A plea has been made to stall the sale of a council building used by rough sleepers in Bognor Regis during the winter months.
At a meeting of Arun District Council’s housing and planning working group, members asked for Glenlogie to be made available for cold-weather sanctuary and not be considered for sale completion until after March 31.
Group member Terence Chapman said: “It is our responsibility as a council to ensure we don’t have people freezing to death on our streets.
“We cannot have people dying in the cold due to lack of shelter in the Arun district.”
Cllr Chapman said once an event taking place today, designed to bring different agencies working with the homeless together, had been held, the council would have a clearer picture of what actions it needed to take.
Fellow group member Jacky Pendleton agreed it was the council’s duty to provide shelter.
“We should provide for people who are rough sleeping in times of cold weather – it is our duty,” she said.
The comments followed a report from the council’s housing services manager Corinne Waterfield.
She told members as Glenlogie was being sold, provisions to use a smaller property had been made.
“In previous years Glenlogie has been used to house rough sleepers during the period between December and March. But it is uncertain whether this will be the case this year, as it is to be sold.
“We have identified another three-bedroomed property which could be used. It is not ideal as it is smaller than Glenlogie, which means it could not accommodate so many people.
“Using this property may be less than ideal, but if we have to, we will make it work.”
Member Barbra Oakley condemned the decision to sell Glenlogie.
“It is mad to be getting rid of Glenlogie. In five years’ time we will be desperate for a property like this. We will live to regret selling it.”
Ms Waterfield said it was considered ‘best practice’ for councils to provide accommodation for rough sleepers if the temperature dropped below zero for three consecutive nights. But it was not a legal requirement.
The decision to stall the sale of Glenlogie will be made by Arun’s cabinet member for finance and central services, Dudley Wensley.