Agenda item - Chairs Communications

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Agenda item

Chairs Communications


20.1    The Chair had the following communications:


Good afternoon and welcome to this meeting of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee. I’d like to inform those present that this meeting is being webcast live and will be capable of repeated viewing.


First of all, I would like to congratulate my colleague Steph Powell, it is her birthday, and I hope she will enjoy spending a few hours with us today.


I would like to start with an update on the Tourism, Events & Cultural sectors, on which the Covid-19 pandemic had quite an impact.


VisitBrighton has been busy promoting the #nevernormalbrighton tourism recovery campaign since the beginning on August. The Never Normal concept builds on and makes the most of Brighton’s unique culture and life. It celebrates the uniqueness of this free-thinking city full of independent individuals.  Brighton has always had a rich and diverse history and identity. The Never Normal idea captures the essence of this.  Brighton doesn't do ‘normal’, has never done ‘normal’, and hopefully never will.


Within Brighton & Hove the campaign can now be seen at The Warren (who also hosted a #nevernormalbrighton day), Sea Lanes on Madeira Drive, posters along the seafront and a banner on the Brighton Centre.


Regionally, over the past month the campaign has been seen:

·         In local papers

·         On digital advertising boards, and

·         Via sponsored adverts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat


VisitBrighton has also secured £390k worth of positive destination coverage in regional and national titles in July and August including:  The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Discover Britain, and Olive Magazine had 525,000 page views whilst we communicated with over 60,000 followers on Twitter, almost 30,000 on Facebook and 25,000 on Instagram in July and August.


Supporting our partner businesses through the pandemic, we are issuing 2-3 newsletters per week to our tourism business database, providing updates on latest government guidance, funding opportunities for business and carrying information and guidance on the latest Alert Levels.


Preston Manor reopened on 11th September and will be open Friday, Saturday, Sunday afternoon and Monday over the winter period. 76 people visited over the first weekend. Most people had booked admission tickets in advance, but several admissions were walk-ups. I have given radio interviews on BBC Sussex to promote the reopening of Preston Manor and the Royal Pavilion and to encourage people to visit our museums.


As with the Royal Pavilion, a 'Welcome Back to Preston Manor' film was produced in-house by Nicola Adams (from the RPM Marketing team), and this was viewed over 6000 times in the first five days after going live.  The film is available to watch online (


The Royal Pavilion had a surprise visit by Visit England and will receive a Good to Go tick from them as they were very impressed by the COVID safe measures in place.


Plans are moving forward for reopening Brighton Museum and Art Gallery in mid-October (COVID allowing) with a headline exhibition of Bowie by Geoff MacCormack: Rock 'n' Roll With Me 1973-76 displaying photographs by Geoff MacCormack of his time touring with his friend David Bowie.


RPM's digital offer has been featured as a highlight of the national Heritage Open Days festival in their latest posting 


The Events Industry has been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. The whole of the main season of events was lost between March and the present time. Since lockdown was eased there have been green shoots of recovery with the Council providing a great level of support to The Warren, a socially distanced, Covid-safe cabaret venue installed on Brighton Beach. 


The Events team are continuing to work with organisers, local and national, to explore opportunities to rejuvenate the sector when possible. The targeting of money from the Discretionary Fund to individuals and companies with the Events and Creative Industries sector was greatly needed and appreciated by many.


I have met with representatives from the i360, I have visited Shelter Hall & met with local business stakeholders to discuss how businesses are adapting to the global pandemic.


The work to make Brighton & Hove an anti-racist city is also progressing. Over the last few weeks, Steph has had several meetings with individuals and groups and invited Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups to the Anti-Racist Community Advisory Group to bring their collective experience of decades of anti-racism work to work with us to define priorities, engage more widely and over the long-term with the diverse range of communities across the city and, importantly, to challenge us to progress as fast and far as we need to travel. This is a very wide-ranging piece of work that will take many month – indeed years. We are establishing a blueprint for this work which is about dismantling old ways of doing things within the BHCC institution. And it’s vital that a wider range of voices are present in our council committees; we have a report later on the adoption of a new standing invitee to the TECC committee that follows the council’s work to recruit Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community representative co-optees into our decision making processes. I will explain in further and in more detail our work on becoming anti-racist further on in the agenda as we have a few items on the agenda that are related to our work to become an anti-racist city.


Finally, I would like to give an update on planning policy matters.


I would like to remind everyone that the consultation on City Plan Part 2 has opened on 7th September. We ask residents and stakeholders to submit their comments electronically if possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, libraries are unfortunately not able to provide paper copies of the plan. However, paper copies can be sent out on request and the consultation period has been extended by two weeks to ensure residents have enough time to respond to the consultation under the changed conditions. Responses can be submitted until 30th October.


Additionally, Government is planning to reform our planning system. There are changes planned to the current system, as well as the Government’s White Paper, which will bring more substantial changes.


I am concerned that the new housing targets are unrealistic, as our city is geographically constrained, between the sea and the South Downs. The new housing targets do not take into account what residents in this city really need – which is truly affordable housing and social rents. The focus is on build, build, build at any cost. And should the proposed changes become reality, even more unaffordable housing will be provided, which is often bought by investors from abroad, and not by local residents.


I am also very concerned that the proposed changes will give more power to developers, and less opportunity for local planning authorities and residents to stop unsuitable development.


Another major concern is the government’s plan to divide cities up into growth, renewal and protected zones. National Development Management Policies (in a revised NPPF) will not provide sufficient scope for responding to particular ‘local circumstances’ e.g. management of HMOs; local need for genuinely affordable housing; nature of local heritage assets; higher accessibility standards; energy efficiency standards, etc. ‘One size fits all’ approach takes away local democracy.


Both, the proposed changes to the current system and the White Paper are out for consultation. The consultation for changes to the current system closes on 1st Oct, and the consultation on the White Paper closes on 29th Oct. I encourage residents and local stakeholders to respond to these consultations.”



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