Former Worthing pub to become affordable council accommodation
The former Downview Pub will be converted into affordable housing for people who have been made homeless in Worthing.
Planning permission to convert the building in Station Parade, Tarring Road, into 13 residential units, with space for a commercial unit on the ground floor, was granted in May this year.
Councillors agreed to release £4.4 million from the capital budget to purchase and convert the building.
Councillor Heather Mercer, executive Member for Customer Services, said it was a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to accommodate people in the town, where properties are difficult to come by.
She said: “We are driving to provide as much affordable accommodation for those who need it as we can, but because we have so little land, with the Downs on one side and the sea on the other, it does limit our availability.”
She added that the fact planning permission has already been granted made it a ‘really prudent long term investment’ for the council.
The accommodation is designed to house homeless people who would otherwise be placed in ‘expensive’ emergency accommodation, which is charged at a nightly rate.
A report presented to the council in September notes that it could save the council in region of £90,000 a year on its emergency accommodation bill.
Ms Mercer said: “It will save the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds, that’s really important.
“It will give 13 families somewhere safe and secure they can call home.”
She said many of those finding themselves homeless were families who through ‘no fault of their own’ were evicted by landlords and unable to afford to rent another home.
“Worthing is the seventh most expensive place to live in the country,” she said.
“It’s a real challenge to find suitable accommodation.
“These people are genuinely nice families doing their absolute best.
“They are a whole cadre of people, who we never had before, who never envisioned themselves being homeless.”