Conservatives Welcome End to Late Night Levy

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Photo Credit to Santy Gimeno
Cllr. Lee Wares

Conservative councillors welcome an effective end to the imposition of a Late Night Levy in Brighton and Hove after a recent report, presented to the Licensing Committee, recognised the issue of ‘pre-loading’ to be a major contributor to anti-social behaviour in the city.

The Community Safety Strategy highlighted that the practice of pre-loading – consuming quantities of cheap alcohol mainly from supermarkets and off-licences before going out – has a negative impact on the night-time economy.

Licensing Committee member Cllr Lee Wares said “I am delighted that pre-loading has been properly recognised as a main factor of some of the problems we see on our night-time streets, and this should end the debate about late opening bars and clubs being solely responsible. I have long held that taxing just a small group of businesses to pay for safeguarding measures was wrong. I am pleased that the Late Night Levy is now effectively dead.”

“Entities such as Safe Space and the beach buggies, currently under threat due to a lack of long-term funding and support, were recognised in the report as essential to making the city’s night economy safer. The Conservative Group therefore hopes that the Council and other agencies who benefit from these entities existing will come forward to provide the resources necessary to ensure these vital services continue.”

Leader of the Conservative Group, Tony Janio added, “Our night economy is part of a billion pound business that is absolutely essential to the future of our city, and as such should be approached as an asset rather than a problem. There are, of course, risks to people consuming high levels of alcohol, but it is time everybody got involved in finding a solution. I am pleased the Community Safety Strategy is finally helping to actively provide solutions rather than just being another talking shop.”

Labour reject street trading review

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Labour Councillors on Brighton & Hove City Council’s Licensing Committee used their votes last night to reject the Conservatives’ call for a wholesale review of the Council’s street trading policy. In response to concerns raised by local businesses, the Conservatives had previously tabled a request asking that the zones where street traders could operate be reviewed. Labour had originally supported that request but in a U-turn last night, they decided to ignore the pleas of local businesses.

Conservative Licensing Committee member Cllr Lee Wares said “I am very disappointed that Labour decided to throw out our proposed review of street trading. It was obvious that officers did not want to do the review and they won the day over Labour Councillors; I guess we saw last night who is really running the City. Street traders can operate, whilst making no financial contribution to the City, right next to businesses that pay business rates and rents. It simply isn’t fair. The policy, which is supposed to protect local businesses, is flawed – we all know it, but Labour are just not interested.”

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Tony Janio, who was a substitute member of the Committee last night, said: “In all my years as a Councillor I have rarely seen a Committee meeting as surreal and chaotic as this. Things we thought we had agreed beforehand were changed at the last minute and the whole atmosphere of the meeting was very unprofessional. This is no way to run a Council, particularly when we are deciding on issues that affect people’s businesses and livelihoods. I would say it is bordering on the dysfunctional.”

Cllr Wares added “Labour couldn’t even agree with our proposal that street traders should not be able to park their vans on double yellow lines. Residents will no doubt be very surprised to learn that this is allowed to happen under the current policy. Instead, Labour want to consult with street traders first! Double yellow lines are there for a good reason – road safety – something that seems to have escaped the Labour Party.”

“Let’s Get Building – No More Delays” Local Conservatives Call for Council to Get Going in Bid for Two Billion Pound Fund

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With a severe shortage of new homes being built in Brighton and Hove, the local Conservatives have today welcomed the launch of a new fund from Central Government that allows homes to be built faster for ordinary working families.

The Conservative Group in Brighton & Hove has long been concerned that the Council’s citywide strategic plan has failed to adequately consider the much needed infrastructure to support additional homes and welcomed this Government initiative.

Councillor Mary Mears, Conservative Housing Spokesperson, commented “Ensuring access to good schools, parking, shops, doctors’ surgeries, employment and sports and leisure facilities are available as well as improving roads, countering potential traffic issues and avoiding increased pollution as a result is an absolute must for successful long-term development in the city.

“This fund looks to tackle this specific issue, and we are calling on Warren Morgan and the Council to put together a positive and constructive bid to get things moving in the city so that we can allow more hard working local people to buy the homes they want and deserve in the near future. We say ‘Let’s get building – No more delays!”

Leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council, Tony Janio, added “we are pleased that the Government has recognised what we have long been saying locally that by investing in local infrastructure we can help unlock building thousands of new homes in areas where they are needed the most.”

The Government is inviting councils to bid a slice of a £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund which will be available to help build new schools, healthcare centres and digital infrastructure to accommodate growing communities and alleviate pressure on the public services that communities rely on.

