It’s been an incredibly busy week with much going on, so I wanted to give you a flavour of some of the things I’ve been doing over the past seven days.
At the first meeting of Transport for the South East, a new government body covering Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and Berkshire, I made the case for a focus on improving rail services for Brighton and Hove, with investment in the line to London and a new “Rail South” body giving commuters and businesses a statutory voice in who runs our rail services.
Following the announcement of the billion-pound deal with the DUP to secure a majority for the Conservative Government, I called for an equivalent sum to the £500 per head Northern Ireland deal to be applied here. That would give us around £150 million for the services you need, investment in housing and other infrastructure, and money to offset deep cuts to the council, schools and healthcare in the city. Work has continued to provide reassurance following the Grenfell Tower disaster to all our high rise tenants, with thorough checks, letters hand-delivered to tenants, as well as comprehensive information now published for each block about fire safety and cladding. None of the cladding on our council blocks is the same material used at Grenfell.
This week we heard we have successfully bid for millions of pounds in funding to support our museums and the Royal Pavilion, just as the shadow board for the Royal Pavilion and Museums new cultural trust gets started, so that’s great news.
I marked Armed Services Day at the Blind Veterans Centre in Ovingdean at a fantastic event, and tried my hand at some archery. It’s always good to hit the target! I was also pleased to see confirmation that the much-loved Mazda Fountain in the Steine will remain as part of the redesigned Valley Gardens, retaining part of the city’s heritage. My thanks to all those who campaigned.
Behind the scenes we have moved closer to finalising the sale of our former HQ Kings House, saving us two million a year in running costs, exciting new proposals to help local communities, and to the launch of our crowd funding campaign to restore the Madeira Terraces. Watch this space...
Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.