Controversial plans for a 50-bed hostel for the homeless in Hove go before councillors next week.
The application by St Mungo’s for the Smart Sea View Hostel in St Catherine’s Terrace is recommended for approval when it goes before Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday, 8 June.
It is a part-retrospective application to convert the former hotel into temporary accommodation for the homeless with support services.
Planning permission would be until 31 March, 2024, in line with St Mungo’s council contract.
People living in the area say the hostel has made their lives a “living hell” since it opened in October last year.
The hostel provides a rapid assessment service for first time rough sleepers found in the city.
During their stay in the hostel, formerly homeless people have a room, bathroom and two meals a day and receive specialist support to find long-term housing.
St Mungo’s said that it needed the hostel to deliver Brighton and Hove City Council’s No Second Night Out (NSNO) programme to reduce rough sleeping and move people into housing within 42 days.
Rahul Sen, regional head for St Mungo’s, said: “St Mungo’s took over the building in October 2021 and was granted emergency powers in order to provide this vital service for some of the most vulnerable people in Brighton, but we are pleased that the planning application is now progressing.
“Within eight months of running the No Second Night Out (NSNO) Service in Brighton and Hove, we have worked with more than 170 people and have been able to create a long term move-on plan for 151 of these clients who have previously experienced homelessness and might otherwise have been sleeping rough in the region during this time.
“Our clients come to us with a range of different experiences, and some people come to NSNO with complex support needs.
“This is why we have highly skilled and specialised staff who work with each client individually and collaborate with other agencies, including health, employment and housing organisations, to make sure that each person receives the support they need to enable their recovery.
“St Mungo’s has more than a decade of experience delivering this NSNO service model across the country and more than 50 years of experience working in the homelessness sector.
“This is why St Mungo’s was chosen by Brighton & Hove City Council to deliver the NSNO service in Brighton and Hove and form a key part of the council’s commitment to tackling homelessness in the city.”
There are 60 letters opposing the application, three supporting and three commenting in general.
In their objections, people living in the area have raised concerns about anti-social behaviour, noise, and the cumulative impact of hostels in the area.
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 comment in support said: “I am dismayed that my neighbours (many who are second homeowners) object to homeless people being housed in an empty building.
“There have been a few incidents involving the hostel, but the hostel is certainly not responsible for all the anti-social behaviour in this area.
“If St Mungos can offer support and a quick response to close residents’ concerns, I fully support the change of use.”
The Planning Committee meets at 2pm at Hove Town Hall on Wednesday 8 June. The meeting is webcast on the council website.
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