A COUNCILLOR has laughed off claims they have not helped the Albion.

The club’s deputy chairman Paul Barber slammed the council for charging broadcasters for filming in the city, saying they were missing out on “the biggest advert Brighton and Hove can get free of charge”.

He added that “there have been one or two occasions when the council has not helped us”.

Mr Barber’s claims came at the club’s Social and Economic Breakfast on Thursday after Councillor Alan Robins asked him what the city could do to cash in on the global audience attracted by Albion.

But the chairman of the council’s tourism, development and culture committee has revealed he was miffed by the response.

He said: “I had a little chuckle at the claim that we ‘haven’t helped’ the Albion. Let’s not forget that our decision to let them use the Withdean Stadium as their base a few years ago was a key factor in their very survival.

“They’re a great club – we’ve worked really well with them on all sort of things over the years and we will continue to do so. We worked very closely indeed with them on their plans for what is now the fabulous Amex stadium.

“We also put in a great deal of work and money into boosting the profile of women’s football, resulting in top international fixtures coming to our city.

“With regards to filming fees, they are an important source of revenue for us and our policies around this are in line with most other similar urban authorities.

“I don’t have any huge concerns around multi-million pound media businesses being put off by the £250 or so we charge them and all other media for this type of thing.”

At the meeting Mr Barber also hinted that parking arrangements in the city were acting as a deterrent to visitors, saying “the easier we can make the city to park in” the more it is “going to benefit the local economy”.

Cllr Robins responded and said: “Our parking polices are part of a wider transport strategy involving public transport, cycling and walking. They are there to manage demand, keep traffic flowing and help manage the environmental impact of hundreds of thousands of polluting vehicles.

“Simply encouraging more cars into the city at the expense of other forms of transport would be bad news in terms of air pollution and could easily lead to more traffic congestion.

“The Albion has worked closely and successfully with us on transport arrangements for their home games, and showed a real willingness to listen to the concerns of residents close to the ground.”

The councillor also responded to Martin Perry’s comments at the meeting. The Albion chief executive was critical of the council’s decision to turn down the club’s plans for a hotel at the Falmer site of its Amex stadium in 2016, saying it “was a huge opportunity missed”.

Cllr Robins said: “Our planning committee turned down their hotel application after considering it against national planning law and our local policies.There is nothing to stop the Albion taking on board the reasons for that refusal and putting in another hotel application if they so wish. Let’s be clear – by national standards our city’s economy is doing well.”