Regardless of the current economic circumstances and the current decline in footfall in the city centre, the local authority anticipates a bumper summer season in Brighton & Hove as the city attracts millions of visitors from the UK holidaying at home and from around the world taking advantage of our weak currency.
The recession, combined with current pound/Euro exchange rate, and weather forecasters predicting a hot summer, mean an increase in the number of people holidaying in Britain is expected this year.
And as the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, marking a traditional start of the holiday season, Brighton & Hove City Council is highlighting the wide range of work that goes on round the clock to make the seafront welcoming, clean and safe for residents and visitors including lifeguards, seafront staff, beach cleaners, and loo attendants.
City Council Leader, Mary Mears said: “As a city we welcome around 8 million visitors a year and the first place they head for is the seafront. It’s the city’s star attraction and the image of Brighton & Hove that is known around the world.
Keeping the seafront ship shape involves a range of different council teams, along with partners such as the police, residents, volunteers and traders. For example:
Seafront team: On a busy Saturday or Sunday an estimated 150,000 people pour onto the beaches between Brighton Pier and the West Pier. The council’s seafront team is ready to respond to any queries or problems and is in action seven days a week, dealing with everything from lost children and lost property to first aid and sea rescues. Last year, for example, the team administered first aid to around 200 people, reunited 100 lost children with their families, gave safety advice to almost 1,000 people, dealt with 47 cases of injured wildlife, gave information on seafront bylaws, liaised with the police and army when a World War Two grenade was found on the beach ...and found a giant Lego figure on the shore as part of a publicity stunt. The team works closely with police community support officers who patrol the seafront.
Beach lifeguards: A team of 26 lifeguards, part of the seafront team, and a patrol boat will be in action along coast from the Bank Holiday weekend until the first weekend of September. Last summer the lifeguards carried out 41 rescues and saved six lives, in addition to giving safety advice to hundreds of people. Rescues included helping a jet ski rider with a broken leg, locating 12 missing swimmers, towing numerous people in inflatables back to shore, towing three broken down boats back to the Marina, and assisting with two boat fires
Beach cleaning crew: Beach cleaners from Cityclean, the council’s in-house refuse, recycling and street cleansing service, are out from 6am to 10pm seven days a week during the summer keeping the beach clean for local residents and tourists. They cover the seafront from Saltdean to Hove Lagoon picking up litter from the beach, cleaning and sweeping the promenade, emptying bins and pushing back any shingle washed up onto the prom after storms and high tides. In the main people are very good at using litter bins and, at the height of summer, it is a non-stop operation keeping them emptied. On top of their Cityclean duties the crews are also regularly asked for directions, weather information, and the nearest place to get fish and chips!
Public toilets: Seafront loos are some of the busiest in the city, there are public toilets in 16 different sites along the seafront from Saltdean to Hove Lagoon ready to welcome visitors. These include four and five star loos*on the Lower Promenade, Peter Pan’s Play Area, Saltdean Undercliff, Madeira Drive, Kings Esplanade, Hove Lagoon and Western Esplanade (five star). *Ratings in the national Loo of the Year awards.
Seafront railings: During the coming fortnight offenders, supervised by Sussex Probation, will be painting seafront railings between the two piers as part of their ‘Community Payback’. This is part of ongoing work to repaint the seven and a half miles of railings between the Marina and Hove Lagoon
Food safety: Checks are carried out on the dozens of restaurants, bars and other catering outlets along the seafront - so visitors can tuck into their fish and chips safe in the knowledge they have been prepared in hygienic conditions. 85% of seafront food outlets achieve three of more stars out of five under the council’s Scores on the Doors rating scheme. Food safety officers will also be carrying out ice cream sampling during the summer. That doesn’t mean they will be tucking into mountains of 99’s and cones - the samples of ice cream will be sent to a public health laboratory for testing.
Visitor Information Centre: Brighton & Hove’s award winning Visitor Information Centre in Pavilion Gardens is the first port of call for many new arrivals in the city. The centre, run by the council, welcomes 275,000 visitors a year from across the world through its doors, and deals with 17,500 phone calls and 10,000 email enquiries. On a busy day in peak season 1,500 people come through the door.*
Royal Pavilion and museums: Other council-run attractions are also gearing up for a busy summer. The Royal Pavilion, the exotic seaside palace of King George IV, welcomes around 300,000 people a year. The city's museums, including Brighton Museum and Art Gallery are popular destinations whatever the weather, with Hove Museum's Wizard's Attic being a haven for families.
Residents: Local residents take a great pride in their seafront and on Monday members of the Brunswick and Regency Neighbourhood Action Group will be carrying out a community litter pick on the seafront, to support the work of the council’s beach cleaners.
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