Lewes District Council is housing single homeless people in the White Hart Hotel, Lewes.
The council told the eye:
“The council has nine single-applicant households in the White Hart Hotel, we are paying £70 per night for each placement. Five are temporarily placed under the Severe Weather Emergency Placement (SWEP); 3 are discretionary placements for verified rough sleepers, and 1 is placed as we have a statutory duty to accommodate”.
The Eye believes that people are being housed in the annexe at the rear of the hotel, rather than the main part.
Lest you think that homeless people are living in the lap of luxury, here is the most report the Eye could find on Tripadvisor from someone who stayed in the annexe recently as a self-paying guest:
The hotel is dingy, depressing and in need of a complete overhaul in public spaces. My room in the annex cost £70/night (local premier inn £30) — the curtains were broken, light fitting loose on the wall, dirty old carpets and bleak bathroom, tacky old furniture. I didn’t ask to be moved into another room because the whole place was in a state of collapse. I moved out after one night to an air bnb.”
So it does not look like the Council is getting any discount for a bulk booking, so it looks like they are paying £490 per person per week.
So far as the Eye knows there are no self-catering facilities at the White Hart, so what people are doing for food in a town where eating out is not cheap.
At least one resident is said to be complaining that if one person is badly behaved the White Hart management does nothing about it.
The Decline of the White Hart
While some people still praise its old-world charm many people think the White Hart has been going downhill for years. Current stats on Tripadvisor report 106 reviews saying that the hotel is excellent and 339 saying that it is terrible. Since the demise of the Crown, the hotel seems to get the worst reviews in the district.
And the Council?
Lewes District Council is in a difficult position. It rightly has duties to vulnerable homeless people but little emergency housing. And it is certainly better to house them in the White Hart than in a similar place in Eastbourne.
But the Eye wonders what happened to the emergency places that were lost when nearby Saxonbury closed, and wonders what support these vulnerable people are getting.