Land at Searchlight in Newhaven to be sold to pay for redevelopment

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A charity which provides permanent and respite residential support to adults with a physical or learning disability in Newhaven will sell off land to pay for improving its accommodation.

Searchlight, based in Claremont Road, has been managed by the charity FitzRoy since 2012.

The charity was on the point of collapse in 2011 as it had lost all professional management and the confidence of funding authorities.

A spokesperson for FitzRoy said: “The site is spread-out and includes two unused buildings, workshops and garages as well as extensive grounds.

“The site is also divided by a public highway which presents some risk to those moving between buildings.

“We plan to build on one part of the site and provide future–proof accommodation that will allow individuals with disabilities to live with increased independence.”

FitzRoy said its proposals would provide smaller, modern homes so people could live in smaller groups.

It said it could find the money to redevelop the site by closing buildings which were unfit for purpose and which could be maintained or regenerated to meet appropriate standards.

The spokesperson added: “Once a new accommodation has been provided for the people we support, we will then seek to release any further unused parts of the current site to provide the remaining capital to fund the development.

“It is estimated that the cost of developing appropriate accommodation could be in the region of £2m.”

FitzRoy will sell off 50 per cent of its land initially, then a further 25 per cent once the sale has paid for new homes for its residents.

The charity said it currently employed more than 30 staff at the Newhaven site, adding it was regrettable that it had to make anyone redundant but that it had managed to keep this to a handful of staff.

It closed the workshop, which provided occupational therapy on August 29, because it was not financially sustainable.

As a result of the closure of the workshop, four part time and one full time support worker were made redundant.

The set up and location of it meant it would not attract new users, as modern day services were more community based and inclusive, it said.

FitzRoy said it was helping people find suitable alternative provision.

Budgets for this type of service are held by local authorities but the charity said it was doing its utmost to support smooth transitions for the individuals affected.