Homeless people were dumped at a troubled block of flats in Newhaven and the scandal ended in part because of media exposure, a council leader said today (Friday 22 July).
James MacCleary, the Liberal Democrat leader of Lewes District Council, spoke out after Brighton and Hove City Council said that it would no longer place people in Kendal Court.
But at least ten people died after being placed in a temporary or emergency home in the block from 2016 to 2021.
The placements and deaths prompted outrage, with East Sussex County Council threatening to take legal action against Brighton and Hove.
Councillor MacCleary, who represents Newhaven and Bishopstone on East Sussex County Council, said that he hoped the flats, in Railway Road, would now be put to better use.
He said: “The scandal of Kendal Court has left a very bad taste with residents.
“I raised the alarm on this soon after I was elected as I could not believe that vulnerable people were being treated like this.
“I genuinely believe if we hadn’t brought it to the attention of local and national media, then Brighton and Hove City Council and the landowner would have happily continued dumping people there.
“The Eastside area of Newhaven is seeing a lot of change and the town is finally getting the investment it deserves.
“We will now be watching very closely to see what happens next with the site.”
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Brighton and Hove City Council had placed 314 households outside the area.
The council said that it was working hard to reduce the number of people in emergency housing outside the area and to bring them into long-term housing in Brighton and Hove.
The council added that welfare officers were keeping in touch with residents housed outside the city and holding regular drop-in sessions.