Stop L3 Harris protester disturbs Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee meeting

Liz Loughran, Preston Park, LabourLiz Loughran, Preston Park, Labour
Liz Loughran, Preston Park, Labour
A demonstrator disrupted proceedings at a council meeting to protest against an international arms company’s factory planning application.

The protest caused a brief hiatus during Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday 8 May, while a planning officer presented an application for co-living accommodation in Melbourne Street.

Twenty minutes into the meeting at Hove Town Hall, the woman called out from the public gallery asking why the committee is not discussing an application by L3 Harris.

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The defence contractor applied in December to make permanent temporary planning permission for an extension built at its site at Home Farm Business Centre in Home Farm Road, Brighton.

The application was on the agenda for the March committee meeting but withdrawn for the council to take further legal advice.

The unidentified woman said: “We are furious our city is complicit in genocide. We won’t sit silently and wait for you to take months and months and months to decide on this.

“In light of the ongoing urgent situation in Gaza we urge that you refuse the planning permission for the arms factory.”

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Committee chair councillor Liz Loughran explained the application was not on the agenda and asked the woman to leave before calling for security.

The woman and two other protesters chanted “Brighton council pick a side don’t endorse the genocide” before they left the public gallery.

In March, a spokesperson for the council initially said the application would go before councillors in April, but the proposals did not go on the April or May agendas.

Protesters have gathered outside the town hall in Norton Road, Hove, before the last three Planning Committee meetings, chanting and banging drums.

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They oppose the application as the factory makes bomb racks and release mechanisms for Israeli F-35 fighter jets which are being used in the on-going battle in Gaza.

There are currently 652 objections to the application to extend planning permission on the council’s website.

MPs Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle have opposed the application, as have two of the Hollingdean and Fiveways ward councillors Theresa Fowler and Mohammed Asaduzzaman.

Green councillors Raphael Hill, Ellen McLeay and Kerry Pickett, along with former Conservative now Independent Samer Bagaeen, a professor of planning, have also opposed the application.

The next Planning Committee meeting is on Wednesday 5 June.

The council has not confirmed whether the application will go before the committee next month.

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