Conservatives deride claims that people in tents in Brighton parks are ‘holidaymakers’

Posted On 30 Jul 2020 at 5:41 pm

Conservative councillors have reacted with derision to claims that people sleeping in tents in places like the Old Steine gardens were “holidaymakers”.

Former council leader Mary Mears said that it was a sign that her political rivals were “out of touch”.

Councillor Mears, who speaks for her party on housing, criticised comments made by Labour councillor Gill Williams, who chaired Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee until last week.

Councillor Williams said that fewer than five rough sleepers left housing provided by the council during the coronavirus lockdown to return to the streets.

And she said that when reports of tents pitched in parks and around the town had come to outreach workers’ attention, the vast majority turned out to be holidaymakers.

Councillor Mary Mears said that the comments were an insult to residents, including those who were currently experiencing “severe anti-social behaviour” from the Old Steine Gardens tents.

An email from one neighbour said: “For two weeks we have had tents in the gardens and rough sleepers camping here. This morning 10 people (were) drinking at 6am.

“Every day we have drinking, fighting, shouting, arguing, drug use, human waste, litter and aggressive behaviour.

“The area is a no alcohol zone – yet this is not enforced. Why?

“Tourists and families use this area and are subject to abuse. It is not safe and is a dangerous place to be or live (especially at night).

“I am woken every day with screaming and fighting.

“Street cleaners are left with the mess on a daily basis to look after. I am unsure if they venture near the campsite.

“The situation is intolerable, threatening and has a major negative impact on the city’s reputation.

“Administration after administration have failed in dealing with these issues which blight the city.

“There were police there this morning at the YMCA and they were waving at the campers until one ran over the road, collapsed and swore at them.”

After no action was taken by the council, the neighbour wrote again and said: “Overnight the tents have increased from two to four.

“The new tents are by the café and at 7am we had drinking, fighting, littering, defecation, shouting and arguing.”

Councillor Mears said: “Residents are bearing the brunt of anti-social behaviour on Old Steine Gardens which has not been addressed by the council.

“For these residents to then read a statement that the council considers the majority of tents in parks to be holiday-makers is insulting.

“It also demonstrates why the Labour administration made no progress on addressing these issues in the city.

“From the reports of residents, it seems the people currently residing in Old Steine Gardens have addiction problems and should not be classified as holidaymakers in any way.”

Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett said that residents were experiencing a different situation in their day-to-day lives than that suggested by the council.

“Residents reported aggressive begging while queuing outside the shops during the lockdown and will be staggered to hear the council’s comment that less than five rough sleepers returned to the streets.

“The administration needs to listen to the residents and get a grip on what is going on.

“There are holiday camp sites across the city and if these tents are holidaymakers they should be encouraged to move there.

“Furthermore, if the tents and occupants are holidaymakers then why aren’t the council using their byelaw powers to instantly stop it? The council can’t have it both ways.”

Councillor Mears said that the recently collapsed Labour administration had left housing in a mess.

She said: “The minutes of a recent meeting with tenants and leaseholders verified a comment made by a the new interim housing director that there were now 500 rough sleepers being housed in the city, up from 350 previously reported.

 

Councillor Mary Mears

She also said that the city was ranked fourth or fifth in the country for the number of rough sleepers housed, adding: “While the government is continuing to provide huge financial support to the city to house homeless and rough sleepers, the number of homeless appears to be rising and residents are reporting increasing begging on the streets.

“The new administration will need to urgently get to grips with the situation.”

“Furthermore, if the tents and occupants are holidaymakers then why aren’t the council using their byelaw powers to instantly stop it? The council can’t have it both ways.”

Councillor Mears said that the recently collapsed Labour administration had left housing in a mess.

She said: “The minutes of a recent meeting with tenants and leaseholders verified a comment made by a the new interim housing director that there were now 500 rough sleepers being housed in the city, up from 350 previously reported.

She also said that the city was ranked fourth or fifth in the country for the number of rough sleepers housed, adding: “While the government is continuing to provide huge financial support to the city to house homeless and rough sleepers, the number of homeless appears to be rising and residents are reporting increasing begging on the streets.

“The new administration will need to urgently get to grips with the situation.”

  1. Gary Farmer Reply

    With regards to Old Steine and the byelaw –

    18. A person shall not in the pleasure ground

    (i) except as in hereinafter provided erect any post, rail, fence, pole, tent, booth, stand, building, or any structure;

    Provided that this prohibition shall not apply where upon an application to the coincil they grant permission to erect any post, rail, fence, pole, tent, booth, stand, building, or any structure, upon such occasion and for such purpose as are specified in the application;

    REMOVAL OF OFFENDERS (pg 14)

    24. Every person who shall infirnge any byelaw for the regulation of the pleasure ground may be removed therefrom by any officer of the Council, authorised by them in writing to enforce these byelaws, or by any constable, in any one of the several cases hereinafter specified.

