Residents furious over hotel move to accommodate homeless

Sussex Edwardian Hotel previously High Beech Hotel, St Leonards'Closed down'23/04/12
Sussex Edwardian Hotel previously High Beech Hotel, St Leonards'Closed down'23/04/12

RESIDENTS living in one of the most expensive suburbs in St Leonards are furious that homeless people are set to be given accommodation in the grounds of a nearby hotel.

The Sussex Edwardian Hotel in Eisenhower Drive will soon be providing rooms for people who need emergency accommodation after agreeing a deal with the borough council.

Six holiday chalets and two self-contained flats on the site will be used for people who would otherwise be forced to sleep on the street.

The main hotel building will not be used as it would require a change of use licence first from the council.

A Facebook page has been set up raising the issue under the site’s former name High Beech Hotel.

And earlier this week, flyers were posted through letterboxes in Eisenhower Drive which is the only route in and

out of the hotel.

It warns of the hotel becoming a ‘half-way house’ and that fridges and cookers have been delivered to the site.

Earlier this year The Observer told how customers claimed they had lost thousands of pounds after booking

functions at the hotel.

The hotel underwent a change of management on January 1 when Clare Hassan and chef Eduard Hasaj took on a lease to run the business under the name E & C Hotels Ltd.

But on April 18, solicitors acting for Ms Hassan informed hotel owner Dr Wyramutto Maheswaran they intended to leave after failing to agree terms over the lease.

The hotel suddenly shut down leaving one devastated couple just 24 hours to rearrange their 40th wedding anniversary and £360 out of pocket.

Another couple claimed they had lost £5,500 after booking their wedding reception for 190 guests.

All the residents living in Eisenhower Drive wished to remain anonymous when speaking to the Observer.

One furious mother-of-two said she would now be fitting a burglar alarm on her £400,000 home and was thinking twice about updgrading her car.

“This is totally unacceptable,” she said. “Why were we not consulted on this?

“I would not be happy about my nine-year-old child playing outside alone now.

“I am going to get an alarm fitted and I’m not sure about getting a new car now. What about our house prices?

“My place is worth £400,000 but it’s sure to go down now.”

Another angry resident said: “I don’t think it’s right at all. This is a smart residential area and there are better places for them to go.

“I’m not beeing snooty but we don’t want these kind of people living here.”

One man who lives on the private chalet park at the back of the hotel said: “I have started locking my stuff away at night just in case.”

Another resident said: “It’s disgusting. All our house prices will go down now.”

But some residents said they were not concerned.

“I think we should live and let live,” said one man. “One of our friend’s recently had their house repossessed and he needed emergency accommodation.

“It all depends on how the place is run. But there has been no consultation with residents on this which has been

disappointing.”

One woman added: “As long as they are well behaved and don’t cause any problems for residents then I wouldn’t have

a problem with it.”

The Observer tried to contact owner Dr Maheswaren at the surgery he works at in London but he was unavailable.

Kevin Boorman, spokesman for Hastings Borough Council, confirmed: “The Sussex Edwardian hotel has agreed to accommodate some of those people who are on the council’s emergency homeless list.

“The hotel is accommodating people in six of its holiday chalets and two self-contained flats on site.

“The hotel itself can not be used for the homeless. That would require a submission for a change of use.”