After attending the Aquarena development meeting I must admit I was disappointed with the result, although most of the public at the meeting and the speakers were against the development the council decided to push it through anyway.
Although it is agreed that this site desperately needs developing I feel that the tower block part of the plan is just too high.
As I understand it, the top floors will be penthouse suites and will more than likely be sold to weekend residents or to the short-term investment market who will have no long-term connection or interest in Worthing.
It seems unfair that the residents of New Parade and the other streets in that area will have the sunlight blocked from their properties summer and winter from approximately midday all year round just to serve the interests of a few buyers who will be here today and gone tomorrow.
I feel that some parts of the plan are quite attractive, especially the ‘wavy’ effect the architect has achieved on the tower block, and I think this would look nicer if it was continued on to the low rise part of the development and the Brighton Road-facing apartments.
Could the developer not reduce the height of the seafront-facing tower block, thereby reducing the shadow and add some floors to the low rise and Brighton Road portion of the development?
I also found strange the comments the planning officer made when asked why the 20 ‘social housing’ and ‘affordable housing’ tenants were not to be allocated parking spaces, his answer was that generally Social Housing and Affordable Housing tenants do not own cars and, therefore, do not need parking.
This seems to be somewhat out-of-touch thinking when there are junior doctors, NHS staff and other professionals who cannot afford to rent privately in the Worthing area, and it is probably this out-of-touch thinking that allowed the Bunce site to be developed with no social housing or affordable housing provision, or indeed any compensated payment to Worthing Borough Council.
Although the new Aquarena development has a lot to recommend it and we are all agreed that the old Aquarena site needs developing, we have to remember that when it was first opened the Aquarena was hailed as the jewel in Worthing’s crown and we all know what happened to that. Let’s hope that Worthing council works with the developers to reduce the height of the tower block.
I am sure they will still see a reasonable return on their investment.
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