Less parking wanted at new Worthing flats scheme

REVISED plans to develop a West Worthing “bank corner” look set to get a conditional go-ahead from planners.

Worthing Council’s planning committee will tomorrow (Wednesday, December 21) be recommended to approve a reduction in the number of parking spaces for flats to be built at the north-east corner of the Heene Road/Rowlands Road junction.

The site comprises a semi-derelict former bank and the adjacent cleared site formerly occupied by Holcombe House.

Planning permission was granted in July, 2003, to build 23 flats in a two-block scheme which included basement and surface car parking.

Now, the applicant is seeking permission to reduce the car parking spaces from 27 to 20 through omitting the basement parking.

The proposal also includes a restriction stipulating that the flats must be occupied by people aged at least 55 years.

New regulations, however, require all schemes of 15 or more dwellings to provide 30 per cent affordable housing.

The applicant has been asked to provide this by way of a commuted sum (£345,000) to provide off-site provision elsewhere, to avoid unreasonable disruption to the scheme.

But the applicant has said the previously approved scheme was already unviable with a profit margin of around seven per cent, hence the new application to delete basement parking which would raise the profit margin to around 12 per cent.

However, the additional affordable housing development contribution would again render the scheme unviable, said the applicant, but he has agreed to pay this contribution if the development became sufficiently profitable.

An officers’ report says the government is encouraging councils to be more pragmatic on this contributions issue, recognising the importance of reviving the wider economy. This approach applied to the current application.

It is being recommended that the decision for approval be delegated to the executive head of planning, regeneration and well-being, subject to completion of a legal agreement.