONS in December 2018 estimated that there were 19,000 residents in Brighton & Hove who were born in the EU. This figure is presented with confident intervals of 7,000 either way which could mean many more or less actually live in the city but these are presently the best estimates the council has. It is important to note that some EU residents may have been granted citizenship in the past.  We presently don’t have an exact figure of who in the city has not applied.


The service at Brighton Town Hall has so far assisted 361 EU nationals in accessing the scheme.


The Brexit Coordinator will seek assurances from the Home Office on the security of the ID Document Check android app but notes that the public statement by the Home Office in Nov 2019 says:


“We take the security and protection of personal information extremely seriously. The EU Exit: ID Document Check app is regularly tested by independent security firms against all known and emerging threats and adheres to industry best practice on security, performance and accessibility. Over a million people have used the app safely and we continually review our systems to ensure that it is kept safe.”


The document scanners being used by the Registry Office have regular technical updates to the app which are automatically applied, and the devices usually updated overnight – the assumption is that these are to improve performance and/or security. They are informed directly by email that an update is being applied and to ensure that it has completed.


             Councillor Rainey - Single-use plastics


        Efforts to make Brighton and Hove single-use plastic free have been going on since 2017 when a petition and Notice of Motion from the Green Party, calling for the city to pledge to become plastic free, were passed at full council. Many of the city’s large events, and a number of businesses, have now committed to phasing out single-use plastics and earlier this year a campaign was launched for Brighton to achieve Plastic Free Community status.


This autumn Penzance was declared the UK’s first town to achieve Plastic Free Community status. This status involves the council eliminating all single use items from their premises and supporting Plastic Free Community initiatives across the town. In Penzance local businesses and communities have been engaged with, and 12 local schools have become plastic free.

Brighton and Hove has the ability to become the first city in the UK to be awarded Plastic Free Community status, and we have already committed to becoming plastic free. However single-use plastic is still being used by many businesses, communities and schools across the city. Please can we have an update on what has been successfully done so far, and when we expect to achieve plastic free status?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        In my response to a similar question that was brought to committee in October I talked about the council’s commitment to the Plastic Free Pledge campaign and listed many areas of work to reduce single-use plastics that have been going on across council buildings, in our operations and across the city. This work continues to make progress and the council continues to work collaboratively with city partners in finding solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics and identifying opportunities to do this through our procurement process, contract management and through collaboration across departments and with city partners. It is great to see more and more individuals doing their bit to eliminate the use of single-use plastics in their day to day lives and seeing reusable alternatives becoming more of the norm.


        With regards to the Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) Plastic Free Community status, there is a huge amount of work that has already been done in this regard, especially within the actions put forward by the council itself. The rest of the 'certification' is being led by volunteers within the Brighton & Hove community - and we are continuing to carry on this work with the hope that we would be certified in 2020. The volunteers are already speaking to schools about plastic free status and this is being supported by council through the school’s environmental education programme and through an emerging new cross-departmental schools project where the council is collaborating with a local marine plastics expert and Southern Water. Volunteers are also sending a letter to every councillor to see how they can engage their local community.


        It should also be mentioned that Penzance is much smaller than Brighton and Hove. This is being recognised by SAS HQ, but we cannot compare the two locations!


             Councillor Clare


        Amendments passed in the 2019-20 budget included £0.022m for City Clean to support Universities with a recycling project to minimise fly-tipping at the end of term. How has this been used?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        A Council communications officer and projects officer have been working with the Universities of Sussex and Brighton to target students on fly-tipping and general waste.


A plan is being drawn up that will target the city’s student population (of around 40,000) on recycling, cutting contamination and warning of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for littering and most importantly fly-tipping.


Student landlords will also be targeted on fly-tipping at the beginning and end of terms.


Joint communications will be carried out through liaison with the Universities’ community ambassadors and targeted comms through direct mail, leaflets, face to face visits, and having a stall at student fresher’s weeks and fairs.


The budget will be used for producing a suite of communications to help deliver the above including leaflets, pop-up banners, traditional and social media education campaigns, paid for advertising in university and other student-popular media.


        The universities have advised the best time to target their students is in the New Year as new students are more settled in then.


             Councillor Clare


        Could you supply me with the proportion of CTR recipients in council tax arrears per year from 2015-2019? 


Reply from Councillor Yates, Deputy Chair (Finance) of the Policy & Resources Committee


        There is no straightforward percentage calculation, because the caseload is not static enough to measure like for like, with individuals starting and stopping CTR throughout the year. The following information gives an indication of the number of Liability Orders produced during the year in question, where the individuals had a CTR claim in payment at some point during the year. Alongside this, there is a snapshot of the number of claims as at the fourth quarter of the relevant year, to give a rough idea of scale.



Number of Liability Orders

Count of claims


2015 to 2016



2016 to 2017



2017 to 2018



2018 to 2019



2019 to 2020




        Councillor Clare


        What proportion of events in the city have incurred fines for the state of land at the end of events and of these, are any on Hove Lawns?


Reply from Councillor Robins, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee


        Events are not fined as such. A reinstatement deposit is taken or, in the case of the very largest events, indemnification against any damage caused is agreed by contract.


A total of £19,241 has been spent by event organisers towards re-instatement in 2019.  £1502 was spent on Hove Lawns and charged against the Ladyboys of Bangkok.


As stated previously 2019 has not been the best year for reinstatement.  The unseasonably wet Autumn / early winter has resulted in some of the works not establishing themselves.  It is the intention to have another round of works in the early spring in three key areas – Hove Lawns, Stanmer Park and Old Steine.  The estimated cost of these works is £5000, again this will be charged to event organisers.


             Councillor Hugh-Jones


        Since 1 April 2018, private landlords are no longer permitted to let domestic properties on new tenancies to new or existing tenants if the property’s Energy Efficiency Certificate rating is F or G (unless an exemption applies). From 1 April 2020, this exemption will apply to all such properties even where there is no change in tenancy.


Enforcement is a matter for the local authority. Local authorities may serve compliance notices up to 12 months after a suspected breach has occurred. Where a local authority confirms that a property is (or has been) let in breach of the Regulations, it may impose a financial penalty up to 18 months after the breach and/or publish details of the breach for at least 12 months.  By way of example, penalties for renting out a non-compliant property for 3 months or more are up to £4000 per property.


        In light of the above, what steps is the Council taking to prepare to enforce EPC ratings in the private rental sector after April?


Reply from Councillor Williams, Chair of the Housing Committee


        The Housing Committee Work Plan 2019-23 seeks to improve private rented housing, including to:

       Develop the enforcement approach to private sector housing to reflect the full range of potential options available to improve management and standards.

       Develop an action plan to set out how we will work collaboratively to ensure housing contributes to making the city carbon neutral by 2030.


November Housing Committee approved a Private Sector Housing Enforcement Strategy agreeing that procedures will be devised, and the policy implemented from April 2020.


        As part of our development of these procedures, we will, in liaison with other regulatory departments in the council who may also have responsibility for this area of work, review and report upon our approach to EPC enforcement.    



        Councillor Fishleigh


        The i360 says that it will contribute £640million to the local economy over the next 25 years which amounts to £70,000 a day every day, can you give us a breakdown of this figure in terms of financial benefits to hotels and other accommodation, restaurants, cafes and bars, car parks, independent shops and other tourist attractions?


Reply from Councillor Robins, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee


        A copy of the Brighton i360 Economic and Social Impact Report can be found on the i360’s website.  This was an Independent report commissioned by the i360 and prepared by local economic development experts.  The report includes further information on the breakdown of those figures.  It is not the council’s report and we do not hold the data that sits behind it. 


             Councillor Hills


        Following the motion put forward by Councillor Amy Heley at the last full council meeting, we’ve agreed as a council to work towards a Green New Deal policy framework, which means restructuring our economy to work towards eliminating carbon emissions and increasing biodiversity, while boosting local jobs. To do this effectively, we will need to train a high number of workers in a range of skills.


          I’d like to ask the leader of the council if the skills and specialisms needed for this transition have been identified and if so, could this made public?

          What will the council do to make sure that we can recruit enough local people to take up these roles?

          What work is currently being done to ensure local colleges, training providers and employers can provide effective training for these new positions?


Reply from Councillor Platts, Leader of the Council


        Skills demand and identification of skills gaps are a national, regional and local priority. The Coast to Capital Skills 360 Board was established to provide direction and strategic support to boost the productivity of our economy by giving people the skills they need to secure and maintain high quality jobs. Additionally, the Skills Board is undertaking the role of Skills Advisory Panel (link).The remit and responsibilities of Skills Advisory Panels is specified by the Department of Education, the panel brings together local employers and skills providers to pool knowledge on skills and labour market needs, and to work together to understand and address key local challenges existing and future skills gaps and employment priorities. Brighton and Hove representatives on the board include the Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton and the Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College. The final skills report produced (link) which maps skill demand and supply was finalised in September. The Local Authority will need to work with the skills board with regard to the Green Deal Policy in 2020.


The specific skills required will be determined by the nature of the jobs, which are evolving or unknown.   Where there is awareness of rapidly changing technical solutions we will look at how the Council and Higher Education Institutions can respond. Brighton and Sussex Universities have established courses in sustainable design and materials solutions and in sustainable and ethical procurement and supply chain management which meet local need.


Nationally, the introduction of the T Levels, a 2 year technical education offer designed with employers (link) will dictate the post 16 provision offer (phased nationally from 2020). T Level’s will be available in subjects including Design, Surveying and Planning, Building Services Engineering and On-site construction.


Apprenticeships developed by employers provide a wide choice of pathways from intermediate to degree level. The Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education detail a clear process for the establishment of new occupational standards especially where skills gaps have been identified. As an employer we have contributed to the creation of new apprenticeships including an apprenticeship in Planning at degree level.


The local provision offer has the flexibility to respond to identified demand subject to financially viability and the supply of skilled teachers.


