THE pigeons are going to be happy with their existing home, the old Co-op building, being protected (The Argus, March 23).

That’s going to be an eyesore for many years now.

London Road is finished. It’s nothing like it used to be.

Howare we going to encourage people to take over empty shops in Brighton and Hove in this climate?

There was a redevelopment at the bottom end of London Road and not one of the shops has been taken over – not even the charity organisations want to take them over. That says something about the area.

I think the best thing would be to turn this old building into a home for the homeless.

We have too many homeless people on our city streets.

Or why doesn’t Brighton and Hove City Council take it over and convert it into lowcost flats? People could live in the upper floors and the council could rent out the shop floor cheaply to people trying to get new ideas off the ground.

I’m off to feed the pigeons.

Andrew Gumbrill, Chapel Mews, Hove

THE ARGUS asked for ideas about what should happen to the old Co-op building, while at the same time we’re told it could be given limited protected status on the local list.

A recent application for 407 student flats was a joint application between the Co-op and Watkin Jones, who only specialise in developing student flats. As long as this partnership continues, no other use for the site can be proposed.

At the same time, funding for development at the moment is only available for student flats and, to a limited extent, for affordable housing.

The old Co-op building would be hard to convert as there would be a lot of wasted space in stair wells and ceiling heights, limiting the number of flats that could be created within this shell.

As the Co-op building itself is very shallow, perhaps the rest of the site could be sealed off against noise from student flats in the main building and used for affordable flats for elderly people.

This would be kinder to people living in the small streets at the back of the Co-op, but mean far fewer student flats in the main building, and less profit for both the Co-op and Watkin Jones.

Would they be prepared to consider this proposition?

A recent letter in The Argus (March 22) suggested moving the council’s offices out of King’s House in Hove and into the Co-op. Again, that would mean the Co-op breaking away from Watkin Jones.

Would funding for conversion of the Co-op to offices be available from a council which cannot afford public lavatories or a tourist information centre?

Selma Montford, hon secretary, The Brighton Society