Aquarena – a ‘bloated curse’ on Worthing

Let’s call the Aquarena 15-storey fantasy ‘Roffey’s Folly’ (for the lolly).

Its ridiculously domineering height is misconceived, miscast and mismatched. Nobody needed to see their exhibition of pre-building application plans to realise that. Just the artist’s impression, by definition understated, twice in the Herald was enough.

Worthing’s laughing stock when the town noisily ejected their previous 21-story kite flyer, Roffey have lowered the bar of their seafront gold dig. It’s still an absurdity. An exceptionally tall but unfortunately fat basketball player dwarfs his rival race jockey as he lines up for the 2.30.

Roffey in their exhibition talked up the architectural power of the adjacent Splashpoint building. But their 15 storeys sledgehammer it into submission and Matchbox toy insignificance, and it cynically takes them only four to obscure Splashpoint’s eastern side with its own building line.

If I had designed Splashpoint, and been given its imaginative freedom I’d now wonder why I’d bothered.

No Worthing seafront building east of Dolphin Lodge (in the distant west) exceeds 10 storeys. The Seabright trio west of Heene Terrace(still more than a mile away from the Folly) reaches 10 but they have little aesthetically commendable. One sole seafront building further west eastwards reaches eight (Augusta House, Still some way west of thre pier)So nwhat justifies 15?

Roffey’s Folly does strike an aesthetic chord, even of for some it’s amusing (The Pile of Pancakes).

The replacement architects have created what would become the most interesting seafront residential design yet. But anyone can see it doesn’t need even eight storeys to make its point or superior effect.

Is this seafront profit plunder what our civic representatives Are going to pander to? To be complicit with? To snuggle up in bed to? Roffey are still taunting them. We can guess that none of the ‘affordable’ housing , part of the council’s intended deal with Roffey, will be in the top half of the building. And there will be brownfield spaces where that quota can be more plentiful ly addressed than on the seafront.

I still broke into laughter reading the Roffey exhibition philosophy spin.

Self-appointedly they declare a sentinal role for their Folley, marking Worthing town centre saeafront’s eastern end. Westminster Court, Brighton Road already does this. So is henry V111 back on the throne?

Is this a maxi-Martello Tower to warn invaders? As for making on our behalf a statement of economic future wellbiing , we don’t have a confidence problem, Roffey, thank you.

Iyt’s totally about Roffey tempting the council planners and councillors to eset a precedent that ensures Roffey’s future prosperity in Worthing. And after granting 15 storeys, the decision makers would be looking back on chagrin at their legacy of hubris. If erected at this disproportionate height, Roffey’s Folly will be a permanent overpowering symbol of something that’s not Worthing – to quote the [poet Keith Ried, a ‘loaded bloated curse’.

Richard Amey

Boundary Road

Worthing

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