Residents and a councillor have criticised plans to change the use of what was supposed to be a community space at the former Old Brewery building in Portslade to a commercial space.

A planning application for the former Le Carbone site in South Street, Portslade, would allow the Intent 91 gym to operate in part of the building.

But the overall plans were originally approved – in November 2017 – on condition that the space would be art studios, galleries, a community space and a cafe.

The original planning consent permitted 37 self-contained flats, 673 square metres of employment floorspace, 11 new-build homes and 47 parking spaces as well as the community space.

Labour councillor Les Hamilton, who represents South Portslade, backs residents’ objections to the change of use.

He said: “The original approval included the provision of … uses on the ground floor to include artists’ studios and galleries, a community space and a café.

“Many residents felt this was reasonable and did not object. They now realise that none of this will be provided.

“(The change of use) would allow almost anything here, such as a Tesco, a charity shop, a takeaway or other uses not consistent with the historic nature of Portslade Village Conservation Area.

“The public have been led up the garden path.”

The council’s planning committee has been advised to grant permission, with the application due to come before them next Wednesday.

Brighton and Hove City Council received 14 letters of objection and one supporting the application.

An objector, whose details were redacted by the council, said: “The original plan was to provide a facility for the local community on the ground floor of this much-loved and significant Grade II listed local building.

“We were looking forward to a gallery, art and craft space and community café which all ages could enjoy.

“North Portslade is cut off from the majority of cultural venues in the city and it would be wonderful to have a facility nearby.”

Intent 91 director Emily Riggs sent a letter of support, saying that the new gym had received a lot of interest from people in the village and surrounding area.

She said: “In Worthing and Portslade, we have created a friendly and non-intimidating environment, with our biggest drivers being to bring people together and offer a happy place to come and improve mental and physical health.

“We endeavour to give back where we can in the local community and work with charities throughout the year.”

The Old Brewery site was at the centre of a controversy last year after council and NHS bosses planned to house up to 60 people there.

The proposal – to cater for people with high and medium mental health support needs – followed the awarding of a contract to Saint John of God Hospitaller Services (SJOG).

The charity, based in Co Durham, had no local premises – and the Old Brewery did not have planning permission for the supported housing scheme or even enough finished homes.

The owner had been marketing the properties there as high-end apartments and residents packed at two public meetings in the Old Village in October to voice their concerns.

In November, the charity pulled out after admitting that it could not provide the service as set out in the contract.

The planning committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 2pm on next Wednesday.

The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.