During 2020 the National Retraining Scheme (link) will be rolled out across the UK. The programme will help adults retrain into better jobs, and be ready for future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation. The scheme will also help to meet the needs of businesses for a multi-skilled workforce in the future.


The Council is currently working with stakeholders in the City in order to identify and address barriers to work and learning; provide an adult education and community learning offer with progression routes, and accessible information, advice and guidance support. 


Across the city there is a need to raise skills, knowledge and awareness for this across key sectors particular in STEM subjects, and within the council itself.


As a council we continue to support staff to upskill in their roles through the apprenticeship programme which contributes to retraining and retention of staff, keeping key skills within the organisation.  A female employee is currently undertaking Digital & Technology Specialist Professional (Data Analyst) L7 Apprentice.


        Through the Council Apprenticeship Levy we are able to support SME’s to take on new apprentices and develop existing employees.  So far we have allocated over £339,000, including Civil Engineering Degree Apprenticeships with Brighton University. The University of Brighton are one of the first university’s to offer this apprenticeship and provides a useful platform from which to examine the issues associated with sustainable development.


             Councillor Nield


Varndean School has recently sent out plans to local residents showing its proposed expansion. Residents are concerned about the effects on local traffic of an increase in pupil numbers. There have already been serious accidents involving pupils on both Ditchling Road and Preston Drove, and parking at the top of Balfour Road at school pick up and drop off times can already be dangerous and chaotic.


Residents would like to know what plans the council has to mitigate the repercussions of increased pupil numbers on traffic and parking around the school, and what plans they have to improve the safety of those pupils who walk and cycle to both Varndean and the other schools which share the grounds of the Surrenden campus.


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


I appreciate your concerns about this location given that this is a very big campus already, with two colleges, two secondary schools, a primary school and it also has some busy local roads surrounding it.


Your question is about traffic, safety and parking, but it has been prompted by the planned expansion of the Varndean School.    I have therefore discussed this response with Councillor Allcock, as the Chair of the Children, Young People & Skills Committee (which you also sit on) and he is happy that I respond on both of our behalves.


The decisions to expand the school to accommodate 30 more children were made in 2018, and it is expected that a planning application for this proposal will be submitted very soon.  The application will include a transport assessment, which will assess the possible impact of the increased number of pupils on local roads and it will propose any appropriate mitigation measures that may be required.


I hope that residents, including those in your ward who have concerns, will look at the traffic information and make comments on the application when it is submitted.  They will be able to do this on the council’s website.  

In addition, the Council has a rolling programme of capital investment though it’s Safer Routes to School programme which provides improvements in the areas around schools to ensure a safer environment for children where there are known safety related issues. Much like your suggestion of School Zones the Safer Routes to School programme looks to introduce a range of measures such as - safer crossing points, speed limit reductions, improved signage and road markings. To date the Council has introduced Safer Routes to School improvements at 18 locations across the city that has benefited 46 schools across the city. There is another scheme underway at West Blatchington Primary due for completion shortly. The assessment criteria to introduce Safer Routes to school is very much safety led and looks first and foremost at reducing accidents that have involved children and young people and to create an environment in which children feel safe to walk in. The council also has a rolling programme of investment to install new pedestrian crossing points to benefit all users, including children across the city.


There has been some past work done in the Varndean school area to make it safer.  In 2012, the council developed a Safer Routes to School scheme for the Fiveways area and works were done in Ditchling Road and Preston Drove.  We do monitor road safety data across the city, and last month the ETS Committee agreed to receive a report which will set out the ways in which the council can work in close consultation with schools and local communities about the creation of walking zones to improve safety. 


Earlier this year, we also used the ‘Streetwise’ initiative to help keep children safe as they travel to and from school.  Streetwise is a touring theatre production which is aimed at new Year 7 students starting at secondary school, and Varndean and Downs View were included.


        A consultation will take place in early 2020 in the Surrenden area on a resident parking scheme. The results of this consultation will then be taken to an ETS Committee in Summer 2020. If there is strong support and the recommendation from ETS Committee is to proceed the next step would be to consult again with the residents with a detailed design.


          Councillor Hugh-Jones


        When Boots and the Coop closed on London Road in preparation for the redevelopment of that site, it was anticipated that Boots would move across the road. There have since been reports that this has fallen through. Will the Health and Wellbeing Board be raising this serious failure of provision to local residents, particularly as this relates to prescription services?


Reply from Councillor Moonan, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board


A report was submitted to the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) 10th September 2019 as part of its Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) responsibilities. The report updated the HWB following the previous information in July 2019 that the Boots in the London Road was moving premises from its current address to across the London Road.


The PNA is a comprehensive statement of the need for pharmaceutical services of the population in its area. The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013 (“the Regulations”) set out the legislative basis and requirements of the Health and Wellbeing Board for developing and updating the PNA as well as the responsibility of NHS England in relation to “market entry”.


NHS England holds the contract for community pharmacy. The provision of NHS Pharmaceutical Services in community pharmacies is a controlled market. If an applicant wants to provide NHS pharmaceutical services, they are required to apply to NHS England (NHSE) to be included on a pharmaceutical list. Since April 2013 pharmaceutical lists are compiled and held by NHSE. NHSE will use the PNA when making decisions on applications.


HWBs have the responsibility to carry out and publish a PNA for its population at least every three years and publish supplementary statements stating any changes to local pharmaceutical services.


At the July 2019 HWB meeting Public Health advised that this relocation did not represent a gap in provision because the relocation was 100 metres across the same road and would provide the same level of service and opening hours. Since July 2019 the situation changed. NHSE informed the Public Health team on 28th August 2019 that Boots had requested a temporary suspension from NHSE for the provision of its pharmaceutical services at 119-120 London Road, due to problems in obtaining alternative premises before the lease on their current premises was due to expire. They made this request under Section 29.4 of the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulation 2013.  NHSE have granted Boots a temporary suspension of provision for up to 6 months whilst they seek alternative premises, which is expected to be at a different address.  The Boots at 119-120 London Road closed on September 20th 2019.


        Brighton and Hove City Council Public Health team have remained in contact with NHSE who have confirmed that if Boots are not able to find premises within the six months of 20th September 2019, the contract will automatically terminate and the pharmacy will be considered as closed. However In the circumstance that they found premises at the last minute they could apply for an extension to the contact, to allow time for a relocation application to be processed. The Public Health team will continue to monitor the situation in relation to the HWB’s PNA responsibilities.


          Councillor Hugh-Jones


        Also, on the subject of London Road, where can residents find information about the proposed redevelopment? The information on the Council’s website appears to date from 2013.


Reply from Councillor Robins, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee


        Assuming that this question relates to the London Road shopping centre. There are various development proposals within and around this area.  Information can be found in various places on the council’s website. 


Planning permission was granted earlier this year for the demolition of the former Boots and Co-op supermarket on the corner of London Road and Oxford Street.  This building will be replaced with a five-storey building – with student accommodation above ground floor retail.


Just off London Road itself, the Longley Industrial Estate will be redeveloped by Legal & General for a mixed-use development of offices and ‘build-to rent’ residential apartments.  This was granted permission earlier this year.


The planning applications containing full information on both of these developments can be found on the ‘Planning’ section of the council’s website. New England House (next door to the Longley site) is owned by the council and is proposed for expansion and refurbishment.  The most recent details on this project can be found in the agenda pack for the recent 5th of December Policy & Resources Committee.  This information is also available on the council website.  P&R granted permission for the next stages of design work.


        Planning policy information relating to the central London Road area can be found in the council’s City Plan (Parts 1 and 2) and the London Road Central Supplementary Planning Document.  These documents are also available to view and download on the council’s website.


     Councillor Mac Cafferty


        Can you please tabulate the quantity of complaints about licensed premises for each street in Brunswick and Adelaide Ward per year in the past five years? In 2019 which licensed premises and the corresponding street; in 2018 which licensed premises and the corresponding street; in 2017 which licensed premises and the corresponding street; in 2016 which licensed premises and the corresponding street; in 2015 which licensed premises and the corresponding street. 


Reply from Councillor O’Quinn, Chair of the Licensing Committee


        We can provide the information requested and an officer will send it to you directly.


             Councillor Mac Cafferty


        Can you please tabulate the quantity of fixed penalty notices for environmental offences of littering, littering from vehicles, dog fouling, graffiti, fly posting, unauthorised flyering, industrial and commercial waste receptacle offence, residential fly tipping, commercial fly tipping, disposing of commercial waste illegally, failure of business to produce a waste transfer note per year from March 2016 to December 2019. In 2016, how many FPNs and for which offence; in 2017 how many FPNs and for which offence; in 2018 how many FPNs and for which offence; in 2019 how many FPNs and for which offence. The last time I asked this question I was informed that the council didn’t have data before March 2016, why is that given that we have had FPNs since the 1990 Environmental Protection Act.


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee







Littering/littering from vehicles/ spitting, urinating or defecating





Dog fouling










Fly posting





Unauthorised flyering





Industrial and commercial waste receptacle offence/disposing of commercial waste illegally





Residential fly tipping





Commercial fly tipping



failure of business to produce a waste transfer note






Please note, during the 3GS contract, Residential fly tipping and Commercial fly tipping were recorded separately. Since the service has been in-house (and pre-3GS) the offences have been combined.




        Some explanations for variances:


                        Littering: through environmental enforcement education, there has been an element of behaviour change.

                Industrial and commercial waste receptacle offence/disposing of commercial waste illegally: issuing of FPNs was put on hold in 2018 due to the uncertainty of successful prosecutions under the legislation that was used at the time. This has now been rectified.

                Failure of business to produce a waste transfer note: through environmental enforcement education, most commercial entities across the city are aware of their roles and responsibilities relating to waste management and now have the relevant documentation. Officers frequently check a business’s duty of care certificate should they commit an offence.

                There have also been fewer members of staff meaning there has been less coverage across the city. Recruitment has now been completed and all positions are filled.


        It has not been possible to locate a complete set of data for the number of FPNs issued pre-2016.


