Recovering drug addicts to be housed in old brewery

Posted On 02 Oct 2022 at 11:21 pm

A former brewery in Portslade Old Village is to become a hostel, providing “medium to high support” for “people with mental health and other needs”.

The hostel is to open, with a 10-year lease, in the Old Brewery which for many years was known as the Le Carbone factory, in High Street Portslade.

The people living there will be funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and NHS Sussex and cared for by a national charity called Saint John of God (SJOG) Hospitaller Services.

The charity has won contracts previously held by BHT Sussex, formerly known as Brighton Housing Trust, and the housing association Sanctuary.

Spacewords Brighton

SJOG has advertise locally for staff, including a substance misuse co-ordinator on a salary of £31,200.

The advert said: “The service specialises in providing accommodation and support to people who have a mental health diagnosis and / or other disabilities.

“The people we support may also have a history of or ongoing issues with substance misuse and alcohol abuse and experience of trauma.”

People living in the area were expecting the newly revamped site to become upmarket flats and some have reacted with concern – not least with two pubs just yards from the old brewery.

In a Facebook post on Saturday (1 October), Independent councillor Peter Atkinson said: “All four Portslade councillors were alerted to this proposal last week. This was the first we had heard of it.

“Councillor Les Hamilton, Councillor Alan Robins and myself have expressed our extreme concern at the lack of prior notice with local residents around these plans. Les has also asked the planning office if they need to be re-involved.

“We have therefore asked the working group responsible for the scheme to pause and not go ahead with opening the facility until such time as residents and councillors have had a chance to learn more about the plans, raise any concerns they might have and ask questions. We need a full and thorough consultation.

“It may be that any fears we have will be unfounded and that the council and NHS commissioners can reassure us all.

“But we need to give local people the chance to know what the proposals are, meet the organisation who will be running it and explore any issues that they might have.

“In terms of what we have been told, it is proposed that there would be 60 units of accommodation for people with medium to long-term mental health problems.

“This is being planned and funded by a joint working group from the local council and NHS commissioners.

“It will be run by a Darlington-based charity called SJOG but the residents will come from two existing local homes run by Sanctuary Housing and Brighton Housing Trust. This means that staff from these two bodies will potentially transfer to the hostel.

“We are also aware that Peter Kyle MP has contacted the commissioning group asking for residents to be fully consulted with.”

SJOG said: “The accommodation will be providing 57 beds for people with a range of mental health or additional needs. They will all hold their own tenancies.

“We are working closely with Brighton and Hove Council on this project.”

Councillor Peter Atkinson

The charity said that there would be staff on duty all day and night every day of the week – and that the site would be monitored with security cameras.

And a courtyard within the site would mean that those living there would not need to congregate in the street, to reduce any risk of annoyance to neighbours.

SJOG was also considering holding an open day so that members of the local community could have a chance to see the service.

The council, NHS bosses and the charity were understood to be trying to start the service this month or by Tuesday 1 November.

  1. Neil Man Reply

    It’s not a “hostel”………the owner has simply sold Leases to SJOG who, in turn, will be letting INDIVIDUAL flats to INDIVIDUALS with learning disabilities and/or Autism, and/or people recovering from mental health/addiction problems, some sharing.

    The question that need answering are:

    Why were SJOG, from Darlington, chosen over local supported housing and support providers such as BHT and Southdown Housing Association? (Hint: they were cheaper £££).

    What are SJOG’s credentials and track record, CQC ratings? What “added value” will be delivered by SJOG?

    Will the former providers’ (BHT/Sanctuary) staff be transferred over? How many jobs will be lost, terms and conditions changed etc?
    What will become of the former premises that are being decommissioned?p in favour of the Brewery development?

    How long is the Head Lease for? Or were/are the flats actually being sold on Leases to SJOG?

    What are the terms of both the Head Lease between the Freeholder and SJOG and the tenancy agreements between SJOG and the tenants?

    Are the tenancies classed as “exempt accommodation”, for HB purposes?

    What level of support is being provided? Is it “floating “ support, rather than “live-in” support?

    On what grounds is a “planning” change of use required, given they remain individual residential homes and there are seemingly no offices being provided for staff? There are no HMOs as the flats-shares are for up to 2 people AIUI, so obviously no HMO licences required.

    • Mark Reply

      It a change of Use class from Dwellinghouse to Residential Institution (as the residents fall under the definition of care set out in the Town and County Planning Order 1987) so legally there has to be a consultation…

  2. Nathan Adler Reply

    It really does not help in allaying suspicion when neither the councilors or the local community have had any sort of consultation prior to this. Especially when there is a special school in close proximity with vulnerable pupils.

  3. Rachel Reply

    It’s not just the special needs school. There are also 3 other primary schools in close proximity to the Old Brewery site. We already have people from Emmeaus sitting in the park or on benches day drinking and making it feel unsafe for kids.

  4. Adam Reply

    Well if the doss houses in Regency Square are anything to go by this will be a disaster for the area. County lines delivering at all hours with anti social behaviour spreading out from the centre to fund their habits. Watch the value of local properties drop when potential purchasers realise Brighton is dumping its junkies in the area.

    • Jane L Reply

      No idea why Brighton council dumps its junkies in city centres. Other councils don’t do this as they just terrorise tourists and shoppers.

