Agenda item - Member Involvement

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Agenda item

Member Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by Members:


(a)          Petitions: To receive any petitions referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee;


(b)          Written Questions: To consider any written questions;


i)       Royal Pavilion Gardens – Councillor Nemeth

ii)      Sports Clubs – Councillor Nemeth

iii)    Marlborough House – Councillor Nemeth

iv)    Tennis/Football at Hove Park – Councillor Nemeth

v)      Planning Enforcement – Councillor Nemeth

vi)    Fly-Tipping – Councillor Nemeth


(c)          Letters: To consider any letters;


(d)          Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee.




31a     Written Questions


31.1    The Chair noted that six questions had been received from Councillor Nemeth.


            Inclusion of Royal Pavilion Gardens on Historic England’s “At Risk” Register


31.2    Councillor Nemeth asked: “With regard to the inclusion of the Royal Pavilion Gardens on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register, will the Chairman explain why a spokesman for Brighton & Hove City Council made the following misleading statement?:


Inclusion of the garden on the register is absolutely not a criticism of those responsible for it.”

As a reminder, Andrew Brown, planning director for Historic England in the South East, stated: To say it’s not a criticism is to push the interpretation of being on the register to its extremes. It’s not a straightforward criticism, but I would liken it to an amber light, to say if the council carries on the way it’s going at the moment, it’s going to harm the historic importance of the gardens. We’re not trying to police them but to flag up the fact it’s going in the wrong direction and to offer help.”


31.3    The Chair provided the following written response: “The placing of the Royal Pavilion Gardens on the “at risk” register reflects Historic England’s published view that “Pressure on public finances presents a challenge for many of our most celebrated public parks and cemeteries.”


            Historic England has been clear that caring for such important heritage sites is a significant challenge in the current climate, and may require more resources than can be found locally.  The “at risk” register aims to highlight the need for agencies and communities to come together locally, regionally and nationally and Historic England acknowledges that it is no criticism of any one administration, given that Councils do not have the resources to carry out large scale or long-term conservation.  Historic England has assured us that this step is intended to raise the profile of the challenge of caring for such assets, and to help guide us in developing our Conservation Plan for the Gardens, and in seeking funding partnerships to protect and conserve the site long term by establishing it as a priority. We have already started this process, having appointed Sussex-based landscape specialists Chris Blandford Associates to prepare a Conservation Plan and 10 year Management Plan.”


31.4    Councillor Nemeth noted what had been said by the Chair and asked whether it would be possible that a report be provided to the next meeting of the Committee updating them on progress. The Chair responded stating that this matter was being addressed as a matter of urgency and the process was underway it was essential that the consultation process was carried out correctly. An update would be included in the standing Major Projects report and a stand-alone report provided as soon as it was practicable to do so, although this might not be possible for the January 2018 cycle.


            Meeting of Chair With Sports Clubs


31.5    Councillor Nemeth asked: “Will the Chairman detail which sports clubs he has met with in his capacity of Head of Sports for Brighton & Hove (a) this year and (b) since the last TDC meeting?”


31.6    The Chair provided the following written response:” The Head of Sport & Leisure meets regularly with the key organisations that provide sporting opportunities across the city including Freedom Leisure, Brighton University, Sussex University, Albion in the Community, Sussex Cricket Foundation and Active Sussex. In addition, meetings are held regularly with Governing Bodies of Sport such as the Sussex Football Association, Rugby Football Union and England Hockey who represent the interest of their member sports clubs. Furthermore, meetings are regularly held with individual clubs by a range of council officers on such matters as seeking to improve facilities or participate in events. While I discuss regularly key issues with the Head of Sport & Leisure, I am always willing to meet with clubs and organisations if they so wish.”


31.7    Councillor Nemeth noted the Chair’s response asking regarding arrangements in place to consult with smaller sports clubs who could be left feeling that they did not have a voice. It was explained that, whilst it was difficult to meet with individual groups, feedback received was taken on board. Officers meet with representatives from the bodies representing individual clubs/sports who were also included in any consultation exercises carried out.


            Update on Planning Enforcement Situation


31.8    Councillor Nemeth asked: “Will the Chairman provide an update on the planning enforcement situation at Marlborough House following the issue of recent enforcement notices, including that which expired on 6 November 2017.”


