Neighbours fight Hove seafront hostel plan

A charity faces objections to its plans to convert a hotel into a 50-bedroom hostel.

Homeless support charity St Mungo’s has submitted a retrospective planning application for the Smart Sea View Hostel, in St Catherine’s Terrace, Hove.

It has operated the hotel as temporary accommodation since the start of October last year.

In its management plan, St Mungo’s said that the hostel was needed to deliver Brighton and Hove City Council’s No Second Night Out programme to reduce rough sleeping and move people into housing within 42 days.

The plan said: “The service works towards stabilising clients by ensuring they feel safe and that their basic needs are being met.

“Each client has an allocated assessment and reconnection worker for case management who identifies an appropriate accommodation option for an individual … and makes appropriate referrals.”

St Mungo’s also works with the council to provide a personal housing plan and support people moving back to their home areas, either nationally or internationally, if they do not have a local connection with Brighton and Hove.

A temporary change of use to provide short-term accommodation for the homeless was approved for two years in 2002 and extended three times, with the site effectively operating as a homeless shelter until October 2007.

A further application for a temporary change of use – to use the shelter for homeless families – was refused in 2008.

Since then, the site has remained a hotel until St Mungo’s started using it for the No Second Night Out programme last year.

Neighbours have sent 46 letters of objection and two supporting the change of use.

One objector, whose details are redacted on the council’s website, said: “The massive disturbances to local residents from this hostel cannot be overstated.

“Our lives are being made a living hell. It’s terrible. How can the council subject residents to this? Don’t we matter?

“I now don’t leave my flat alone after dark after suffering abuse from residents and sexualised comments and approaches.”

A supportive comment from a person whose details were redacted said: “If a community cannot provide a safe space and support to its vulnerable members, then it ought to feel shame.

“This proposal is the best chance to turn people’s lives around so that antisocial behaviour, that so many seem afraid of, is avoided.”

Another person’s comment raised concerns about behaviour, but they were not against the proposals.

Their comment, with details removed, said: “I don’t object in principle with the application. I do have strong reservations.

“I’ve already noticed an increase in people drinking in the garden attached to the building as well as several incidences of the police (and) ambulances having to attend to help severely intoxicated people outside the building.”

The see the planning application or to comment, visit the planning pages on the council’s website and search for BH2022/00670.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Neighhours have told me about me about somebody there who went on the rambage – and assaulted the owner of the art shop opposite.

    • Tom H Reply

      This is true… I have also heard this from a small business owner on the same parade of shops. There was also an incident where someone threatened a lady working in hair salon on the same parade.

      It’s a real shame that the effort to help homeless people is having such a negative effect on the local community – and for this reason I’m against it.

      I live a street away from the hostel and now witness the gardens and beach adjacent are also more frequently littered with trash from someone’s drinking sessions.

    • Katy Reply

      Please, Christopher, you should know better than to use selective and provocative comment such as this.
      The Hotel is currently being used by St.Mungos, so nothing will effectively change if the application is refused. If it is approved, perhaps better oversight and supportive care will ensue. Regardless, it is certainly a challenge to balance the need to provide accommodation for the city’s homeless and the needs of the local community and residents.
      The beaches and streets are mainly strewn with litter from the failure of the green administration to get the basics right with refuse collecting, as much as tourist and general public littering.
      This will be a difficult decision that will only be judged on planning grounds alas.

      • Tom H Reply

        It may sound provocative but it’s also true.

        To your point that the site is already being used and thus nothing would change if the application were refused is not true. The application being made by St. Mungos to use the site as a hostel is a retrospective one and if refused will mean that they (eventually) will need to or can be compelled to cease operation as a hostel.

        Suggesting as you do that planning approval may lead to better oversight is wishful thinking but far from assured.

