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.”

Conservative Calls For Developers To make Their Economic Viability Assessments Public

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Cllr Robert Nemeth, Conservative Group Economic Development & Culture Spokesman, has called for developers to make their economic viability assessments public. This is following recent high profile examples of developers claiming that they cannot afford to meet the Council’s requirements to provide affordable housing on site.

Planning legislation, known as Planning Gain, allows local planning authorities to require developers to build a certain percentage of social housing on new sites.

However, developers have been able to avoid the social housing obligation by claiming that it is not economically viable for them and inevitably many make this claim, resulting in less affordable housing.

If developers have to make their economic viability claims public, this will allow public scrutiny, assisting Brighton & Hove Council to judge which developers genuinely cannot afford to meet their obligations.

Robert Nemeth stated that the Conservative Group could not support social housing plans where they affect developments of between 5 and 9 units, because they are counterproductive and can result in no homes at all being built.

He believes this will help to maximise the amount of affordable housing being built. 

Conservatives Welcome Government’s Huge Social Care Funding Boost

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Conservatives have warmly welcomed a ‘game changing’ funding boost for social care in Brighton & Hove of £10 million over the next 3 years.

As part of last week’s Budget, the Chancellor Phillip Hammond, announced that councils and local NHS organisations would receive an additional £2 billion to help ease pressure on social care services largely caused by the country’s ageing population. Brighton & Hove’s share of this funding will be over £10 million including £5 million for the coming year.

In a separate, but equally welcome, announcement, the Chancellor allocated £2 million to Brighton & Hove City Council to help small businesses in the city following the business rate revaluation carried out by the independent Valuation Office Agency.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, said: “This extra funding for the Council is enormously welcome and shows that the Government recognises the scale of the challenge currently facing the social care sector and the NHS in this city and across the country. And I’m sure that the local businesses whose rates have increased as a result of the Valuation Office Agency’s revaluation will appreciate the help provided to the Council to cushion the blow.”

Cllr. Ken Norman, the Conservative Group Health & Social Care Spokesman, added: “This really is excellent news. The Council identified pressures on its social care Budget of around £6 million for next year so this extra funding of £5 million is a real game changer, coming alongside the measures already agreed in the Council’s Budget. I hope that Council officers and the NHS can now work together to spend this money efficiently and effectively in order to tackle issues such as ‘bed blocking’ which have been causing so many problems. I was also very pleased to hear the Chancellor announce a review into the long-term funding of social care – this issue is so important that it should be beyond party politics, and the Government should be commended for trying to get an agreed way forward.”

Notes for editors:

Cllr. Norman can be contacted on 07795336000 and Cllr. Theobald can be contacted on 07753636203;

www.brightonandhoveconservatives.com

@BHConservatives

ENDS

Cllr Geoffrey Theobald: Morgan’s Bizarre Budget Rant – A Response

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Cllr Geoffrey Theobald

I am responding to yet another press release/letter from Council Leader Warren Morgan who asks why the Conservatives aren’t ‘up in arms’ after the Government’s Budget (Argus 13th March).

Why would we be up in arms Cllr. Morgan, when the Chancellor has just awarded us an extra £10 million funding for social care in the city? Why would we be up in arms about the huge investment in new Free Schools, when another one of these (which you Cllr Morgan have backed) will soon be opening in this City, providing much-needed new Secondary School places? Why would we be protesting about the £500 million a year investment in post-16 technical education for our talented young people who don’t want to follow the academic route? And why would we be up in arms about the £2 million which the Chancellor has just committed to help small businesses in this city following the business rate revaluation carried out by the independent Valuation Office Agency? (although, contrary to the impression given by Cllr. Morgan, overall business rates in the city will fall by 2.5%, because a significant number of small businesses will see a reduction).

What we certainly were up in arms about Cllr Morgan was your Labour Administration’s attempts to decimate the city’s highly valued Youth Service. And thanks to our hard work and perseverance, and the passion and dedication of the young people that use the Youth Service, this has now been saved, along with grants to the voluntary sector and funding for respite breaks for families with disabled children that Cllr. Morgan was also trying to cut unnecessarily.

Instead of his constant doom and gloom mongering, perhaps Cllr. Morgan would like to join me in celebrating the city’s all-time record high employment rate, the highest wage increases in the country for the city’s workforce and the multi-million pound investment in major projects in the city from the Government’s Local Growth Fund?

This bizarre rant from the Council Leader shows just how far detached from reality and the interests of ordinary working people the Labour Party has become under Jeremy Corbyn. So much for this divided local Labour Party having the city’s best interests at heart.

Conservatives force review of licensing to protect local businesses

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Cllr, Lee Wares

At yesterday’s Brighton & Hove City Council Licensing Committee meeting, the Conservative Group secured a review of the Council’s policy towards licensing of mobile street traders.

It follows a case where a burger van has a license from the Council and has been operating outside Hove Town Hall, just yards from the busy Church Road shopping street. In addition, the van has been parked halfway over the pavement on a section of the Norton Road covered by double yellow lines.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, and local Central Hove Ward Councillor, Andrew Wealls, both raised the issue with Council officers. Cllr. Theobald said: “I’m very pleased that a review has been agreed as this case has flagged up a number of problems, not least the fact the van is parked on a double yellow line, partly on the pavement, all day. If I were to do that, I would quite rightly be ticketed and probably towed away. And all this, in full view of the Council and Police at Hove Town Hall!”

Cllr. Wealls added: “This van is in direct competition with a whole suite of restaurants and cafes on Church Road yet, unlike these shops, it doesn’t have to pay any business rates or rent. So, whilst we support all entrepreneurs, including van traders, this particular situation is clearly not a level playing field. In addition, I have been told by council officers that the regulation of street trading covers infrequent and itinerant trading. This trader has been parked in the same road for months – that is neither infrequent nor itinerant.”

Conservative Group Licensing Spokesman, Cllr. Lee Wares, who secured the review at Committee, added: “The current policy states that mobile traders are not permitted in the town centre but permits can be given in the outskirts of Brighton and Hove. A mobile trader parked 10ft the other side of the demarcation line in Church Road is not on the outskirts of the town and flies in the face of the purpose of having zones.”

Conservatives secure the future of city Youth Service

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People power

At last night’s Budget Council meeting, the Conservative Group on Brighton & Hove City Council secured the future of the city’s Youth Service in addition to substantially reducing the size of the cut to the community and voluntary sector and providing increased funding for respite breaks for families with disabled children.

Councillor Andrew Wealls

Further successes at the meeting included securing £50,000 to invest in new playground equipment at Mile Oak Rec in Portslade – promised by Labour before the election in 2015 but still not delivered – and funding for new street tree planting and maintenance across the city to help in the fight against Dutch Elm Disease.

Conservative councillor Andrew Wealls said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome and particularly for the young people who have campaigned so strongly and effectively to save the Youth Service. We’ve also managed to reduce the size of the cut to the community and voluntary sector substantially and support respite breaks for families with disabled children. These 3 issues are all very close to our hearts as Conservatives and I’d like to thank all councillors for helping us to protect these vital services.”

Conservative Group Leader, Geoffrey Theobald, added: “It is a shame that so many vulnerable people have had to endure months of uncertainty around the future of the services that are so important to them. The fact that our fully costed and deliverable amendments were agreed puts paid to the line pedalled by Labour that they had no choice but to decimate the Youth Service because of cuts in Government funding. If only they had worked with us on the Budget from the outset, all the heartache could have been avoided.”

Notes for editors:

Conservative achievements at the Budget Council meeting were:

  • Restoring £440,000 to the Youth Services Budget which Labour had proposed to cut by £645,000
  • Increasing funding by £150,000 for the Direct Payment scheme to secure short respite breaks for families with disabled children
  • Reduce Labour’s proposed cut in the budget for support to the city’s vitally important Community and Voluntary sector by £148,000
  • Investing £50,000 in new playground equipment in Mile Oak Rec, Portslade
  • Increasing the budget for street tree planting and maintenance by £14,000
  • Reducing the money spent on councillors’ ‘Special Responsibility Allowances’ by £43,000
  • Helping to tackle air pollution by removing the discount on resident parking permits currently enjoyed by owners of diesel cars

Conservatives Budget proposals to save city’s Youth Service

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The Conservative Group on Brighton & Hove City Council have unveiled their Budget proposals ahead of the Full Budget Council meeting today.

The amendments to the Labour Administration’s Budget include proposals to:

  • Save the city’s highly valued Youth Service by substantially reducing Labour’s proposed cut
  • Increase funding for the Direct Payment scheme to secure short respite breaks for families with disabled children
  • Reduce Labour’s proposed cut in the budget for support to the city’s vitally important Community and Voluntary sector
  • Increase the budget for street tree planting and maintenance
  • Invest in new playground equipment in Mile Oak Park, Portslade.

Some of the measures being proposed by the Conservatives to fund these additional spending commitments include getting rid of the low emission discount that residents with diesel vehicles get when buying resident parking permits; reducing councillors’ Special Responsibility Allowances; abolishing Labour’s talking shop that is the Neighbourhoods, Inclusion, Communities & Equality Committee; and reforming the management of the Council’s high spending housing service.

Conservative Group Finance Spokesman and Deputy Leader, Andrew Wealls, said: “We have been working very hard over the last few months to try and mitigate some of the damaging proposals in what has been a chaotic Budget process. It has been characterised by a lack of strategic thinking, particularly with regard to preventative services such as the Youth Service, cuts to which will add to the Council’s costs further down the line. I’m therefore delighted that we have been able to find funds to support most of the valuable work that the Youth Service does in some of our most deprived communities. It was very frustrating for us to hear deputations and petitions from engaged young people dismissed so cavalierly by the Labour leadership, but we have listened and very much hope that our plans are agreed on Thursday.”

“We are always concerned to support the community work of the voluntary sector in this city and are proud to have reduced the savings here. Similarly in supporting personal choices for respite care for families of disabled children. In these cases we have listened to their representatives and responded as best we can.”

