Newsletter, May 2013

Chairman’s letter

Dear Members,

Your committee recently had a long discussion about the value of the Society and what it can offer, not just to members but to the wider community. At the end we all came to the conclusion that, however worthwhile, being an organisation that just offers lectures and visits and responds to local development proposals misses many opportunities for involvement in our city. We feel that by galvanising the many talents of our members and attracting those that want to work for a positive change in the city we can achieve some quite substantial changes. The changes we are talking about are improvements to our physical environment and there are many opportunities to make Hove a much better place. We are learning that promoting change requires a lot of ground work, but once that is in place many doors open and there is generally an air of support from the authorities.

Since our last newsletter several things have happened:

The City Plan submission:

Your committee was pleased that many of the changes we advocated have been included in the version that will be the subject of an examination in public during the summer. In the end, the committee felt there were only two outstanding matters. One related to the omission from the plan of minimum dwelling standards (to match those the council uses for affordable housing). We acknowledge that the plan has moved from the last version in that it now requires lifetime homes standards. However we believe the council can go a little bit further, for example by copying the approach that the Mayor of London has managed to include in the London Plan. Those standards recognise the need for adequate space in new dwellings, including storage. If we succeed with this objection then I believe we will have made a major contribution to the comfort and health of future occupants of new developments in the city. No more Hobbit Homes! Our second objection related to a technicality in that we felt the City plan should be explicit about the potential of Shoreham Power Station as a major contributor for heat networks in the city. You can read our full submission on our website.

Apart from this very little has been happening on the development front. We did make a submission of support for the revised Portzed application and you can see our argument on our website. The committee received a presentation by the Lyrics team about their imaginative ideas for the King Alfred site and you will find a contribution by the team further on in this newsletter.

In other fields much has happened:

Hove Plinth

The last newsletter was drafted just before we heard from the Council’s Economic Development and Cultural committee that they had approved our proposal for placing a plinth on Kings Esplanade. We then submitted a planning application with the design we had commissioned by Millimeter, a Brighton firm that also has been involved with the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. The application attracted some 30 representations in support and 6 objections. We were delighted by the massive support from the arts community in particular, organisations such as the Regency Society, local council members and not least our MP, Mike Weatherley. Thanks to all! At the time of writing we are led to believe that the application will be submitted to committee with a recommendation to grant permission. We have held discussions with council officers about a licensing agreement and have broadly agreed the terms of reference. We have been promised a draft by the latter half of May. We are planning a launch (subject to receiving planning permission) in connection with the Brighton Festival Open Houses. We believe that there will be limited space available, but please let out membership secretary know if you wish to attend. Please see further information later on in this newsletter.  I would like to express my special thanks for the great amount of detailed and painstaking work that has been carried out by the Public sculpture group to progress so effectively to this stage.

Restoring our Victorian street tree heritage

During the last few months we have laid most of the foundations for this campaign. A detailed report that describes our tree heritage, the way the Victorians did it and what we need to do to keep up that heritage is being finalised. The report culminates in a number of recommendations that we will want to discuss with the council as soon as possible. The bottom line is that we need to be prepared to plant substantially in many roads in Hove. We have launched a scheme calling for people to become Tree Angels, by donating one or several trees, preferably annually, to provide a fighting fund so that the Society can support local residents with pump-priming for tree planting in their area. We are testing this approach in the Poets Corner area, where we have already pledged to support a planting scheme with 7 trees (plus 7 added by the council) and we have secured the funding for this. The scheme as a whole could be as large as 43 trees and would need another 15 funded by the local community, or from other sources. Local residents are currently distributing 150 leaflets and seeking to raise donations. In the meantime 5 members of your committee have agreed to become Tree Angels and I would encourage any member who would like to contribute to the campaign to sign up and send us their donations. The attached leaflet contains all the information you need to sign up and become a Tree Angel. If we can reach 16, with gift aid, then we can support two schemes of 20 trees each annually. We believe this is one of the ways we can have a long-lasting and beneficial influence on our local environment. If any members feel that they would wish to encourage a tree planting scheme in their street then please let me know to see how we can support it.

Finally I would like to encourage all of you to continue to recruit members to work with us in making Hove an even better place.

