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Neighbours describe horrors of living next to Brighton and Hove 'party houses'
Distraught neighbours have recounted horror stories of living next to party houses in Brighton and Hove.
Residents told a city council scrutiny panel meeting their streets have become hives of anti-social behaviour, constant noise, alcohol and drug abuse and strippers.
Linda Malcolm, who lived next door to a party house with her 91-year-old mother in Hove, said: “The noise and constant smell of alcohol and cigarettes is an infringement on our human rights.”
She recalled an afternoon in which a hen-party spent the afternoon drinking, smoking and screaming in the party house's garden with a pair of male strippers.
Party houses are converted residential homes designed as retreats for large groups, such as hen and stag parties, and it is estimated by East Sussex Fire and Rescue that there are 300 in the city.
Party house operators state that the their properties bolster the city, with Michelle Stonehill, Brighton Holiday Homes, saying that each visitor brings an average of £500 to the city's economy. But residents argue that the discomfort is not worth the benefits.
The meeting in a council investigation into the houses was held at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday.
Trevor Scoble, of the Kingscliffe Society, a residential conservation charity, said that according to Department of Communities and Local Government Circular 04/08, any building that is in intended to be rented to a series of short-term paying guests should be regarded as a guest house rather than a residential property and therefore should be subject to the same regulations.
Mr Scoble said: “We should consider the residents, the law and right to peaceful enjoyment of our properties.”
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the panel and leader of the new investigation into party houses, said that this planning query will be a subject of investigation.
Mr Bowden, the Green councillor for Queens Park ward, said: “We are here to achieve a gold standard for party houses and stop them falling between the stools of regulation.”
Many residents said they did not know who to turn to, feeling responsibility was spread thinly between the operators, the police, the planning committee and the council.
Richard Simon, whose 94-year-old mother lives near a party house in the Regency ward, said: “The police come and they can quiet them down and then leave, but once they are gone it all starts up again.”
Mr Bowden said that this distribution of powers is one of the key targets for their investigation.
Councillor Alan Robins, on the scrutiny panel, said: “Do not think you have to suffer for the greater good. We need to find a solution to satisfy all parties.”
A second scrutiny panel meeting will be held for party house operators and hoteliers at 2.30pm on February 13, in Hove Town Hall.
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