Council boss apologises after problems at £130 Circus Street site

Council boss apologises after problems at £130 Circus Street site

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A COUNCIL boss has apologised to people living near a £130 million construction project, saying “we failed our residents”.

Larissa Reed, head of Brighton and Hove City Council’s housing services, said she was sorry for not stepping in to support them sooner.

She spoke after a fiery clash between the neighbours and developers of the Circus Street scheme in Brighton.

Representatives from building company Henry Construction and developers U&I met the residents of nearby Milner Court to address a slew of issues surrounding the project.

They say noise, litter and after-work parties – which have featured a live band – at the site have made their lives “a living nightmare”.

On Tuesday, Home Office officers raided the site off Kingswood Street, Brighton, and made 17 arrests for immigration offences.

That evening, residents and representatives gathers at a pre-arranged meeting in a nearby community centre to address a number of other issues.

These range from black soot on windows, abusive workers and cracks opening in the streets.

A U&I representative had asked The Argus not to enter the meeting.

In an opening exchange, a man who did not want to be named told the Henry Construction representative: “At the moment you are under investigation by police, why should we trust a word you say?

“Trust has to be earned.”

Henry Construction said the company would not comment on an ongoing investigation.

The residents detailed how they had been on the receiving end of abuse from construction workers.

One man claimed he was told to “f*** off back to Scotland” and was told by workers they would “drag you down the street and kick your head in”.

Henry Construction said they would investigate this behaviour and take appropriate action.

Ms Reed apologised to the residents saying the council had failed them, adding: “We should have done more, and we will do more.”

She also responded firmly to a Henry Construction representative, who did not want to be named, when he suggested he was not responsible for all his workers’ behaviour.

She said: “I have nearly 1,000 people working for me and ultimately, I’m responsible for all of their behaviour.”

In the meeting, residents were told Henry Construction were looking to extend working hours.

When completed, most of it later this year, Circus Street will provide 142 homes, accommodation for 450 students and office space.