UK: Brighton's gay village could become officially recognised

A city's gay village could become officially recognised.

Opposition councillors are calling for the area around St James’s Street, Brighton, to be formally designated by Brighton and Hove City Council.

They claim the area, already synonymous with the LGBT community, would become famous worldwide as other gay centres in Montreal, San Francisco and Manchester.

Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Elgood suggested the change as part of an amendment to the city’s planning blueprint.

He said: “What we are talking about is the council policy finally catching up with reality.

“We all know the area as the gay village, it is time the council did too.

“Up until now development to the area has taken place outside any planning policies.

“It will help continue to see this area grow and attract new businesses and opportunities.”

The alteration has been proposed to the city’s core strategy, which outlines the council’s planning policies until 2023.

A draft plan was agreed by the council’s cabinet last month.

Coun Elgood is calling on the other opposition councillors to support the amendment when the plan is ratified at a full council meeting on Thursday.

Green councillor Amy Kennedy said: “This idea will without a doubt be good for the area.

“A similar area in Manchester has thrived after it was granted similar designation.”

Labour leader Gill Mitchell agreed to look at the proposals with her party.

The move has been supported by members of the local community.

James Ledward, editor of Gscene magazine, said: “This idea is about a celebration.

“This area has been unofficially the gay village for the last 20 years or so.

“By officially recognising it the council will be reflecting the diversity of the city.”

Chris Cooke, chair of St James’s Street Local Action Team, said: “This would be a fantastic development for the area. It should be full steam ahead in my view.”

Tim Ridgway, The Argus

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