             Councillor Mac Cafferty


        As records have been kept only by ward since 2018/19, can you please tabulate new reports of, or enquiries regarding, ASB for each street in Brunswick and Adelaide Ward per month. This would mean each street will have a clear record of reports for each month for this period. As reports weren’t kept per ward what was recorded prior to this, and how do I understand what incidents, reports or enquiries happened on the streets in my ward before this point?  


Reply from Councillor Childs, Lead Member for Community Safety


        We can provide the information requested. However due to the way that the information was captured prior to 2018/19 this may take a little while. Officers will provide the information to you directly in the New Year.


             Councillor Mac Cafferty


        At last full council I tried to ask questions about:


(1)     the quantity of complaints about communal bin collections;

(2)     the quantity of complaints about the state of communal bins and; 

(3)     the age of each communal bin,


on each street in Brunswick and Adelaide Ward for the past five years?


        But was told that this information is not available as complaints have not been recorded in this way. As the area of the city where communal recycling was trialled in 2012 and as one of the first areas of the city with some of the oldest communal waste bins how am I to understand now, not after the audit, how the council understands


(1) the quantity of complaints about communal bin collections;

(2) the quantity of complaints about the state of communal bins and; 

(3) the age of each communal bin. Especially as the city does record quantities of missed collections for recycling and this is captured in the KPIs report.


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


Complaints about communal bin collections


        Based on previous feedback from Councillor Mac Cafferty, the classification of complaints was amended and now include issue with a communal bin. Since this change in October 2019, there have been four complaints about communal bins. One was in the Brunswick & Adelaide ward.


Complaints about state of communal bins


        Complaints about the condition of communal bins are very rarely received by the Corporate Customer Feedback Team. Since October 2019, there has been one complaint, and this was not in Brunswick & Adelaide.


Instead, complaints are received directly to Cityclean via telephone or email or to the Assistant Director. These are dealt with on a case by case basis with a site visit to inspect the bin to determine what action needs to be taken. The number of these complaints is not recorded centrally.


Age of each communal bin


        This is currently unknown. Once the audit is complete, Cityclean will have a better understanding of which bins are the oldest.


        The missed collections in the KPI report relate to kerbside missed collections, not communal missed collections.


             Councillor Gibson


        Please provide a table showing the additional council homes provided for each year (or part year) 2015/16 through until the part year 2019/20 up till December 15th and for each year (or part year) show the additional annual rent income receivable for these homes at today’s rents?


Reply from Councillor Williams, Chair of the Housing Committee


Financial Year

Number of units

Full year effect of  rental income £

















          Councillor Gibson


        For the home purchase policies operation up until December 15th 2019, please can you provide:


-      the number of homes on which a purchase has been completed and of the number used as temporary and as general needs?


-      A breakdown of the numbers charging social rents, 27.5% Living wage, 37.5% Living wage and Local housing allowance?


-      A breakdown of the number of properties coming from the “first refusal” option when RTB homes are sold on and the numbers coming from other routes?


Reply from Councillor Williams, Chair of the Housing Committee



              43 homes have completed – 25 for general need and 18 for temporary accommodation


              Of those 43: 0 have been charged social rents, 2 have been charged 27.5% living wage rents, 23 have been charged 37.5% living wage rents and 18 have been charged LHA rates


              Of the 43: 16 were right of first refusal and 27 were other routes


          Councillor Gibson


        Please can you explain the “anomaly” experienced with the DWP indicating how this is hampering the councils collection of rent on behalf of seaside homes and when it is anticipated that this  anomaly will be resolved (also some details on how the collection procedures are being reviewed and what (if any) changes are being implemented to improve on the 85.6 % collection rate reported to P&R)? (see answers to P&R – 5th December)

Reply from Councillor Yates, Deputy Chair (Finance) of the Policy & Resources Committee


        We can advise that Seaside Homes rents are currently subject to Universal Credit at Local Housing Allowance rates rather than being classed as Temporary Accommodation which is excluded from LHA. This is despite the council providing written information for tenants to submit with their application concerning our use of Seaside Homes as TA.  We have also had issues with the DWP reflecting our most recent rent increase (Feb 2019) in UC payments, delays in UC payments being actioned and issues with applying for and receiving direct rent payments and payments for arrears.


We have secured a meeting with DWP, scheduled before Christmas, in which we hope to achieve an understanding and acceptance by DWP of Seaside Homes properties and how to treat them in future with the aim of resolving the current delays in assessment (which cannot be backdated).


In terms of rent collection, it has been widely reported that many housing organisations and landlords are seeing reduced income collection as a result of Universal Credit.


Moving forward to improve rent collection.  We are recruiting additional staff resources to be in place early in the new year and increasing the focus of most of the existing officers in the temporary & emergency accommodation income team on Seaside for the last quarter of the current financial year (3 officers out of 5.5 Full Time Equivalent posts).


        We are also undertaking a business process review across Housing to consider income collection across all types of accommodation and potential efficiencies to improve overall collection rates.


          Councillor Gibson


        Of the borrowing taken out at 2.17% (average rate) what percentage of the assumed borrowing was actually taken up? (see written answers to P&R on 5th on December)


Reply from Councillor Yates, Deputy Chair (Finance) of the Policy & Resources Committee


        The original assumption was that the HRA would need to borrow approximately £32 million to fund investment in the projects in question. However, due to changes in the timing of HRA project investments, approximately £14m other HRA resources became available to be utilised for other projects instead of requiring borrowing. This ensured that the HRA did not incur financing costs unnecessarily and it is anticipated that borrowing will therefore be required in the future to fund the capital investment programme. Currently, this means that the HRA has utilised £18m or 56% of the assumed level of borrowing at an average rate of 2.17%.


             Councillor Gibson


        As of 15th December, how much of the £1m rent reserve created in the 2019/20 budget to support social rents and 27.5% Living wage rents has been spent, and how many additional homes at social rents and 27.5% living wage (living) rents is it projected will be supported during the rest of the current financial year?


Reply from Councillor Yates, Deputy Chair (Finance) of the Policy & Resources Committee


        It was approved at the September Housing Committee to consider the use of the rent reserve (£1.050m) to reduce rents for the properties being purchased through the Home Purchase Policy. Officers are currently considering the most efficient way to apply this reserve to properties which are offered to the council from September 2019 as the application of this reserve needs to consider how to optimize the use in order to lower the rents on the maximum number of properties possible. The intention to use this on properties being offered from September is likely to mean that purchases using the new methodology will take place from December/January onwards. The number of homes supported will depend on the varying level of subsidy for each home.


In addition, January Housing Committee is considering a report on Rent Policy for new council homes to maximise the number of council homes replaced at social or living wage rents which will inform rent setting going forward.


          Councillor Gibson


        What is the proposed (2020/21) CPZ permit increase per week for a full scheme permit and the proposed cost of “surcharge” per week on each of 2nd and 3rd permits?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        These are the current proposals:


                Raise the price of the basic annual resident full scheme permit from £130 to £150 (about 38p a week) but keeping quarterly prices (£45) the same to reduce costs to those who find the upfront annual costs more difficult. 


                Raise second/additional full scheme by means of an additional surcharge (annually £80 and quarterly £20 which works at about £1.54 a week).


          Councillor Gibson


        As of December 15th, 2019;


       How many council homes have been sold under the RTB during this financial year?


       What is the current level HRA borrowing and how much is this under the previous borrowing cap?


Reply from Councillor Williams, Chair of the Housing Committee



          As at 15th December there have been 24 sales under the RTB during 2019/20.


          The current level of HRA borrowing at 15th December is £129,291m this is £27,509m below the previous HRA borrowing cap.

        Councillor Osborne - Possibilities to claim extra support and how the Administration is encouraging this?


        With the complicated means-tested benefit system that we have in the UK there are millions of people each year that don’t realise that they are due extra support and fail to claim. As a result, there is extra demand placed on council run services. 


1.    What extra support is available for residents to apply for in terms of benefits, tax relief etc both from the council and nationally? 

2.    What are the take-up rates of these various possible support schemes in terms of number of eligible people vs actual number of claimants (in Brighton and Hove)? How does this compare with other local authorities? 

3.    Are these figures regularly tracked to see if there are any trends emerging?

4.    What actions are the administration currently taking to promote the availability of these schemes and how are they supporting people when applying?

5.    Are there any further plans to support people when applying in the future and to help to increase their uptake?






Reply from Councillor Yates, Deputy Chair (Finance) of the Policy & Resources Committee



          Examples of help include Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Tax Credits, Personal Independence Payments… locally we offer a Council Tax Reduction scheme, alongside Discretionary Housing Payments and the Local Discretionary Social Fund. There are a number of websites that explain in more detail the possible benefits and help that residents can apply for nationally and locally, including the website, and there are online benefit calculators that can give an indication of what someone might be entitled to depending on their circumstances.


       and 3.

The number of potentially eligible people city-wide is unknown, due to the complexity of the various schemes, the complexity of individual lives and circumstances, and the fact that we do not have data about residents’ personal circumstances unless they are already known to us. However, in our Council Tax Reduction report to Policy and Resources Committee on 5 December (Council Tax Reduction Review 2020-21 and Working Towards a New Welfare Framework), we outlined plans to develop a new Welfare Board, and one of the early pieces of work will be to undertake some mapping work to analyse demand for help with financial and welfare benefit support. Another of our aims is to ensure that all support services within the council are better able to identify the key signs of when somebody might be missing out on financial assistance, and then either signpost them to the appropriate service, or support them directly. Many teams and officers already successfully highlight potential eligibility to people who they support, so this is an ongoing exercise. We will be exploring new models of data analysis, using existing data to identify households most at risk in terms of financial resilience. We would also be working with our partners in the voluntary sector to understand and interpret data that we identify concerning financial and welfare benefit take up in the city.


