AGHAST: our story so far
AGHAST organised its first public meeting in summer 2020, and since then we have been busy! There has been a lot to learn about running a campaign, not to mention navigating a steep science and policy learning curve. Our group of volunteers have taken part in extensive discussions and research to grow our collective understanding of what the development of this site will involve, while reaching out to local residents and other Brighton based groups to seek their support.
Campaign highlights: (updated August 2021)
The council have agreed to consider not selling the land they own to the north and south of the gasworks site to Berkley.
AGHAST continues to push for details of land contaminants via the Freedom of Information Act. This has been SO slow in coming that we have been assigned a named case officer to look into the delay.
AGHAST, along with B&H Community Land Trust, local architects Stickland Wright Ltd, and the Brighton Gasworks Coalition Groups, has suggested an 'alternative vision'. Not THE alternative to Berkeley Group's high-rise towers, but an alternative to show that there are alternatives to a high rise, high density development requiring massive disruption of contaminated soil. If the gasworks site is going to be built on, it can be built better. This was well received at recent council meeting.
A coalition has been formed of sixteen interested groups (Regency Square Society, Kemptown Society, Brighton Society, Marine Gate Residents Association, Montpelier & Clifton Hill Assoc, B&H Heritage Commission, North Lane Community Assoc, Rottingdean Heritage, Southdown Rise Residents Assoc, West Hill Community Assoc, The Kingscliffe Society, Kingsway & West Hove Residents Association and AGHAST) to collectively object to the Berkeley Group proposal and fight for a development that meets local needs, presents no risk to local health and adds to the beauty of our built and natural environment.
Relations with MPs, Councillors, a viability consultant, a structural engineer, a contamination consultant and the B & H Community Land Trust have been forged and continue to inform AGHAST.
Five leaflet drops to surrounding area have taken place to inform and update local people and businesses.
Berkley's planning application has been repeatedly put back since august 2020 with no explanation. The Application is expected as late as Sept 2021. So, a marathon, not a sprint. We will continue to update everyone as the situation develops and our campaign continues to evolve.
Once Berkeley Group submits its planning application, we will be holding a public meeting and facilitating a campaign focusing on individual letters of objection. Any help, support or additional ideas for the campaign are greatly appreciated.
The community does not want a development requiring deep excavation of contaminated soil.
The community does want a development that respects the environment in which it is located, is low rise, low density. A development that is environmentally sustainable and contributes to the B&H 2030 zero net carbon goal.
AGHAST response to the second public consultation and remediation update delivered to St. William, BHCC councillors and BHCC head of planning. Read it here
Piece on ITV Meridian highlighting some of the concerns East Brighton residents have with the current development proposal of Brighton Gasworks. See the clip on itv.com
AGHAST has worked with multiple societies and groups to release a joint statement on the design proposals - Read it here
AGHAST has joined forces with other UK-wide communities living alongside proposed gasworks developments to form Gasworks Communities United (GCU). In December GCU held an online conference featuring contributions from experts with knowledge of air pollution and soil remediation (for video and presentations of the event see: https://gasworkscommunities.co.uk/conference).
Our MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who has advised AGHAST throughout, is setting up a meeting for GCU with MP’s and Geraint Davies MP who heads the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution.
Councillor Nancy Platts set up a Zoom Q&A where AGHAST was able to raise concerns with the developer, St William. Councillor Bridget Fishleigh is supporting our discussions, as members of the public, with the Planning Department.
AGHAST has taken a deputation about soil contamination/air pollution to a meeting of the Full Council and followed up on their response. In addition, we've drawn up a list of questions to take to other meetings before the Spring – there are issues we want to raise and questions to check out!
We have also commissioned experts in planning and remediation to advise us and underpin the campaign with science and a deep understanding of policy, but we are still seeking an expert on air pollution. Through the Autumn, we ran a Crowdfunding campaign to raise initial funds to pay for this expertise.
Experts in planning and remediation are being commissioned to underpin the campaign with a deep understanding of planning policy and science. AGHAST is currently seeking an expert on air pollution and we have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to cover costs. So far AGHAST has raised £1,665.00 (after deductions) and we would like to thank all those who have contributed. We will need to raise further, significant funds to engage the experts we need to fight for a safe development in keeping with the local environment. If you can contribute, please click on the link below.
We are working with Brighton Community Land Trust and other groups to develop an alternative vision for the site that can respond to Brighton's housing need without putting the health and wellbeing of the East Brighton community at risk.
Ongoing poster and leafleting campaigns, as well as an active social media campaign, are keeping our community informed.
If you've any questions about our work, please get in touch. ✉️
We'll update this page regularly with our recent actions.