Neighbourhoods and equalities committee set to be scrapped by Brighton and Hove City Council

Kate Knight
Kate Knight

The new Labour council leadership has sought to allay concerns about its commitment to the community and voluntary sector as it prepares to scrap the council’s neighbourhoods committee.

The Conservatives welcomed the proposal – with reservations – and the Greens were worried that the voices of the voluntary sector might not be heard.

The neighbourhoods, inclusion, communities and equalities committee was set up four years ago when Labour became the largest party on Brighton and Hove City Council.

Councillor Kate Knight, the Labour chair of the committee, said on Monday (July 1) that the party wanted to scrap the committee to reduce duplication.

Much of the existing work will be carried out by a new committee resulting from a “merger” with the council’s tourism, development and culture committee.

The new merged committee was likely to be known as the tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee.

Responsibility for rough sleeping would be given to the council’s housing and new homes committee.

And oversight of major projects, such as redevelopment of the King Alfred, Brighton Waterfront and Preston Barracks, will switch from the tourism, development and culture committee and instead come under the policy, resources and growth committee.

Green councillor Steph Powell spelt out her party’s reservations.

Councillor Knight said that it was vital that the voice of the community and charity sector was heard and that the council was open to scrutiny.

Fellow Labour councillor Clare Moonan said that members of the committee had previously questioned its validity.

She said: “The work will still be there. It doesn’t matter which committee it goes to. There is still democratic oversight.

“Members of the third sector, community and equalities sector will still be invited to sit around the table.”