Tougher Action Required on Old Steine Campsite

I was astonished to read the comments of the new Cabinet Member for Communites – Cllr. Ben Duncan – that the impromptu campsite on the Old Steine is “the model of the kind of engaged peaceful protest the Council and the Police are committed to facilitating” (Argus, 25th May).

There is a by-law in place on the Steine for a good reason – this is a sensitive location in the heart of the City and is incredibly busy with tourists and holiday makers at this time of year. What sort of impression will it give visitors to the City if these sort of encampments are not removed? Just look at Parliament Square in London!

The Council should be doing everything it can to help local businesses in these difficult economic times and many of them rely heavily upon the tourist trade. Of course people have the right to peaceful protest but this shouldn’t be at the expense of ordinary people carrying on with their lives. My fear is that Cllr. Duncan’s statement will just serve to encourage even more protesters to come down here and make the situation even worse. Will they be equally forgiving if people decide to camp out in Preston Park, Queen’s Park or Hove Lawns? This sets a very dangerous precedent and I would like to know what justification the Police are giving for not taking any action.

1 Response to “Tougher Action Required on Old Steine Campsite”

  1. 1 Gareth June 8, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Actually I would make the case that many tourists, coming to Brighton for its well-deserved reputation for individualism and diversity, will find the campsite intriguing even if they disagree with the issues at hand.
    As long as standards of respectability are maintained, and a time limit is set, I think the entire thing does more good than harm.
    I do, however, take your point about precedent and would suggest the council needs to be clearer about the exact details of what makes “acceptable” circumstances for this type of thing.

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May 2011

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