Aquarena open space application decision imminent

The residents were angered by plans to sell-off public open space
The residents were angered by plans to sell-off public open space

A DECISION over plans to dispose of public open space next to the Aquarena which angered local residents is due to be made next week.

The application, which concerns the site of the old boating lake near the old swimming pool was met with dismay by residents of New Parade.

As a result, 260 objections were sent to Worthing Borough Council.

The final say over whether the land is sold-off rests on council leader Paul Yallop – a decision that should be made by July 2.

Andrew Avison, of New Parade, who is a leading figure in the fight against the disposal, said if the decision goes against the residents, he will take the matter further.

He said: “I will do what I believe is the right thing for the people of Worthing.

“It doesn’t just affect myself and my neighbours, but plenty of people in the area that will be affected.

“If the decision goes against us, I will send the case to the ombudsman, and I will be looking at every move the council makes to make sure it is acting correctly.”

A report outlining the objections lists 14 arguments for keeping the land as a designated public open space.

They include suggestions that it is an “environmental asset”, a “popular tourist and visitor area”, and that disposing of it does not respect the Worthing Core Strategy.

But the report suggests the land is needed to cover the budget shortfall from building the new Splashpoint pool.

It reads: “The council has already sold a number of assets to pay for the new facility and has funded £10m of the cost to date.

“This leaves a substantial shortfall of £9.7m. The sale of the Aquarena site will make a significant contribution towards meeting this funding shortfall.”

A second application relating to the Aquarena site is also being considered.

It concerns a change of use application of the site from leisure to planning.

This administrative change is required in order for the council to sell-off the land;.

In total, 197 objections were received, citing similar concerns to the other application.