Bike Share docking proposal for Shaftesbury Place

Residents in Shaftesbury Place and Drara were notified by Brighton and Hove CC in late August of the planned Brighton & Hove Bike Share scheme which is due to launch in May 2017. It is proposed to site a cycle hire docking station on Shaftesbury Place and the council have sought views on this and confirm the final list in ‘autumn’.

The scheme will be similar to public cycle hire schemes operating in other cities for use by residents and visitors, with the docking station or ‘hub’ one of fifty across the city.

At a committee meeting on September 7th Drara discussed the proposal to locate a docking station on the west side of Shaftesbury Place – outside a residential property. We understand that the site chosen would not take up a parking space as there is no parking here currently.

While the committee support the plans for cycle hire, members agreed the proposed site is not fit for purpose for the following reasons:

  • It would be adjacent to a very narrow stretch of pavement, and therefore obstruct a busy pedestrian route to the station
  • It would be a commercial enterprise within a few metres of a residential property
  • The pavement is already obstructed with wheelie bins

As alternatives Drara suggest:

  • One of the spaces either side of the steps to the station, while we are aware this is not council property it would not obstruct pedestrians and have lower impact on residents or
  • On Ditchling Rise at the corner of Shaftesbury Road, next to the car share parking spot.
    – This is already established as a commercial outlet area for the car share club
    – Already established as a cycle park area
    – There is plenty of room, possibly with a slight reduction of size for the car club spot
    – There are no neighbours to disturb
    – The area in front of the pub is already demarked as a shared space for cars and pedestrians crossing for the station and pub, so this will be safe to load/unload bikes

These views have been put to the council and a site meeting requested to review the options.

Summer soiree with added AGM Fri 8th July, 7.30


As summer gets into full swing its time for the annual Drara gathering at London Road Station. Everyone in the neighbourhood is welcome and its a great opportunity to come and meet your neighbours and find out what’s been going on in the area. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and cakes (and any snacks we can make with produce from the station garden) will be available. The station ticket hall, with its terraces overlooking Shaftesbury Place, is a lovely venue on a summer evening.

One of our ward Councillors and now Mayor of Brighton, Pete West, will be addressing the meeting.  We’ll be reviewing issues that have come up over the last year, as well as electing officers and committee members to keep the work of the association going. If you’d like to get more involved,  get in touch. Also, we’re looking for a new Chair and Secretary so don’t be shy – get in touch if interested and you want to find out more.

We also hope to be hearing from neighbouring community groups, so you can find out more about what’s going on nearby.

Area councillor is new mayor

Cllr Pete West - new Mayor of Brighton and Hove
Cllr Pete West – new Mayor of Brighton and Hove

Drara congratulate Pete West, Councillor for St Peters and North Laine area for many years, who became Mayor in a ceremony at the town hall on Thursday 12th May.  A former resident of Warleigh Road and Shaftesbury Road, Pete is a familiar face at Drara and London Road LAT meetings who has worked hard to support improvements in the area – including hands on help at the Greenway and attending events in the neighbourhood. We wish him and his partner Geraldine and family a successful year – and hope he’ll still be able to fit us into his diary. His year in office has started well as Harvey’s  ale was served at the mayoral reception – alongside the more traditional glass of wine.

Drara meeting, Tuesday 7.30 May 17th

tree trimming
Tree trim in Clyde Road

Our next business meeting is at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 17th May. Join us to catch up on local issues and meet neighbours. Meetings are informal and friendly and reguarly attended by officials, local councillors and Bonny our PCSO.  They last no longer than an hour and a bit – so come and say hello. On the agenda are street trees, bike parking and welcome leaflet for new residents with standing items including community safety and planning issues. Another diary darte is the AGM which will be on Friday July 8th.

Tuesday May 17th, 7.30 pm, 147 Ditchling Rise

Annual festival art trail

AOH_COVER_2016Every year during Brighton Festival there’s an opportunity to see some of the creative work going on in and around the Drara neighbourhood. Artists from Newhaven to Hove open their houses during May weekends – and those in our area are part of the ‘Beyond the Level‘ group. Now in its 23nd year with 16 houses and studios open, the work of an ever-growing community of practising artists and designers living and working around the Drara neighbourhood and beyond. Follow the trail or just visit one or two to find out what your neighbours get up to – a chance to see original arts and crafts available and support the local creative sector.

