Plans to revamp buildings owned by Beales in Worthing town centre to provide 45 new flats and seven new retail outlets have been approved by councillors.
Beales currently occupies two main stores in Worthing spread over five different buildings on South Street and back onto Montague Place.
The planning application, put forward by St Clair Developments, would see £250,000 invested in creating a new store for Beales, which will be about half the size of its current units.
More than 5,200 sqft of new smaller retail units will be created in Montague Place for independent and bespoke retailers, in addition to a 6,000 sqft store in South Street.
A series of one, two and three bedroom properties will then be created above the retail space, nine of which will be affordable housing.
The ground floor plans for the scheme included in the planning application show storage space for 48 bikes, eight parking bays and three disabled parking bays.
Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee approved the proposal at a meeting last night (Wednesday December 19, 2018), subject to legal agreements.
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “This is a major boost for our town centre, securing a major department store for years to come while delivering new modern retail units to provide jobs to local workers.
“The creation of new properties is also to be welcomed creating much-needed housing in a popular central location.
“This supports our determination to improve and sustain the overall vitality of the centre of Worthing.
“We all know that things are tough for UK retail at the moment.
“But applications like this show there is no shortage of people looking to invest in our vibrant town.”
In writing to the support the application, Tony Brown, CEO of Beales, confirmed that the company would be signing a 15-year lease on the new store.
Mr Brown added: “I can confirm that the old store and arrangements were unsustainable for the long-term future of Beales Worthing.
“Working with a responsive landlord willing to engage and agree a plan for the long-term future of the store is good for Beales, St. Clair and Worthing town centre.”
Councillor Paul Yallop, Chairman of Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee, said: “The development will significantly enhance the character of the site and to provide a high quality mixed use development.
“The Committee recognises the challenges posed to the High Street caused by online shopping and believes schemes such as this will help to ensure our town centre continues to thrive.
“There was some concern that the level of affordable housing was not at the 30 per cent mark but, overall, it was felt that this was offset by the promised investment in a high-profile part of our town.”