          In terms of promoting availability of benefits and financial support, our website has information about our local Council Tax Reduction, Discretionary Payments and Local Discretionary Social Fund (LDSF) schemes. Residents are advised about the schemes if they present in financial difficulty (for example if they have rent arrears, or council tax arrears). Colleagues in housing regularly assist their clients to access the LDSF. We also provide training on Welfare Benefits for other council officers and colleagues in the voluntary sector, so that they can recognise when vulnerable residents need more targeted and specific intervention. We have a Welfare Rights team that can advise residents on their potential entitlement to benefits, and we proactively work with residents whose Benefit entitlement has been capped by the government, so that they can either find work, find more suitable accommodation, or we assist them in claiming PIP, if they have a health condition that would mean they qualify. When we are made aware that somebody has claimed Universal Credit, we advise them to claim CTR, either whilst speaking to them, or in writing. On an ongoing basis, our partners in the Jobcentre have been working with us and other organisations on how to support individuals with complex needs. The city’s voluntary sector also plays a crucial role both in promoting the help available and supporting people in accessing that help.


          We are embarking on a development programme with the Local Government Association, alongside five other Local Authorities. We want to explore how to join up our services strategically and operationally, and find innovative ways of supporting our residents with their financial resilience. The intentions and next steps for this work are outlined in a report to Policy and Resources Committee on 5 December:  Council Tax Reduction Review 2020-21 and Working Towards a New Welfare Framework


          Councillor Osborne - Universal Credit 


        The national government embarked on an overhaul of the welfare system when they started the transition towards universal credit. There have been several delays in the roll out of this but how far through the roll out are we as of December 2019 in terms of the % of claimants who now receive universal credit? When do we expect all claimants to be moved onto this system?


Reply from Councillor Yates, Deputy Chair (Finance) of the Policy & Resources Committee


        Universal Credit is a combination of six legacy benefits and we do not hold information about the residual caseloads of national benefits. Migration is ongoing and the DWP’s programme is not expected to be complete until at least 2023. In terms of Housing Benefit caseload, since January 2017, some 2,500 cases have naturally migrated across to the DWP, where their Housing Costs are paid as part of Universal Credit. Cases usually transfer where somebody makes a new claim, or where they have had a change of circumstances. The transfer rate currently averages 60 per month. Combined with those making new claims directly to Universal Credit, it means that the overall Housing Benefit caseload has reduced from 24,000 to 18,000. Nationally, since July 2019 the DWP has been testing the next phase of migration with a pilot in Harrogate, moving over cases where there has not been a triggering change of circumstances. However, the pilot is proceeding very cautiously and is understood to have migrated extremely low numbers while they test processes and support mechanisms. Even if the government achieves its current target of completing migration during 2023, there will be a significant number of cases still on Housing Benefit, for example pensioners and those in supported and temporary accommodation. There is no information on when or how the Harrogate pilot will expand, or when managed migration will happen in Brighton and Hove.


          Councillor Powell – Tree Planting


        In July 2019, the BBC reported that “Ethiopia has planted more than 350 million trees in a day, officials say, in what they believe is a world record.” 


How many trees were felled by BHCC in the last year? And how many trees were planted in the last year by BHCC? Crucially, what plan has this labour administration committed to (along with ideas such as Plant Your Postcode) to plant even more trees in the next few years, now that our council has declared a climate emergency?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        The Administration is committed to increasing the overall number of trees in the city and working towards the Friends of the Earth suggested target of doubling tree cover by 2045. However, in light of ash dieback and other tree diseases we also need to commit resources towards preserving our existing tree stock.


The council has taken steps to reduce the decline in tree cover in the City. Exact figures for felling of woodland trees are not available however the Councils Arbotrak system shows 1105 fellings for this calendar year which will include some of the woodland trees, housing and cemeteries trees. It will include losses to elm disease and ash die back. Because of the way the figures are recorded it will include any tree work including the removal of self- seeded trees in the City. The council has also taken steps to improve the inspection and maintenance of our existing trees.


There are currently in the region of 500 confirmed tree plantings for this year which have either been completed or are in progress. We have also identified a possible 3 other sites where we are hoping to work with residents through ‘Plant Your Postcode’ to do some additional tree planting. As these are large areas we are hoping to get significant number of trees in and we will be aiming to ensure that there is no net loss of trees overall and ideally that we will be able to increase the overall number.


An additional £200 k has been allocated this year for street tree planting. To put this into perspective Cityparks annual budget for tree planting is £15k. This will help to reverse the trend of loss of street trees. In addition, an additional £300k has been put into maintenance and safety work on trees for this financial year.

Ash Die back has hit the country and will hit some of our woodlands badly and Elm Disease is increasing in the City. It is thought the increase in elm disease is due to poor control of the disease on non- council land in the City but the sources of infection have not been confirmed. Infection numbers do fluctuate but this year we lost 300 trees as opposed to an average of just under 200 for the previous 3 years.


We are working closely with residents and ‘plant your postcode’ in order to accelerate the number of tree plantings from next tree planting season. We will also be looking at opportunities to involve residents in tree conservation as tree warden alerting us at an early stage when there are problems.


There is a significant amount of public interest in tree planting and tree preservations. We recently had a workshop with ‘Plant Your Postcode’ and representatives from City Parks, Housing, Estates and Community Engagement attended. We do have issues with skilled technical officer capacity to deliver the increase in tree planting and we are exploring option for addressing this.


Our priority at the moment is preparing for next year’s elm disease season failure to control the disease will lead to the loss of our elms which make up one third of our street trees. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to halt Ash Dieback which will hit the wooded area on the Cites edge hard. In terms of planting our aim is to use the additional funding identified for street tree planting to plant up some of the stump sites, on wider pavements, we have inherited in the Cities streets.


        The consultation on our new Tree Strategy will commence in the New Year. We will be promoting this widely and will bring the results back to ETSC as soon as possible next year.


          Councillor Powell


        Since the eligibility age for concessionary bus fares is set to rise to the age of 66 by October 2020, can the ETS Chair please confirm if this has in fact, already been actioned by BHCC? And if not, when? 


And importantly, what specifically will the surplus income be used for, going forward? Could Companion Passes for those residents accompanying disabled passengers be an option, as in other authorities? As currently, BHCC do not offer these.


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        Eligibility for older persons passes has been gradually increasing since March 2019 to reach age 66 by October 2020. We have been issuing bus passes in-line with the raise of the pensionable age of the woman. Overall the amount of bus passes on issue has increased by 193 or by 0.5% in the period between March 2019 and 10th December 2019. Nationally and locally bus pass usage is declining. There were 380,000 bus journeys in Brighton made by passengers aged between 65-66 between November 2017-October 2018. Forecasted journeys for next financial year have taken in a number of factors including the age increase in eligibility.


Overall we estimate there will be 8,730,992 journeys made in total next year, after an initial decrease we expect to see an increase of 0.22% from October 2020 totalling an overall annual decrease of 1.4% in journeys made.  Potential savings are being investigated in this area.  However it is important to note that this includes a proposal to extend the concessionary travel scheme to allow 24hr travel for disabled pass holders. We are currently negotiating the reimbursement deal options with bus operators.


        We have researched the possibility of issuing companion cards on the same basis as other local authorities and estimate we would issue 2279 cards, generating 622,187 journeys costing over £659,518pa. There are no current plans to recommend this option due to lack of available funding. We do however offer £70 of taxi vouchers to those residents who are not able to use their bus pass through mobility problems.


             Councillor Powell – Blue Badges


        BBC in June 2019 reported: “About 2.35 million people in the UK have blue badge permits because of physical mobility difficulties or are registered blind. People with hidden disabilities are now also being considered as the change came into force on 30 August 2019. Scotland and Wales have already implemented similar rules to include some mental health impairments, (but the criteria is yet to be altered in Northern Ireland). The government said it would provide an extra £1.7m to help councils cope with the expected increase in applications”. 


Has BHCC advertised this change, and informed Service users and community groups (as I am not aware of any such publicity)? And have they seen such applications increase? If not, will BHCC look into this matter forthwith?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        A press release was issued by the communications team in conjunction with the Blue Badge team on the 20th August 2019 and  was also picked up in local press. It was also advertised by central government and in received coverage from national press across June, July and August 2019. To date we have received over 400 applications for the new criteria which include applications from organisations and is a 100% increase in the amount of new applications received per month. There is currently no intention to advertise this further.


          Councillor Druitt


        Recently a small number of councillors from Labour & Green parties visited Tablehurst Farm in Forest Row and experienced what sustainable community farming looks like. By its own admission it was not a perfect example, rather they were ‘on a journey’. However, they haven’t used pesticides or herbicides for over 40 years; the quality of their soil and their biodiversity is outstanding; and the level of employment, community engagement and educational opportunity is second to none.


        Bearing in mind most of our city’s water comes directly from our own downland estate and currently the (untreated) water quality in the city is amongst the worst in the whole South Downs, isn’t it high time we stopped allowing herbicides and pesticides on our land and managed the transition to sustainable, community farming practices that do not pollute the environment, have a much lower carbon footprint and offer far more in terms of employment, community engagement and education?


Reply from Councillor Pissaridou, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee


        The question recognises both the challenges and opportunities that changing our Downland Estate existing farming practices could achieve in contributing to the council carbon neutral target by 2030 in addition to improving the environment and ground water quality.


It raises a number of current, topical and challenging issues that are being considered and developed in preparation for the council’s Whole Estate Plan, which will be the successor document to the City Downland Estate policy, originally known as the Downland Initiative which was created in 2005/6.


Whilst ground water quality, sustainable farming and community farming are not mutually exclusive it would be inappropriate to say that only community farming or sustainable farming could deliver a reduction in our carbon footprint and the improvements in ground water quality we would all like to see, particularly within the challenging existing tenancy structure of the council’s rural estate.


Clearly, there is significant opportunity to achieve much more in this area and with both the Agriculture Bill and Environment Bill making their way through Parliament the council is hopeful that there will be significant central government legislation and financial funding to support these changes and mitigate any future reduction in the Downland Estates income as we transition to a new land management approach.


