A resident's opinion of the Aldrington area
Reading the potted history of Aldrington (Poets Corner) by Neal Ball, I wonder if he either knows the area or, worse, even likes it. There are plenty of people who love to live here and would be willing to sing its praises.
Mr Ball says: “The most recent construction was in the late 1980s when a group of properties owned by the landlord Nicholas Van Hoogstraten were compulsorily purchased and two blocks of social housing were built on Portland Road. This road in particular is full of what can only be described as ‘odd’ shops, with a good number offering second hand furniture.”
He’s right in saying that two blocks of social housing were built, but failed to add that the social housing architecture is very pleasing and blends in beautifully with its surroundings (even though it replaced the wonderful art deco buildings that Mr Hoogstraten allowed to fall into such disrepair). But to say that Portland Road is full of ‘odd’ shops with a good number offering second-hand furniture should surely be questioned. As the rents rise in many parts of Brighton , Portland Road is attracting some very interesting ‘odd’ shops, bars and cafes. It is true that through the 1980s and 1990s, Portland Road was a shadow of its former self. However, over the last few years it is becoming more of what it should and could be. Come visit it and see.
The old cinema that became a bingo hall, is now owned by Downland Housing Trust and will be a mixture of social housing and a, yet to be decided, community building for residents.
Stoneham Park, just behind Portland Road, is a very popular park that also houses a very active and thriving residents group – Poets Corner Residents Society – in the TalkShop (see website: www.poetscornercommunity.net), its own ICT Suite offers computer courses and a Kidz computer Club for children of all ages and is a venue for arts, health and other community groups. The Poets Corner Residents Society facilitates Family Fun Day (usually 2nd week July) followed by two weeks of Fringe Events. Also in the park is a very popular cafe, Cafe in the Park, open every day. Incidentally, Stoneham Park also gave birth to Park Safe (set up to reclaim parks for the children and away from drug users/pushers, and drinkers), the model of which has been exported to most parks in the Brighton and Hove area and all over the country.
The YMCA have been a dominant force in the area for about 20 years and have helped hundreds of kids. Without them, Aldrington/ Poets Corner would not be, compared to other areas, the safe and happy place it is.
The Aldrington Pub is quite rightly mentioned, historically, apart from it being a thriving meeting place. However, there is also the Portland Hotel Pub, which showcases live music nearly every night and supports so many local causes, eg. YMCA, PCRS, Cafe in the Park and the soon-to-be constructed Skate Park at the Lagoon.
We have our own excellent bi-monthly local newspaper, the West Hove News (circulation 10,000) that will also go online (www.poetscornercommunity.net) in mid-November 2006.
I hope that my comments allow Mr Ball to review our area more generously in the future. Why does he think so many people want to live here? Talk to local estate agents (especially Whitlock and Heaps who have served the area for three decades or more) who will tell him that there are not enough houses for them to sell in Aldrington/Poets Corner.
We are a fantastic multicultural community that deserves praise and not indifferent comments.