    The council are useless and the city an embarrassment

    #independentsforbrighton #keepbrightontidy

    • Nigel Furness Reply

      Absollutely right, Gary Farmer! Brighton & Hove have been in a spiral of near-terminal decline since the 1980’s, with the exception of a brief period between 2007 -2011 under Cllr. Mary Mears’s Conservative Administration, fondly remembered for trying to restore some element of civic pride, most notably the total resurfacing of the roads on several major bus routes and, of course, the full restoration of our beloved seafront Bandstand.Sadly since then, under successive ‘Green’ and Labour Administrations, the City has regressed back towards that mantle of pretention which all began in the year 2000 with that ridiculous campaign, launched by the Labour Council and spearheaded by one Simon Fanshawe which, witout a hint of irony, declared Brighton & Hove: “THE PLACE TO BE”!
      The City was mocked mercilously, not least in the satirical magazine Private Eye which oft’ referred to it as “skidrow-on-Sea” and “All Fur Coat & No Knickers,” and it was around this time that the deliberate dereliction of our heritage assets was ramped up (an end to the thorough and painstaking maintenace works on the historic cast iron seafront railings, benches and lamps, not to mention the magnificent Madeira Terraces, the seafront shelters, the red-brick seafront arches and Shelter Hall; the wondefully wide and perfectly level pavement composed of textured, non-slip slabs of alternating shades of pink, a joy to behold and an absolute pleasure to walk on, were individually replaced when broken, with ugly, uneven patches of blacktop, uncomfortable and downright dangerous to traverse and HIDEOUS to behold; the beautiful sunken gardens of the Lower Promenade which afforde repite from the winds on even the wilest of days and which were filled with fragrance, birdsong, the buzzing of bees and the fluttering of innumerable butterfly wings have all, now, been sacrificed to either derelict wasteland infested with ne’er-do-wells or the hedonistic pursuits of drunken, drug-addicted louts all-year-round!
      THE PLACE TO BE-I THINK NOT!!!
      The moral of this story is that this is what you get, by and large, from the TINPOT TOWN HALL TYRANTS of the political parties, largely but not totally not true Brightonians or Hovonians, who simply but endlessly just love to play politics iin the Council Chamber. On numerous occasions I have found the need to remind them from the Public Galleries of our two Town Halls:”THIS IS NOT THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER!”
      All is not lost, however, as the reason why these clowns have found themselves populating our Council Chambers nowadays is simply because the silent majority cannot bring themselves to vote for any of them-and who can blame them, for they have witnessed many Administrations, of all the political persuasions available over many years, reduce Brighton & Hove to “TIP CITY.”
      So, Gary, if you can get a movement of truly INDEPENDENT and CIVIC MINDED candidates together, irrespective of whatever national political views they may hold, and if you’re all prepared to put in the hard work that goes with it, I’m willing to bet that you could all be in for a very pleasant surprise come May, 2023- and even much sooner, I think, if my sources are correct (they invariably are, by the way); they tell me tobe prepared for up to FIVE By-elections in the coming months!
      Remember, Gary: “DARE TO STRUGGLE! DARE TO WIN!”

  2. Sammy Reply

    Holoday makers. One fo the well known holidaymakers has been on holiday in the city for almost 3 years. Well known to locals. The council is full of nonsense.

  3. Aram Papikyan Reply

    There are a number of holidaymakers in Regency Square, Queens Road and North Street. They have been on holiday for quite some time. I do wonder how much time they have taken off work!

  4. Lisa Reply

    And no doubt if the city were to elect a Conservative administration the government would suddenly find lots more money to help them resolve these issues. Time people woke up to the reality of government (under) funding and understood why there is less money for things like cleaning up the city. and don’t tell me this is a new government. The Tories have been in power since 2010. Some of the faces may have changed but nothing else has

    • Rolivan Reply

      Nice try,however much money The Green Party and The Labour Group sere given they would and have squandered it.They have produced very little in the way of actual benefits to Council Taxpayers and have allowed 10s of millions of pounds of their money to be mis-managed without any attempt to recoup it because the Law Department are too incompetent to get it back.

    • Nigel Furness Reply

      What nonsense you talk, lisa. Even if there was a Tory Administration running our Council, do you really think that the Tory Government would write a cheque to their Town Hall chums for something in the region of £40 million—for that is near as dammit what this new ‘Green’ Administration, or it’s successors will sooner or later have to lay their hands on in order to repay the loan for for that cursed pie in the sky i360.
      If you weren’t such an anti-Tory BIGOT, you might just agree with me that it’s poetic justice for the Greens to be given the opportunity to now rectify their heinous mistake of pushing through the wretched contraption in the first place.
      If they think, even for one moment, that they’re going to get away with blaming “those wicked Tories” for their past and present shortcomings, let me tell you this Lisa, They’ve another think coming, for I will not be alone in pursuing them relentlessly.
      THEY REALLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAREFUL WHAT THEY WISHED FOR!

  5. Kathleen McMullen Reply

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/75213/response/185368/attach/html/4/foi.429.Hove%20Byelaws.pdf.html

    Byelaw 20.1 says structures like tents should not be erected without an application requesting permission from the council.

    Byelaw 21.3 says people should not behave so as to give grounds for annoyance to others.

    Byelaw 22. says musical instruments, radios, etc, should not make any continuous noise that would annoy other park users.

    Sign by C.L. Scoble. An Assistant Under-Secretary of state.
    Date: 4 Sept 1990

    It’s time the B&H unitary authority updated the byelaws and enforced them. People offending against the byelaws including cyclists, litterers, noise makers, would be liable to a fine.

    Why Is basic civil administration so difficult for the council?

  6. Gary F Reply

    As usual some have to play tribal party politics, finger pointing and blaming the enemy for all the ills in the world. When will people grow up and understand that issues cannot be resolved as long as we have this approach to city governance. It is clear the current system of entrenched confrontational party manifesto loyalty above common sense to allow independent thought and new ideas does not work. #independentsforbrighton

Leave a Reply

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.