From the business desk: Will past affect new Aquarena plans?

CGI image of the new Aquarena tower plans SUS-160316-105120001
CGI image of the new Aquarena tower plans SUS-160316-105120001

A respectable reputation is key to success in business.

For many years, developer Roffey Homes has built a generally strong reputation for its developments.

But last year, reaction to two rejected proposals for Worthing seafront threatened to dent public confidence in the firm.

Now, with a new architect, Roffey has gone back to the drawing board, presenting fresh designs for the Aquarena swimming pool site.

As with the previous proposals, a tower block will be the talking point.

A compromise position appears to have been put forward, with initial concepts for the tower setting the height at 15 storeys. Before, it was 21.

Despite the reduction, debate will inevitably focus on whether a tower block is appropriate for the seafront.

Design will always be subjective. One resident likened it to a ‘slab of pancakes’, while others felt it was more visually pleasing.

Roffey’s biggest challenge, however, will be convincing the wider public that these plans are acceptable.

It starts the consultation process on the back foot, with previous objectors bound to view the scheme with scepticism because of what went before.

It comes down to reputation. Is Roffey’s long history, delivering more widely-welcomed developments, enough to convince the public? Or will the damage done by ‘Aquarena mark one’ be too much to overcome?

Appointment of a new architect, of course, was a wise move.

It signalled a fresh start for the plans, allowing a new team to present a different concept.

It will be interesting to see how the scheme is perceived.

It is early days and the initial plans will probably be tweaked, in light of feedback from the consultation.

But from speaking to the first few people through the door, while there was certainly a fair share of critics present, many seemed to be open to 
the plans.