The owner of a “notorious” block of flats used for homeless accommodation who last year threatened to turn it into luxury housing has unveiled plans to turn it into a gated complex.
Windsor Court in Windsor Street has been criticised by homeless campaigners and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas as being damp and dangerous for residents, having become a magnet for drug dealers.
Last year, Baron Homes threatened to stop renting the block out to homeless people placed there by Brighton and Hove City Council following more bad publicity.
Director Nazila Blencowe claimed many of the issues there are caused by a minority of tenants who trash their homes and the communal areas.
Now, Baron Homes has applied to build a new four-storey building on the block’s car park, which will include a new entrance and a cafe or workshop on Windsor Street.
The plans also include a bigger courtyard with a metal gate out onto Windsor Street. The new building is designed to match Windsor Lodge
And as well as a two new three-bedroom flat and one new two-bedroom flats, two of the existing studios in the main block will be extended to become one bedroom flats with private balconies.
In the application, Baron Homes’ agent Stickland Wright says: “The building currently provides affordable flats following a major adaptation and refurbishment of the original building in 1984.
“Recently the building has gained some notoriety and part of this proposal aims to improve the common access, security and the communal courtyard for the benefit of all residents.
“A new entrance with enlarged courtyard, new tree planting and a secure gate will ameliorate the residents’ experience.
“A new cafe/workshop will provide new amenities to the site and bring a sense of conviviality.”
Baron Homes is contracted to provide temporary and emergency accommodation to Brighton and Hove City Council as part of a £3.57million contract which ends in June next year.
In September 2018, 255 households were being accommodated by the city council across 31 Baron Homes properties.
Both the city council and Baron Homes have been approached for comment.
Baron Homes previously applied to build a similar three-storey building containing seven flats on the same site, which was rejected because of the loss of the tree and the small size of the flats. A subsequent appeal was also dismissed.