Plans to tear down six empty houses and replace them with 50 flats have been approved by Adur councillors who praised the design as ‘attractive’.
The development, in Albion Street, Southwick, would have been bigger if it was not for one strip of unregistered land going right through the site, which cannot be built on.
Instead the site will house one block of 15 affordable flats, another block of 35 flats to be sold on the open market, and six more flats in two converted semi-detached houses.
Each block will be four to six storeys high.
George Barton (Con, Peverel) said he was ‘mystified’ that no one seemed to know who owned the strip of land, adding: “I didn’t think that was possible in this day and age, in particular with this thing called the Land Registry hovering around.”
James Appleton, head of planning, said: “There was a bigger scheme for the site and the unregistered land is an issue for us.
“We have sought to try to register the land but you need to have significant evidence if you are going to lay claim to land.”
Even without the mysterious land, members were very pleased with the plans put before them, giving a unanimous vote of approval.
The flats will include communal heating systems, meaning each building with have one central boiler which can be regulated by each flat. Both blocks will include solar panels.
As for the affordable flats, the meeting was told they would all be leased at 100 per cent social rent, rather than the more common 70 per cent rent, 30 per cent shared ownership.
The developer’s Section 106 contributions will include £7,959 to help reconfigure Southwick Library and £76,465 for cycle route improvements on the A259.
Brian Coomber (Con, St Nicolas) said: “I have to complement our officers and the developers on what I think is a quite attractive building on this site.
“I think the use of two-colour brick is really important. Too often, as we see across the road, you’ve got a block of flats and it’s all the same colour brick and it all looks rather boring.”