Aquarena development ‘to add £15m to town economy’

Residents of New Parade, next to the Aquarena site in Brighton Road, protested about the height of the proposed 15-storey tower on Saturday
Residents of New Parade, next to the Aquarena site in Brighton Road, protested about the height of the proposed 15-storey tower on Saturday

The Aquarena redevelopment could inject £15million into Worthing’s economy, developers have claimed ahead of a decision on the plan.

The assertion was made by Roffey Homes, which has submitted a planning application to Worthing Borough Council to transform the former swimming pool and car park, in Brighton Road, into 141 apartments.

We very strongly believe that this development shall show the ambition of the town going forward, acting as a catalyst for further investor confidence to the benefit of all in the town

Roffey Homes

The final decision on the application will be made on Thursday at a meeting of the council’s planning committee.

In a report written by council planning officer Cian Cronin, he recommended that councillors approve the development. Roffey’s last application was rejected by the committee, despite officers recommending they approve it.

Weighing up the pros and cons, Mr Cronin said the plan ‘would redevelop a site which is currently dilapidated and in disrepair’ and create public parking, a seafront café and improvements to the seafront.

But he acknowledged that the proposed 15-storey tower, which would be ‘the tallest building in Worthing’, would cause ‘harm’ to the setting of heritage buildings nearby.

To conclude, Mr Cronin said: “These significant public benefits are considered on balance to outweigh the acknowledged harm to heritage assets.”

This comes as residents of New Parade, who live next to the Aquarena site, protested on Saturday about the height of the proposed tower which they described as ‘overbearing and intrusive’.

Mr Cronin said he received a petition opposing the application signed by 2,318 people and 1,045 letters of objection, versus 222 letters supporting the application.

His report included a letter from Roffey, which claimed the development would ‘conservatively deliver’ up to £15.6million into Worthing’s economy over the next ten years by encouraging further investments by developers and existing shops looking to appeal to new residents.

They in turn would spend more money locally, Roffey claimed. It said: “We very strongly believe that this development shall show the ambition of the town going forward, acting as a catalyst for further investor confidence to the benefit of all in the town.”

To read the full planning officer’s report, click here.

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