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.
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.”
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.