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Brighton & Hove council tax set at 3.99% for 2016/2017

Councillors at Brighton & Hove City council have approved an increase of 3.99% to council tax for the next financial year at a budget meeting tonight.

Are police criminalising homeless people for begging?

Sussex Police have been accused of criminalising homeless people who ask passers-by for money.

Almost seven hundred beggars in the county have been prosecuted in the last five years.

Critics say taking the homeless to court makes life even more difficult for them, costs money and rarely stops the problem.

But police say they only arrest those who are a nuisance to the public.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to Jason Knight, who campaigns for the homeless, and Supt James Collis of Sussex Police.

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Film of first ever Brighton Festival discovered in attic

For years, it's been lying - untouched - in a dusty attic. But now, remarkable footage of the first-ever Brighton festival has been discovered, giving a unique insight in to the artists and performers of the day.

The event in 1967 featured stars like The Who, Cleo Laine and Eric Clapton, a fashion show and even a baseball match.

Charlotte Wilkins speaks to Ian Beck, one of the film makers and Andrew Comben, The Brighton Festival Chief Executive.

You can view the full version of the film here:

King Alfred Leisure Centre remains closed after storm Imogen damages roof

King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove had to be closed this morning after storm Imogen damaged the roof. Parts of the Promenade have also been cordoned off. Residents are being asked to stay away from the immediate area.

“The impact of Storm Imogen on the King Alfred Leisure Centre building continues to be assessed. The strong winds damaged the felted roof covering the west end of the swimming pools. The dislodged felt is a potential hazard if blown from the roof, which is why the surrounding area is cordoned off. The damaged felt will be removed as soon as the weather allows safe access to work on the roof. Further investigation is required to determine the full extent of the damage and assess what repairs are required. We are working with the on-site Freedom Leisure team and the Police as well as seeking advice from relevant experts to make sure the appropriate action is taken as soon as possible. We hope to be able to provide more information in the morning.”

– Brighton and Hove City Council

New trains for Gatwick Express in £145m project

New trains on the way for airport service

ITV Meridian can reveal 145 million pounds is being spent on a new generation of trains for the Gatwick Express - that will also serve Brighton.

More than 100 carriages are being built - and the first will enter service within weeks. Our Transport Correspondent, Mike Pearse, has been given exclusive access on board one of the new trains.

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Police launch hunt for missing woman

Credit: Sussex Police

Police are searching Hove for a woman who has gone missing from her home.

Melanie Bowles, 40, has not been seen since she left home in Godwin Road sometime overnight on December 14 - 15.

Melanie, who is white, 5'3", and of slim build with short brown hair, has five stars tattooed on her right wrist.

She left her car, mobile phone and purse at home. It is not clear what clothing she was wearing when she left.

We are particularly concerned for Melanie as she has recently been depressed, though her disappearance was unexpected.

– Inspector James Davidson, Sussex Police

Rough sleeping summit held to tackle homelessness

It's thought more than a thousand people sleep rough every year in Brighton and Hove Credit: ITV Meridian

The first ever 'rough sleeping summit' has been held in Brighton and Hove.

It's thought more than a thousand people sleep rough every year in the city.

The council says it hopes to build on existing services so no one is homeless and living on its streets by 2020.

"Our vision is to make sure no-one has the need to sleep rough in Brighton & Hove by 2020. This is a challenge we need to start tackling now.

"The aim is to build on existing provision and work with our partners to see an effective city-wide approach for the future. The dangers of living on the streets are severe and impact on some of the most vulnerable in our society.

"At a time when resources are scarce and demand is rising, we need to look at how we can work together to help those in need."

– Cllr Clare Moonan, lead councillor for homelessness

Faith groups come together to discuss fall-out of terror attacks

Credit: Brighton & Hove City Council

Representatives from faith communities across Brighton and Hove have met to discuss the implications of recent terror attacks in Paris.

The One Voice partnership discussed concerns about incidents against Muslim women reported on public transport nationally and called upon the city’s communities to support each other to increase safety for Muslim women and all passengers on public transport.

We will not tolerate hate incidents, extremist perspectives or actions in the city.

– Mahir Chowdhury, the Chair of the Racial Harassment Forum

The recent terrorist attacks including those in Paris have shocked everyone and we send our deepest sympathy to all those who have died or been injured in these appalling attacks.

Now, more than ever, it is important that the communities of the city stand together to reject intolerance and division. There are various ways to report incidents:

– Cllr Emma Daniel, Chair of the Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee

Sussex Police and Brighton & Hove City Council are asking all residents to report any suspicious behaviour or activity immediately by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or 999 in an emergency.

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