HOUSING could be built at “Worthing’s best-kept secret” to help fund improvements to the complex.
The idea has been floated for Field Place, Goring, which is currently a joint leisure and community centre hosting a wide range of activities.
Worthing Borough Council is looking at developing part of the eight-acre site and spending the income on improving the rest of it, including the main listed building.
Paul Yallop, leader of the council, said: “There has been an outline suggestion that maybe if a small part of it had some sort of development on it then that money could be invested to make the rest of it something quite special.
“It is a beautiful place, but has a bit of a municipal feel to it.
“It’s done very well with weddings, and has been turning the corner in terms of (financial) performance.
“The feeling is it needs more investment. A lot of people don’t even know it is there. It’s a lovely little corner of Worthing that a lot of people don’t appreciate.
“The main house is listed but could be used a lot more than it is. I feel there are opportunities.”
Worthing’s sports-related leisure facilities have been discussed by councillors in tandem with the future of the town’s theatres.
But the debate has been overshadowed by controversy surrounding the Connaught, Pavilion and Assembly Hall.
A Town Hall report said: “Field Place brings something unique to the portfolio and offers facilities and services to groups and individuals not available elsewhere.
“It is also currently developing new markets very strongly at present and its financial performance is improving rapidly.
“Many of the more traditional areas, such as lawn bowls, have declining markets and there does seem to be the potential to seek to develop some of the grounds to secure money and reduce costs.
“The existence of listed buildings would limit the scope for redevelopment and further work would need to be undertaken to assess development potential.”
Field Place activities include tennis, bowls, netball, pétanque, fitness classes, putting, and arts and crafts.
It also has a children’s playground and mini railway run by Worthing and District Society of Model Engineers.
n: The borough council is proposing to hand control of Davison Leisure Centre to West Sussex County Council, possibly by this September.
Worthing spent £1.4million in the late 1980s to develop the facility in the grounds of Davison High School for Girls, off Selborne Road.
The council hoped to maintain community use of the complex outside of school hours.