Conservatives appoint Three new Champions for the City

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New Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council, Tony Janio, has announced the appointment of three new ‘Champion’ roles to hold the Labour Administration to account. Cllr. Mary Mears will be the Group’s new Business Champion, Cllr. Nick Lewry will be the Group’s new Cycling Champion and Cllr. Andrew Wealls will be the Group’s new Community & Voluntary Sector Champion.

Tony Janio said: “We have decided to create these new roles because we feel that they are very important policy areas which are not being given due attention by the Labour Administration.

New Business Champion, Mary Mears, said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new role for the Conservative Group. As a former Leader of the Council and a former local trader myself I know the vital importance of businesses to the city – they are the lifeblood of our economy and employ thousands of local residents. The Conservatives are the only political Group that really understand their needs and I will do my best to help them in any way I can in my new role.”

New Cycling Champion, Nick Lewry, said: “Brighton & Hove is already very much a cycling city but we believe that much more can be done to make cycling both easier and safer for residents and visitors. We are very proud to have been the Party which began the process of introducing Boris Bikes to Brighton & Hove but much more still needs to be done to break down the barriers between cyclists and motorists which unnecessarily polarise the transport debate in the city. Increasing the number of people cycling is good from every perspective. Not only does it help reduce the number of car journeys in the city and hence, traffic congestion and air pollution, it is also hugely beneficial to the individuals in terms of their physical and mental health.”

New Community & Voluntary Sector Champion, Andrew Wealls, said: “As Conservatives we believe strongly in the power of the Community & Voluntary sector to transform people’s lives for the better. Over the years we have provided strong and vocal support for the sector both through the Budget process and in our everyday work as Councillors. I am delighted to be taking up this new role and look forward to putting the case for a strengthened role for the sector in the Council and the city as a whole.”

Withdean Councillor Joins Fight To Save Local Pub

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Cllr. Nick Taylor, Conservative Councillor for Withdean ward, joined local residents at a public meeting of the Save the Dyke Pub Campaign on the 20th June.

The group has been campaigning to save the Dyke Pub since its sudden closure over a weekend in 2016. The group have recently hired pub expert Dale Ingram to help campaign against the closure and to reopen the pub for the community.

Cllr. Nick Taylor said “Despite all the disappointments and a refusal of the current owners to work with the local community, the committee are really positive and it was a pleasure to join them.

Pubs have always been tremendous meeting places and there are precious few such amenities in the area.

The Dyke was a well used pub and I will be setting out my objections to the planning applications in due course.

I would encourage all concerned residents to make their objections known to the Council.”

More information can be found at the campaign website here:

STATEMENT FROM CONSERVATIVE GROUP LEADER GEOFFREY THEOBALD

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Cllr Geoffrey Theobald

At the last elections I advised my local Conservative Party Association that they would be my last, and I confirmed that again at the beginning of the new Council term in 2015.  So, as my colleagues in the Conservative Group know, I will be leaving the City Council in two years’ time when my term of office expires.

As I was first elected to Brighton County Borough Council at a By-election in 1968, next year I will have had the honour of continuously serving as a councillor in Brighton, where I was born, for Brighton, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove councils for 50 years.  For the last 33 of these years, I will have had the great privilege of representing the residents of Patcham Ward and I will always be grateful for the continued support and friendship that I have enjoyed over all this time.

I have either held office as Leader, Opposition Leader, Cabinet Member or Committee Chairman for all but my first two years, and I was Mayor of Brighton in 1982/3 when I welcomed Margaret Thatcher and her Government to Brighton. I have decided that my last two years will be spent in the same way as my first, and I therefore advised my Group on Monday that I will not be standing for re-election as Leader at our Annual General Meeting next month.

I have been enormously proud of my involvement in bringing on to the Council, and continuing to encourage, a number of new and younger Conservative councillors.  So, I think that the time is now right for those who will be leading the Conservative Party into the next local elections in two years’ time, and then forming what I expect to be a Conservative Administration, to take the lead.

My successor as Leader of the Conservative Group, who will take over from me at the Council’s Annual Meeting on the 18th May, will of course have my full support and encouragement.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Conservative Group members, past and present, for their continued support over all these years, which I have much appreciated.

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald OBE

Conservatives celebrate Albion success

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Conservatives supporting the Albion at a recent Full Council meeting

Conservative Group Leader on Brighton & Hove City Council, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, has expressed his delight at the decision by Brighton & Hove Albion to hold an end of season victory parade along the seafront on Sunday May 14th.

On behalf of the Conservative Group, on Tuesday he also wrote to the Club’s Chairman, Tony Bloom, congratulating him, and everyone involved with the Seagulls, on their achievement in securing promotion to the Premier League.

