Residents angered by home conversion plan

WH 260115 Spring Lodge care home, in Madeira Avenue, Worthing, which has been rated 'inadequate' in a CQC report. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150126-162310001
WH 260115 Spring Lodge care home, in Madeira Avenue, Worthing, which has been rated 'inadequate' in a CQC report. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150126-162310001

A CLOSED ‘inadequate’ care home will not be converted into bedsits after objections from dozens of residents fearing a rise in antisocial behaviour.

The former Spring Lodge care home, in Madeira Avenue, Worthing, was closed in December and put on the market, after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission highlighted numerous concerns.

Delighted residents clapped Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee when they rejected plans by the proposed buyer to convert the property into a house in multiple application (HMO) last Wednesday.

Holly Cook, of Madeira Avenue, said: “I moved from Brighton specifically for a family environment.

“It would have a devastating impact on this street. It would personally end my dream of setting up a family life.”

The committee heard how applicant Anthony Brown wanted to convert the former home into bedsit-type accommodation for a maximum of 10 people.

The council’s environmental health officer said they would expect to see additional bathroom facilities on top of what was provided in the plans.

Councillor James Doyle said the plans did not meet the standards he expected.

He said: “Our policy eight says we will encourage a mix of high-quality accommodation.

“It’s not only not high quality in my view but quite clearly it doesn’t even meet basic standards of what we would accept.

“I accept spaces could be used to provide better facilities but they haven’t been.”

Letters of objection had been received from 35 residents, who argued they were already dogged by antisocial behaviour issues from an existing HMO. They pointed out other authorities had policies preventing more than one HMO in a 100 yard area.

Mr Brown’s agent Huw James said council officers had recommended approving the application and assured residents the home would be well-managed, with lettings agent Robert Luff pledging to terminate tenancies if required.

Despite the assurances, the committee refused the application on the grounds it contravened its core strategy in providing a mix of housing, the plans were not high quality and it viewed the provision of parking spaces to be too low – despite no objections from West Sussex County Council Highways.