Warren Morgan: The council’s year in review – part one

Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council
Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council

In keeping with a chilly January, the year started with us announcing that the majority of parking charges in Brighton and Hove would be frozen for another year.

Some of our target 500 new council homes were completed in Portslade, and we put forward proposals for ‘Rail South’ giving commuters and businesses a voice in how services are run. Our plans to put the Royal Pavilion and our museums into trust took shape.

As work began on the new Hanningtons Lane off North Street, in February we secured £12 million in funding towards preparing for the new arena and conference centre at Black Rock. We got through one of the most difficult Budgets in council history as we worked to keep services going in the face of an over £11m reduction in funding from government.

As Spring began in March our successful anti fly-tipping campaign, our new multi-million pound Brighton and Hove Community Fund and work on our new Economic Strategy all blossomed.

April saw approval for more new council homes at Hobby Place in Whitehawk, the launch of our plans to restore and improve Brighton Town Hall, and the rollout of new contactless machines making it easier for people to pay for parking. The idea of a ‘Southern Accelerator’ centred on the city, rivalling the Northern Powerhouse, was put forward.

As the city celebrated Albion’s promotion to the Premier League, in May the council awarded the Freedom of the City to manager Chris Hughton and chairman Tony Bloom, before helping to organise a huge parade and party on the seafront. Meanwhile we abolished fees for child funerals, and council tax for care leavers.

As we prepared for the summer, more bins were installed along the seafront, whilst new wheelie bins for recycling were rolled out to many neighbourhoods. All tenants in our council high rise blocks got hand delivered letters with key information in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, and the council signed up to the British Sign Language Charter. The council became a founding member of the new Transport for the South East body planning road and rail for the future.

Warren Morgan is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.