Think-tank to look for ways to bring about Better Brighton and Hove

Posted On 16 Oct 2016 at 12:31 pm

A think-tank is to be set up to come up with ideas to bring about a better Brighton and Hove.

A local charity – the Pebble Trust – came up with the proposal and will fund almost half the £650,000 annual running cost of the think-tank – to be called Better Brighton and Hove.

The think-tank will bring together academics from Brighton University and Sussex University and policy experts from Brighton and Hove City Council and other local organisations.

It could also bring experience and expertise from the business world when trying to find ways to tackle some of the pressing challenges facing the area, the council hopes.

On Thursday (13 October) the council agreed to contribute £250,000 a year although this could be the nominal cost of providing premises and staff.

It is hoped that Sussex Police, the universities, the NHS and private businesses may contribute up to £50,000.

The charity behind the think-tank – the Pebble Trust – was set up seven years ago by three trustees – a Hove couple, Jamie and Louise Arnell, and solicitor Louise Stoten.

Jamie and Louise Arnell

Jamie and Louise Arnell


Mr Arnell is a partner in the venture capital firm Charterhouse. He and Mrs Arnell met at university – at Downing College, Cambridge – and have been described as passionate about putting something back into their home town.

Council chief executive Geoff Raw will be one of the think-tank’s seven trustees. It is hoped that he will be joined by the vice-chancellors of Sussex and Brighton universities.

The council’s contribution to the running costs was approved by its Policy, Resources and Growth Committee at Hove Town Hall on Thursday evening.

The meeting was told that the think-tank’s aims were

  • To identify, analyse and propose solutions to major problems in Brighton and Hove
  • To work to encourage the adoption of these solutions to improve the city and
  • To identify and support the realisation of opportunities for the city
  • It is hoped that, through the think-tank, the council will be able to “access additional resources, capacity and expertise to analyse and tackle priority issues in the city” that would be available to charities but not to local authorities.

    1. Bonny Holland Reply

      I’d like the project to look at creating a ‘Restorative City’ much like Bristol and Hull did. They whole city would sign up to responding to conflict and harm in a restorative justice manner based on the core principles of inclusive restorative reparative justice for all.

    2. Ian Healey Reply

      City council puts in a quarter of a million pounds to help fund a “think tank”? That is very odd in current circumstances, we need to know more please.

    3. Alex Reply

      We already have a wonderful “think tank”… it is called the residents and business people of the city. If Councillors and council officers actually bothered to listen to residents and business people, rather than working to their own narrow agendas, the city would be in much better shape. Planning needs to listen to architects and developers, Housing needs to listen to Landlords and developers, Community Safety needs to listen to the residents who are forced to endure antisocial behaviour. We need more listening, not BHCC frittering away another £250K on yet another “idea”… has this been signed off by the Policy and Resources committee?

      • Valerie Paynter Reply

        You are a developer, right? The last people we should listen to are developers who are NOT identifying anything other than profit opportunities.

        • Alex Reply

          Not a developer. Just a citizen who sees people with common sense ignored by BHCC. It is no wonder we don’t have enough housing.

    4. April Tucknott Reply

      Ask the people what they want.

    5. Spurge of the greens Reply

      Anyone offering ‘free money’ always sets my alarm bells ringing as it should in the city administration. A quick look at the trustees of the Pebble Trust reveals that it is essentially an arm of a wealth management company called New Quadrant Partners.

    6. Al Bion-Street Reply

      Why do I get the feeling that Geoff Raw was once the sort of child who’s come back from the village with five magic beans?

    7. Gavin Reply

      £250,000 from a council that has no money to effectively tackle matters that its council tax payers want done and are clearly expressed through various FaceBook groups. We used to do these things through local community action groups for the cost of the hall hire and the admin paperwork.
      We elect councillors to come up with ideas, monitor plans and see things are done by the council employees.
      There is a whiff of abrogation of responsibility; a bit like a central government (acting rather as Pontius Pilate) that devolves decision making of greatest nation importance to a plebiscite than knows less than central government’s civil servants (… arses from elbows come to mind).

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