We read with interest Ann Rushworth Lown’s letter in the October/November Whistler, regarding the traffic problems on Surrey Street. We sympathise. As nearby residents, we are also experiencing the spillover effects of the traffic logjams around the station, which have worsened since the Brighton Station Gateway scheme.
First, a lot more traffic appears to be routing down Upper Gloucester Road and then short cutting through North Gardens and Kew Street to get to Queen’s Road, as this is a way of circumventing the blockage of the one-way system around the station. As a result, these narrow residential roads have seen a marked increase in traffic of all kinds.
Second, all these roads near Brighton station function as important routes for people walking to and from the station, but pedestrians increasingly take their life in their hands at peak times trying to cross Upper Gloucester Road at the junction with Surrey Street (or indeed anywhere along Surrey Street). Traffic is effectively coming from three directions at that junction and anyone trying to cross there has to fathom for themselves the intentions of drivers heading from the Queen’s Road direction. There is surely a case for a zebra crossing there to give priority to pedestrians.
We very much agree with the residents of Surrey Street that the Gateway Scheme is not working in its present form. As well as actions on the taxi situation, we think action is needed to make the whole area safer for pedestrians. We also think that any planning permissions for further residential development in the area (for example at the top of Upper Gloucester Road) should be contingent on the development being designated car-free if no onsite parking can be provided.
Dr Hilary Standing, on behalf of Kew Street Residents’ Association
The number of motorbikes illegally using Church Street as a cut-through (Queens Rd to Dyke Rd) has now reached an all-time high, causing a hazard to pedestrians, due to their excessive speed, as well as creating noise pollution that is negatively affecting the day-to-day lives of residents.
Church St was deliberately divided into three parts to act as a traffic-calming measure, essentially to prevent it being used as a “rat run”. However, the barriers bisecting the road were carefully designed to allow the passage of bicycles. Despite the top section being marked as a “no-through” road, with markings and signage clearly indicating that only bicycles are permitted to cross, motorcyclists are now using this route at an ever increasing frequency. The major culprits are, in fact, motorcyclists delivering take-away food, in the main, those working for Deliveroo, with over 15 motorbikes using the intended bicycle-only route within a single hour at “peak delivery times”.
The company has been contacted by residents, and has made several conciliatory statements, indicating that they are “taking the matter very seriously”. However, to date, despite their Rider Ops Manager apparently informing all their riders that they should “stop using this route”, little, if anything, has altered.
The ongoing problem has been reported to the police, as well as to the local Council. But, as often appears to be the way, the wheels turn slowly, and as yet, nothing appears to have been done.
Antony Oliver, Church Street
Having recently read a piece in The Whistler about The Caxton Arms, I decided to respond to its author. On second thoughts, I thought that you might also be interested in seeing my response, in a spirit of holding a debate about the future of our community.
Dear Dr Sharpe,
I have just read your letter in The Whistler about the Caxton. I, too, live by the Caxton and often hear drunk people. However, contrary to what you say, I am delighted that the Caxton has been revitalised by its new management. You are mistaken in saying that the Caxton has been known as “a quiet community pub in a residential street.” In fact, the Caxton has a long history as a raucous, bohemian pub in the heart of Brighton. Its first publicans were members of the Theatre Royal, who made the place famous for its debauchery. This tradition was proudly carried by a string of managers. Yes, I agree that there was a recent blip, when manager Simon managed to drive away anyone with a remote sense of merriment and turned the pub into a Thai restaurant with the personality of a deadbeat Bangkok expat bar. But that was just a blip, and now Simon is gone to ruin some other pub in London. Incidentally, debauchery and raucousness are the very building blocks on which this town is built (just ask the Prince Regent). Without this reputation, we would not enjoy the influx of tourists, artists, bohemians and investors. Your house would not cost as much, and we would soon find ourselves in a place not dissimilar to Hastings or Worthing.
All of this is to say that as a resident of the area, I will be opposing any further efforts to destroy the character of our community. I chose to live in Brighton because it’s Brighton, not because I like the way it looks but want to turn it into Margate. With kind regards,
Alex, a West Hill resident
Thank you for your email.
I, personally, am all in favour of raucous bohemianism, debauchery, and ribald merriment.
For the past six decades I have also been a fan of Brighton and a student of its remarkable history. You miss the point. The Caxton is seldom bustling with Prince Regently fun during normal waking hours. The problem is the smokers in the street up to 1.30am. Residents are then disturbed not by delightful regency wit but by tedious banal chatter, when young and old are in bed trying to sleep because they have to get up in a few hours time. The people causing this nuisance are not Georgian heroes but late-night drinkers who, in some cases, have been evicted from pubs which close earlier. This is no glorious historic tradition but a blight on the community. I am only sorry that you feel unable to join the large number of neighbours who feel their quality of life is under threat.
I was wondering whether I could get some help please. I live in Bingley, West Yorkshire. Fifteen years ago I had a stroke and now, as a rehabilitation exercise, I am trying to trace my family history.
In 1860 a distant ancestor died at Beresford Lodge, West Hill, Brighton and I am trying to find out whether this property still exists. Could you or your readers locate it for me perhaps?
[Dear Reader, if you have any information about Beresford Lodge. we’d love to hear from you so we can pass it on to Godfrey – Ed]