At a local level the biggest opportunity to drive significant change in land use and its management is through the renewal and or granting of new tenancies when existing Agricultural Holding Act tenancies (restrictive by nature with three generation inheritance rights) and or newer more modern Farm Business Tenancies expire. This would enable the council to impose Sustainable Farming techniques to new occupiers who are willing to sign up to these, be they sole traders, farming partnerships, companies, Cooperatives or Community Trusts which as a consequence will ensure that over the longer-term ground water quality can only improve.


BHCC Officers and Agents have worked closely with tenant farmers across the Downland Estate to maximise up-take of environmental stewardship schemes available under European Agricultural Policy. We have successfully worked with the South Downs National Park, Natural England, Southern Water, the University of Brighton, the Environment Agency and other organisations, farmers and stakeholders in groundwater projects, particularly the on-going ChaMP project, seeking to reduce nitrate and ammonia inputs and encourage the uptake of sustainable farming practices.


We are in the process of making an investment in replacement septic tanks and sprayer-filling locations on farms, in collaboration with Southern Water and the capital grant schemes they are offering. This is a good example of a privately funded payment for eco-system services which forms an important part of emerging environmental legislation.


There is much that we have done, are doing and intend to do working towards delivering sustainable agriculture and as consequence sustainable food without detriment to ground water quality. The attached Appendix explains in more detail the context and challenges of the City Downland Estate, our achievements and successful collaborative working.




        Oral questions from Councillors


        The Mayor noted that 18 oral questions had received and that 30 minutes were set aside for the duration of the item. The Mayor then called on Councillor Mac Cafferty to put his question to Councillor Pissaridou.


        Councillor Mac Cafferty asked the following question, We know from modelling done by the bus company and the council that transport at the clock tower can be drastically improved. We know from the KPI reports that air pollution on North Street remains at a toxic level. On top of that we know that in the immediate area around the clock tower and coming down from the station that there is too much graffiti and littering and that shows no signs of any abatement. My question is would you agree with me that the time has come to talk to our transport providers and city partners about how we can improve this part of the city centre?


        Councillor Pissaridou replied, I do agree, and we are talking to our public transport providers, as you know as you are sitting on quite a few of those meetings. We are progressing, we have 201 electric charging points ready for the uptake of electric cars. The taxis are hoping to get electrified, so they will be applying for grants. We are also progressing Valley Gardens Phase 3 which will slow down the traffic and make it a pleasant place we don’t just want it to be for people and cycles to pass through we want it to be a place for people to stop and enjoy that part of the city and enjoy what is going on and we hope a lot will be going on in the wonderful space behind the Pavilion.


        Councillor Mac Cafferty asked the following supplementary question, On the topic of our city centre we know that through the decade of austerity we are seeing the signs of Tory government and they are now very visible that East Sussex earlier today reminded us that one in 75 people in the city are homeless. We also know that the majority of people who are on universal credit are in debt and that too many end up homeless as a result. Will Labour now publicly affirm their support for a council tax consultation to help some of the poorest households, despite that they previously failed to follow up a request from us in the summer to introduce the council tax reduction support.


        Councillor Pissaridou stated that she did not have the information to hand and would provide a full written response.


        Councillor Bell informed the Mayor that his question had been addressed outside of the meeting and he was therefore happy to withdraw it from the meeting.


        Councillor Clare asked the following question and noted that she did not have a supplementary question., As my colleague has just said I recognise that thanks to savage Tory cuts to the council budget we are facing some difficulties and the administration must therefore propose some cuts to council services in the budget. I remain concerned about the proposed cuts to school improvement along with the governed support budget which carries the risk of not being able to support our city schools as well. Could I ask you to commit to looking again at this proposed cut?


        Councillor Allcock replied, as you know, the council has a statutory role to monitor the improvement and standards of all schools and know its schools well. This is done by carrying out school visits to observe leadership and teaching and learning, and by bringing together a range data, alongside other information from a range of services across the council. This is analysed to work out how best to support and intervene with schools if needed. This is all done in partnership with the schools and the council has a statutory responsibility to intervene when schools are judged by Ofsted as ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’, or are at risk of not being Good or of failing. We refer to these schools as Schools ‘Causing Concern’. 


The Council intervenes with a number of schools that are causing concern and also provides a service to all good schools to ensure we know our schools well and we prevent schools slipping and becoming a ‘School Causing Concern’. Currently the Council is intervening with 10 schools that are in the ‘Causing Concern’ category. This is a small number of Schools which has reduced over time.


This number can change at any time due to a range of factors including changes in Ofsted judgment criteria and bench marking, or because of other challenges head teachers and governing bodies may face in a range of areas. There are increasing challenges with the introduction of the new Ofsted framework and its demands and particularly ongoing funding pressures for schools. It is these types of factors that can lead to an increase in the number of Schools Causing Concern at any time.


The council has a specific statutory role in supporting governance in schools. Governance is a key element of school improvement. The LA governor support service has an excellent reputation and is well thought of by schools. It is a small service provided by three Council staff. The service is traded through a service level agreement with governing bodies where they provide an annual fee to receive the training, advice and services they need from the team. As part of the statutory element of the governor support service the council currently financially supports the service delivery with a 29k contribution from general fund to this service.


The council also has a statutory role to promote high quality education. We have a strong relationship with the family of schools and wider education partnership which supports this work, leading with us on a range of improvement agendas including our disadvantaged strategy, school attendance, maths and writing.


A full range of other services are also provided by the council that support the schools on their improvement journey and to ensure they provide an excellent and rounded high quality education for all their children and young people with a particular focus on the most vulnerable.


The outcome of all this work is that in the last 5 years the percentage of good or better schools has increased from 84% in August 2015 to 91% December 2019. 100% of secondary schools are good. Other outcomes across all phases of education are at and above the national average and outcomes on attainment have also improved overtime.


As Chair of CYPS I am constantly impressed by the consistently high achievements of our Children and Young People, teachers and support staff in our City’s Schools.  These achievements are in face of the everyday challenges and government-imposed austerity.


Madam Mayor all of us in this room should all be very proud of this. Particularly when considering Tory government cuts to School funding of 10% in real terms over the last 4 years


The current 2020/2021 budget savings proposals include two savings for school improvement activity:

          25k (from a total budget of 342k) from standards and achievement

          29k (from a general fund) from the governor support service. 


These savings are felt to be low risk because:

          the total savings amounts identified are small;

          the current service outcomes are positive; and

          because we have a relatively small numbers of Schools ‘Causing Concern’ needing to be supported.


To make the saving in the standards and achievement service we would need to reduce the available funding to support Schools ‘Causing Concern’. As we are currently supporting only 10 schools this would be on average approximately £2,500 per school.


        Councillor Wares asked the following question, In respect of ‘home to school transport’ please could the chair of CYPS advise where the council is with labour’s preferred consultant Edge Public Solutions given that documents we have received under ‘Freedom of Information’ clearly for the council to claw back fees or terminate if the savings are not achieved, with a £1m overspend materialising in the last few months suggests failure has already occurred.


        Councillor Allcock replied, There is no grants conspiracy of silence, no fake news and no fake broadcasting. We want to ensure the integrity of our actions. As you know there is an independent review, stakeholders’ involvement, open meetings. Transparency, accountability and a willingness to improve our service.

Regarding the specific question about Edge I can’t answer that because as officers have briefed you it is subject to confidential and commercially sensitive discussions at the moment. I will give you more information as soon as I can.


        Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question, We have indicated to both groups that we would be open to discussions. Some of actually know what the position is. The detail is confidential but what you are doing can be made public, so please would you answer the question.


        The Mayor stated that it was not a supplementary question and called on Councillor Fishleigh to put her question to Councillor Robins.


        Councillor Fishleigh asked the following question, Congratulations to officers for securing £214,000 for the Pavilion Gardens; I read that the council now plans to apply for another £3.4million from the National Heritage Lottery Fund so does that mean that the council won’t be applying again to the lottery for the restoration of Madeira Terraces?


        Councillor Robins replied, this is indeed great news, and I personally congratulate all the officers involved, and in answer to your question – No.


        Councillor Fishleigh asked the following supplementary question, I really hope that there will be a strategy so that the infrastructure projects across the city aren’t competing against each other for funding. There are council infrastructure across the city that have stalled or are failing, Saltdean Lido, Black Rock, Madeira Terraces, i-360 and King Alfred. Do you think it would be a good idea to finish some of these before starting something new?


        Councillor Robins stated that he was unsure whether these were council projects and would therefore provide a full written response.


        Councillor Janio asked the following question, A few number of families have made life over many months intolerable for many residents across Hangleton & Knoll and yet a multi-agency approach to tackling many deep-seated issues has not yet been attempted. Can the Leader of the council confirm that she is aware of these issues and take the necessary actions to end the misery as soon as practicably possible?


        Councillor Platts replied, earlier in the year Housing staff were involved in multi-agency meetings regarding youths in Hangleton, there were proportionately less children in council properties involved in ASB at the time but a couple of households were highlighted and we have been working with the families since.


We also recently had reports of ASB around the youth activities at St Richards Hall and youths hanging around after classes.  We understand many were not local to the area. The West Area Housing Team sent letters to 20 houses surrounding St Richards Hall asking for information on ASB activity and supplied diary sheets to encourage people to report incidents.  To date we have had nothing back from this.


        Councillor Janio asked the following supplementary question, the problem has not subsided and is getting worse, it is now moving into the north of Hangleton and spreading across the whole ward and is getting out of hand. Can the Leader of the council commit to setting up a small multi-tasking agency be set up to have the sole objective to sort this out as it is getting worse and not being solved?


        Councillor Platts replied, I think it would be better to talk outside of the Chamber as to the best way to address this, because I have very limited information and obviously some of this information is restricted and can’t be shared generally. Perhaps we could have a more specific discussion at a private meeting and try and help solve the problem. I will certainly commit to try and solve the problem with you.


