Application to convert Southend seafront guest house into homeless shelter rejected

Plans to convert a Southend seafront guest house into a care home for homeless people have been refused after the council received more than 100 letters of objection.

The Stephen’s Place charity had submitted a proposal to turn the Waverley Guest House on Eastern Esplanade into a facility for the homeless, ex-offenders, people fleeing modern day slavery and former members of the military.

Southend Council received 104 letters of objection with concerns including the inappropriate location for a rehab facility, the impact on businesses in the area and an impact on property values.

Residents were also concerned about anti-social behaviour and the impact on the character of the stretch of seafront.

Planning officers who refused the application said: “It is found that the proposed development is unacceptable and contrary to local and national planning policies.”

Councillor Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council and Thorpe Ward councillor, opposed the application on behalf of residents.

He said: “I am pleased about this decision. It’s listed as a guest house with the council and therefore it can only be used for that. I am glad it has been refused.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter