Friday 16 October 2009

Gated communities in the centre of Brighton? No thanks!

A very good letter in The Argus this week alerted me to the fact that there is a proposal to close the Ship Street Gardens twitten from 9pm to 8am, because of crime and anti-social behaviour.
No-one would deny that such things are a problem but is "gating" a footpath through the old town actually going to solve the problem or merely move it?
We cannot gate every street in central Brighton!
More to the point, by what right does anyone close off an area in the centre of town? Whilst I realise that it doesn't necessarily float everyone's boat, for me a walk through the passageways is part of the charm of "old Brighton". As the writer of the letter points out, if they get away with this, how long will it be before Black Lion Lane follows? Then the whole "cut" through that part of the Lanes is blocked up for half the day.
It is quite a surprise to further discover that it is the local Green councillors who are motivating this.
Don't let them get away with this theft of city space!
Send objections before October 18 by email to or write to the Director of Environment, Public Safety/Environment Improvements, Bartholomew House, Batholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JP (ref: Simon Bannister).

2 comments: said...

I have noisey,polluting and dangerous cars driving down my street.Now if it had gates......

sven rufus said...

Hi Andy
Just found your blog, I'll be coming back for more I don't doubt.

I just wanted to comment on this piece about gating orders to give another side of the story.

It's not quite true to say that Green Councillors (of which I'm one) are the motivating force behind this idea - in fact it is being driven by residents whose lives are being made hell by the problems that they face here.
It is true though that - with a heavy heart - we are supporting the residents in this, as the problems they face here are extreme, way beyond what I have seen or heard of anywhere else in the city. It is not the case that this is just a bit of noise and late night rowdiness - residents in this area are routinely subjected to the most vile anti-social behaviour including even people regularly urinating through letter boxes, smashed windows, doors kicked in, grafitti and assaults such as muggings and serious sexual assaults. Much of this is not just occasionally, but routinely occurring. Take a walk down the twittens here and see how the windows are caged in, letterboxes have been filled in as self defence. Look at the walls and see the patchwork of paint where vile and offensive grafitti is painted over. It is no ordinary scenario here.

The problems here stem from the fact that local councillors have all but no control over licensing and as a result, this area is a nightmare at the weekends and throughout the nights. The twittens don't just allow such ASB to occur, but seem to attract it, in much higher levels than found elsewhere in the city centre.

Just to be clear - though we support the gating, it is not permanent. It will be time limited to the night time so daytime visitors will be able to carry on using it as before. Neither will it be a permanent in the long term, with the gating order regularly reviewed and when - hopefully - the problems ease off in this area it can be removed. Residents do not want private gated communities, and I would have no time for such a notion, but they do want to be able to live in relative peace and safety, and I'm fully behind that.

Just finally, I need to make it clear that they residents here accept that there is more noise in the city centre, and quite rightly accepted the additional disturbance they endured for many years - it is only now in the new liberalised drinking cultlure we 'enjoy' that things have gone beyond the pale and they need help which I as a ward councillor am happy to give.