        Councillor Deane asked the following question, For any Members who aren’t familiar with this service ‘Tell Us Once’ After a death in the family the bereaved family then have to provide a death certificate to a number of different organisations. The ‘Tell Us Once’ service allows the local authority to let every public sector organisation know for the cost of just one death certificate. The cost of a death certificate nearly trebled earlier this year from £4 to £11. This service is invaluable because it saves a lot of time when a bereaved family has a lot to do.


Is it not shocking that Brighton & Hove is the only council in the whole country not to offer this service?


        Councillor Yates replied, In October officers from the DWP attended the council offices to discuss how we can implement ‘Tell Us Once’ and to give us more information about how offering works. Within that meeting we sent staff from Customer Experience, Life Events and IT&D. To make sure we are able to integrate into our current service delivery.


Brighton & Hove Council at that point was 1 of 3 authorities who hadn’t implemented ‘Tell Us Once’ although obviously since then there is only one yet to sign up to the service. These are major authorities who have only just implemented the service despite it having been around for 3 or 4 years now. At the meeting officers had the opportunity to demonstrate the work we have been doing to improve the customer service and to improve our data management internally within the council as well as trying to join up the variety of different services and structures we have in place. All of that work is helping to give us a better picture of how to implement ‘Tell Us Once’, which turns out isn’t necessarily as easy as one might think.

We have discussed the opportunities with the DWP now and they have given us information about other councils who have implemented automated services to be able to do exactly as you describe, to be able to take away the stress, strain and some of the complexity that dealing with a bereavement in the family actually can bring to those who are having to address directly at a time when they are not really that interested in the number of death certificates that they need or how many services they have to inform of the death. 


The best option would be for us to have a direct link with the DWP and to link into their system to prevent re-keying in information, unfortunately that system isn’t possible as the DWP can’t give us that link so that means it will have to be manually undertaken, additional time spent manually re-keying in the same information into different systems in order to deliver what looks like a ‘Tell Us Once’ but we will end up doing it several times. It is not a very efficient way of trying to improve the service for us as a council or for those needing to access the service.


We were advised that both Norwich City Council & Enfield Council have carried out work enabling this automated link to the DWP system. We have made contact with those councils in an attempt to find out what the complexities are for us to deliver a service. We are still waiting to meet with those councils. We are also waiting for an additional meeting next month with DWP so that we can feed back. DWP are keen to get us on board.


        Councillor Deane asked the following supplementary question,


Why is Brighton & Hove ‘John come lately’ in all this? Why is it taking so long and when is it going to be implemented in a realistic way that bereaved residents can actually use the service?


        Councillor Yates replied, We will reconvene the meeting with the DWP in January. At that meeting it is the intention is to develop an action plan, so we can have a clear date as to when we can introduce the ‘Tell Us Once’ system.


        Councillor Nemeth asked the following question, The Conservative position on the King Alfred is that it needs a 50-metre flexible pool, that it is kept on its wonderful position on the sea front and that its focus is primarily on sport rather than housing. Given the huge support for a 50-metre pool from the public and the swimming community alike and not forgetting that such a pool costs less than building 2 or 3 separate pools would the Leader of the council please set out the administration’s current thinking on whether or not the next development should include a 50-metre pool?





        Councillor Platts replied, I would be interested to discuss the evidence you have for a 50-metre pool. The Sea Lanes are also looking at having a 50-metre pool, although that will be an open-air pool.


        Councillor Nemeth asked the following supplementary question, There has been agreement now for a few months that there should be a King Alfred project board. Why has a date not been set for its first meeting?


        Councillor Platts replied, As you are aware, this went to the last Policy & Resources Committee and we agreed that we would start to set up a project board. My understanding is that we are asking the different political groups to put forward their nominations for who will be on the project board so that we can move forward, and we will get dates for a schedule of dates as soon as we can.


        Councillor Shanks asked the following question, I hope the administration agree with me that pavement parking is both anti-social and dangerous and would you commit to consult and identify areas where we can bring in temporary TROs so that we can actually enforce against some of this very dangerous parking. I am sure most of us across the city would be able to identify areas in our wards where we could use this.


        Councillor Pissaridou replied, You will be aware that the Commons’ Transport Select Committee has recommended in the short-term allowing councils outside London to enforce against ‘unnecessary obstruction’, which you talk about, to combat the worst incidents of pavement parking. Longer term it has recommended that central government should work towards introducing a complete pavement parking ban unless signed to allow pavement parking.


In advance of any pavement parking ban the council would need to carry out a survey of all streets in the city to decide in which streets pavement parking was to be allowed in the city. Consultation with residents in streets where pavement parking is widespread would also be necessary before a decision on whether the pavement parking ban would apply to that street.


        Councillor Shanks asked the following supplementary question, It is my understanding that we could at the moment in areas where it is particularly bad enforce a TRO, I will leave that with you it is not really a question. It is a power the council has so people could identify those pavements.


        Councillor Pissaridou replied, Just to add a little more information, so ahead of the legislation, enforcement officers currently issue warning notices to vehicles parked on the pavement where a Penalty Charge Notice cannot be issued to discourage pavement parking, they don’t have the authority at the moment.


        Councillor Theobald asked the following question, It is regarding the bad state of grass and weeds growing through the pavements, especially in Patcham, the whole of the city and even outside Hove Town Hall. Is this going to happen next year? Secondly regarding graffiti, I know there has been a consultation on this and I believe there is a request for private property to remove it. But will the council be removing graffiti on their own property?


        Councillor Pissaridou replied, As you know this year spraying did not take place spraying did not take place while we looked to non-pesticide methods. Therefore, residents and Members may have seen an increased number of weeds across the city. A manual approach was adopted, using hoes and by brushing and ripping weeds.


We have recently ordered three new sweepers which should perform much better than the existing sweepers and they will be ripping up the weeds as well as cleaning the streets. We will be reviewing the decision to suspend the spraying, that is in place for one year and then we will review next year to see how it is going.


On graffiti as reported to Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee on 8 October in the Modernisation Update report, the Graffiti Reduction Strategy action plan is being delivered.


Recent action includes:

          Reviewing options for mobile CCTV to support the identification of culprits.

          Establishing a community clean up service for community groups, charities and schools to access supplies to paint out graffiti.

          Creating a paint repository to receive unused paint which residents and businesses can access to paint over graffiti in their neighbourhoods.

          Commissioning Phoenix Arts to create a mural in an area where there is excessive tagging.

We have started a programme of painting out graffiti on street bins. The crossover – Queens Road, West Street, Western Road and North Street – has been completed, but it is a constant battle with taggers. We are trying to keep on top of this area and then will work on other areas.


I took a taxi across the city last week and the taxi driver and I were talking about graffiti and I said ‘the tagging looks dreadful’ and he said ‘I personally don’t mind it, one person’s tagging is another person’s street art’.


We are also planning some clean up days in locations across the city whereby businesses, residents, volunteers, students and council staff and members of this administration work together to remove graffiti. This will follow the same approach as the Tidy Up Team which has been very successful in City Parks and is now being rolled out on to the streets.


        Councillor Theobald asked the following supplementary question, This does need addressing now and residents and myself are ashamed of the city at the moment as it does look a disgrace. When you said about CCTV in the paper a while ago it mentioned that somebody who had 18 different offences of graffiti and all they got was about 2 months community service, they should be made to pay for and clean it up themselves. Do we really need a consultation?


        Councillor Pissaridou replied, The consultation resulted in over 1000 responses, which is really high. We are encouraging businesses and people with graffiti on their own properties to clean it off and we are helping them.


We are shortly going to be installing a section of green wall on the upper Madeira Terraces to cover up some of the worst graffiti which cannot be removed and is repeatedly targeted by taggers. It this is successful we will be looking to extend this along this section of the terraces.


        The Mayor noted that the 30 minutes set aside for oral questions from Members had been reached and therefore the remaining eight questions would be carried over to the next meeting.




        Corporate Plan 2020-2023


        Councillor Platts introduced the report which detailed the proposed Corporate Plan for 2020-23 that outlined the Council’s ambitions to deliver real change over the period of the Administration.  There were six key themes within the plan and these would be highlighted by the respective Chairs of Committees as part of the debate.  However, she noted that the organisation’s staff were its greatest asset and without them it would not be possible to deliver the plan.  She wanted to also take the opportunity to thank those staff who had help to develop the plan over the last few months and recommended it to the Council for adoption.


        Councillor Moonan referred to the theme of A Healthy and Caring City and noted that other themes would all contribute to this.  She felt that it was an important objective and hoped that all parties would contribute to its development and achievement.


        Councillor Janio questioned the substance of the plan and suggested that there was a need for the Administration to consider how it would work with the newly elected Conservative Government and realign the plan’s objectives accordingly.


        Councillor Williams stated that there was a need to look at how well the council was doing already and noted that the opening of the night shelter that would operate 365 days a year.  She also noted that the council was improving its housing targets and 800 new homes had been added.  The private rented sector was improving with the introduction of the licensing scheme that was fully supported by private landlords.


        Councillor Fishleigh stated that she would abstain in the vote and queried how it fitted in with the aims of Brighton & Hove Connected whose leaders had not met since October 2018.  The plan failed to outline any costs or revenue streams and did not have a time-line.  She referred to page 17 where it said the council would work with its partners, but it failed to say who they were.  It also stated that the council would work with the two universities but again failed to link that to the need for affordable housing.  She also questioned how the skills of the City’s MP’s and MEP would be utilised and offered to help with the needed re-write and editing of the plan.


        Councillor Allcock referred to the theme of A Growing and Learning City and noted how terrific the city’s schools were and how they were working together to address the need to raise standards for those children who were in need and to improve the attainment gap.


        Councillor Pissaridou referred to the theme of A Sustainable City and noted the 2030 target for a carbon neutral city.  She noted that work was underway to look at hydrogen as an alternative energy resource and that there was a need to find solutions in relation to the South-East being a water stressed area.  She also noted the success of the Bio-Sphere and related projects.


