Letter: Brighton is not being ruined

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The Independent Culture
I HAVE read and enjoyed Alan Watkins' columns for much of the last 20 years, but I cannot let his absurd comments about Brighton being 'comprehensively ruined by its Labour council' go without question ('The jokes may be old but they're doing their best', 25 September).

Just for the record here are a few of the ways in which the Labour Council has been 'ruining' Brighton over the last year or so:

1. A pounds 1m investment in the seafront that has already generated pounds 500,000 worth of private sector capital with more in the pipeline.

2. A new fishing quarter and museum on the front averaging 1,000 visitors a week and shortlisted for the Silver Unicorn Award, a major international tourism award.

3. A house-building programme which has produced 1,400 new homes between 1986 and 1994, helping the homeless and poorly housed and creating construction jobs in the process.

4. Increased funding for the largest arts festival in England.

5. Conservation policies protecting our Regency heritage praised by the Independent.

We have recently completed a pounds 10m refurbishment of the Royal Pavilion - Brighton is the only council in the country to manage a Royal palace. We have ensured that it remains one of the best-known and best- loved buildings in the world.

The Palace Pier is one of the top tourist attractions in the country. And years of lobbying for funds for the West Pier now look as if they may soon pay off.

We have pizzazz and panache - the town is a photographer's delight. People love to come here and, like the Tour de France (another Council initiative), they want to keep coming back.

Steve Bassam

Leader, Brighton Council