Posted 20 May 2013 by Andrew Gardner
Hove in East Sussex keeps on appearing in the local news, and since we have plenty of superb seaside apartments, flats and holiday cottages within easy reach I thought a little look was in order. It's a rather genteel, historic yet up-and-coming sort of place, with architecture ranging from traditional cottages to glorious mansions, plenty of clubs, trendy bars and eateries (and celebrity residents), and the longstanding reputation of this neck of the woods as a sort of London on Sea is exacerbated by reports of a Hove Plinth project.
The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is used on a rolling basis by artists and performers deemed to merit exposure there - although rumour has it that it's being kept for a statue of our present queen come the day she pops her clogs. Anyway, the local council in Hove has backed a plinth project that would showcase local sculptors' work, and at the time of writing it's awaiting planning consent. In an area well known for its artistic leanings, this could provide a great boost for local sculpture and a lovely diversion for the rest of us.
Another idea up for discussion is to remove the cycling ban on the promenade. At the moment there is a dedicated cycle lane, but nearby Worthing has been trialling a fully shared space for pedestrians and cyclists and found it worked surprisingly well, so cyclists using Hove prom are keen to see it there too. The Worthing experiment found that cyclists in a hurry tended to use the roadside cycle lanes, while the more leisurely-minded enjoyed the promenade; and it means some of the ugly 'banning' signage could be taken away.
Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove has followed the example of Chichester in instigating a 20mph speed limit on many of the city centre roads. Cabbies, predictably, hate it but cyclists love it -it's been proven to make cycling safer - and as a tourist or visitor it's nice to feel you can take a leisurely trip through the town, or at least go slowly and look for signposts without feeling you're holding everyone up.
And finally, there's a move afoot to restore the 19th century Medina bathhouse in the Cliftonville conservation area - a key part of the sea front at Hove. Originally a ladies' Turkish bath, it's also been a makeshift hospital, an exhibition space and a squat and some work was done on the exterior last year, so we await the results with interest.