        To your final point regarding litter and the failure of the green administration with respect to street maintenance & cleaning – I do agree with this. I think it’s a great shame that the city in general but also sea front (as the principle tourist asset of the city) isn’t maintained to a higher standard to protect the attraction. But with respect to litter and discarded alcohol containers specifically, I can also say that as someone who cycles or walks past the ‘hostel’ in question and down Medina Terrace/Kings Esplanade almost every day, that it is worse than it used to be and that the timing of the decline fits with when the hostel began to operate.

        The Smart Seaview Hotel as it used to be was never the most salubrious place and looked pretty rundown and overdue renovation but it never gave me concern. Now however it’s somewhere I pass in the evenings with more caution and my wife & children do not go out early in the morning or after dusk and walk in that general direction anymore, why – because it does not feel safe and recent incidents and the experiences of the local community bear that out.

        A lot of homeless people have either mental health issues, addiction problems or both.. these people need help and shelter but not enough is being done by presently to protect the local community from the side effects of this in an area which already accommodates a fair share of hostel provision and help for the homeless on the nearby Seafield Road.

      • Hove Actually Reply

        “If it is approved, perhaps better oversight and supportive care will ensue”.
        So your saying they are not running it with best practice now but if the council rubber stamp this they will up their efforts?

        In my experience people who try to get away with things never improve their performance when you accept what they are already doing

  2. Jediskum Reply

    Most crooked councillors in the whole country and you don’t think they will get what they want? Lol you Hove lot think the homeless should be shipped off to Hastings or other parts of the country that you will never go to when glamping 🙈

  3. Jonathan Reply

    Unfortunately, the situation with aggressive/violent behaviour has been deteriorating and is a real and genuine worry for people who both live in the vicinity or are passing. Having personally witnessed an unprovoked violent assault (that could have led to somebody being killed) by one of the residents, who was either highly inebriated and/or high, it is clear that there is not adequate supervision/support/control of individuals at the site. I would also posit that the site is beginning to get a culture of this type of behaviour, judging by the increasing amount of random abuse and violent threats people in the area experience from the residents. So I’m afraid it’s no surprise at all that there have been objections on this scale, as people simply no longer feel safe.

  4. Jonathan Reply

    Unfortunately, the situation with aggressive/violent behaviour has been deteriorating for some time and is a real and genuine worry for people who both live in the vicinity or are passing. Having personally witnessed an unprovoked violent assault by one of the residents, who was either highly inebriated and/or high, it is painfully clear that there is not adequate supervision/support/control of individuals at the site. I would also posit that the site is beginning to get a culture of this type of behaviour, judging by the increasing amount of random abuse and violent threats people in the area experience from the residents on a daily basis. All of this has been echoed in the comments that the council has received. So I’m afraid it’s no surprise at all that there have been objections on this scale, as people simply no longer feel safe.

  5. Vince Reply

    ‘The city’s homeless’? The council policy appears to be to attract anti-social drinkers, drug users, abusers, pushers, convicted offenders, and violent mentally ill people from every corner of these islands and beyond to inflict them on local tax payers who have to endure the constant begging and aggressive behaviour. Shops are under siege from professional shoplifters too.

    Having attracted them with ‘City of Refuge’ nonsense they then house them where they can torment the law abiding neighbours. And that’s before and after turning the home into a crack den.. Enough already.

  6. Jamie Cast Reply

    Now listen here Vince.
    With shallow minded views like yours you should go & chat to Mr. Putin & ask him to borrow his army to deal with this problem.
    People like you are what’s wrong with this country.
    I’m a recovering alcoholic, drug user, anti social drinker, homeless person, with mental health issues although I know run my own business, have secure accomodation, and am sober for 7+ years. And you know why? Because there were places like this that helped me until I could help myself.
    You should be ashamed of yourself! These people are humans, not something you trod in on the street.

  7. Jonathan Reply

    I see there was another horrible unprovoked incident yesterday when two teenage girls holding hands were accosted by two individuals who’d been drinking in the hostel’s garden. They were subjected to racist and homophobic abuse and threats of sexual assault. Two passers by who tried to help were also threatened with being killed. I really do fear where this is all going to end. Are there actually any support workers at the site?

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