“Labour campaigned at the last election on a platform of rebuilding play equipment in Mile Oak Park and have failed to deliver this. However, we have managed to find the funds to do what Labour couldn’t, and this revamp will help transform the health and happiness of the young people and families who live there and who frankly deserve better.”

Conservative Group Leader, Geoffrey Theobald, added: “Council Leader, Warren Morgan, never tires of saying that he has no choice but to end the Youth Service because of cuts in Government funding, yet we have managed to find the funding to save it. Young people in the city who use this service will therefore be wondering why on earth they have been forced by Labour to go through months of uncertainty and distress. I would urge both Labour and Green councillors to get behind our sensible, constructive and fully-costed amendments for the sake of some of the city’s residents.”

Conservatives secure success on Youth Services rethink

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Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council have secured cross-party agreement for a report  seeking further information on the options for the future of the city’s Youth Services. At last week’s Full Council meeting, a petition was presented by young people calling on the Labour Administration to cancel its plans to cut virtually all of the funding it provides for Youth Services in the City. In addition, the Conservative Group moved an amendment calling on officers to bring an urgent report to a Committee meeting on 9th February setting out:

  • What services could be provided at a range of different funding levels if the full cut were not implemented
  • What options were considered by the Administration as alternatives to the proposed cut
  • an impact assessment of the cut and an assessment of the increased pressures on other budgets and services should the proposed cut be implemented

Group Deputy Leader, Andrew Wealls, who proposed the amendment said: “Before we, as councillors, are asked to make this potentially life-changing decision, it is vital that we have all the relevant information before us. As yet, we have not had that, and my understanding is that the decision to decimate the Youth Service budget was made by the Labour Administration over a weekend and with next to no consultation, particularly with those it will most affect. That is simply not acceptable.” Group Spokesman for Children, Young People & Skills, Vanessa Brown, added: “The young people that presented their petition explained very eloquently how these proposed cuts will affect them and others like them in the city. In support of them, I’m pleased that we have managed to bring some pressure to bear by securing this additional information and have hopefully kept the door open for the Labour Administration to have a rethink.”

Councils should be able to support local businesses – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald

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I noted with interest the Local Government Finance Bill second reading in the House of Commons on Monday (23rd January). I was pleased to see the debate further outline some of the significant benefits that will soon be available to Councils who will be able to retain 100 per cent of their locally collected business rates from 2019/2020 along with the removal of the Revenue Support Grant. Currently councils are required councils to pay 50 per cent of business rates income to the Government. This Bill is an important step on the road towards local council’s better supporting and encouraging business and development in their areas and I applaud the Government’s incentivising approach.

As well as the main headlines surrounding the Bill there are additional proposals which could significantly benefit Brighton and Hove. These include the introduction of telecommunications infrastructure relief which seeks to incentivise companies to bring about the installation of new optical fibre broadband with the promise of 100 per cent business rates relief for five years. Being at the forefront of digital enterprise and development is a key aim of this Council in the coming years. Access to fast and reliable digital connectivity will therefore be vital, making this incentive most welcome for households and businesses in our city.

Perhaps easily dismissed but something which I always receive significant correspondence about, the Bill also seeks to provide discretionary rate relief for public toilets to reduce the costs on local authorities of maintaining these facilities. This is something which my Conservative colleagues and I in the Council will greatly welcome as it will mean that Brighton and Hove Council can give relief to their own premises, hopefully leading to fewer having to close due to funding issues.

Overall the Bill’s range of measures to cut business rates for small businesses and local amenities will do a great deal to ensure local communities in and around our city can thrive. Politics aside, all parties within the Council should be welcoming the Bill and looking to see the ways in which we can achieve the greatest benefit from it in the coming years.

This article first appeared in the Brighton & Hove Independent on 27th January

Councillors Slam Rise in Parking Fees Near i360

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Credit to Neil

COUNCILLORS have slammed the proposed increase in parking charges near the i360, warning that the city needs the attraction to succeed.

The local authority has proposed increasing fees for on street parking near to the i360 in the next financial year.

Councillor Lee Wares, Conservative, said the council was taking advantage of i360 visitors, adding: “We need it to be successful and now we have loaded it with increases.”

The attraction, which opened in the summer, is funded by a £36.2 million loan from the city council through the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB).

The council has proposed increasing on street charges in the Brunswick and Adelaide wards from £3 to £4.20 for two hours.

All four Tory councillors voted for the rates to be frozen. However, they were out-voted by the four Labour members and two Greens.

The Conservative councillors also called for business and trading parking permits and disabled bay application fees to be frozen but their amendment was thrown out by Labour and Green councillors.

It is proposed business and trader permits will increase by between 7.7 per cent and 17.6 per cent.

It is also planned to increase permits for doctors (5.3 per cent) and professional carers’ permits (4 per cent).

The Greens joined with the Conservatives to vote against a 9.1 per cent rise in disabled bay application fees.

All parking proposals will now go to the council’s policy and resources committee for a final decision.

First published in The Argus on Wednesday 18th January

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