Thursday, May 28

The Lights are on & There’s Someone Home!

- February 4, 2019

St James’s Street is the pulsing heart of Kemp Town & now, with the help of the community, it’s lit up & ready to party!

Have you noticed? More and more people are coming to St James’s Street and The Village! And I don’t mean just in one absolutely fabulous weekend in August. I’ve compared the numbers around Western Road, the North Laine and St James’s Street on weekend nights in the last few weeks and they are very comparable! And we are growing.
We have always had the best gay bars and clubs on Marine Parade and St James’s Street… the Pride Village is legendary! Amsterdam, Revenge, Charles Street Tap, The Bulldog, Infinity Bar, R Bar, The Zone and The Camelford Arms are all as legendary and iconic as… well as the legendary Legends! The drag artists are top class too. Now we have The Rainbow Hub as the central resource for the LGBT+ community secure for some time with support from The Rainbow Fund. And we have excellent cafes and restaurants… new ones opening up all the time. Purezza, the all vegan pizza restaurant, is doing great business and the ever popular Red Roaster, Vero Gusto, Wheat and Beans and Three Little Pigs do well all day. VIP is surely now the best Italians in Brighton. It’s difficult to squeeze in there and if you do the added bonus is you’ll learn Italian very quickly! It’s real Italian. Lucky Khao has just opened to huge acclaim and Al Forno has moved in from The Lanes… good move!

You have the basics too, supermarkets like Morrison’s, Sainsbury, a Coop and a post office. Some great grass roots music venues too like our own Latest MusicBar but also the key jazz venue The Verdict (and not too far away The Hand In Hand.) For clubbers Patterns is the place carrying on the wonderful tradition of John Holland’s Audio and The Concorde 2 is just along Madeira Drive. Promoters like Mick Perrin who works with Eddie Izzard and Trevor Noah has his main office here. The Argus is here and Brighton’s TV station Latest TV is here. (And of course we are here too!) Across the road we have the greatest pier in the whole wide world, Brighton Palace Pier, visited by 4 million people a year – that’s what sells Brighton to the world! That and the Seagulls, well done Tony Bloom, Dick Knight, Paul Camillin, Ian Hart, Attila and Glen Murray! And Pride of course with a big thank you to Paul and Becky. Ok fair’s fair – The Royal Pavilion and Brighton Festival and The Brighton Centre too home to so many brilliant mainstream events (well done Howard Barden and your team).


Thanks to Pride Social Impact Fund in the Pride Village around St James’s Street we have an outdoor gym coming in Dorset Gardens, planters on St James’s Street and a start has been made on lighting up the street like Western Road to make it prettier and safer. You can see in Mark Walker’s picture here that it is already starting to sparkle.
Now the area has problems. There is a real problem with drug dealing on the streets and sadly too many people sleeping rough. We need the police and councillors and council officers to help. We also need those standing for our council to have a manifesto to fight for our area. So I’m asking for that from all prospective councillors and I’m asking police and council heads to attend a meeting to discuss how we can upgrade our village further. Get in touch if you want to be involved. Let’s stop running down our area and start building it up!
I know our MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle who lives near here has already pressed our case for funding with Nick Hibberd at the BHC Council and I know Lloyd would like part pedestrianisation of St James’s Street like New Road. There are a lot of possibilities!

What I also know is that the council have spent or obtained grants in the millions to do up the area around The Royal Pavilion known as The Cultural Quarter (awful title, sooo awfully snobbish, delete please!!!). We need a better title for here and that won’t be difficult for us! But we also need the Council to give the same attention over on the east side otherwise we’ll start thinking we’re the Soweto of Brighton! The Valley Gardens scheme seems to have had a lot of attention paid in getting a nice environment for the west side, here on the east side as Gary Farmer of Brighton Language Centre says “we get pollution and a motorway!”.

I invite Nick Hibberd and the planners to come and visit St James’s Street and I want to ask them, ‘why can’t we have a nice road like the one you have outside Jubilee Library, why can’t we have archways at the bottom of Manchester Street and St James’s Street saying in colourful rainbow lights”
Welcome to St James’s or “Welcome to The Pride Village”, in short why can’t we have some money spent east of Brighton Palace Pier? Most shameful of all for the gay capital of Europe which Brighton undoubtedly is and which St James’s Street and Marine Parade are central too – why do we have NO signs up anywhere advertising our area? There are loads for the Royal Pavilion and the Cultural Quarter. Why do we not publicise it, I hate to think why! And why are the city council so PROUD of this area that they run consultations on why the Pride Party should be moved. I say this… LIVE AND LET LIVE IN THE PRIDE VILLAGE!

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