VOTE: Residents shocked by plan for Worthing homeless hostel

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TOWN-centre residents were shocked this week to learn that a hostel for the homeless is proposed near their homes.

A planning application lodged with Worthing Council seeks permission to establish the hostel in a four-bedroom house in Christchurch Road.

The news came as an unpleasant surprise for one couple making plans to put their home on the market.

Limited details about the hostel plan are contained in the application, submitted by chartered surveyor Peter King, of Littlehampton.

A planning statement describes the property, at 17 Christchurch Road, as a “very large house and it doesn’t come within the category of affordable housing”.

The statement continues: “As a hostel, the property will, of course, be used as a dwelling, but in a different way.

“The supply of hostel accommodation in Worthing is extremely limited and, clearly, there is a demonstrable benefit to the community in meeting the need of those who have found themselves without a home.

“Christchurch Road is not entirely residential in character; apart from dwellings it includes a courthouse, church, language school and one or two hostels, so it is a location that is entirely appropriate for a hostel.”

But near-neighbours Robin Madden and his wife Davina, disagreed with this statement.

“I would not be happy, going by what has happened in this area in the past. We are going to object this proposal,” he said. And he added he was amazed they knew nothing about the application until being told by the Worthing Herald reporter.

Another near-neighbour, James Dumbleton, responded: “This is bad news. I am not keen on the idea, you don’t know what you are getting into. It could mean trouble.”

Two doors away, a couple who did not wish to be named, reacted in despair on hearing of the plan.

The wife said: “We want to put our home on the market, because we have a year-old baby boy and we are outgrowing our accommodation. It would cause us a great deal of concern.”

When the Herald spoke to applicant Mr King, he said he could not add anything to what was in the planning statement.

And the owner of the house, who would not reveal his name, said he was aware of the hostel application, but he knew no further details, and he was selling the property.

Worthing Churches Homeless Projects (WCHP), which last year catered for more than 450 individuals, said on Tuesday the charity was not party to the application.

Carol Lucey, WCHP chief executive, said: “We acknowledge there is a need for more accommodation for homeless people in the Worthing area; we have a constant waiting list of around 12 people for admission to our accommodation services.

“We would need more information before we could comment further.”

Do you support the plan to open the hostel in Worthing? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.