Student housing set to become homeless flats


A block of student flats is set to be converted into short term homes for homeless people as the council moves to bring emergency accommodation in-house.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee last night recommended bringing the Gladstone Court in Hartington Road back under the authority’s control as short-term temporary and emergency accommodation.

The council is the freeholder of the four-storey block consisting of 36 one-bedroom, one three-bedroom and one four bedroom flat.

It is currently leased by a student housing company and is expected to be empty by the summer.

A large amount of the council’s homeless accommodation is currently provided by private landlords, some in blocks which are regularly criticised for poor conditions such as Windsor Court in the city centre and Percival Terrace in Kemp Town.

Deputy chair of the committee, Labour councillor Nichole Brennan described the move as “really good news”.

She said: “Our providers might have got a tad complacent. By bringing this in house we can look after them and make sure there is not mould on children’s clothes and things like that.

“Because it is a family block families won’t need to go into emergency and temporary accommodation. While not ideal this is secure and decent accommodation.”

Green councillor David Gibson also welcomed the move in his own ward of Hanover and Elm Grove.

He said: “I have knocked on the doors around this block and I’ve also been in Percival Terrace which is the privately run short term emergency accommodation, and there is a lot of difference now.

“Hopefully we will make it even more decent in there.

“I really welcome the improvement in standards we can offer the people at a very insecure time in their lives and really welcome the achievement of this as set out in our combined work programme.”

Conservative councillor Mary Mears shared concern about temporary housing saying some families have been in temporary accommodation for ten years or more in the city.

She said: “You may say it’s more secure but it is not security for families when they have children at school and they’re suddenly asked to be moved.”

Councillor Mears was also concerned about future management of the property and wanted her worries registered and abstained from the vote.

Head of housing, income, supply and customer service Ododo Dafe assured Councillor Mears while the department had not managed a block like this before, staff have considerable experience of managing homes, tenancies and supporting people.

Refurbishment is expected to cost approximately £1.4 million.

The Policy and Resources Committee is expected to approve moving forward with buying the flats when it meets, usually in public, at Hove Town Hall from 4pm on Thursday, 23 January.

  1. Hovelassies Reply

    …. “council moves to bring emergency accommodation in-house”. Not before time. For years and years and years the council has been complicit in profligate spending on so-called “temporary, emergency” accommodation provided in privately run slum HMOs. All underpinned by a culture of denial and troublingly close relationships between the council and the providers of dismal, grubby, shabby, chipped, soiled, outdated, substandard, largely unsupervised accommodation. No contracts, no 21st century standards, no accountability. The legacy for neighbors and local communities has also been immense (drugs, crime, antisocial behavior, intimidation, disruption etc.). Finally, after years of turning a blind eye, the council is taking responsibility and the dodgy racket that has been the procurement from privately run HMOs will come to an end. The next thing the council needs to address is the fact that OTHER councils also place people in these slums.

  2. Nick M Reply

    B&HC is currently renting council-owned property to students? How has this happened? Why wasn’t it being let as council housing? This move is a good step, but it begs the question. Is the council renting any more of its properties to students (either directly or through other organisations)?

    Students need somewhere to live. But there is currently a glut of student accommodation with many hundreds of rooms empty and more being built. There is a terrible shortage of social housing – so the council should use it’s limited resources to provide social housing surely?

  3. Margaret Winter Reply

    People are waiting more than 11 years for council accommodation in Brighton and Hove and now we know why?? How can the council sublet it’s stock of housing to private tenants ( students)?? It beggars belief. The name Mears also worries me. A Conservative councillor with the name Mears and the Council’s preferred provider for refurbishment and council housing repairs is called Mears!! Interesting! Purely coincidence?? Hmmmmm.

    • Chris Gull Reply

      Oh dear Margaret, you’re late to the game. Mary Mears has been a Councillor for many many years….and Mears is a very old Brighton name, and widespread..you think that if there was any conflict of interest that this wouldn’t have been picked up and challenged before now? So no, not a coincidence that they share the same name..we’re in Brighton. Is Mary Mears involved with Mears who have the council repair contract.? No.

  4. David dyke road Reply

    Looks grim. Feel sorry for poor people we need to help them

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