Is Shoreham destined for a future of high-rise housing?

St Mary de Haura church, in Shoreham. Picture by Eddie Mitchell
St Mary de Haura church, in Shoreham. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

Concerns tall buildings could forever change the character of Shoreham has prompted residents to call a public meeting.

Councillors, planning officers and developers have been invited to a debate next month, led by the Shoreham Society and Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association.

It comes amid potential for buildings of up to 14 storeys as part of new developments across the town.

Residents’ association chairman and independent councillor for Marine ward, Joss Loader, said: “Like many local people, we firmly believe that St Mary’s Church should continue to be the highest point on Shoreham town centre’s skyline.

“We do not oppose development of brownfield sites in principle but packing in hundreds of homes and building them high can only impact on the area’s already over-burdened infrastructure.”

The Shoreham Society highlighted numerous developments of concern.

This includes works at the former Parcelforce site, in Brighton Road, which will reach a maximum of seven storeys.

Tall buildings could also form part of the Minelco site redevelopment – known as Free Wharf – with the society claiming plans could involve a 14-storey tower.

And height is an important factor, according to those seeking to develop it.

Alan Townshend, group development director at Southern Housing Group, said: “Free Wharf is a site with many challenging environmental conditions and, to respect the policy framework that requires benefits and infrastructure for the local community, we have considered the option of a higher rise block in order to deliver a viable development.

“Our plans are still at the pre-planning application stage and we believe that the height of the proposed buildings is a key component of achieving a viable regeneration for the site.

“As part of our commitment to delivering a sustainable project for this part of Adur, we will present our final proposals to the public before submitting our planning application later this year.”

Government data suggests 291 homes need to be built annually over the next 15 years to meet demand in Adur.

Adur District Council, as part of its local plan, has identified enough land for just 180 homes per year – some 2,000 short of the assessed target. The council is constrained by a lack of available space.

Admission to the debate, on Thursday, October 13, at Sussex Yacht Club, in Brighton Road, is free. The meeting will start at 7pm.