Residents have launched a formal complaint over the council’s handling of the relocation of a seafront kiosk to East Street Bastion.
The complaint raises concerns over the planning process and the lack of consultation with local residents and businesses.
Work began on February 1 to reconstruct the kiosk - which once stood on the promenade opposite West Street - at the East Street Bastion site. The kiosk was removed from its former home before a planning application was lodged. The plans were, however, later granted planning permission.
Stuart Lauchlan, chairman of the Clarendon Mansions Residents Association, said: “The planning process has been deeply flawed. The project was always scoped as remove kiosk from West St and deposit on East St Bastion. So why then was there no overall consultation of residents and businesses at both locations? Why was the kiosk removed before any permission was in place to relocate it – indeed, before any planning application had even been lodged to relocate it on East St Bastion?
“Why did work begin on site during the summer before any planning permission had been applied for? Talk about cart before the horse. It’s perfectly clear that this was a ‘done deal’ with salami tactics, slice by slice, approach to consultation to minimise objections and do the absolute bare minimum of talking to interested parties.
“This is not the first time we’ve seen this with Brighton and Hove Council – and unless there’s a big change of attitude both with officers and with some councillors in committee positions of authority, it won’t be the last time.”
Green councillor Tom Druitt said: “This is a textbook example of how not to do community engagement. The residents’ association was not informed, there was no public meeting, no letters to residents and businesses and no attempt to gather views on social media. As a result residents are rightly angry that they did not have a proper chance to air their views and have lost their trust in the council to conduct a fair consultation with an open mind.”
Mr Lauchlan also raised concerns over the kiosk being placed next to an emergency access to the beach.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “The planning committee had details of residents’ objections in the report they considered on the application. On balance they decided that the benefits outweighed any perceived disadvantages and granted consent. There is ample space for access for emergency vehicles to the lower prom. Emergency services including the RNLI and the fire and rescue service were consulted and offered no objections.”