A PUBLIC inquiry over Roffey Homes’ plans for a seafront development will begin today (Tuesday, April 5).
A four-day hearing will see the developer go up against Worthing Borough Council and residents opposed to rejected proposals for land on the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade.
The 11-storey block of flats was rejected by the council’s planning committee in April last year, over concerns it would cause ‘substantial harm’ to neighbours.
But Roffey will argue the plans are acceptable and will provide a £15million economic boost, while the town in desperate need of homes.
Arguments submitted by Chris Barker, director of ECE, planning agents representing Roffey, stated: “There are considered to be no harmful impacts created by the development that significantly and demonstrably outweigh the clear and substantial benefits associated with the delivery of housing to meet the significant acknowledged housing need within the borough.”
Mr Barker’s evidence highlights how government data reveals a need for 636 new homes annually to meet growing demand.
Through the local plan process, authorities are supposed to identify enough suitable land for development for five years – but the council can only find half that figure.
In his evidence, council principal planning officer Ian Moody argued a significant shortage of land meant there was ‘no realistic prospect’ of the town delivering 636 homes per year.
He said the issue ‘did not override’ other problems with Roffey’s plans –including the need for ‘good design and layout’.
In his submissions, planning officer Peter Devonport wrote that the design of the proposed building was ‘neither outstanding nor innovative’.
He added: “The quality of the building falls well short of the high standards expected of a very tall building, especially at this particular location on the seafront, where views are more sensitive.”
The appeal will be heard from 10am at Worthing Assembly Hall, in Stoke Abbott Road.
Phil Abbott, co-chairman of Protect Worthing Seafront campaign group, said: “Our campaign is going exceedingly well, which of course is very pleasing.
“We urge members of the public to attend the public inquiry at the Assembly Hall, particularly on the first morning, if they intend registering to speak.”