Castles Guest House at 6 Windsor Road applied for a ‘lawful development certificate’ back in August 2020, which it says would allow it to continue providing emergency temporary accommodation.
Members of the council’s planning committee are now being asked if they would have approved the application at the time, to help WBC defend the appeal.
The applicant claimed that the premises had been used to provide emergency accommodation for ‘at least ten years’ and therefore the application should have been allowed.
Records show that Castles Guest House has been used by Adur and Worthing Councils as well as Brighton and Hove City Council to provide emergency temporary accommodation in the past.
A report to WBC’s planning committee states that local authorities are ‘often forced’ to place those at risk of homelessness in ‘any available accommodation’ due to the national housing crisis. This could include hotels and B&Bs.
Council officers say the application would have likely been refused due to doubts over the property’s use for temporary accommodation over the last decade.
They added that gaps in booking records cast uncertainty over the number of rooms used for temporary accommodation.
Officers added: “Although ‘tenancies’ have varied in length from one night to more than two years, it is clear that the accommodation has not been solely for short term or nightly accommodation.”
It is understood that 6 Windsor Road is currently registered as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Sussex Police made an objection to the application last year, an objection the force still holds.
This is due to concerns over ongoing issues with anti-social behaviour.
The force says that ‘high levels of police attendance’ have been required at 6 Windsor Road which is ‘impacting on police resources’.
In its objection, the force said: “Police are still regularly attending due to issues relating to anti-social behaviour.
“If the lawful development certificate for existing use is granted then this application would place an ongoing additional burden upon police resources.”
Thirty letters were also received from residents living nearby who claimed there had been anti-social behaviour, a lack of staff support for vulnerable people and overcrowding, amongst other issues.
Objectors noted that recent works had been carried out at the property to make it compliant as a HMO, which they say indicates it may not have been used as such consistently over the last decade.
The application (AWDM/1270/20) will be discussed during a meeting of WBC’s planning committee tonight (September 22).