OPINION

Regency Brighton matters and we must recognise its value

Posted On 16 Jan 2022 at 1:42 am

The Conservatives and local residents want to see Regency Brighton restored to its former glory as a stunning and well-kept place at the heart of our city that serves our residents, heritage groups and tourism industry and also fosters civic pride.

Brighton’s Regency heritage is central to the city’s identity, with great meaning to many.

Many different groups and organisations have an interest in Regency Brighton, given it includes our city’s important historic monuments, gardens, war memorials, fountains and listed buildings, along with the Royal Pavilion.

As a council, we don’t just own these historic monuments we have a duty to look after them as custodians not just for now but for future generations to ensure they are preserved for posterity.

The residents who live in the Regency parts of Brighton, many in listed buildings, rely on the council to maintain the public domain including the communal facilities they rely on such as communal services such as bin collections and the public parks.

And the city’s economy as a whole relies on the Regency area being kept in pristine condition, as it is also the central tourist zone of the city and the gateway to the Palace Pier and surrounding hotels.

It was a window to our city and key part of the city’s presentation for tourists who visited. Tourism accounts for £886 million of the city’s economy, with many jobs and businesses reliant on a good impression being provided.

A look back at photos shows how prized and well-kept Brighton’s Regency heritage was – and how it was central to our city’s identity and pride

Flowers were planted for City in Bloom events, the fountain was switched on and maintained and the gardens and monuments were kept pristine. They provided the postcard pictures for Brighton.

However, in recent years residents, community associations and many heritage groups interested in the area have despaired as the state of Brighton’s Regency heritage has visibly declined and been allowed to deteriorate, with many groups are now speaking out, feeling that the council and councillors have not been listening to them and simply do not care about the part of Brighton in which they live.

The Conservatives have been listening and giving a voice to these residents and their issues. The list of problems that we have raised in just the past 18 months tells the story of a council that has stopped caring about what was its beating heart.

During the past two years, under this council, we have seen the city’s historic lanterns put up for sale on Facebook marketplace during a council cleaning exercise gone wrong.

Other basic public infrastructure has sat broken including the nine out of ten street lamps in Old Steine Gardens, leaving women feeling unsafe in some parts of the city at night.

Brighton’s prized Victoria Fountain has been switched off and veterans groups were offended when the council left the city’s main war memorial in a filthy condition for important ceremonies.

The residents of Regency Brighton have had to deal with the consequences of the council’s new homeless bill of rights policy that now allow tents and begging in the city’s public spaces.

And the Pavilion Gardens and surrounds were recently ranked the eighth worst of 33,000 statistical areas in the country for crime and anti-social behaviour following the council’s soft approach towards crime.

The area’s transport system has been meddled with, without local residents’ consent, through road layout changes in the Valley Gardens area. These changes have caused congestion and confusing new bus gates – or bus lanes – have snared 9,600 drivers and issued them with fines in one month alone.

And to top it off, the public gardens, once planted with colourful flowers, are currently a muddy quagmire. A sinkhole has now appeared near the Victoria Fountain after heavy machinery was allowed on the gardens for a Christmas festival.

The way this council has treated Brighton’s Regency heritage has become a rolling shambles and the residents have felt completely ignored.

What’s clear is that the council really does need to listen to the groups within the city with an interest and expertise in the past, particularly our heritage groups.

It needs to get to grips with turning around the problems facing Regency Brighton – from parking to cycle lanes to historic buildings. These groups are the eyes and ears for the city and they know what’s going on.

The Conservatives have been listening and will continue to listen to ensure that we work with residents to achieve the very best for Regency Brighton.

We would like to see Brighton’s famous Regency heritage and its historic public gardens restored to their former glory and once again become a centre piece for the city of which all of Brighton and Hove’s residents can be proud.

Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Jon Reply

    Steve Bells’ columns are almost unreadable. The Askimet terms and conditions are a better read. I don’t know how he keeps his job as MP’s assistant 🙂 Just get someone to edit your work before releasing it is my advice

    • Marc Reply

      This reads like the ramblings of someone in the Daily Mail comments section who doesn’t understand who is responsible for what. E.g. crime policy is not the responsibility of the council, it’s down to the police which is led by a conservative police commissioner and the national conservative government.

    • Martin Burt Reply

      Marc
      Your comment sounds like someone who has mis-understood the contents of the article.
      There’s a full range of council failings within the article.
      With reference to crime, I beg to differ, the council do have a policy for crime prevention. In recent articles council failed to apply for CCTV under a government scheme, reduced other policies related to crime prevention and more importantly, failed in repairing lighting for over a year.

  2. Hove Guy Reply

    Thank goodness we have sensible Councillors like Steve Bell to identify the terrible mess that is still being made of the once beautiful city we live in. Not that we need a reminder. Just look around at the hideous place it has become.
    It is not just Brighton & Hove that is in a shambles, but so is everything about the Green/Labour alliance within the council. Only when that is removed once and for all, will we have the chance to return to its past glory.
    Well done Steve.

  3. Gareth Hall Reply

    Steve always forgets to mention that the council has had to deal with budget cuts from central government amounting to 100 million pounds .
    I would suggest that he has a word with his mates in central Government the next time he gets to go to one of their parties and has a moan at them about how they have let the residents of Brighton and Hove down .

    • Rachel Jones Reply

      Lack of money is just the constant excuse for poor service this council gives. The City looks terrible. Dirty, graffiti, difficult to access many streets as junkies lying on street entrances begging in Western Road and yet it is due to budget cuts. Well, maybe the council needs to look at how other neighbouring councils manage to create such nice environments for residents with the money they have. Here are a few tips:
      1) Don’t waste money if you don’t have enough. Hundreds of parking spaces have been removed from the town centre over the last couple of years. Each one generates about £20 a day in parking revenue. Parking office. Outsource it so it functions efficiently as if residents spend money here when they need to instead of being messed around for two months it generates extra revenue. Make the town centre an inviting place to shop. This will result in higher footfall and more full shops and higher levels of business rates collection. Don’t even consider using some of the most expensive council-owned sites available next to tourist attractions such as the pavilion to house junkies. Instead, sell real estate like this and use the money to create double the number of rehab places somewhere cheaper away from tourists. Also don’t invite junkies to move to the city whom the council then becomes obliged to pay for scarce budgets tht could have been used for graffito clearance with begging charter bills.

      At the next election I certainly will be voting for whichever party I feel cares about residents and wishes to create a safe and attractive city that we can all enjoy whichever political party they stand for.

    • Martin Burtenshaw Reply

      Gareth Hall
      And as previously told to you, while we agree there have been Government cuts, you always forget the additional funding like Businesses rates and other benefits that councils now keep.
      The actual cuts to councils is 26% over two decades.
      Our apparent ‘Cash strapped’ council declared a budget UNDER SPEND, spent £5m on car parks at Stanmer Park, car parks that encourage more traffic in a City that wants to be ‘car free’ there’s logic there somewhere!
      No, poor council management and wastage is more the problem.
      Just look at the basic requirement to have our bins and recycling emptied, a shear lack of incompetence.
      Quite happy to install Cycle lanes overnight, but can’t be bothered to fit light bulbs to street lamps.

  4. Bear Road resident Reply

    I wonder if it’s with a sense of irony that Conservative Steve Bell laments the possible destruction of what is leftof Brighton’s Regency heritage. Iunderstand that the Regency Society was founded in oppposition to the then totally Conservative dominated council’s plans to bulldoze all of the Regency squares and even destroy the Royal Pavilion to build a new townhall.
    Pots and kettles spring to mind.

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