Worthing temporary accommodation for homeless could replace offices

An office building previously used by a Christian radio station could be transformed into temporary accommodation.

Registered housing provider Worthing Homes has submitted plans to turn Skywaves House, in Ivy Arch Road, into 21 temporary accommodation flats.

The building is vacant and was last used by Feba, a Christian media company.

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It would be demolished to make way for a new three-storey building with office space which would be used by employees of the council and a local homeless charity.

Proposed design of the temporary accommodation for homeless people

If the plans are approved, Worthing Homes would partner with Turning Tides to provide accommodation.

Between 2020 and 2021 the charity had 459 new clients presenting as homeless.

Akin Akinyebo, head of housing at Adur and Worthing Councils, says the situation ‘has become worse’ over the last 18 months with 176 people currently in temporary accommodation.

He said the flats would ‘support the council’s journey to eliminating rough sleeping in Worthing’.

Skywaves House in Ivy Arch Road

Officers were concerned that the flats do not meet national space standards or the council’s own standards, with an average floorspace of just over 30 square metres.

But they recognised that the flats will only be a temporary solution, with residents eventually moving on to more permanent housing.

A legal agreement is also proposed which would stop the flats being used for other purposes in their current format.

Communal areas including a kitchen, training rooms, counselling rooms, and a clinical room would also be provided, as well as outdoor space.

Three residents have objected to the plans with one citing concerns about anti-social behaviour in the area.

WBC recognised this as a ‘real and understandable concern’ with the area already suffering from anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.

The council says that support staff would be present 24 hours a day and residents would be expected to sign licensing agreements with set rules and expectations for their time there.

Officers have now recommended the plans for approval although two separate applications for 30 flats were previously refused at the site.

Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee is set to make a decision on Wednesday (22 June).

More details can be found at the council’s planning portal using reference: AWDM/0207/22.