Free housing law clinic at Sussex University

The University of Sussex has launched a free legal clinic to give local people expert housing advice.

Residents can contact Sussex Law School and receive legal support at no cost on a wide range of housing issues including evictions/possession, disrepair, anti-social behaviour/neighbourhood nuisance, landlord harassment, tenancy deposit and leasehold disputes.

The housing clinics, held on the University’s campus, are intended to benefit both the clients, who have no other means of paying for legal advice, and the students, who are learning about the real and practical applications of their studies.

The legal advice is provided by Sussex Law School students in partnership with solicitors with expertise in housing law issues.

This is part of the University’s Sussex Clinical Legal Education (SCLE), which has been helping people with family law and employment law advice over the last 12 months.

The clinics are in addition to two projects, announced last October, which saw the Law School team up with the Brighton Housing Trust and Justlife Brighton to establish two advice projects. The first gives students the opportunity to assist the public with legal, administrative and research tasks, including County Court visits and clerking.

The second project raises awareness of legal rights among people living in temporary accommodation. It involves students attending a drop-in service run by Justlife, and talking to service-users about legal problems they may be experiencing in areas such as housing, welfare benefits and community care.

The Law School has helped dozens of people with family and employment legal issues since it started almost a year ago, with the weekly sessions fully booked.

Appointments for the housing law clinic can be arranged online or by emailing housinglawclinic@sussex.ac.uk.

People can also call 01273 876797 and leave a brief message outlining their situation, plus a name and contact number. A student will then call back to arrange an appointment.

Local people can also make an appointment with the family law and employment law clinics by emailing lawclinic@sussex.ac.uk or calling the hotline on 01273 876797.

Update on old railway allotments development

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Old railway allotment site

The development of land at the old railway allotments continues to cause consternation among residents – with concerns about:

  • breach of s.106 agreement, which sets a planning condition that no slow worms should be harmed
  • breach of the wall adjacent the footpath for site access – which is not part of the development site
  • safety of users of the station and using the bridge for access between Springfield Road and Ditchling Rise

The matter was discused in detail at our Drara meeting this week.

Following reperesentations from the community on both sides of the tracks, a slow worm survey is now underway to check for any remaining reptiles – who may have survived excavations to date. Residents affiliated to Drara and Srara are busy researching issues around the development to ensure any work going forward is legal, safe and has minimal additional impact on our local environment.

HMO focus for London Road LAT

 

The next London Road LAT meeting is 18:15 for 18:30 at Calvary Church hall, Viaduct Road.

The focus of this months’ meeting is HMOs – Houses in Multiple Occupation. Shared rented houses are an essential part of the housing mix and our neighbourhood has a high density of them. Cllr Tracey Hill, who has been working exensively on co-ordinating community and Council responses to the issue of HMO’s, will be speaking at the meeting.

More on the London Road LAT website.

Old Railway Allotment Clearance & Petition to save London Road Station Slow worms

railway-land-elegy-300x300At the January Drara meeting residents expressed concern at the clearance of former Old Railway allotments – the stretch of land sandwiched between the Open House pub and London Road Station. Despite numerous attempts over several decades by local groups to have the area designated as a park and wildlife area, planning permission was granted in 2009, for the development of four two bedroom houses, when BHCCs refusal was overturned by the Planning Inspector.

Many residents were surprised to see the sudden clearance of vegetation in December, as the site has for years provided a green screen, and is home to wildlife.  While this isn’t strictly in the Drara area, it is very visible to us, and the issue has been looked into in more detail by our neighbouring resident group, Southdown Rise at their January meeting.

It appears that planning conditions may well have been breached, as orignal wildlife surveys found slow worms on the site. Planning conditions state that the prior to development a survey must be under taken and any slow worms rehomed. While a survey was undertaken, this was done at a time when slow worms are hibernating. The issue has been raised with local councillors Leo Littman and Julie Cattell, and our MP Caroline Lucas who have all made enquiries as to what’s going on. In the meantime, a petition has been set up by Clare Tyler to save the slow worms – for anyone concerned to sign.

To see the land in its former glory see The Roundhill Society

Full planning application: BH2012/03286

 

Bike share dock coming to London Road Station

20170203_143417-800x800Having been discussed for some time a bike share scheme is set to start on our streets this summer. A three year contract has been awarded to Hourbike who run other schemes including Oxford and Reading. Bikes will be available from 50 hubs across the city – and one of those hubs will be at London Road Station. Drara members met with council officers to discuss the best siting for the hub – and were successful in ensuring the proposed site has been moved – from outside homes on the west side of Shaftsbury Place to the north end, outside the station. Prior to installation of the hub a Traffic Regulation Order is required and a planning notice is currently displayed outside the station. Any comments are needed by Feburary 10th.

Festive Donkey to hit Flo Road

Florence Road Market Christmas FairOn Saturday December 3rd and December 10th our neighbourhood on the other side (of London Road Station) is hosting the regular Florence Road Market along with some festive fun. Lots of goodies are promised including live music, live donkeys alongside festive produce from regular stall holders. The market is 10 am until 2 pm – partying is set to continue for the afternoon and is a fundraiser for the homeless night shelter.

London Road LAT – Tue October 4th

The next London Road Area LAT meeting is on Tuesday 4th October18:15 for 18:30 at Calvary Church, Viaduct Road.
The agenda will include:
  • Consultation on Communal Bins in Viaduct Road
  • Development of policing in light of new PCSO contracts
  • Progress on consultations on community safety on the Level, Parks and Public Spaces
  • HMO issues
  • Greening of area
  • Update from LAT chairs meeting (29/9/16)
  • Future plans for publicity and “soiree”

Agenda and previous minutes are to be found on the London Road LAT website.

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.