        Councillor Fowler noted that regeneration projects were underway, and others being brought forward which would contribute to addressing the climate change crisis.  She hoped that the Members Working Group and officer group would be able to progress matters and build good working relations with the Coast to Capital LEP.


        Councillor Evans noted the need to work on the Community Wealth Building and Social Value projects to make the local economy fairer and inclusive.  She noted that a Working Group had been established to take the project forward.


        Councillor Gibson welcomed the plan and the opportunity to combine the objectives of both the Labour and Green Parties manifestos.  He stated that there were challenges to be faced such as homelessness and the provision of new affordable homes across the city.  He hoped that councillors could work together across all groups to meet the objectives and improve the city for all.


        Councillor Powell welcomed the plan and stated that it was a positive document, although she had some concerns in regard to the proposed budget cuts to much-needed service areas.  She hoped that these could be reconsidered, and alternative solutions found by working together.  She also expressed concern over the potential impact that the newly elected government may bring.


        Councillor Yates noted that this was the first corporate plan produced by a Labour Administration for some time; having inherited the previous one.  However, it was at the start of the Administration and he noted how the city was the only one outside of London to have a 5G test-bed. He believed that the council had good working relations with the Greater Brighton Economic Board and Coast to Capital LEP, which meant that the plan could be taken forward on a collective basis.


        Councillor Shanks welcomed the commitment to the youth services and the aim to improve attainment levels as there was a correlation with their economic situation which also needed to be addressed.


        Councillor West noted the comments and stated that he felt the plan was thin and lacked the data it was based on.  He suggested that it would be beneficial to have that included.  He was concerned over the lack of action, e.g. the target of carbon neutral by 2030 was listed but there had been nothing done in the last 6-months to start to achieve that and issues such as the lack of compatibility between being carbon neutral and having park and ride. To maintain a park and ride scheme requires an infrastructure that supports the use of the car an yet to be carbon neutral the use of the car should be discouraged.


        Councillor Robins suggested that there was a need to consider the positives and the contribution of the visitor economy and voluntary sector.  The city was the sixth most generous one in the country and had a number of listed buildings that had to be protected.  He had recently received a delegation from Bali who had wanted to learn about how well the city managed its visitor economy.


        Councillor Druitt drew attention to the need to consider the small business economy and find ways to support social enterprises and independent traders who were struggling and losing funding.  There were key to the diversity of the city’s economy and there was a need to find ways to support them in practical terms and not just written aims in a document.


        Councillor Platts welcomed the comments and contributions and stated that she was proud of the plan and that it had been developed on a collaborative basis.  She accepted there was a need to bring to fruition and hoped that party politics could be set aside for the benefit of the city and that everyone could work together to achieve a real difference.


        The Mayor noted that the recommendations had been moved and put them to the vote which was carried.


        RESOLVED: That the Corporate Plan 2020-23 be approved.


        The Mayor then adjourned the meeting for a refreshment break at 6.30pm.


        The Mayor reconvened the meeting at 7.00pm.




        Review of the Constitution




             That the proposed changes to delegations in respect of Planning Committee and to relevant Protocols be agreed as indicated in paras 4.1 to 4.3 and Appendices 2-4;


             That the proposal at para 4.12 to amend the Council Procedure Rules in respect of the arrangements of the council’s Urgency Sub Committees be agreed;


             That the proposal at para 4.15 for a gender-neutral Constitution and the proposal for a BME invitee to attend Policy & Resources Committee meetings as referred to in paragraph 4.9 be agreed;


             That the Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer be authorised to take all steps necessary or incidental to the implementation of the changes agreed by the Policy & Resources Committee and by Full Council, and that the Monitoring Officer be authorised to amend and re-publish the Council’s constitutional documents to incorporate the changes; and


             That the proposed changes come into force immediately following their approval by Policy & Resources Committee or adoption by Full Council, as appropriate.




        Sussex Health and Care Plan -The Local Response to the NHS Long Term Plan


        Councillor Nield stated that the report had been referred for information in order to draw Members’ attention to the issue and the need for further consideration and consultation on the proposals.  She was concerned that the council was being railroaded int accepting the changes and that there would be pressure on the CCG to close the financial gap.  This would result in more savings being required from the council.  There was already pressure on GP’s and primary care and this was likely to increase.  She accepted that there were positive elements within the proposals but felt that more time was needed to understand the implications and to consider alternatives.


        Councillor Janio noted that the Queen’s speech had made reference to the health service and suggested that a cross-party solution was needed for the city.  He noted that there was no mention of Toads Hole Valley in the plan and felt that was a missed opportunity to identify a location for needed GP surgeries and associated services.  He hoped that the council would take the matter forward and ensure that services were maintained for the city.


        Councillor Moonan noted that the National Health Bill had been referred to in the Queen’s speech and hoped that further information would be forthcoming following the Green Paper.  She also noted that concerns about the proposals in the Plan had been raised at the recent Health & Wellbeing Board meeting and that these and other considerations would be put to the CCG as part of the continuing dialogue. She acknowledged that the consultation to date had not been as extensive, but it was ongoing and there were positive proposals for Brighton and Hove.


        The Mayor stated that the report had been referred for information and therefore moved that it be noted.


        RESOLVED: That the report be noted.




        The following Notices of Motion have been submitted by Members for consideration:


   Moulsecoomb Primary School Sponsor


        1The Mayor noted that an updated notice of motion had been circulated with the addendum papers and that Councillor Knight would like the revised version to be considered.  She therefore sought confirmation that the Council was happy to accept the amended version of the motion for debate.


        The Mayor noted that the Council had agreed to accept the amended motion for debate and noted that there was an amendment from the Green Group which had been circulated as part of the addendum papers.  She then invited Councillor Knight to move the motion.


        Councillor Knight formally moved the motion and noted that the sponsor for the proposed academy had withdrawn from the process and stated that it clearly showed the need for the school to remain as part of the City Council’s structure.  She hoped that the motion would be supported, and that voices of the staff, parents and children would be heard, and the uncertainty brought to an end.


        Councillor Childs formally seconded the motion and noted that three sponsors had now withdrawn from the process and the school now needed to be fully supported.  It had already made significant progress, and this needed to be recognised and the support given be the council maintained to enable it to continue to improve.


        Councillor Clare moved an amendment on behalf of the Green Group and noted that there was cross-party opposition to academisation.  She also noted that the Green Party did not support the existence of Ofsted and therefore the amendment sought to achieve the same goal as the motion but in a different way.  The proposed academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary was not right for the school and it should remain with the City Council.


        Councillor Hills formally seconded the amendment and stated that the Green Group opposed the concept of academies and questioned the idea of having a further Ofsted inspection given the pressure it brought on the school.  The power to revoke the Order lay with the Secretary of State and they should visit the school to see how well it was doing under the local authority’s remit.


        Councillor Yates stated that it was government policy that was the issue which was failing and not the school.  The process had failed to find a suitable sponsor, and this should be recognised.  The school was at the heart of the community and was working hard to deliver results. It should be left with the council to continue with its overall improvement.


        Councillor Brown sated that the levels of achievement had been low and the need to enable the school to improve had been identified with the process of academisation.  She was concerned that the anti-academy views expressed would damage relations with the existing academies in the city.  There was a need to support the parents and for a further response from the School Commissioner to be made so that matters could be taken forward.


        Councillor Janio stated that there was a need to move forward and suggested that the Groups should recognise this and work together for the benefit of the school.


        Councillor Grimshaw stated that the parents were united as a community and should be supported to ensure that the pupils received the education they deserved.


        Councillor Knight stated that she understood the Green Group’s position but could not accept the amendment and felt that the parents needed to be supported and therefore the motion should be agreed.


        The Mayor noted that the amendment had not been accepted and put it to the vote which was lost.


        The Mayor then put the following motion as listed in the agenda to the vote:


This council asks the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Education to outline the following points regarding the proposed academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary School:


          This Council notes that the proposed sponsor, New Horizons Academy Trust, having been selected without any consultation with the governing body or parents, has now decided to withdraw.

          Given the Trust’s prior record and in light of uncovered documents showing that NHAT has already acknowledged that Brighton & Hove Council and current Headteacher at Moulsecoomb are rapidly improving the school¹, this is a welcome development.

          This Council reaffirms its commitment to the school and condemns the negative comments and scaremongering in the press release of NHAT.

          This Council continues to stand with and respect the views of the parents, carers, teachers, unions and children of Moulsecoomb Primary. We respect their voice and their opposition to the academisation plan, as evidenced by the 96% parental ballot rejecting it and the subsequent industrial action.

          This Council notes the local cross-party opposition to these academisation plans.

          This Council urges Ofsted, as a matter of urgency now, to reinspect the school, to provide an opportunity to evidence the improvements it has made since the previous inspection and to end the uncertainty for the staff, families and pupils of Moulsecoomb Primary.

          This Council urges the Secretary of State to revoke the academisation order.

        The Mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried.


   NHS Health and Social Care Decision Making: Democratic Deficit


        The Mayor noted that an updated notice of motion had been circulated with the addendum papers and that Councillor Shanks would like the revised version to be considered.  She therefore sought confirmation that the Council was happy to accept the amended version of the motion for debate.


        The Mayor noted that the Council had agreed to accept the amended motion for debate and invited Councillor Shanks to move the motion.


        Councillor Shanks formally moved the motion and stated that there was a need to review the role of the Health & Wellbeing Board which had not worked and to have accountable local decision-making.  She therefore hoped that the motion could be supported.


        Councillor Nield formally seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.


        Councillor Moonan welcomed the motion and noted that a review of the role of the Health & Wellbeing Board was underway with the intention that a broader representation could be achieved.  A report would be brought to the Board in the new year and it may be that a Health & Social Care Sub-Committee would be established to enable the Board to have a strategic oversight and the sub-committee to address matters affecting the council.


        Councillor Bell stated that the Conservative Group were happy to support the motion and wanted to find ways to improve the lives of residents across the city.  He hoped that the all Groups could work together to achieve this aim.


