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New properties to support the homeless approved

Released: Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Vital temporary housing to support a growing number of homeless individuals and families is set to be created in the heart of Worthing after ambitious plans to convert a former care home were approved.

Like many areas across the country, the town has seen a rise in homelessness in recent years with more than 100 people currently in emergency local authority housing.

To ensure safe, secure and affordable places are provided within the local area for those in need, Worthing Borough Council bought the former Masonic care home in Rowlands Road.

After consultation with the local community, a proposal to convert the vacant building into 19 new properties was approved by the local authority's Planning Committee at a meeting last week (Wednesday September 18, 2019).

The homes will be used to accommodate residents in need of either temporary or transitional housing, something councillors claim will make a big difference.

Cllr Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services, said:

“Like many areas across the UK, we have seen a rise in the number of people reporting to us as homeless in recent years. As a Council we have a legal and moral duty to provide these individuals and families with accommodation.

“These new properties will significantly assist us with meeting our obligations, providing good quality homes for people when they are most in need and also reducing the amount we spend on unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation. It will also reduce the need to place households out of the area.”

Councillors approved the plans after hearing that the current building, some of which dates from Edwardian times, would be converted and extended.

A total of 19 new properties will be created, consisting of four two-beds, 14 one-beds and one bedsit with seven on-site parking spaces.

Councillors heard there was a demand for this type of housing within the area, with nearly three-quarters of requests for emergency accommodation from households requiring one or two bedrooms.

A report presented to the committee said the proposed dwellings will provide transitional affordable accommodation for those in need until a permanent place to live becomes available.

Measures will be in place to deal with any antisocial behaviour and the development team said it would work with the private sector housing team to make sure the properties exceeded required standards.

Councillors also committed to continued discussions with local residents in the future to alleviate any potential issues.

The investment comes as the costs of housing families in emergency accommodation is rising rapidly for the Council because of changes in central government funding.

Cllr Paul High, Chairman of Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee, said:

“While there were a number of concerns raised by local residents around the design of the building and potential impact on parking, the Committee felt that the proposal’s benefits far outweigh these issues which is why permission was granted.”

(PR19-136)

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