HOLDERS of ten chalets on Worthing’s East Beach are facing eviction after the council voted to turn their seaside accommodation into artists studios.
The chalet holders presented the council with a petition of almost 2,500 signatures but their efforts were rejected at Thursday’s Worthing and Adur Joint Strategic Committee meeting.
Worthing councillors voted unanimously to approve the scheme, which will now go to the planning committee.
Paul Doran, spokesman for the chalet holders, said he felt the petition had not been dealt with properly and that it should have been debated at the latest full council meeting.
He said: “I thought we were not treated seriously at all.”
The group were angered by Cllr Clive Roberts who they say ‘rubbished’ the petition.
Mr Roberts said: “I struggle to find how 2,246 people signed this statement and I’m sure they didn’t all read it.”
Mr Roberts’ comments were met with cries of outrage from the public gallery.
Mr Doran said afterwards that he had personally gathered at least 1,500 of the signatures, and they had been physically submitted to the council.
Cllr Bryan Turner said: “It is our ambition to develop the tourism economy in Worthing and I don’t think we need quiet zones in the town centre any more.”
He said a council plan backed by the public in 2006 agreed the area should be an ‘active beach zone’, and that attractions such as Splashpoint, the mini golf course and the beach volleyball courts were attracting more people.
He said the area needed a 21st century resort with things for people to see, buy, and tell their friends about, which would give them reasons to come to Worthing.
Worthing council leader Paul Yallop agreed the petition should have been debated at the full council meeting and apologised for the council getting into a ‘muddle’.
The group is seeking a public apology from Mr Roberts for his comments.