Brighton Council pulls plug on Israel-backing arms company

  • Post last modified:June 6, 2024
  • Reading time:5 mins read

A council has pulled the plug on an arms manufacturer’s planning permission; one that has been complicit in Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee met on Wednesday 5 June to consider the permanent retention of a temporary extension to a building owned by arms manufacturer L3Harris at Home Farm Business Centre.

Stop L3Harris are pleased the council have unanimously opted to vote with their conscience and deny this extension.

Brighton stops L3Harris

Planning permission for the site in Home Farm Road was temporarily given for five years from 2018, but it expired in September 2023.

While L3Harris has been operating without planning consent, Israel has killed over 37,000 Palestinians in Gaza alone, including more than 15,000 children. The actual number killed is much much higher – many people have not been included in the death count due to being either under the rubble or unidentifiable.

Brighton’s Campaign Against the Arms Trade has evidenced that many of these deaths are directly linked to indiscriminate bombing made possible by the use of the bomb release mechanisms made in Brighton.  This is contributing to residents of all denominations and none feeling unsafe and the Council has upheld its duty to protect its citizens and their right to family life.

In a deputation inside the meeting, Maude Casey, a representative of Brighton Migrant Solidarity and the Stop L3Harris campaign shared statements from a Palestinian member of the community and a Jewish member of the community, both of whom have loved ones in Gaza.

A demonstration attended by over 100 people took place outside Hove Town Hall during the Planning Committee council meeting to show support for the representative speaking. This also includes an art installation of hundreds of names of children written on ribbons who have been killed in Gaza since October 7.

Complicit in Israel’s genocide in Gaza

Herbie, a Jewish Palestinian activist and Moulsecoomb resident, said:

I can see L3Harris factory on Home Farm Road from my house. Living across the road from a factory that’s profiting from the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza has contributed to my declining mental health over the last 8 months.

It haunts me knowing that my Gazan friends’ families could be killed at any moment, by weapons made in a factory in eyesight from my kitchen. I feel powerless and hopeless and have had to go on antidepressants to cope with my plummeting mental health. Please, shut it down.

Nidaa, a Palestinian Brighton constituent said:

I’m a Palestinian woman living in Brighton with my family. It deeply saddens me knowing there’s an arms manufacturer on our doorstep. This mustn’t be normalised and they need to shut down immediately.

My family in Gaza have been deeply affected by the use of chemical weapons by the occupation. They killed a four year old girl and her dad in front of her mum and six year old sister. The little girl can’t forget what happened to her sister and her dad. Lots of sad stories in Gaza. All of them have been told to stay in the safe places they asked them to move to and after they bomb the place.

Strong opposition in Brighton

The application was open to public consultation from December 2023, and received 655 comments – 651 objections, and only two in support. A petition with over 1,400 signatures was submitted. Originally, the extension was to be reviewed in March, but the committee was delayed while councillors sought legal advice.

Members of the local community have been protesting outside of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee Meeting every month since March. They have also taken action at the factory on Home Farm Road, held a Peace Camp for five weeks at the bottom of Home Farm Road and disrupted the last council meeting demanding that Brighton and Hove City Council.

L3Harris is the 12th largest arms manufacturer in the world, and is making huge profits from Israel’s war on Palestinians, supplying Israel with bomb release mechanisms for its F-35 and F-15 fighter jets.

Lucy from the Stop L3Harris Campaign said:

The decision is a landmark victory, sending the message that people in Brighton and Hove will not be complicit in genocide – but there is much more to be done to shut down L3Harris in our city for good, and to end the UK’s wider support of Israel’s massacre of Palestinian civilians.

This is a small and important first step taken by our council, the next will be to ensure they work with Paxton, the landlords of L3Harris to evict L3Harris immediately for undertaking activity which is illegal under international humanitarian law.

Featured image via Brighton Against The Arms Trade

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