With best wishes

Helmut Lusser

A note from the Membership Secretary

Thank you to all members who have renewed their subscriptions for the current year, especially those who paid by Standing Order.  We would be grateful if all members who are able to could renew their annual subscriptions in this way, as it helps both members and the committee. Download the standing order form.

If you change your address please remember to let me know. You can e-mail me on or phone on 01273 417303, leaving a message if I am not available.

Angela F Turner, Membership Secretary


Go ahead for the Hove Plinth

We are delighted to report that Brighton & Hove Council has given both landowner consent and planning permission for installing a new plinth on the Hove seafront promenade, just down from the Queen Victoria statue at the bottom of Grand Avenue. We look forward to making this a focal point for inspiring public sculpture.

Hove Civic Society will have use of the site for a peppercorn rent and the council is preparing a licence agreement which will be signed off at the point where building work starts. This will set out responsibilities for lighting, maintenance, removal of graffiti, insurance, data connection and safeguards against causing offence. We have found the council extremely helpful and are now working with the Seafront Development Manager on the agreement. For example, the council has offered to link lighting for the plinth to the street lighting and that any graffiti on the plinth will be dealt with by the council’s graffiti team. We are also very pleased that they have offered to attend meetings of the future steering group, where possible sculpture installations will be discussed, in an observer/ advising capacity.

While waiting for the planning decision, the public sculpture group has developed a business plan and funding strategy. Funding will be sought through three main streams: major grant giving organisations such as The Heritage Lottery, and the Arts Council; sponsorship from developers, corporate organisations and business; and donations from the public. We would like as many people as possible to have a stake in the Hove Plinth, and in the process revive the Victorian tradition of art by public subscription.

We will now move ahead with the funding campaign to secure finance for the fabrication and installation of the plinth and for the first 2-3 years of exhibits. Hove Civic Society members had a taste of some very early ideas of what it might all look like at the January 2013 HCS lecture. We are now planning a campaign launch in May with the new mayor, invited guests from arts and heritage organisations, councillors and MP, potential funders and collaborators as well as press, radio and television. We hope to inspire the public to support the initiative by donating funds via the charity website and will be raising the profile of the project by an expanded website presence. Look out for more information on where you can also send us your own thoughts and ideas – exciting times ahead!

Karin Janzon, Lead Public Sculpture


Hove is where the Art is

The Brighton Festival is upon us again – and not just in Brighton! During weekends and Bank Holidays in May, artists are opening their houses and studios in Hove to inspire and delight visitors with fantastic art spanning a wide range of media. Hove Arts trail has built a reputation for showing creative work of the highest quality by award winning and professional artists and we have included their leaflet with this newsletter. The sheer variety of houses and studios in Hove makes this trail especially interesting and enjoyable. You can visit artists' studios and curated shows, exhibitions in delightful flats, houses and gardens, even in the cricket ground. Admission is free and everywhere you will receive a warm welcome.For those of you who plan to visit a number of venues by car, the council has confirmed that “motorists can use the same Pay & Display ticket to park in different bays around the city so long as the tariff bands and values are the same, the ticket is not expired and it is displayed correctly.” All open house venues in Hove are in the same tariff band (Low). Please note that this does not apply to residents’ permits, which are only valid in the zone for which they are issued.


Plans for the King Alfred site - The Lyrics

The Lyrics Project, developed and managed by local businessmen Rob Starr and Darren Abrahams and supported by The Starr Trust, ArtReach, Save Hove, Oakley Property and Future Health, is the proposed re-development for the King Alfred site in Hove.

The Lyrics team feel an integrated arts and leisure centre on the King Alfred site would be a hugely appropriate use of this vitally important area and that there is significant demand for sports, leisure, cultural and arts facilities in Brighton and Hove.

Rob Starr talks about the Lyrics Project: “Our original idea for mixing leisure, art and culture remains at the forefront of our desire for the King Alfred site. However, consultations and the feedback we have received via our website has shown that this alone is not enough.

What is needed (wanted) is a much fuller offering encompassing things such as climbing, diving, health,  film, space to create, aerial work, and so much more, not forgetting relaxing and simply being able to chill out and enjoy this unique part of the city with family and friends”.

The Lyrics have also partnered with Future Health, a pro-active GP and community health care project, to deliver an integrated Health Hub on site. It will be an NHS service that is financially, environmentally and socially fit for the future.

