COLUMN: Tall buildings can be beautiful

OUTRAGE often accompanies many residential developments, especially when plans involve change

A ‘carbuncle’, ‘overbearing’ and ‘not in keeping’ were just some of the scathing reviews of Worthing’s £17 million Splashpoint swimming pool when developers were seeking planning permission in 2010.

And four years later, the potential replacement for its concrete neighbour, the Aquarena, is receiving equally glowing critiques.

Dismay over local firm Roffey’s plans primarily focuses on the height and design of the proposed 21-storey tower block.

While many residents remain steadfastly against the idea, I think the £40 million investment not only makes business sense but could provide an iconic entrance to the town – and the only way that will be the case is by building tall.

One of the knock-on effects of Splashpoint is the cost to Worthing Borough Council. It was inevitable that the Aquarena site would be sold to offset some of the cost of the new pool.

Costing in excess of £5 million, Roffey needs to maximise the relatively small site. It is not on the scale of Teville Gate and I can see the logic in building a tower - would it be viable at that price by creating a scheme of just a few storeys?

In my opinion, building tall and sleek is the way forward.

Demanding ten storeys or less could lead to a bulkier, uncharacteristic design, as more flats could be packed in to compensate.

Design is subjective but as a fan of modern buildings it appeals to me.

It is not too far off the likes of the Lipstick Tower, in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. And that is successfully set in historic surroundings.

Splashpoint was hardly ‘in keeping’ with its surroundings, nor was the Aquarena, yet the award-winning pool does sit nicely on the seafront.

I think with a bit of tweaking, perhaps with the addition of more glass over the stark white aspects, this development could do the same – but be striking from afar, not just close up.

Worthing’s core strategy points to the site’s potential to house a ‘landmark building’ to act as a ‘catalyst’ for rejuvenation of the town.

Worthing is on the up – literally, in this case – and a well-designed tower could represent a beacon for regeneration.