        Councillor Evans stated that there was a need for local democratic oversight and hoped that matters could be taken forward and improvements to the lives of all residents made.


        Councillor Deane noted that the NHS Long-Term Plan would come to the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee in January and that it was an NHS plan.  She also noted that the plan made repeated references to the need to work with partner organisations and she hoped that this would be the case for the council.  She was concerned that the level of funding to the council from the CCG was less than in other areas and felt that this needed to be addressed and that partner organisations had a greater say in the development of the plan.


        Councillor Nield noted that the issues she would have raised had been and therefore did not need to add to the debate.


        Councillor Shanks stated that there was a need for cross-party support and noted that the previous vote at the Health & Wellbeing Board had been carried by non-elected members and this needed to be reviewed.


        The Mayor then put the following motion to the vote:


This council:

             Notes that the majority of the NHS England budget is allocated to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), not local authorities;

             Notes the outcome of the NHS Five Year Forward View, which seeks to give CCGs more influence over the NHS budget;

             Notes that currently, half of the voting members of this council’s Health and Wellbeing Board are non-councillors; and

             Notes the opportunity to address this through the comprehensive Health & Wellbeing Board review.

This council requests that as part of the planned review into the Health & Wellbeing Board function, that:

             The terms of reference of this Board are amended, to reflect options for providing greater democratic oversight of Health and Adult Social Care decisions;

That this council requests that the Chief Executive write to the Prime Minister’s Office:

             To ask that the newly elected government commits to adequately fund adult social care in line with need, and further; and


             To ask that the pledge to work with all parties be upheld to develop a plan for Adult Social Care funding and provision, including through liaison and consultation with the Local Government Association.


             Party Houses – Short-Term Lets


        Councillor Janio raised a point of order and sought clarification on whether any Members should declare an interest in the matter, having regard to the fact that they may have properties that they let.


        The Monitoring Officer confirmed that declarations of interest were made by individual Members and whilst they could seek advice from him or other officers, the decision to make a declaration ay with them.


        The Mayor noted the information and that there was an amendment to the motion from the Green Group as detailed in the addendum papers.  She then invited Councillor Evans to move the motion.


        Councillor Evans formally moved the motion and stated that in the run-up to the local elections in May she had found the issue of ‘party houses’ to be a topic of concern.  She hoped that the motion would enable a way forward to be found to tackle the issue and that this would have cross-party support.


        Councillor O’Quinn formally seconded the motion and stated that the letting of properties was becoming a business for many people and there was a need to make them responsible. The increase in such property lets was also affecting the property market and adding to the pressure on available homes for families.


        Councillor Osborne formally moved the amendment on behalf of the Green Group and stated that it was seeking to add to the motion that the Group fully supported.  He noted that the CE of AirBnB was willing to work with the council and stakeholders to take matters forward and he hoped that a constructive dialogue could be achieved and that contact with the LGA could be made with a view to developing a White Paper on the issue.


        Councillor Mac Cafferty formally seconded the amendment and hoped that further action could be taken to help tackle the issue.  He noted that in Cambridge planning regulations had been used to prevent the use of houses for such purposes as it was regarded as a business and an unauthorised change of use.  There was an opportunity to look at such examples and hopefully develop a policy for the city.


        Councillor Robins stated that he had met with the Head of Policy at AirBnB along with Councillors Osborne and Wares and they had indicated a desire to work with the council in a positive way.


        Councillor Wares noted that the matter had been raised at the previous Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture meeting and that a report was due to come back to the committee.  He was therefore unsure of the need for the motion and that it was more important to ensure that residents were able to contact the council to report matters.  As it stood it was difficult to navigate your way around the council and know who should be contacted e.g. Field Officers were supposed to be the point of contact, but he was unclear whether residents were aware of this.


        Councillor Rainey stated that she had received numerous complaints in relation to noise, drunken behaviour etc. due to houses being let out to groups of people.  She noted that it was difficult to take any action for example the preparation of a warning notice took time and the people concerned would have left by the time it could be issued.  There was a need to relook at the matter and find ways to tackle the problem.


        Councillor Evans noted the comments and thanked councillors for their contributions.  She welcomed the approach from AirBnB and confirmed that she was happy to accept the amendment.


        The Mayor noted that the amendment had been accepted and put the following motion to the vote:


             This council notes with concern the ongoing issues raised by residents in neighbouring properties to ‘party houses’, many relating to alcohol abuse, noise disturbance, littering and vandalism. Whilst the vast majority of visitors to our city enjoy themselves without these issues and are very welcome here, we hear residents’ concerns and wish to build on previous work conducted by the council in order to take action against the exceptions.

             This council recognises that it currently does not possess the powers to intervene and regulate these properties, and that this is a problem faced by many local authorities across the country.

             This council deems it reasonable to request sufficient delegated powers to regulate the commercial lets market in the interests of residents, particularly in tourist destination authorities like Brighton & Hove.

Therefore, this council

          Asks the Chief Executive:

             to write to AirBnB welcoming the consultation on registration, stipulating that council will participate; and to request AirBnB and short-term holiday let companies to consider creating a shareable register of reliable hosts,

             to write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request:

 government revisit the planning Use Classes Order with potential introduction of a ‘Holiday Lettings Class’;

 charging business rates to landlords of HMOs, party houses and AirBnB properties

 the delegation of additional powers to local authorities, in order to allow the regulation of commercial short-term holiday lets, often known locally as ‘party houses.’


             Requests that Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee commission a report exploring the principle in planning caselaw from Richmond, Kensington & Chelsea and Cambridge, which stipulates a material change of use had occurred in party houses; and outlining the potential significance for BHCC.


        The Mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried.


        The Mayor noted that an updated notice of motion had been circulated with the addendum papers and that Councillor Mac Cafferty would like the revised version to be considered. She therefore sought confirmation that the Council was happy to accept the amended version of the motion for debate.


        Councillor Wares requested that the matter be put to the vote as it was felt that the amended version simply added to the original one rather than actually updating it.


        The Mayor noted the request and put the proposal to take the revised version of the motion to the vote which was lost by 19 votes to 25.


        The Mayor then invited Councillor Mac Cafferty to move the notice of motion as listed in the agenda papers.


        Councillor Mac Cafferty formally moved the motion and stated that there was a need to consider reviewing the electoral process and drew attention to the results in the recent General Election which had seen MPs being elected with varying degrees of the overall percentage of the vote.  He noted that overall in 2001 the Labour Party had secured 40.7% of the vote and gained 413 seats and yet in 2017 with 40% of the vote they gained 262 seats.  He believed the first past the post system needed to be replaced and an alternative form of proportional representation such as the single transferable vote (stv) brought in and if that was not going to be at a national level it should be at a local level.


        Councillor Clare formally seconded the motion and stated that the current system created unwinnable seats which tended to be held by men.  This actively prevented a greater diversity of elected Members and needed to be addressed to enable a better reflection of the community.  She also noted the Government’s intention for Vote ID to be brought in and questioned its effectiveness given that during the recent trials significant numbers of people had been turned away and then not returned to vote.


        Councillor Platts sated that the Labour Group were supportive of the original motion but had not been comfortable with the amended version.  She acknowledged that a review of the electoral system was required and that it would be for the national parties to take forward.  In regard to the introduction of Voter ID, she believed that further consideration was required before it was rolled out and more information provided to ensure it would be effective.


        Councillor McNair noted that a number of European countries used a form a proportional representation (PR) but questioned whether that meant it was a good system.  He noted it tended to result in minority or coalition governments which generated more uncertainty and suggested that without PR it was very unlikely that the Green Party would gain more MPs or form a government.  With the First Past the Post system a candidate had to secure the support of their electorate and tended to give a result with a party in power and he felt that was a better option to have.


        The Mayor congratulated Councillor McNair on his maiden speech on behalf of the Council.


        Councillor Janio stated that he believed the First Past the Post system was the most robust and appropriate system to have.  He questioned the ability for a system of PR to provide an Administration with overall control and noted that voter fraud was already an issue and as such Voter ID was important and needed to be introduced.  He could not support the motion.


        Councillor Hill stated that she favoured a move to PR as it would reflect the percentage of vote that each party was able to achieve and was therefore more democratic.  She believed that people would be more receptive to coalition government and that it did work elsewhere.


        Councillor Bell stated that it was an interesting debate, and would no doubt continue but he believed in the First Past the Post system and therefore could not support the motion.  He also supported the introduction of Vote ID and questioned the opposition to it given the intention to safeguard the electoral process.


        Councillor Littman stated that there was a clear need to review the electoral system and referred to the Danish model where there was a Parliament where people across political boundaries actually talked to each other.  He hoped that more democratic system would be brought in both at a national and local level and urged councillors to support the motion.


        Councillor Mac Cafferty noted the comments and stated that in respect of Voter ID further thought needed to be given to how those who did not have formal ID would not be disenfranchised.  There were some 11 million people in the UK without a passport for example.  He hoped that if people became aware of the possibilities of PR then there would be more support for it.


        The Mayor noted that motion had been moved and put the following motion to the vote:





The council notes:

             Recent legislation published by the Welsh Government, paving the way for Votes at 16 and Single Transferable Vote (STV) in local elections and notes further that Wales follows the voting method for elections in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the London Assembly all now use proportional systems;

             England remains the only country in the UK where local elections are undertaken using the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system, and, that England is the only country in Europe to use such a system.

             The damaging Voter ID trials undertaken earlier this year in the local elections, and plans announced in the Queen’s speech to introduce a Photographic ID requirement. Of 44.6M votes in 2017, electoral fraud resulted in 1 conviction or 0.000063%

This council therefore, requests that the Policy & Resources Committee, considers calling for a report detailing the implications of Voter ID on residents in the city and that the report explores the impact of the FPTP electoral system on local elections in Brighton and Hove and how this compares to the popular vote.


        The Mayor confirmed that the motion had been carried.




        Close of Meeting


        The meeting concluded at 8.37pm.





The meeting concluded at 8.37pm







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