Know My Neighbour Week May 21st – 27th

kmn-logo-low-resKnow My Neighbour is a coalition of voluntary, community, faith and third sector organisations working together to solve the issue of social isolation in Brighton and Hove. On Wednesday 20th April 3.30pm5.00pm anyone interested is invited to a meeting at One Church, Gloucester Place to firm up the plans for Know My Neighbour 2016 and how orgainsations/individuals can get involved.

The purpose of the meeting is  to:

– Share events planned so far, with a special focus on Know My Neighbour Week 21st-27th May including a week long Pop-up Cafe event.
– Explain how organisations and individuals can get involved and partner with Know My Neighbour.Benefiting neighbours and the activities/services you are involved in.
– Provide an opportunity for those already involved to speak to a member of the team about their planned event or initiative.

Find out more

Everyone is welcome, please RSVP
For further information  call Kate  07926 121 093.

London Road LAT – Tuesday April 5th

lrb pretty springThe next meeting of the London Road Area Action Team is on Tuesday April 5th – 6.15 for 6.30 pm at Calvary Church. Its a great way to find out what’s going on along and around our local high street. On the agenda this month are Houses in mutliple occupation, policing update, and Drara’s own Elspeth looking to inspire action to spread greenery beyond the lovely LRSP garden and Greenway to London Road and its environs. Local residents and businesses all welcome.

Full agenda on the London Road LAT website.

Drara meeting Tuesday March 15th, 7.30pm

noisy neighboursThe next Drara meeting is Tuesday March 15th at 7.30pm. Come and join us at 147 Ditchling Rise. Meetings are frindly and infomral, a chance to get to know neighbours and councillors and air any issues of interest or concern in the area. On the agenda are community safety, welcoming HMO tenants to the area, the bike hangar, planning and anything else you’d like to raise under AOB.

We look forward to welcoming you.


Food and drink around Ditchling Rise

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Sweeting Lane serve hot drinks and snacks weekday mornings

Over the last few months London Road station has become something of a street food hub. Not only can you pick herbs courtesy of the station gardeners or grab a sneaky raspberry through the railings (in season), food and drink are now being served. No, British Rail hasn’t come back with tea and sandwiches – the street food revolution has arrived in Shaftesbury Place. Space outside the station entrance is now host to some regular food stalls on weekdays which are proving popular with residents and passers through.

Since December the Gorilla Kitchen has been serving up wood fired pizza from 5 – 9 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays – with a varying selection of seasonal specials. In the last few weeks Sweeting Lane have arrived, providing hot drinks and home made snacks on weekdays, 7 am to 2 pm for anyone taking the train, unexpectedly delayed by something on the

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Wood fire pizza on Tuesdays and Thursdays

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Cross the line for the Open House

line – or who has simply run out of teabags and biscuits.

Meanwhile, if you need to sit down to take your refreshment or a strong drink to recover from the strain of the train, our neighbourhood pub The Signalman continues to serve beer and food daily. And for anyone crossing the bridge or passing under to the other side of the tracks, The Open House boasts a vegetarian orientated selection – and beer.

Beer food and friendlyness at The Signalman

Bonfire Night Approaches

A Drara committee member prepares for bonfire night in the 1950s
A Drara committee member prepares for bonfire night in the 1950s

With bonfire night approaching a reminder that it can get very busy at London Road Station on the evening of November 5th as the Lewes Bonfire attracts hoardes of spectators – a queuing system is normally in place. There are also plenty of organised fireworks around Brighton, at Emmaus and the County Cricket Ground to name two.

For anyone new to the area, Bonfire has a long tradition in Sussex, with towns and villages across the county holding processions, fires and firework displays throughout the autumn – each with their own traditions. While linked to Guy Fawkes, plot to blow up parliament in 1605 traditions of bonfire go back further – probably linked to celebrations to fend off winter darkness in earlier times.

At this time of year fireworks are available and frequently heard. Remember if you are planning your own bonfire night celebration use common sense:

  • Be considerate of neighbours, especially if they have small children, pets or are elderly
  • Be safe – follow instructions
  • Remember its illegal to let fireworks off after 11pm except on Bonfire Night, Nov 5th when its midnight, and Diwali – this year Nov 11th until 1 am.

Full bonfire and firework advice from Brighton and Hove CC here.

However, if you plan to go to Lewes give yourself plenty of time – trains will be very busy. Or, avoid the queues by joining the bike train that leaves the Level at 6 pm and cycle there and back.

Happy Bonfire, have a fun and stay safe!