The big debate
A packed special meeting to discuss the future of North Laine and the community association took place at Komedia in Gardner Street on a freezing cold day in February 2018.
It had several aims – to find out what people cared about in the community, what they wanted from North Laine Community Association, and to galvanise people to play a part in the organisation.
The main likes were the lively, friendly atmosphere and community spirit, independent shops and places to eat out, entertainment and culture, and the fact that there was so much right on our doorstep.
In a lively discussion led by chair Francis Clark-Lowes, people wanted to see action taken on:
anti-social behaviour, including late night noise
improved traffic flow
clearing cluttered pavements
better air quality
improvement to the railway entrance
attracting younger people into the association
There were calls to set up an anti-tagging task force (which has now been done).
Roads and traffic
On the issues of traffic, roads and footpaths, there were proposals for wider footpaths and more one-way streets, better signage, and a reassessment of cyclists
being allowed to ride against the flow in one-way streets. Cycle paths should be clearly marked. There was a problem of cars parking on pavements, especially at the bottom of Trafalgar Street, and the position of taxi ranks.
Some felt North Laine was not appreciated as an area by those involved in planning, who should be safeguarding the special character of the area. Questions were raised about what had happened to the North Laine plan.
Councillor Lizzie Deane said if the council made decisions which did not take into account North Laine, which was the heart of Brighton, it would be to the
detriment of the whole city. If the city centre is destabilised, that would lead to the city’s destabilisation.
Police and council
Police need to be in North Laine to deal with after-midnight anti-social behaviour, as they do on the seafront, and there should be more concentration on tackling late night noise. There should be staggered opening times for venues.
Facebook and website
There were other proposals for the Facebook site to start conversations on good cafes and other places to visit, and community services that people might offer and share.
The website should increase community involvement content. The association should also play a part in representing those who live in rented accommodation.
Social events and groups
There was support for more social events such as a book club and theatre group. A computing group could include involving younger people helping older ones to use new technology.
The association needed to gather more email addresses to communicate cheaply and effectively at a moment’s notice with as many of our members as possible.