COUNCILLORS voting to waive legal payments due on a Lancing Business Park redevelopment application were defeated on Monday.
Developers warned a £43,000 contribution due for cycling facilities may make plans to transform the former Graham Wood Steel site, in Chartwell Road, ‘unviable’.
The requirement for the payment, known as section 106 contributions, was triggered by a legal loophole after the application was split into two parts
Southwick Green councillor Peter Metcalfe, who supported waiving the payment, said: “We are talking about a wonderful opportunity for people to get jobs and the units will employ at least 40 people, so the idea residents wouldn’t benefit are not true, obviously.
“If it was one application then they wouldn’t be paying this money in the first place. I don’t want to put in jeopardy all these jobs.”
When a potential development requires section 106 contributions, it is up to the developer to negotiate with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) over the amount and purpose.
The payments often help pay for projects of community benefit, such as community centres and road improvements.
WSCC had already reduced its requirement from £73,000 to £43,000,
Geoff Patmore, councillor for Widewater ward, said: “Section 106 is a way for the community to benefit from any new development within the area and is probably the only benefit in some cases.
“This developer has already seen it reduce from £73,000 to £43,000. That’s a massive drop and I do think that it is probably pushing their luck a bit saying it wouldn’t go ahead for the sake of £43,000.”
Substitute member Pat Beresford said the debate was over-complicating matters, stating if no agreement was reached, permission could not be granted.
Councillors rejected an amendment to waive the payment, granting permission subject to agreement with WSCC being reached.
The application included eight new industrial units and parking, in addition to a new unit for Worthing firm Bidvest 3663.
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