Ideas the Lyrics team have on the use of the site: 

  • A sports and leisure centre that includes  a new leisure pool that offers inclusive facilities for all ages and stages of life
  • A gymnasium that promotes health for all and classes that reflect the variety of age ranges in the region
  • A new, multi art-form venue that is genuinely family friendly, accessible and open for community activities
  • An integrated GP and community health care hub, partnered by Future Health. Providing compassionate holistic care that’s about health rather than disease, and ability rather than disability
  • Viable and sustainable residential housing that meets the needs of the city alongside the commercial requirements for the site
  • Studios for rehearsals, small shows, Pilates, Zumba and other exercise classes
  • A restaurant/cafe that provides links to all facilities at the site
  • Additional performing arts spaces both to present exciting and high quality visiting work, and as a platform for local and community groups
  • Access for all with improved transport infrastructure
  • More gallery space where local artists can present work (fine art, sculpture and crafts) and where there can be visiting installations and presentations
  • Affordable making and creation space for performing arts, to support emerging and local talent and to enable work to be developed
  • Arts facilities that create new and intensive education and participation opportunities for all ages

The Lyrics Project would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and views. Please visit:


Planning applications

We continue to comment on applications to create six or more units of accommodation in Hove, but there are very few due to shortage of available land. Most development consists of alterations to existing buildings in the form of garage or loft conversions, and extensions. Sometimes new properties are erected on small areas of land, providing a single dwelling.

Large areas of development are outlined in the City Plan: for example the Hove Station area and Toads Hole Valley, as well as Shoreham Harbour in conjunction with the Adur Authority. Hove Civic Society has taken part in consultations at every stage and will continue to do so as the plans evolve into development briefs. There will be considerable scope for public involvement about the details of development in the chosen areas, and this has already begun for an extended area centred on Hove station but including a greater area of Hove. New developments need to be planned within the wider context.

Our support for the revised PortZed application (BH2012/04044) is partly based on its position which would be at the Eastern entry point to the new Shoreham Harbour development, as well as signalling the route into the City from the West along Kingsway with its multi-storey buildings. The elegant design of PortZed and its high level of sustainability (zero carbon, even without the wind turbines) have the potential to set high standards for future development.

Please let us know if you would like to be closely involved in our work with planning applications or in neighbourhood organisations to influence new developments. All our comments and representations are posted  here.


Become a Tree Angel

Help make a lasting improvement to Hove

The Society is launching its campaign:

Restoring our Victorian Street Tree Heritage

We believe the time has come for substantial planting of street trees in Hove. We are supporting local resident’s groups who wish to plant and are encouraging planting to take place where we have no tree cover or where trees have been decimated. Most of our street trees date back to Victorian and Edwardian times and are now over-mature. We need to act now and support the planting of large numbers of trees to improve and maintain our attractive street scenes.

This is your opportunity to contribute.

Become a Tree Angel and help us fund street tree planting across Hove.

You can sign up by completing the leaflet enclosed with this newsletter. By donating one or several trees per year you can help us make a real change to our area. Smaller donations are also welcome.

More information about the campaign.


Dates for your diary

We are currently arranging dates for the AGM, lectures and other HCS events for the coming year.

Speakers and events are still being confirmed, and you are very welcome to send any suggestions or requests to Clare at

The dates are likely to be:

Thursday October 17th, lecture preceded by our AGM at 7.00pm

Thursday November 14th, at 2.00pm (lecture)

Thursday December 12th in the evening (tour followed by optional meal)

Thursday January 16th at 2.00pm (lecture)

Thursday February 20th at 2.00pm (lecture)

Thursday March 20th at 2.00pm (lecture)

Thursday April 24th at 7.30pm (lecture)

There are likely to be additional events which will be advertised on the website, and in the newsletter if possible.

Please check our events page regularly for the most up-to-date information on changes to dates or speakers.


Keep in touch

Your committee is keen to communicate with you as much as possible – we encourage all members to get in touch with their ideas, comments and suggestions, and if you have time to spare we would be glad to welcome you on to one of our project groups.

We are also looking at new ways to keep you up-to-date with our work and highlight opportunities for greater involvement. So please…

• Send an email to: ...and we will add you to our email list

• • Like us on Facebook:

• Follow us on: Twitter @LoveHove