“Resist, to the greatest extent possible, the service cuts and privatisation imposed on local councils by the Conservative and Lib Dem Government.”
Nationally, Greens have been at the forefront of efforts to fight the austerity agenda, and locally we have worked hard to protect residents from the impact of these cuts. While councils up and down the country have been axing bus services and closing children’s centres and libraries, we have managed to keep these services running. We have even opened new libraries in Woodingdean and Mile Oak.
“End the waste of empty council and privately owned buildings and land to provide affordable workspaces”
We have kick-started developments that have been languishing, including Circus Street, Preston Barracks and the old Co-op building on London Road. These have all been empty for years and are now back on track to provide new homes, facilities and employment space.
In addition, we have completed the new Open Market and worked with the community to regenerate the London Road area. This has been a huge success, turning it from one of the most neglected shopping areas to a thriving, vibrant community.
“Retain our commitment to building a new and low carbon Brighton centre on the seafront.”
In December 2014, agreement was reached in principle for the development of a new seafront conference centre and enhanced shopping facilities to boost the local economy and provide 2000 jobs. The scheme also includes 460 much-needed new homes.
“Work with Brighton & Hove Seaside Community Homes, housing co-ops, housing associations and the private sector to begin a programme of at least 1,000 new affordable homes.”
As of May 2015, we have planned and produced a programme, with our partners, that will yield 750 new affordable homes plus 15 pitches on the Travellers’ site. Of these, more than 200 are council houses and flats. In addition, we have brought nearly 900 empty homes back into use.
“Create an ambitious programme to insulate every home in the city and install renewable energy technologies.”
In March 2014 we hit our target of 100% of council homes meeting the Decent Homes standard.
We have also installed solar panels in six Senior Housing schemes, with more planned for five additional schemes and 150 council homes; and begun a study of two district heating schemes to reduce fuel poverty and cut the City’s carbon footprint.
“Produce a Brighton & Hove Housing Design Guide containing minimum acceptable space and design standards for new homes.”
We have produced a design guide for extensions and alterations, and published a new Sustainability Checklist for all new developments in the City.
“Support high quality and accessible early years learning and do all we can to protect Bright Start, Sure Start and other nurseries.”
In opposition we successfully challenged Conservative plans to close the council-run Bright Start nursery in central Brighton. In office, we've acted to secure its future and despite huge Government cuts we have managed to keep all children’s centres open and will continue to campaign for their futures.
“Implement a 20mph speed limit for Brighton and Hove’s residential roads.”
Following an extensive consultation program almost the entire city’s residential areas now benefit from 20mph speed limits, greatly improving the safety of our neighbourhoods, especially for children. On roads where 20mph has been introduced the number of casualties classed as ‘serious’ has dropped by 20% since the changes were made.
“Drive up recycling and composting rates, and introduce a food waste collection service.”
The city’s refuse and recycling service has been blighted for years with poor results and we have worked hard to turn things around, although there is much more still to do and funding for improvements continues to be a problem due to government cuts. However, recycling rates in Brunswick & Adelaide ward jumped by 70% after communal recycling was introduced in 2012 and we have now rolled this out across the city centre. Our plans for a food waste collection service were sadly thwarted by Conservative and Labour councillors who refused to back funding for a pilot scheme.
“Make Brighton and Hove the number one centre for eco-tourism in the new South Downs National Park.”
In May 2013 we became the world's first accredited 'One Planet City' in recognition of our citywide Sustainability Action Plan and in June 2014 we successfully became the UK's first UN Biosphere Reserve for 40 years through the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Project.
We have also added another 670 acres of public downland to our open access land under the Countryside Rights of Way Act and created a new access route alongside Ditchling Road for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the National Park.
“Link together the green spaces of Old Steine, Victoria Gardens and St Peter’s Church and re-route the traffic in Valley Gardens.”
We have secured £8m of Government funding to transform this area into a city centre park, all the way from St Peter’s Church to the seafront and are working hard to ensure work on the project starts this year.
“Create local neighbourhood councils with local budgets and decision-making powers.”
We have supported the establishment of neighbourhood councils in Whitehawk and Moulsecoomb and will continue to support communities that want their own neighbourhood council to take more control over where money should be spent in their areas.
“Roll out a ‘Living Wage’ for city council employees.”
We were one of the first councils to introduce a Living Wage for council employees (which is above the minimum wage) and in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce we have also supported over 200 businesses in the city to pay their staff the living wage, improving the lives of thousands of the city’s lower-paid workers.
2015 End of Term Report [1.5MB pdf]