Last night Brighton and Hove City Council was due to set its budget for the coming year.
Taxpayers’ priorities are apparent to my party and the budget quite rightly addresses some of these issues – homelessness and rough sleeping, adult social care, education and health.
But residents inundate us, also quite rightly, on the state of our city – from the mess left by irresponsible dog owners to the rundown condition of one of our great icons, the Madeira Terraces.
The opposition parties are unable to make really big changes to the budget. But we are trying to address residents’ concerns with our budget amendments to improve all our lives including those of our visitors.
We have all seen how graffiti has become a real blight – something mentioned many times by tourists as well as those who live and work here.
We hope that our proposals will mean we can start to clean up our city so it’s presentable for us all.
Dog fouling seems to have been on the increase of late, especially in our parks and green spaces where people want to relax and children play.
Most dog owners are responsible. Unfortunately, a minority fail to take responsibility for their pets and fail to clean up after them.
By increasing fines for fouling – and littering – we hope they might think again and do the right thing.
And where do we start with our beloved Madeira Terraces? I have enjoyed spending time along that stretch of the seafront on so many occasions since moving to the city in the 1980s.
It was a place to be proud of. Nowhere else has architecture like it.
A lot of local campaigning and crowdfunding, which have been great, have generated some funds, but nowhere near the amount needed for a proper restoration.
Our amendment last night aimed to pave the way for the council to generate enough money to start the serious work needed to bring the Madeira Terraces back to their former glory.
My hope was for common sense to prevail in the chamber to win cross-party support for those amendments which will improve the lives of us all in the city we call home.
Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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