Aquarena Centre design '˜a poor compromise'
We attended the public consultation arranged by Roffey Homes and, sadly, our expectations were dashed.
It followed the earlier consultation regarding the Aquarena site redevelopment, when it became clear that there was substantial criticism, especially for the original plan for a 21-storey apartment block and also the intensive lower elevated residential accommodation.
We were at that time informed that the comments generated by residents would be considered and reviewed with alternative proposals to be submitted.
However, the alternative design turned out to be a poor compromise with a reduction of the main structure height reduced to 15 storeys.
That revised proposal also was met with strong criticism mainly with regard to the height of the the main structure.and further promises were made by Roffey Homes to reconsider the general design.
The current revised planning proposal for the above site was an expected ‘no real change’ in what is turning out to be an ugly, incongruous and totally inappropriate development.
Despite promises to present a design that would enhance the Worthing shoreline, there has just been a shuffling of the general structures, but no change in the most prominent element – the 15-storey structure.
This will dominate the surrounding area, especially as the development will set a precedent for future multi-storey structures on the beach side of the Brighton Road. As there are no existing structures of equivalent height on that side of the road, the main structure will stand out as an unattractive eyesore because the immediate surrounding buildings are of a design reflecting a balance for the local beach area. If this development is allowed to proceed, it will be the start of visual decline of Worthing seafront – the adjacent Splashpoint leisure centre is at least an acceptable design for the location.
The proposed Aquarena redevelopment by Roffey Homes will, sadly, be a major carbuncle (we feel the word ‘wart’ would also be appropriate), particularly on that site.
Despite their best efforts, the project architects have succeeded in emphasising the major error of squeezing a totally unsuitable design onto this very limited site – the result demonstrating the ‘quart into a pint pot’ has been extended to a ‘gallon into a pint pot’!
There have been many comments from the public, especially as to why the Aquarena site has to be considered for the Roffey development and it is felt by many residents (the petitions, public meetings and objections raised against the earlier designs confirm this), so why are the council not putting more pressure on the owners of the Teville Gate site to negotiate a suitable alternative redevelopment there? Teville Gate is a far more attractive site for such a redevelopment with that location having so much more potential.
What is the council up to? Remember, if the Aquarena project is allowed to proceed as currently proposed, Worthing will have to live with the consequences for a very long time and councillors and Roffey Homes will be criticised and held to account for a highly controversial project. Far better for a change of location, and the Aquarena site to be made into an extension of the existing, highly popular Splashpoint, a far more appropriate and a more attractive venue for all Worthing and district residents. We have been told that the proposed redevelopment is really to allow for the Splashpoint centre cost to be recovered – for such a site, it would seem that very little consideration was given to that situation. There seems to be a whiff of panic and desperation in the current actions.
One hopes that Roffey Homes, Worthing Borough Council and supporters of the redevelopment will reconsider this site more suited for leisure purposes – Worthing needs it!
Peter and Carole Mendham
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