Agenda item - Written questions from members of the public.
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Written questions from members of the public.
A list of public questions received by the due date of 12noon on the 9 July 2021 will be circulated separately as part of an addendum at the meeting.
19.1 The Deputy Mayor reported that two written questions had been received from members of the public and invited Mr Wright to put his question to the meeting.
19.2 Mr Wright asked the following question; Will the council consider steam cleaning the 32 columns and 8 pillars of the Colonnade on Madeira Drive ready for when Soho house opens later this year just next door? I have a quote of £6,000 from the company that cleaned the Aquarium Terrace and balustrades for Soho House using the Doff cleaning method, which is designed to remove paint, biological matter and general dirt and grime without causing harm or shock to the substrate and also kills off any spores. With some imagination The Colonnade could easily become Brighton’s version of Convent Garden Market.
19.3 Councillor Lloyd replied; thank you for your question and also for all the work you do around the city. We are very pleased that the whole of the eastern sea front is now seeing investment that it needs and the focus that we are giving to the restoration of Madeira Terraces. I know you know about that project as you are closely involved as a member of the Advisory Group. We have the Sea Lanes Development going on and also the Black Rock Development, showing that progress is happening. We are also progressing the Master Plan in the area as part of a comprehensive approach to improving this vital part of the seafront and the wonderful cycle lane has really improved the buzz and the atmosphere and I am pleased to see the improvements happening every day. I take the improvements and the tidiness of the appearance of the area very appearance very seriously and, once the Soho House development is completed, we will consider whether there is funding available to appoint external contractors to clean the columns, I think it is a great idea. What I would really like to do is approach Soho House to see whether they might want to contribute to this and perhaps we could do that together.
19.4 Mr Wright asked the following supplementary question; will the council also look at cleaning the balustrades on the Max Miller Walkway, putting flags in the flag poles, repair the flagpole bases so that they are safe to sit on, asking highways to repair the uneven broken paving behind the columns, ask street lighting to mend the heritage ward lamps and lastly, repair the Chain Pier plaque
19.5 Councillor Lloyd replied; that was more than a question, but of course we sympathise with all of those things. I would like to see us working on all of those and I will ask officers whether we can find funds in the budget to do those works.
19.6 The Deputy Mayor thanked Mr Wright for his questions and invited Ms Andrews to address the council.
19.7 Ms Andrews asked the following question, Firstly, I have to mention that in the last TECC Committee in June we asked the council for valid objections to the King Alfred temporary ice rink project. The objection given was that the Sport & Leisure team disagreed with us, using the term ‘unused area’ on the west side of the King Alfred, and they insisted that it was called the ‘roof of a vacant aging building’. On that basis, the east side of the King Alfred site is the children’s play and amusement area, which has been earning the council income for decades. It is also situated on the ‘roof of a vacant aging building’, both sides are exactly the same build, built at exactly the same time using exactly the same methods. So, if one side is in critical condition, as is claimed, they both are so, the objection given at the TECC committee was not a valid one.
It is not rocket science that no major development at the King Alfred will start for probably the next 3 years probably 5. I is has always been argued by the Sports & Leisure team that the site is not suitable for an ice rink, we dispute this and our 2011 pre-application for building advice and our 2012 structural survey disputes this too. Extracts from our 2011 pre-app - Principle of development of the erection of a temporary Ice Rink on the King Alfred site would essentially be an additional leisure facility on the main sport and leisure site in Hove. The ice rink would fall within the D2 class, which is consistent with other uses on the site, the objectives outlined in the planning brief are that mixed use development need to come forward for the site. It is clear from your submission that a temporary ice rink is proposed, it is therefore considered that providing any works remain temporary there is no demonstrable conflict for this planning brief. Extract from our 2012 survey report – It is generally adequate for the ice-skating venue we are proposing, so the structural survey undertaken in 2012 indicated that there were possibilities in relation to using the land adjacent to the King Alfred on the West side (former bowling alley) as an ice rink.
Will the Council agree to permit a further independent structural survey of this land to be undertaken by Hemsley Orel Partnership on the basis that the one undertaken in 2012 is now in need of updating?
19.8 Councillor Mac Cafferty replied, I have spoken to senior officers about your request and general proposals, and they are more than happy to will arrange to meet you to discuss the Sports Investment Plan and the future development of the King Alfred site with you and I have asked officers to contact you after this meeting to arrange a time.
19.9 Ms Andrews asked the following supplementary question, Where is the report regarding an ice rink in the city from the new City Sports Facility Strategy. Ice skating, point 1, Ice rinks require more than 30% of the population to be under the age of 24 years. 2. Whilst the current population of the City of Brighton & Hove is marginally above this figure they will make up a smaller proportion of the population in future years. What this says, is that whilst we currently meet above the minimum demographic criteria of 30% of under 24-year-olds at 32% it is prophesied that at some point in the distant future the figure will be under 30%. We have to point out that we cannot be certain that the 31k student population has even been included in these statistics, but nevertheless in Plymouth with the under 24-year-olds percentage being slightly lower than ours at 31.6 they have just built the new Mayfair ice arena. The report goes on to say – point 3. Ice rinks have high operational costs and the energy foot print they generate through operations may be at odds with the city’s priorities around its climate agenda, which is inaccurate when we consider the new eco-friendly ice rink technologies now available, which we can demonstrate to the council and which actually falls in line with the climate agenda. Point 4, the overall risks associated with provision is considered too high to outweigh any benefit, meaning that the council believes that an ice rink is of high risk and of no benefit to the community and wider area, unlike the i360, however all this report does is to provide a valid argument that a private social enterprise is the perfect venture.
19.10 Councillor Mac Cafferty replied, I would like to take the question and thank you Ms Andrews for your additional points and I am among many of your supporters of ice skating along with other activities as of course we are in the middle of a public health pandemic, anything that enhances our health at the moment is of course going to be welcome. We do have a very successful temporary ice rink in normal times at the Royal Pavilion Garden and we look forward to more normal times when that can return to the city in the winter. Permanent ice rinks have been bedevilled by viability in the city, we have not found a way of making them work up for the long time all the way back to the last serious study that was conducted in 2016. There were only three parties interested then and all three were contacted, only one actually accepted the council’s invitation to meet and after initial discussions there was not a basis on which to proceed.
Basically, I am saying to you that it will be very hard to find a viability that works with ice skating. It was in 2016, I remember that it was pre-Brexit and pre pandemic so goodness knows what the viability of finding an ice rink that will work today is. But as I have said before we are more than happy for you to meet with officers and discuss further.
19.11 The Deputy Mayor thanked Ms Andrews for her questions and noted that this concluded the item.