Agenda item - Chairs Communications

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Agenda item

Chairs Communications


Councillor Osborne gave the following Chairs Communications:


First of all, I’d like to welcome everyone back to Hove Town Hall for the first in person TECC Committee when all members are in attendance for well over a year. 


I’d like to take a moment to do so and just to gently remind all members of the decision all councillors voted to introduce on 15th July in regards to mask wearing during the meeting. All councillors were asked to exercise their democratic right to decide on the process for council and committee meetings in light of the continued pandemic and the councillors took a decision on how to proceed, taking into account public health advice, not only for members, but also for the best protection of the public and others who also have to attend the meeting in person. Unfortunately, unlike in other settings – or in our private lives – due to a change in legislation members now have no choice whether they can attend these meetings in person, as the right to attend it virtually has been rescinded by the government.  Therefore we are aware many members/cooptees and others have no other option to protect themselves once in meetings such as these. Can I ask in line with the protocol agreed and voted for by all political groups at full council on July 15th to keep mask wearing in public committee meetings, that you do put a mask on? Thank you very much. We will be taking regular breaks throughout the meeting, more than we usually would, and if you would like to ask for a break at any point, please do so and we can adjourn the meeting. 


There are quite a few updates as it’s a big committee which covers a number of areas and which is often especially busy over summer months, so bear with me! 


Sport & Leisure


In relation to the sports facilities, the return to using leisure centres is slow but steady. Membership recovery is currently only 61% of pre covid levels and it is anticipated that it will be some time until participation levels are back to where they were before the pandemic.


The replacement 3G all weather pitch works at Stanley Deason Leisure Centre is progressing well and having an improved outdoor space will help support those playing football and training. It is great that a new partnership is developing between Freedom Leisure and Whitehawk Football Club to promote some of the sporting opportunities available in East Brighton.


At Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre fantastic new inclusive ‘fun days’ supported by funding from Active Sussex are being provided free of charge for families once a month – on a Sunday from 10am-1pm.  These days are for families who have children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. Activities include football, boccia, cricket, tennis, badminton, new age kurling, table tennis and boxing fitness. The first activity day will be on 26 September. There is no need to book, please just go along, enjoy and have fun.


A public consultation on the ‘Kingsway to the Sea’ project on West Hove seafront is now live on the council website.  The council is seeking views on what stakeholders and residents would like to see in the redesigned public realm and outdoor sports facilities between the King Alfred and Hove Lagoon.  The questionnaire can be accessed online via the council website or a paper copy can be posted to you by contacting the Seafront Office.  Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about the project and speak to the design team in-person then a consultation event is being held on Saturday 25th September from 12 – 4pm by the Hove & Kingsway Bowls Club.


Looking forward to convening the Sports Facilities Investment Plan MWG next month to take forward the plan which was passed earlier this summer.


Ian Shurrock retiring- big thanks to him for his service! Ian has worked with the council for 21 years and led many important developments for the city, including our participation in the Rugby World Cup 2015 and has been a key advocate for bringing the Women’s Euros to the city in 2022.  Within the council he also consistently championed the restoration of the Saltdean Lido building, which is now so close to commencing


Arts & Culture


The ABCD Cultural Recovery Plan is continuing to help the creative and cultural sector recover following the pandemic. The working groups have been busy shaping tenders for a series of proposals supported by the Welcome Back Fund which include alternative tours of the city, wayfairing trails, cultural and creative leadership support as well as an equipment suppliers community network.


A collaboration with the business improvement district has seen the launch of a successful pop-up shop called the Bookmakers which is a temporary bookshop also offering support to emerging writers through a mentor programme and collaboration with New Writing South. I was invited to the opening of this and if you are going past I’d definitely recommend popping in and seeing what they are doing.


Work continues on finalising the draft public art strategy which was founded on community consultation, the strategy will outline a ten year plan with some clear guiding principles for the future commissioning of public art. Aim for next TECC in November. 


Ongoing dialogues, meetings and discussions have continued to take place with key cultural stakeholders across the city including the national portfolio organisations and other established arts organisations.


One of the key partners that we work with is the RPMT and they have had a recent Thumbs up from visitors, achieving great feedback from their visitor survey- with 98% if visitors to the Royal PAvilion rated their visit as excellent or good, and this extends to the Brighton Museum and Arts Gallery and Preston Manor. On top of this, finance website has ranked all the attractions in the UK and the Royal Pavilion has been ranked amongst the best value for money attractions so still well worth a visit. 


Tourism & Events


Over the past 3 months VisitBrighton has:


·       Sent bi-weekly newsletters to citywide tourism stakeholders giving timely updates on COVID, messaging, legislation, guidance, grant funding etc have an average open rate of 32.97%

·       Generated positive press coverage of Brighton & Hove with an of AVE £575k including coverage in The Guardian, New Statesman, Country Living, Sky News, Good Housekeeping etc

·       Communicated with  61k followers on Twitter, 29k on Facebook and 31k  on Instagram, promoting the re-opening  of local tourism businesses

·       Liaised  with conference clients throughout the period to ensure a full conference diary from Sept 2021 – June 2022, ensuring visitor flow in the shoulder season

·       Worked collaboratively with pan-Sussex organisations including Sussex Tourism & Culture Recovery Group, Tourism South East, Tourism Alliance, VisitEngland and VisitBritain ensuring that the needs of the Brighton & Hove visitor economy is represented.


