RESIDENTS are demanding their voices be heard when crucial decisions are made about their neighbourhood.

About 80 people attended the first meeting of the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Community Concerns group set up on social media.

They want to be consulted more about key issues such as loss of services, shared student houses and antisocial behaviour.

And there are fears that either Moulsecoomb and Bevendean primary school may be at risk.

One of the organisers, Mitchie Alexander, said: “We feel, as residents, that decisions should not be made behind closed doors but should be transparent.

“After the Bridge Community Centre closed down in April, we were shocked as a community because nobody, not even the staff, knew it was going to happen.

“Two of the residents had a meeting with Kemptown Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

“He said, in his opinion, if nothing changed then he could see one of our primary schools, either Bevendean or Moulsecoomb, shutting down because of a lack of numbers.”

The aim of the meeting on Wednesday evening was to increase communication with councillors and MPs, and to become included in discussions about the future of the area.

Retired architect Alan Stevenson said: “There’s a possibility, if the council and all other parties involved are prepared to listen and make everything more apparent to everybody, that this meeting can make some changes.

“But it will not be a quick fix.

“The time it will take to get change is the biggest problem.

“A lot of people have been playing the blame game when it comes to student accommodation but that’s not the best way to go about it.”

Residents at the meeting worked in small groups discussing problems they identified.

Chairman Michael Parker said: “This meeting was set up by a group of people who knew that others like them want to have their say as well.

“We need to know what the questions are and who we want to ask them to.”

Rachel Cork has lived in Bevendean for more than 60 years.

She said: “There’s no church, no pub and no doctors left for us to go to.

“Factories here have been empty for more than five years.”

Rodney Browne, another resident, said: “After The Willow Surgery shut down, I spoke to a doctor from one of the other nearby surgeries and he said that he now has an extra 1,000 patients on his books.”

This was the first of two meetings.

The second in about six weeks will see MPs, councillors and the vice chancellors of Brighton and Sussex Universities invited to the meeting.