First look at plans for 209 homes at former Worthing gas works site
A developer has submitted plans to build 209 flats on the former Worthing Gas Works site behind Waitrose supermarket.
St William Homes plans to build five blocks of flats on the empty land which will be between three and seven stories high.
The 209 flats would comprise 10 bedsits or studios, 50 one bed flats, 141 two bed flats, and eight 3 bed flats.
There would be 110 parking spaces for residents, 40 per cent of which would have electric vehicle charging points, and 205 bike spaces.
Inspiration for the appearance of the flats comes from Worthing’s Georgian buildings and surrounds and could include flint walls, private gardens or balconies, and a central square.
A residents’ lounge could take into account the future of work and would be equipped for remote working.
Plans could see the site made into a gateway for the town centre with new pedestrian routes.
Even though the pandemic prevented an in-person consultation, the developer says it has ‘worked closely’ with council officers, councillors, the Worthing Society and local residents.
After three rounds of consultation, St William Homes made several key changes to its designs including: reducing the height of the block to the north east of the site and also the tallest building, increasing the size of the central square, and improving the link between buildings facing the street and larger blocks.
At least eight residents have objected to the plans citing concerns about the number of flats, the height of the buildings, parking and congestion.
One Park Road resident said: “We think the number of residential apartments proposed for this site should be reduced. The five blocks should be no more than 3-4 storeys to help the appearance of this area.
They said that the two roads surrounding the site – Lyndhurst Road and Park Road – are ‘always very busy’ and Park Road is one way.
“The traffic flow along here needs to be kept to a minimum for the sake of the residents,” they added.
Another Park Road resident said that 110 parking spaces may not be enough, adding: “The assumption that cars will not be required by a significant number of residents, while laudable, is potentially unworkable without a major
upgrade to public transport provision.”
This concern was shared by a resident at adjoining Lyndhurst Road who said: “Having lived at this address for over 13 years the traffic volume has increased massively during that time…
“There needs to be a minimum of one parking space per domicile provided and I very much doubt this will be the case.”
A design and access statement claimed that residents would be able to use ‘active travel methods’ rather than cars with the site being around a 12 minute walk to Worthing station and close to the seafront.
Other concerns included the height of the tallest building, coming in at seven storeys.
A Park Road resident thought this ‘very high for the area’ with another concerned about the scale of the buildings and potential for overlooking existing properties.
A report commissioned by St William Homes found that the amount of daylight reaching existing properties would remain ‘very high’.
Council housing officers said that the size of the one bed flats was ‘less than standard’ for two occupants but would be suitable for one occupant. They added that the planned two bed flats would be suitable for two occupants but small for four. Additionally, they said the three bed flats may not be suitable for six occupants, according to national space standards.
St William Homes said it aims to ‘deliver essential new homes and jobs’ and ‘create places of exceptional quality’.
The site is currently used for storage and distribution by charities for overseas aid as well as overspill car parking for Worthing Hospital. The last gas holder was decommissioned in 2009 and demolished two years ago.
As Worthing Borough Council is struggling to meet its targets for housing land supply, commercial sites have been identified as a means to providing new homes in the absence of available land, without putting pressure on green spaces.
The former gas works was identified as having potential for development as part of the Worthing Local Plan.
More information about the proposal can be found at the Worthing planning portal using reference: AWDM/1459/21.
Jessica Hubbard , Local Democracy Reporting Service