New Year Newsletter 2011

The Kemp Town Society turns expectantly to a new year in which to continue the work of conservation and vigilance to improve the Kemp Town Estate as well as providing events for the enjoyment of its members. This newsletter outlines our involvement in planning matters and those social activities planned for 2011 and reminders of those we enjoyed in 2010.

Planning/Conservation News

The Royal Sussex Hospital

There has been considerable effort by the Society to challenge the plans to remove the old buildings below the ‘Kemp’ Tower. This involves the removal of the historic Barry building. It will also result in a helicopter tower above the new building, similar to the Kemp Tower.

The new hospital is presented as a funded necessity. However, there are questions as to whether the site can absorb the highly intense redevelopment and indeed whether the funds stated to be ‘set aside’ are available to complete more than the planning application stage.

Naturally, there are genuine demands to improve the hospital infrastructure, yet it seems strange that the intention to make Brighton the main ‘trauma’ hospital in South East England has not been questioned.

The Society will continue to resist the impact the tower and helicopters will make at ground level as well as to key views around the site from within Kemp Town and its Estate. Other societies are assisting in the consultation in presenting revisions to the plans.

The Marina development
As most will know, The Public Inquiry resulted in the rejection of Explore Living’s Appeal. They did not commence a Judicial Inquiry. They may be waiting in the wings to try again as the economy improves. They have the resources and, it should be reminded, their plan was not rejected purely on planning grounds.

However, they do have hurdles, as much of the planning landscape has altered, as well as the Brighton Marina Act. The new Localism Bill is being digested as we speak which will enhance local influence and remove much of the influences from Quangos.

Black Rock
There is no further news to report on the site. However, it will be absorbed into the Marina and Gasworks Core Strategy, which is due to be redrafted during the year; though it may be delayed due to uncertainty engendered by the new governmental localism bill.

The Enclosures Southern Railings
Due to a very significant donation, the prospect of completing the railings along the southern ‘face’ of the Estate could now be within reach. The Society will need to take the lead to implement the installation of the new railings.

We are hoping for cooperation from B&HCC, especially the City’s head architect and conservation officer. We are fortunate to have advice from a London based expert whose company has restored many of London’s historic gardens and we are obtaining quotes.

This process may result in the installation taking place next year and to high heritage standards.

Social Events – Calendar for 2011

David Gort has organised three SUNDAY SUPPERS IN THE DOG. (The Ginger Dog, the Upstairs Function Room, 12 College Place, Kemp Town, BN2 1HN). They are purposely early evening and local to cover any winter weather problems that might be thrown at us!

The early Sunday evening events each comprises a 2 course Supper and coffee followed by musical entertainment. £26.00 (drinks and 3rd course extra)

SUNDAY 30 JANUARY 5.30 PM FOR 6.00 with Heather Peace. Heather, is very much now a local, even national, celebrity (she lives in Sussex Square),she is a wonderful performer, who sings, plays guitar and acts, and many of you, I know, will have heard her at The Swan (which, sadly is no longer with us) or seen her on your television screens. If you haven’t had the pleasure we are sure you won’t be disappointed.

SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY 5.30 PM FOR 6.00 with Eliza Skelton. Eliza is also a local, indeed her parents are members of KTS. She sings many of her own compositions as well as established favourites and she is currently recording her first CD.

SUNDAY 27 MARCH 5.30 PM FOR 6.00: a words and music programme entitled ‘If Love were all . . . . . ? !’ featuring Yvonne Patrick & David Gort (not singing !). Yvonne, another local singer (Shoreham, this time), has had a wide career in opera (Glyndebourne, Opera North and other national/local companies), recitals and teaching but it will be a lighter as well as varied song choice for this evening, the words will include the work of another, in this case a KTS local.

SUNDAY 6 FEBRUARY 6.30 PM – A FUN QUIZ NIGHT AT ST GEORGE’S CRYPT – Once again Mike and Barbara Luper are running this popular quiz – there are only a few tickets left. £11 each covers a welcoming glass of wine, the quiz (with prizes!) and a platter of finger food provided by our friendly caterer Clare Stone, served at 8 pm. Further bottles of wine may be purchased during the evening. (Box office for this one event is being manned by Pam Meek– 3/24 Lewes Crescent BN2 1GB- 673135 and Marie Freeman-2 Chichester Place BN2 1FE– 221760).

Outline of Future Events

Future events over the year will be advised as soon as finalised; but they will include visits to Chichester, Salisbury Playhouse and Glyndebourne.

Should an event be cancelled by the Society then a refund will automatically be made, but should it be necessary for you to cancel then a refund cannot be guaranteed if we are unable to resell your ticket(s) and I strongly advise early notice to David (‘phone or email) should this circumstance arise.

Any suggestion for outings will certainly be welcomed.

Looking back on the 2010 social activities

The Summer Garden Party was a huge success, attended by existing members and new members who all enjoyed the band, the bar and the food and the prestige raffle. The attendance by invitation of the Mayor, our Councillors and Chairs of the other Conservation Societies heightened the KTS profile.

The Committee wishes to thank all those members who answered the questionnaire which endorsed some significant changes to garden party traditions and the seven non-committee members who helped set up and breakdown. Everyone took the call for more food seriously and there was plenty for everyone. The children’s’ table was well received. We hope you will all assist again with the 2011 garden party.

Thomas Read Kemp Celebration Day
The celebration, engaging the wider Kemp Town community, took the form of three separate events, morning, afternoon and evening. The outstanding excellence of the day was due to those members of the Society and St George’s Church who dedicated many hours in preparation and presentation.

The morning talk and three tours of the Kemp Town Estate were greatly enjoyed (something that could perhaps be repeated?). The tours revealed that there is much still to be leaned about the history of the houses around the Estate. Andrew Doig and Rev Colin Still provided some excellent histories of the homes and I believe great value can still be achieved by encouraging owners of flats within each building to research further in the County Archives in Lewes and in Brighton bringing further light into their own buildings and their earlier occupants. Brief residencies have included the exiled King of France, Louis Philippe after the revolution and Queen Adelaide. Perhaps someone would be interested in taking a lead on this towards KTS printing a flyer to send around the houses? Andrew Doig has already provided tour notes on the houses history as a most positive start.

The afternoon symposium: The three lecturers explained the architectural influences of the times; Kemp’s influences in architectural terms and the success he achieved in selling the Estate during the banking crisis of the late 1820s, which brought about a 20% deflation. The death of Kemp’s first wife, Frances Baring, daughter of the founders of Barings Bank and his subsequent second marriage, saw him relocate his family to the centre of culture at the time: Paris. Thomas Kemp did not seem to die in poverty as is claimed, living as he did opposite the British Embassy. There is yet more to be discovered!

The evening Concert and Supper Party proved to be a musical and social success. St George’s Church was beautifully transformed into a candle-lit Regency salon. April Fredrick soprano, Camilla Scarlett violin and Amy De Sybel fortepiano provided music of the period at the highest level. An excellent supper was provided by the chef and staff of The Café in the Crypt, accompanied by some fine wine and an authentic Regency punch. It all created a stylish and lively party atmosphere to conclude the day. Thomas Kemp would have approved!

The regular monthly KTS social events that continued throughout 2010 included two visits to Chichester Festival Theatre to see ‘42nd Street’ and ‘Pygmalion’, Glyndebourne to see ‘Don Giovanni’, St Mary’s Bramber for an afternoon Christmas concert. Local Kemp Town events included the ever popular Quiz Night, plus some informal meals at The Swan.


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