31.9    The Chair provided the following written response: The enforcement notice expired on Monday 6 November. A site visit took place on Wednesday 8 November and officers confirmed that works have not commenced to comply with the Listed Building Enforcement Notice. Officers are currently liaising with the legal team to ascertain the action that should now be taken.”


31.10  Councillor Nemeth noted the Chair’s response, stating that he was pleased that issues relating to Marlborough House had been referred to as he was aware that there had been a long history of non-compliance in respect of that building in particular. Councillor Nemeth enquired whether the building remained in the same ownership and when it was anticipated that further action would be taken. It was confirmed that the building remained in the same ownership and that outstanding matters relating to the upkeep and maintenance of the building were being dealt with as a priority.


            Decision to Change Tennis Courts in Hove Park Into Football Pitches


31.11  Councillor Nemeth asked: “Will the Chairman detail his role in the recent decision by Brighton & Hove City Council to change tennis courts in Hove Park into football pitches?”


31.12  The Chair provided the following written response:” Hove Park is within the responsibilities of Cityparks and therefore Cllr Mitchell as the portfolio holder for Environment, Transport & Sustainability was consulted on the decision as well as ward councillors, Councillors Brown and Bennett. I was therefore not involved in this decision.”


31.13  Councillor Nemeth asked why this issue had not been before the Committee and Councillor Mears concurred in that view. It was explained that although there was some overlap responsibility for this lay with Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee and it was important not to duplicate 


            Update on Figures for Open and Pending Planning Enforcement Cases


31.10  Councillor Nemeth asked: ”Will the Chairman provide the latest figures for open and pending planning enforcement cases for (a) August, (b) September, (c) October and (d) November.”


31.11  The Chair provided the following written response: “The table below shows the enforcement case figures for received and closed cases and the total number of open cases for August, September and October. The figures for November are not yet available. The figures show an increase in on hand enforcement cases over the time period. This will be addressed through management of resources and an Enforcement Policy that will come before the Committee in January 2018.




Cases Received

Cases Closed

Total Number of Cases as at the end of each month*

Number of cases waiting to be allocated
















            * Includes cases allocated to officers and those waiting to be allocated.”


            Impact of Fly-tipping


31.12  Councillor Nemeth asked: “Will the Chairman give his thoughts on the impact of Brighton & Hove’s current fly-tipping epidemic on tourism and detail which other tourist towns/cities he has studied for innovative ways to tackle this issue?”


31.13  The Chair provided the following written response: “The city council is one of the most active in the country for tackling flytipping. In figures collected by the Press Association, Brighton & Hove issued 276 fines to flytippers in the 12 months to May 2017, the fifth highest in the country. The council’s updated figures show that 618 fines have been issued to date compared with 196 last financial year.


31.14  Improving the environment is a priority for the city council and officers have been highlighting the environmental impact of all kinds of discarded waste, from dog poo to litter.


31.15  Enforcement has also been stepped up. Since March 2016 more than 5,000 fixed penalty notices were issued. Of these 594 were for flytipping, including 346 where businesses were using council owned bins to illegally dispose of waste. Fines for flytipping are set at £300.


31.16  On average we get about 160 flytips reported to us each month, not including those identified and cleared by our streets teams. The message is that those responsible will be fined and in extreme cases prosecuted.


31.17  Staff from the council’s Cityclean have highlighted the issue by putting ‘environmental crime’ tape round flytips. This is part of their ‘Crime not to Care’ campaign which has also involved community engagement and the installation of CCTV at known flytip ‘hotspots.’ Due to the increased awareness there was a big jump in reported flytips from 466 in the first quarter of the year to 776 from April to June.


31.18  This Committee agreed earlier this year that officers would develop a new Strategy for the city's visitor economy, alongside the development of a new Economic Strategy for the city and a new strategy for Arts & Culture. Progress on the development of these strategies will be reported to the committee in the New Year. In all cases, officers are seeking to learn from other cities nationally and internationally to ensure that Brighton & Hove remains competitive as a visitor destination both nationally and internationally.”


31.19  Councillor Nemeth asked a further question requesting details of the other cities which were used as benchmarks/models by this authority stating that he did not consider that Eastbourne and Worthing were comparable authorities and was of the view that London, Blackpool or Margate would be more appropriate, he hoped that could be addressed prior to implementation of any new strategy.

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