A specialist charity is being asked to move into new areas to plug a gap left by the closure of residential places at the London Lighthouse.

A consultation exercise by Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster health authority on reproviding residential services for people with HIV and AIDS found that the Griffin Project in Earl's Court was the only option for clients who did not want to be in a Christian institution.

The project specialises in services for drug users with HIV and AIDS. But a report presented to a HA board meeting yesterday said it should look at developing services for a more general group.

Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster community health council chair Judith Blakeman said the proposals showed 'the whole decision to close the Lighthouse residential unit was daft'.

The Griffin Project currently charges 1,820 a week for patients, based on a 90 per cent occupancy rate which is not being achieved. London Lighthouse charged less.

A well placed senior manager involved in HIV and AIDS services admitted that the outcome showed 'bland assurances that there were ample other providers after the Lighthouse' were 'not entirely true'.

The report also recommends that the HA expand its use of residential services at three more London hospitals and hospices.