Brighton & Hove City Council is controlled by the Green Party. This new administration has broken with political tradition in a number of ways. Notably, it has kept its promise to create a permanent site for Travellers even though this policy attracted a well organised and high profile campaign against it by the local Conservatives. The policy was carried through with a thorough public consultation. Consultation has been the hallmark of the Green administration. A week ago, the administration announced its response to the biggest consultation the City had ever undertaken, which was on the budget.
For the first time the city council produced a two year budget which also included carbon budgets and the most extensive equality impact assessments yet. Through social media, an online budget simulator, public meetings, a webcast chat, letters, petitions and media debate the Greens have extensively engaged with residents on the budget. The budget simulator is well worth checking out. It really brings home the issues involved in setting council budgets.
Brighton & Hove has the highest per capita rate of digital and creative industries in the country. The council leader, Bill Randall, recently attended a meeting of the Local Government All Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons this week, and met Jeremy Hunt MP to lobby him to include the City in the government’s ultra-fast broadband funding competition. Unfortunately, the government has excluded the City from the project.
One of Brighton & Hove’s biggest problems is the sheer number of cars in the City. Many people who live locally do not trouble themselves with car ownership. Many of the people coming into work in the City drive in and then get annoyed when they can’t find anywhere to park! Preston Park has been turning into an unofficial car park for these people. Presently, there are no parking restrictions on any of the park’s internal roads. 2,000 people signed a petition calling for action to clampdown on parking in the popular park and free up space for park users. Consultation was carried out with park users, sports groups, local residents and others last year. Today the City’s Transport and Sustainability Cabinet Member Meeting will consider a report which proposes limiting parking in the park to two areas, known as The Gallop and The Ride. Parking on all other internal roads and all along the London Road side of the park will be stopped under the plans. Charges will be introduced to cover the cost of the scheme.