Homeless hostel’s move to Hove road ‘suspended’ after residents’ campaign

Posted On 06 Mar 2017 at 10:45 am

A plan to open a 22-unit homeless hostel into a Hove road already home to two more homeless housing schemes has been suspended after residents complained it was too much for one street to cope with.

A police car blocks off Seafield Road following a fire at one of the existing homeless housing schemes there last year. Picture by Ian Shaw

A police car blocks off Seafield Road following a fire at one of the existing homeless housing schemes there last year. Picture by Ian Shaw

Brighton and Hove City Council had planned to move part of the West Pier Project to two converted houses in Seafield Road next month, which would mean one in eight of the road’s homes would be used to house homeless people, many with drug or alcohol issues.

But after residents, backed by councillors and Hove MP Peter Kyle, raised concerns this would concentrate problems in a small area, the council agreed to reconsider the plans.

And with the news that the conversion of the houses has been refused planning permission, the move is now officially suspended.

Residents were informed of the decision at a meeting on Wednesday night, attended by 45 people living in the road. Rob Persey, the city council’s director of health and adult social care, told the meeting: “I’m here to give you a genuine sincere apology for the lack of engagement and consultation. Irrespective of whether or not there is a statutory need to consult or not, best practice would have been to consult.

“I’m hoping you’ll be happy to hear that the council has suspended the proposal, it will not be going ahead as was planned.

“The developer for 17 and 18 Seafield Road doesn’t have planning permission to convert the properties into the 22 bedsits they’re planning. We don’t know what’s they will submit in a planning application but it’s very unlikely that adult social care will be looking to use 17 and 18 Seafield Road. I’m now looking at options outside of Seafield Road.”

Janet Bray, who has been instrumental in organising the response, said afterwards: “Rob was very gracious and forthcoming with an apology that they hadn’t consulted the community or done an impact assessment.

“There are no current plans to move the West Pier Project to Seafield Road – that’s in part due to realising that it’s the wrong thing in the wrong place.

“Planning was not given so the council can’t put people in somewhere that doesn’t have it. And if they do apply for permission, we will have an opportunity to object.

“This has galvanised the neighbourhood. If this had been the perfect community, it would have been very different, but despite our best efforts over the years, we have never cracked the unaddressed catalog of problems we already have.

“We are now going to form a residents’ group to take on the existing issues.”

She added: “I think the co-operation between the two councillors, Conservative Andrew Wealls and Labour’s Clare Moonan has been exemplary. Most community issues are not political matters – their co-operation is a fantastic model.”

  1. Rolivan Reply

    More to the point who owns them and who led them to believe that it was a viable project.

  2. SamC Reply

    Dr Steven Leung Brighton Skin Clinic and family + associate – Regency One Ltd formed in February 2016, premises purchased at auction 20 October 2016, Planning certificate applied for 24 Nov 2016, 7-year lease signed by BHCC 12 December, Planning certificate refused 23 February. Apparently Dr Leung approached BHCC..it will all come out in the wash. WhatDoTheyKNow https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/17_18_seafield_rd_bhcc_and_regen

  3. saveHOVE Reply

    Please see saveHOVE article on this illegal HMO. Dr. Leung bought an illegally converted house which had operated illegally as a set of bedsits with shared facilities. People moved out by Christmas but he was still in possession of illegally converted premises.

    The Cerificate of Lawfulness for these two addresses did NOT seek 22 units. It sought to make the existing 20 across two addresses into self contained units. And failed because the original conversion was itself illegal, etc. And there was not HMO Licence.

    Read the saveHOVE post and report by officers via links there.

    There is no magnanimity here by BHCC. The Council got itself sucked into a mess that now needs to be sorted. The premises have had builders working on converting the HMO into self-contained units ILLEGALLY for the last month and need to be stopped by Enforcemnt which residents must apply for (see BHCC online)

  4. Andy Reply

    Yes, Mr Persey, you’ve decided to dump these people in Hereford Street in an area already plagued by drunks, dossers and drug abusers. Thanks. I wonder what leafy urban part of Sussex you live in.

  5. Daniel Harris Reply

    rather than move the problem to somewhere else, how about we accept there is a problem and tackle it! We need a complete change in society. Are you getting issues then? Adult Social Care are the people responsible for many of the residents.

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