I have something of a quandary in that I like Brighton as a city in which to live - especially Patcham, my part of the city - and the Old Bat is a native of the place (while I am a mere incomer of some 50+ years). BUT, and it is a big but, I am driven almost mad by the actions of the council. And it seems to make no difference which political party is in control. At the moment we have the Green Party in the ascendancy and, in my view, they are probably the worst of the lot. But all the parties seem intent on driving visitors out of the city - and yet visitors have played a vital part in the economy and prosperity of Brighton for two hundred years!
The cost of parking in Brighton is astronomical. Last year, visitors who were lucky enough to find a parking place on the seafront - a near-miracle in itself - were faced with a charge of £20 to park for the day. And that had to be prepaid at a parking meter. In £1 coins. No notes, no £2 coins. One could use 50p, 20p, 10p of 5p coins as well as £1 coins, but who on earth carries £20 in £1 coins to feed into a parking meter?
We used to have a park and ride scheme operating. The large-ish car park at Withdean Stadium is not right on the edge of town, but it is not in the centre either. Parking was free and buses into the city centre ran frequently, with a fare of £2 single. It was a well-used scheme but cost the Council too much, so they stopped the subsidy. As a result, more people want to drive into town and park their cars. Which, I suppose, increases the revenue from parking meters. Mind, you, the park and ride scheme was stopped two or three years ago but all the signs are still in place to confuse visitors.
Mention of revenue raised from meters leads me to mention also the residents' parking permits and the controlled parking zones. These zones are gradually reaching further and further across the city. Residents in the zones have to buy permits to park on the street and parking meters are installed for use by non-residents. This, of course, drives out the people who need to park for the day so they can get to their places of employment and they have to park just outside the zones. Until the residents in those streets complain about difficulty in parking, so the residents only zone is extended a little further. And so it goes on. A recent report showed that Brighton collects more revenue from motorists parking per dwelling than any town outside central London. In my view, the council just regards parking as an extra source of revenue and fails to spend the money raised (I hesitate to say earned) in the way it is intended to be spent: on improving roads and transport generally.
And don't get me - or hundreds, possibly thousands, of other drivers - started on the ridiculous bus lanes and cycle lanes that are squeezing a growing number of private cars, vans and lorries into a reducing space.
One final point. We found it cheaper to park on the seafront in Cannes and in Monte Carlo than it was then in Brighton!
Visitors to the city pass through the pylons in yesterday's picture before reaching Patcham. Here they are greeted by one of the family of tin men who stands by the Victorian horse trough. Nobody will own up to changing the clothes on these men but they are changed from time to time.