A PROPOSED site for a women’s hostel has been criticised by residents as “uninhabitable”.

Brighton and Hove City Council has put forward plans for two sites – Seafield Road and St Aubyns in Hove – in a bid to reduce the number of homeless on the streets.

But neighbours have complained, saying the suggested sites are not fit for living.

Seafield Road resident Janet Bray said: “Seafield Road has been gutted.

“I am astonished at what I saw come out of there – even worse than I imagined.

“Fixtures, fittings, soft furnishings, floor coverings – squalid, soiled, shabby and not fit for human habitation.

“Despite several requests to clarify the situation about the apparent absence of an HMO (home in multiple occupation) licence, Brighton and Hove City Council continue to say nothing.

“What is the status of the building that will enable it to be operated legally as a hostel?”

The council stated its commitment to tackling rough sleepers in a letter to the residents of St Aubyns and Seafield Road on October 20.

In it, the council said it had commissioned work with accommodation management charity Equinox to offer accommodation and support for vulnerable women in the at the proposed sites.

Equinox has been managing accommodation services for vulnerable adults for more than 30 years.

The site in Seafield Road will offer 24-hour CCTV and on-call support, while the St Aubyns site will offer round-the-clock support.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Council said: “The council has commissioned from Equinox a service to help homeless women, using these two premises.

“Both the council and the city at large want something done to help homeless people and this is part of the response.

“Any necessary renovations can be made to properties.

“A public consultation is being carried out locally and both the council and Equinox will want these facilities to be good neighbours.”

There is a public consultation for residents tomorrow evening from 6pm to 8pm in Hove Town Hall.

Christopher Hartfield contacted The Argus and said he is the landlord of the property.

He said: "The property is HMO licensed and has been a registered HMO for many years. It is regularly inspected and on an inspection last year was commended for the quality and standard of accommodation provided.

"The property is not funded or financed by the Council in any way.

"The property is in as good condition as any in the street and was totally redecorated externally two years ago. It is neither squalid nor in a state of disrepair.

"The property has not been gutted. A light redecoration and replacement of some tired fittings is taking place as is normal when one tenant leaves and another arrives. 

"The property has been in it’s current use for well in excess of 20 years. Far longer than many of the residents in surrounding and adjacent properties.

"The owner and management attend all local neighbourhood meetings, unlike the owners of the adjacent childrens home and youth hostel,  and have an open door policy to any neighbour. Any issues that arise are immediately dealt with. No issues have been voiced at recent neighbourhood meetings."