Cllr. Theobald said: “4 days on from that historic day and it still hasn’t really sunk in what the club has achieved. To say that it has been a rocky road since 1997 would be an understatement and this makes their promotion to the top tier all the more remarkable. I’m delighted that the club will be holding a victory parade and I’m sure that half of Sussex will turn out to salute their heroes! I am already looking forward to exciting times ahead next season welcoming the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to the AMEX!”

Patcham Councillors Write to Transport Secretary Over Highways England Inaction on Patcham Roundabout

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Picture: Google Street View

The Rt. Hon Chris Grayling MP – Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport
Westminster
London

10th April 2017

Dear Chris

Highways England’s traffic island at the main A23/A27 gateway to the city of Brighton & Hove, which is passed by many thousands of motorists every day, is a complete eyesore. We are sure that you will have noticed this on your recent visits to the City.

Well over a year ago, Highways England cleared the tall, unruly and dense vegetation previously on the roundabout in order to improve sight lines, and hence road safety, for drivers approaching the roundabout, but its appearance remains dreadful.

As the local Patcham Ward councillors, we have initiated meetings between Highways England and Brighton & Hove City Council yet, despite repeated promises by Highways England that they would allow the roundabout to be replanted with something more suitable, nothing has happened.

As you will be aware, the Council is unable to do anything until they are given a license by Highway’s England. And as they continue to ignore the City Council’s requests, we are asking that you intervene as a matter of urgency in order to unblock this impasse.

We have even managed to source local businesses who would be willing to sponsor the works but, frustratingly, the Council is unable to take them up on their offer due to Highways England’s inaction.

This weekend we had the hugely successful Brighton Marathon and shortly the city will host England’s largest arts festival – the Brighton Festival and Fringe. As elected representatives of this city we are frankly embarrassed that the first impression of Brighton & Hove that many of the visitors to these great events are given, is of this unsightly mess.

We would be most grateful if you would give this matter your urgent attention.

Yours sincerely

Cllr. GeoffreyTheobald, Cllr. Carol Theobald and Cllr. Lee Wares

UBER “NOT PLAYING BY THE RULES” SAY LOCAL CONSERVATIVES

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The Conservative spokesperson for Licensing in the city has spoken out against Uber’s apparent disregard of the spirit of the commitment made by them to operate in Brighton and Hove.

Councillor Lee Wares, who leads for the Conservative Group on the Licensing Committee commented “Uber’s commitment to the City and me as one of the Councillors who granted their operators licence was simple; that they would only use Brighton and Hove licensed drivers and vehicles. The reason this is important is that drivers and vehicles have to comply with the Council’s ‘Blue rule book’ which determines the safety standards of the vehicle, the training and background checks of drivers, identification, the provision of CCTV and the ability for the Council to inspect at will any vehicle and any driver. Where vehicles or drivers fail inspections, or drivers are subject to complaints, the Council can take them off the road.”

However, since Uber’s operator’s licence was granted, the City has been flooded with vehicles and drivers not licenced by Brighton and Hove. It is therefore impossible to know who is licenced or not and with the Council having no ability to inspect, who has been checked.

Whilst it recognises that Brighton and Hove’s existing local taxi trade can be the subject of complaints, the Conservative Group does acknowledge that they operate to some of the highest set of rules in the country. The Group therefore strongly believes that Uber should fulfil the commitment it made at the Licensing Committee and only use Brighton and Hove licensed drivers and vehicles who comply with the Council ‘Blue rule book’ to ensure both passenger safety and that taxi and private hire vehicles in our city operate on a level playing field.

In the meantime, Cllr Wares has highlighted “Resident’s freedom to use vehicles operated by Uber exists, however it should be noted that the Council’s ability to mitigate risks to their welfare does not. It is important that the standards we operate in this City are the highest they can be and I shall press Uber to achieve this.”

Cllr Wares added “Uber could, if they wished, block out any vehicle on their App covering the City that is not licensed by Brighton and Hove. It is in their gift if they wish to play by the same rules as everybody else”.

Redevelopment of Sackville Trading Estate

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Photo Credit to Google Maps

Conservative Hove Park Ward Councillor, Jayne Bennett,  has spoken about new plans to redevelop the Sackville Trading Estate and Corralls coal yard in Hove.

The plans include 600 new homes, 50,000 square feet of offices and 20,000 square feet of ‘cultural industrial space’.

Jayne stated: “We do need new homes but they have got to be in proportion. They need to be in character with the area and there needs to be the infrastructure to support it. We know that the site is going to be developed and it needs to be developed but the local roads could not cope with a development of that size. The traffic lights at Sackville Road and Old Shoreham Road have been over capacity for years.”

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