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Letters: Brighton Library

Published by on Friday, 6 March 2009One Comment

Brighton and Hove councillors and officials often find themselves in a tight spot when trying to defend unappetising planning applications. Invariably, within a few sentences, they reach for that ropey old phrase about the city being hemmed in by the sea and the Downs – and therefore up with another tall building or breeze-blocks clad in fake terracotta!

Why, then, do they ignore the one area where people crave more intensive use of space? Readers at the Jubilee Library might reasonably expect to find books in abundance but, instead, there is an exhibition of air, carpet – and 250 unused electrical sockets across that floor. These were intended for lighting above the ample rows of well-filled shelves which should be at the heart of any true library.

Time is precious, no life is very long, but can be immeasurably enhanced by serendipitous discoveries quietly made. (Anybody who reads Henry Petroski’s study of The Book on the Bookshelf might then try his even longer one about The Pencil.)The longer it takes for the Jubilee shelving to be remedied, the less opportunity for residents to find such joy.

Christopher Hawtree
Westbourne Gardens, Hove

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One Comment »

  • James & Graeme, Brighton Square says:

    We can add our disbelief of council planning decisions to this. We live in one of the flats above Brighton Square in The Lanes:

    About three years ago South Bank Estates (the landlords of Brighton Suare) applied to replace the ancient, rusting and dangerous Crittal casement windows and two rotten wooden porches here with uPVC ones. These fittings are original and over 40 years old now. Because the window frames are so old and are becoming structurally unsound, there have been incidents of glass cracking and falling into public areas.

    The decision? I’ll let you guess… Remaining in-keeping with the style of the area is clearly more important to our council than basic safety (not to mention the amount of heating needlessly required to keep these flats warm in the winter months).

    Recently, one of the porches was replaced (they had no option because water was leaking through into the shop below). It looks great – and is safe. Ours is the other porch, still rotten and unsafe, with a full length diagonal crack across the side window pane. Another planning application has recently been submitted – we’re not holding our breath. We suspect that someone will actually have to be injured or die before a sensible decision is taken.

    You can view the planning application on the council website’s planning register page (when the page is working – it’s written in ColdFusion and falls over with monotonous regularity).

    We understand the wish to remain in-keeping with the style of the area, but some considerations (safety and energy efficiency) must override these wishes in a sensible planning decision process.

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