Green city councillor and planning students show 'urban vision' for north Brighton neighbourhood
12 April 2012
Pic: Green councillor Christina Summers (left) with course tutor Dr Samer Bagaeen (second left) and the Hollingdean Vision town planning students and staff showcase their report at Moulsecoomb train station.
Town planning post-graduate students from the University of Brighton have produced a 'master plan' for the Hollingdean neighbourhood in Brighton after local councillors invited them to research residents' views on how to spruce up the area's streetscape and amenities.
The students, their tutor and a local Green councillor, Christina Summers, gathered on site to talk about the report with local journalists on Wednesday, April 11, at Moulsecoomb Station, a key transport point for the neighbourhood.
The launch of the Urban Vision report took place on the same day as a major national planning conference in the city, hosted by the University of Brighton Planning School, and attended by the Government's Chief Planner.
Christina Summers and Sven Rufus, Green Party councillors for Hollingdean & Stanmer Ward, approached Dr. Samer Bagaeen, Principal Lecturer in Town Planning at the University of Brighton, to see if his students could apply their training in public realm design and help survey residents on how they would like to see the Hollingdean neighbourhood improved.
The neighbourhood lies to the east of the Fiveways junction in north Brighton and is largely a mix of post-war public and pre-war private housing located between central Brighton to the south and the South Downs and A27 to the north.
The area also comprises some large industrial sites including the city waste and recycling depot.
Although the city council currently has no new funds to support regeneration efforts in the area, Christina believes residents should have an opportunity to have their say now on what they would like to see happen to improve their neighbourhood.
Christina said, "As a councillor, I need to be aware of residents' needs but also their future aspirations.
"So I wanted to capture the many views and ideas from local people about how to improve Hollingdean's streetscape in a more formal way, in preparation for when regeneration funds may become available.
"I contacted Dr. Samer Bagaeen, with whom I had worked some years previously on a vision for London Road, and he agreed that Hollingdean would be a great project for his Masters students.
"My ward city councillor colleague Sven Rufus and I then drew up a brief with the help of Senior Planning Officer, Alan Buck.
"Then, over a few months, the students got to work. They talked to residents, businesses and community groups and assessed the history and potential for urban improvements.
"The result is a detailed mapping of the area, of residents' ideas (from pedestrianising The Dip to improving access to Moulsecoomb train station) and options for future regeneration.
"But it doesn't stop here: this is an ongoing ‘live' project that I am determined will not remain an academic document but will bear fruit over time.
"I am so very grateful to all the students who have worked diligently and imaginatively to start the ball rolling."
Dr Samer Bagaeen said, "The students successfully pulled apart the various layers and components of the area, spoken extensively with residents and drew up detailed and imaginative solutions in a short period of time.
"In addition to public realm improvements, these included proposals to improve the quality, connectivity and use of green space throughout Hollingdean, redeveloping the Dip and improving access to the National Park.
"It is our aspiration that next year's cohort of students on the Master of Science in Town Planning will be able to take some of these proposals forward in greater detail."
For more information please contact Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.
Hollingdean Urban Study Group 1 [PDF 7.5MB]
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