  5. Clive Holding Reply

    Old village Brewery yes I think it is a good idea give people a chance and yes I do live in the area. I do support it.

  6. Hovelassies Reply

    BHCC has learned nothing from the West Pier Project Regency Square debacle, the attempted Seafield Rd rort, Hereford Rd mess and the Smart Seaview Hostel racket. Nothing whatsoever. All such plans must START with full, in-depth neighbourhood consultation, risk assessment and development of robust, sustainable risk management and risk mitigation strategies with input from local residents. The contempt BHCC continues to show for residents is remarkable and lamentable. Poor leadership leads to bad outcomes.

    • Some Guy Reply

      Local residents always say no, and throw as much challenge as they possibly can at such projects. Even the “yes, if…” opinions are (almost always) unworkable, costing many times the project’s budget in policing and so on.
      Generally speaking, unless you want to banish people to Azkaban you have to resist local opinion when placing hostels, supported housing, etc.

      • Frank le Duc Reply

        It is better all round to be open, transparent and accountable, as the nearby Emmaus project was and continues to be. Emmaus reached out to people in the area and provided the appropriate and necessary reassurance before moving forward with its plans. The project has won many friends and supporters locally. Secretly foisting a project on a community and trying to discredit those who speak out about their genuine concerns does no one any favours.

        • Sam Reply

          Am worried for my life moving over there now I have seen how they feel I can tell you sickos are not allowed in the building yes ex drug users that be me I have worked really hard only to move in to a place full of hate it looks well I will let you know am gothic so I really don’t know what you going to think about that I don’t take drugs anymore I have a drink now and then but am not going to be in the street like you saying and believe me I have no inrest in kids am not a sicko it makes me sad what u saying hopefully I can not move there because seeing your makes me worry I used to have a small minded family growing up with that was hell and see all this has really upset I will have to talk to my worker but noses do not live in my bulling drug addiction yes but no one wants to harm your kids 😢 I definitely done I will let the staff no whay you all think and I don’t want to move definitely not don’t need vibe like thay in my life am trying to stay clean

  7. Peter A Reply

    BHCC trying to organise a shoot up in a brewery

  8. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    To be fair, the SJOG people do look pukka and they are not just about substance abuse, but cover myriad conditions, including autism and learning difficulties. However, it would have been sensible for council officers, SJOG and the NHS to engage with the local councillors and surrounding residents in advance, rather than just dump it on them as a fait accompli almost. These days council officers seem to do anything they fancy under delegated powers, so perhaps it’s time for councillors to look at what the delegated powers are and curb them as necessary – informing councillors and, by extension, residents of what they’ve been up to behind everyone’s back would be a good start, but we’ve seen all this before with the obfuscation that’s been going on for ages with the Information Commissioner’s Office about exactly what communications they had with developers of the Brighton Gasworks site in advance of the planning application, which is now nearly a year old and apparently going nowhere soon. As far as I know, nobody, whether councillors or residents, is any nearer finding out what has been going on with this opaque council than they were on Day One – all because of council stone-walling and unwillingness to comply with the findings of the ICO.

  9. Wayne Reply

    Clearly the Green Party haven’t considered the needs and concerns of local residents, who are paying council taxes. We have three schools in close proximity, two pubs and the area is already supporting the needs of Emaus. You just need to walk through east hill park in the evening to smell canabis. The council have only now decided to go public , most likely they thought they’d get away with it.

  10. Lew Wingi Reply

    Easthill park will become a no go area for children and women. Not sure I’ll let my son walk to school passing the old brewery now. Very concerning for us living in close proximity

  11. Rachel Reply

    This is outrageous, why weren’t the residents consulted? This is such a family area with many schools and young children all to be put at risk. Luxury apartments we were told – what lies. I certainly won’t feel safe for myself and my 2 young children.

  12. Kate Bennett Reply

    This article is disgusting and Frank le Duc needs to go and write for the red tops if this is what he thinks passes for journalism but I doubt he could hack it. It is a supported housing service for people with mental health needs, some of whom might have used or use substances (like half of the city). Whipping people up with a headline like that is irresponsible.

    • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

      Half of the city? Really? Evidence?

      Yes, the headline is iffy and stirs up the readers (as I’ve said earlier, SJOG is not just about recovering substance addicts/abusers), so Frank needs to have another look at the article and its headline. However, your allegation that half of the city has or does use substances is wild, unsupported and insulting to probably much more than half of the city, so please either retract it or produce solid evidence. Thank you.

      • Kate Bennett Reply

        Alcohol is a substance – 57% of people +16 use alcohol – An estimated 1 in 11 adults aged 16 to 59 years had taken a drug in the last year (9.4%; approximately 3.2 million people); this is the same as the year ending March 2019 but an increase from 8.6% in the year ending March 2010.
        Around one in five adults aged 16 to 24 years had taken a drug in the last year (21%; approximately 1.3 million people); this was similar to the previous year (20.3%). So yes – given the age profile of the city over 50% of people use substances including alcohol – anything else?

  13. Sam Reply

    Well am one of the people you’re all talking about I did not ask to be moved and you no need to worry about me as I come from the move on house am not happy I have done really well and I have to now live with people using and BTW to them tidy small minds that thunk your kids are not safe it is upsetting to see you feel that way I know am not a sicko and am sure I don’t live with any sickos so please stop judging people maybe you should go do some shadow work that’s whay am doing

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