A wrangle over the ownership of a key building could be solved with more than £9million of public funds as council officials look to kick-start development at Teville Gate.
New owners Mosaic Global Investments bought the run down site last June, promising a ‘world-class’ development and a potential planning application by the end of 2015.
But progress has appeared to stall – and it has since transpired that a major part of the site – Teville Gate House – is still owned by Hanson Capital Management, which previously owned the whole site.
Worthing Borough Council has lodged a £9.4million bid as part of the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF) initiative, part of which could pay for a compulsory purchase of the building.
Cabinet member for regeneration Bryan Turner said the council would prefer to work in partnership but did not rule out an intervention.
He said: “The new owners have been in place long enough to realise what they have on their hands and we are well placed to help them deliver. I think they (Mosaic) could do better but we are here to help them and hope the LGF bid will help speed them up.”
The bid could help facilitate a mixed-use development, including residential and space for start up businesses.
It also includes plans to help secure a multiplex cinema at Union Place.
An additional bid of £8million to decontaminate land and improve access at Decoy Farm, which the council hopes to transform for employment use, has also been submitted.
Labour’s Jim Deen argued the council’s preference for a cinema at Union Place had ‘potentially sucked the life out’ of any future plans for Teville Gate.
He said the site had become a ‘joke’ and called for a stronger vision.
He said: “Labour thinks it’s time for some decisive and innovative thinking about all the development sites in Worthing – particularly Teville Gate. The council needs to be sending out a clear and unequivocal message about the kind of development it wants to meet Worthing’s aspirations and needs. At the heart of that has to be a significant social and affordable housing element.”