Roffey seafront flats plans ‘push envelope too far’, appeal hears

An artist's impression of Roffey's proposals
An artist's impression of Roffey's proposals

Plans for a seafront development go ‘too far’ and should be lowered, a planning inquiry heard today.

An appeal against Worthing Borough Council’s rejection of Roffey Homes’ plans for the corner of West Parade and Grand Avenue began on Tuesday (April 5).

The opening day saw planning consultant Judith Livesey claim the plans – which include an 11-storey element – were ‘overly dominant’.

But a barrister representing Roffey argued Worthing may need to accept tall buildings to meet a significant shortfall in housing.

Ms Livesey said: “The proposal has pushed the envelope too far and would represent an overdevelopment of the site.”

Ms Livesey was tasked by the council to provide an independent analysis of the plans.

She told the appeal she deemed six or seven storeys an appropriate ‘starting point’, providing the scheme maintained the current building line.

She believed the existing Marine Point and Dolphin Lodge acted as landmark buildings and felt a new building should be lower.

But Roffey barrister James Pereira QC said six or seven storeys was not an ‘end point’, while the council had not objected to the principle of 11-storeys.

The appeal touched on Worthing’s housing shortage, with the authority unable to identify enough land to meet government targets.

Principal planning officer Ian Moody said there was ‘no realistic prospect’ of meeting the need because of environmental constraints.

Mr Pereira said: “One of the ways which Worthing in future will be looking to meet its housing needs is by building upwards.”

Mr Moody agreed – but stressed good design should not be overridden by a need to build more homes.

The appeal will continue until at least Friday. Government inspector John Gray also ruled on Roffey’s 2010 Vista Mare appeal.