Health bosses unanimously agreed to look at turning a rehab centre into supported housing for people with mental health needs.
Knoll House, in Ingram Crescent, Hove, will either become high-level supported housing for adults with mental health needs or lower-level supported housing for adults with a mental health condition who can live independently.
A business case for both options will come back before the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board in January.
The board includes representatives of Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Healthwatch Brighton and Hove.
Green councillor Sue Shanks asked for a report into what therapy and rehabilitation services were available locally.
She said: “We are concerned the changes do not allow enough time to discuss the original closure … to allow us to flag this up as we’ve been contacted by residents and had communications with people about it.
“They felt this was good provision. They weren’t sure why it was closing. It would be better if we could have had that discussion early with public involvement.”
Rob Persey, the council’s executive director for health and adult social care, said: “We have had a particular issue in the city over the last two years. There is a significant number of working age adults in residential accommodation.
“This is not an ideal pathway for people to follow. The majority of these people would have opportunities to live more independently if they were not moved to a residential setting.
“We are short of supported accommodation in the city for adults with mental health conditions, so we would like to explore in more detail the options on how we can look at Knoll House to look at this group.”
Mr Persey described the situation as unusual as the rehabilitation service was operating as a temporary arrangement.
The council had worked with staff to make sure there are no compulsory redundancies.
He said 11 beds are opening in Ireland Lodge in October and staff are needed there.
Fellow Green councillor Sarah Nield asked for a report into the CCG’s capacity to meet the needs of people who need intensive and specialist nursing care, details on where facilities are based and information on the impact of new facilities outside Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Nield was particularly concerned about the distances involved and the impact on patients and their families of people being sent out of the city for intensive rehabilitation care.
She said: “The practical side is to have family members to visit. I am concerned we are sending patients to recover, isolated from their family and friends.
“Have we thought about the detrimental affects of that isolation or how we are going to help family and friends with their travel costs.”
She reminded the board the council had declared a climate emergency and transporting people would have an environmental impact.
CCG director of commissioning Ashley Scarff said that there was currently a Sussex-wide review of step-down – or recovery – beds which was looking at demand and capacity.
He said: “It is worth noting we do have people from Brighton and Hove who are not accommodated in the city.
“They are in intermediate beds in Crowborough and Uckfield. Part of this plan is to make sure we can provide this care closer.”
Board members voted unanimously in favour of receiving these extra reports in November.
Labour councillor Clare Moonan, who chairs the board, said: “We still have our service. It is a smaller services – not across two homes, but it is not a closure.
“It fits within the bigger picture of hospital discharge and respite.
“And we have the beautiful Knoll House to think about how we can use that to serve people with other needs in the city as inclusively as we can.”