EXTREMELY vulnerable people should not be placed in a troubled housing block due to a lack of mental health support, it has been found.

An independent report has ruled that individuals with "complex needs" should not be housed in Kendal Court, the emergency housing block in Newhaven, where eight people died between 2016 and 2018.

Since July, another resident of Kendal Court has died, while another made an attempt to take their own life.

The Healthwatch East Sussex review of life inside the troubled accommodation also found that on-site staff "are not trained" to support or refer residents to mental health services.

The report reads: "Our 2021 research has indicated that issues identified in 2018 are still evident.

"There is a lack of appropriate mental health and care needs assessments and limited connectivity to appropriate support services.

"The caretaker and other on-site staff are not trained to support and refer residents who are in need to appropriate external services.

"No information about Kendal Court or the local area is provided to residents either prior to or on arrival at Kendal Court."

Mental health emergencies are the most common reason for ambulance attendances to Kendal Court, both in 2018 and in 2021.

Three safeguarding concerns were also raised by the body this year.

During a two-week period in August 2021, Healthwatch East Sussex undertook semi-structured interviews with 28 of the 42 residents living at the temporary accommodation at that time.

54 per cent of residents who took part in the report "expressed an overall satisfaction" with their experience of living at Kendal Court, but responses varied a great deal with three people giving it the worst rating.

While 78 per cent of respondents specifically mentioned having received no information prior to their arrival about the facilities of the building.

It comes as legal representatives from Brighton and East Sussex are set to meet over the continued dispute around emergency homeless accommodation.

The dispute revolves around Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) placing its residents in East Sussex, particularly at Kendal Court in Newhaven.

From East Sussex County Council’s point of view, Kendal Court is not an appropriate place for people with complex needs.

It argues this view is supported by coroner’s verdicts and an independent report commissioned after the deaths of residents.

The matter was discussed at the end of last month at a meeting of the East Sussex health and wellbeing board — a group made up of councillors, senior officers and NHS leaders from across the county.

The board had last considered the issue at a meeting in July, where its members resolved to raise concerns in writing.

During discussion East Sussex County Council’s (ESCC) chief executive Becky Shaw confirmed the board had now received a reply.

Ms Shaw said: “We have, in the last 48 hours, received a note, but as Mark [Stainton – director of adult social care] said, we do regret the slowness of the reply that this board has received to the letter that we wrote.

“They’ve confirmed that consistently over 200 people, which is nearly 30 per cent of the people that the city council are placing in emergency accommodation, were placed in Lewes and Eastbourne, including in Kendal Court.

“I think this really clearly suggests that the provision the city has got within its own boundaries is inadequate and requires significant and robust action to address."