Minelco site could look like Benidorm, says councillor

An artist's impression of what the Free Wharf development on the former Minelco site could look like. Picture: Southern Housing Group
An artist's impression of what the Free Wharf development on the former Minelco site could look like. Picture: Southern Housing Group
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The chairman of the Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association has expressed her fears that the Minelco site development could pave the way for a strip of Benidorm-style high-rise buildings.

Joss Loader, who was also recently elected as the Adur District councillor for Marine ward, was reacting to a public consultation held by Southern Housing Group, who own the site.

If a precedent is set, there is a major danger that this riverside strip will soon resemble Benidorm, with a series of high-rise buildings

Joss Loader

The developers put forward their initial design ideas and residents were able to give feedback.

Speaking on behalf of the residents’ association, Mrs Loader said: “This is a highly visible site from Shoreham Beach and there’s a great opportunity for an attractive development that really capitalises on its waterfront setting and spectacular views over the river.

“From talking to people, many residents fear the height is simply unacceptable.

“We would argue that people will view to so-called “landmark” buildings of up to 14-storeys as eyesores as many believe that St Mary’s Church should be the focal point, height wise.

“If a precedent is set, there is a major danger that this riverside strip will soon resemble Benidorm, with a series of high-rise buildings.”

Following the public exhibition, Alan Townshend, Group Development Director at Southern Housing Group, said: “More than 220 people came to see our initial proposals and to discuss the early designs with our project team. We received very positive feedback and many attendees supported our concept for the redevelopment of the former Minelco site.

“We will be working with the planning officers as well as the wider community, including the Shoreham beach Resident’s Association, to make sure that the final designs meet local expectations and are truly beneficial for Shoreham-by-Sea.

“Our proposed ‘landmark’ building will resonate with the existing character of the site and the surrounding built environment. We will make sure that our proposals are suitable for the town, and believe that this new development will be a real asset for Shoreham-by-Sea; particularly as it will introduce a considerable amount of public realm and a lively waterfront scene.

“We believe this will become an attractive and popular destination for the people of Shoreham-by-Sea, which will enhance views for residents living on both sides of the river.”

Mrs Loader also had concerns about how the site would impact traffic. She said: “The A259 is gridlocked at peak times and simply can’t cope with hundreds more cars from this site, plus other nearby developments on the Parcel Force site and at Riverside North.”

Mr Townshend responded to these concerns. He said: “As a responsible and experienced developer, we have already started conducting detailed studies of the local transport network, including the A259, and are discussing appropriate measures with the statutory consultees.

“Our application will also include a complete Environmental Impact Assessment to address any concerns related to infrastructure, education and health.

“We continue to welcome comments on our plans through our website freewharf.info. We will take all feedback into account to create amended proposals that we will present at a second public exhibition later this summer.”