The Brighton Centre re-opened on the 4th September with a full capacity standing concert (4,500 – 5,000 customers). Between then and the end of the calendar year there are currently 55 concerts confirmed with potential for additional dates being added – of those concerts a large amount will be full capacity standing shows. We will also welcome 5 conferences, including the Labour Party Annual Autumn Conference.  We are expecting to host approx. 177,000 concert customers and approx. and 16,400 conference delegates over the next 4 months.


There has been a full schedule of events over the summer. Most recently the Speed Trials and Ace Cafe reunion on Madeira Drive, and the Brighton Marathon last weekend. Coming up- there is the Boundary Festival in Stanmer Park later this month, Oktober Fest on the Level in October, Brighton Half Marathon, Veteran Car run and the Christmas Festival in November and December. If you are interested in seeing the full outdoors schedule, it’s available online. 


Ian Taylor retiring- Ian Taylor leaves at the end of October and has been with the council for 16 years.  He has been a champion for outdoor events in the city and is a well-known figure in the local events industry.  He is a great supporter of Brighton Pride and the Brighton Marathon, as well as many other city events such as the Fringe and Burning the Clocks.  His experience and can-do attitude will be missed from the council. Best of luck with the future, Ian. 


Planning Policy


Consultation on the proposed designation for the Coldean Neighbourhood Area and Neighbourhood Forum is currently underway and has been extended by two weeks to end 22 October. Details are available on the council’s website.


We have an update on the City Plan Part Two Examination. The Examination Inspector has now published the Matters, Issues and Questions and the provisional programme for the public hearing sessions which are due to commence Tuesday 2 November. All the information is available on the City Plan Part Two council web pages. 


Planning officers have submitted a bid to be part of the government’s Phase Two Pilot Programme for bringing forward model Design Codes. The bid focuses on the Brighton Marina area and, if successful, the work will develop an exemplar design code that will help to secure significant environmental and public realm improvements.


Helping refugees


We've all watched in horror as the situation in Afghanistan has unfolded in the past few weeks.  


The city council is participating in the government’s resettlement schemes for Afghan refugees.  We have been informed that no families have arrived yet, but are working to put the support in place for them when they do, and working closely with local communities and forming partnerships to provide a safe and welcome space for those seeking sanctuary in our city.  


Refugees will be housed in private sector accommodation, so the city council is reaching out to landlords with self-contained residential properties who may be prepared to let them at an affordable rent to refugees from Afghanistan or elsewhere. If you think you can help, please contact Already, a number of residents have been in contact to offer properties and support, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to all who have been in touch.


I must stress that the council does not currently have a need for clothes or toys for refugees. Please donate these to charity shops or the other places listed on the council website.




• Community Libraries are now open to 7pm on Libraries Extra days (Mondays – Thursdays) to increase access to the libraries for people unable to visit during the daytime. 


• Evening opening in Jubilee and Hove Libraries will take place in October, once the newly recruited staff have been fully trained.


• Events and activities are gradually returning to libraries with appropriate Covid safety measures in place. 


• Some of the first activities have been class visits, children and young people’s creative workshops, and meetings of the Network of International Women. As part of Libraries Week celebrations (October 4th – 10th), Jubilee library will be hosting a global music event on Saturday 9th October 1.30-4pm, with performances from Syrian and Sudanese musicians and the Brighton & Hove Russian and Yiddish choir.




• LGBTQ Switchboard Covid Impact report launched Aug 1st, commissioned by BHCC & NHS to look at impact of Covid to our local LGBTQ+ communities. Makes for sobering reading:


• LGBTQ+ vaccine sessions held regularly at Rainbow Hub, St James St, proving very popular.


• Trans and non-binary vaccine sessions at Dorset Gardens starting on 5th October.


• Pride @ The Ironworks Launched On 31st July At The New LGBTQ Cultural & Community Space With Month Long LGBTQ Cultural Festival, Attended By Cllrs Powell, Grimshaw And Simson, And Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP.  The site is a theatre, Studio, Auditorium, Digital media spaces managed by and for LGBTQ+ communities by Brighton & Hove Pride.


• Trans Pride Brighton held a successful free online event (July 20th) attracting more than 40k viewers.


• Reclaim Pride Protest on 6th August attended by several hundred people for a city centre march.


• BHCC Schools Trans Took Kit relaunched September to support students, educators, and families across the city.


• National Hate Crime Week is October 11th to 15th raising awareness around reporting and developing third party reporting centres across the city.


• Radical Rhizomes, (Queer Trans Intersex People of Colour group) were awarded funding support from The Baring Foundation for development programmes, a mentoring scheme, supporting creative development of local QTIPoC artists and delivering a programme of creative workshops by and for the QTIPoC community.


Beach accessibility 


At the start of the month, Steph and I met with the Beach Access Team – known as BAT B&H. They are a group of volunteers who all have a disability, and who are dedicated to making the beach, and specifically the water, accessible to all.  Their message is “making waves for equal access”, and they have been working with BHCC since Jan 2018 to bring about change. 


Amongst the things we talked in our meeting about included: a viewing platform, an accessible city map, a central hub on the beach with equipment and information, better signage, a wheelchair for the water, and accessible loos - which ties-in with the council’s bid for central govt money for ‘changing places’, which is money for accessible toilets.  All of this will fit-in with the council’s accessibility strategy which will be one of the next key pieces of work for the council once the Disability Officer is appointed.  We are very hopeful that together we can bring real change to make our beach as inclusive as possible.




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