Plans to build flats and shops in a conservation area in worthing town centre have been slammed as “profiteering from public land”.
A planning application to build 14 residential flats and 448 square metres of retail floor-space on the eastern flank of Montague Place is due to be considered by Worthing Borough Council planning officers before the end of the year.
Previous applications have been submitted to build similar developments on the land but have been unsuccessful.
Montague Place has conservation status because of its historical buildings, many of which date to the 18th century.
In a design statement submitted to the council, the developer, Gracemount Developments, said: “Montague Place is currently an unattractive area largely taken up with on-street car parking and dead frontage of the former Woolworth’s store. The council’s adopted master plan sets out proposals for an enhancement of this area, which will bring with it improved access between Montague Street and the seafront and an enhanced leisure experience.”
The application has been criticised by the Worthing Society, which described it as “profiteering from public land”.
David Sawyer, committee member, said: “It’s taking part of the public realm, to which the public has access, for private profit. Any renovations to the area should be cosmetic, not a private development.”
The plans would lead to Montague Place becoming largely pedestrianised, with some parking spaces being lost, including disabled bays.
The land is currently owned by West Sussex County Council.
Disabled Tarring councillor Norah Fisher said: “We do welcome the development – it’s a bit of an eyesore there because of the blank wall. But we need more rather than fewer disabled parking bays.”
A number of objections to the development have been raised on the council’s planning website, with several people calling the plans an “over-development”.
Others said there were already too many empty shops in the area.
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