A public consultation on development of Worthing’s Teville Gate is expected in September, Worthing Borough Council confirmed today (Friday, September 1).
A report to councillors revealed the latest timetable for long-awaited development, with a planning application anticipated by the end of November.
The report also seeks cabinet members’ approval to explore the possibility of demolishing the multi-storey car park to ‘significantly improve the appearance of the site’.
The report read: “A planning performance agreement has been submitted with a revised public consultation programmed for the end of September in anticipation of a planning application submission by the end of November 2017.
“These proposals would bring further momentum to the redevelopment and make an immediate improvement to the visual appearance of the site.”
The council said it had ‘been successful’ in bringing owners, Mosaic, together with the owner of Teville Gate House.
The parties have discussed a ‘more comprehensive redevelopment of the site’ and the planning application is expected to include both plots of land.
In terms of the car park, the council is hoping to demolish the building and replace it with a surface car park. The council leases the building from Mosaic, so would need the firm’s permission to do so.
The car park’s five upper floors and two annexes were closed in May due to a lack of demand for spaces.
The work, which could cost an estimated £1.5million, could be paid for with part of the Local Growth Fund cash received from the Government.
The report said the demolition would be a ‘positive step forward’ and would allow Mosaic to consider knocking down the other buildings on site.
It stated: “Although the Council needs to take its own action to deal with the car park for good economic reasons, as indicated earlier this may encourage Mosaic to demolish the remainder of the buildings on the site. There may be an opportunity for the council to make further savings and achieve economy of scale by demolishing the multi-storey car park at the same time as Mosaic intends to carry out its own demolition work.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Bob Smytherman suggested demolishing the site earlier this year, to show the council was ‘committed to action’.
Discussing the merit of the idea at full council in April, then cabinet member for regeneration Bryan Turner said it was ‘not sensible, not possible’ as the council did not own the land.
Speaking today, Mr Smytherman said: “It’s just a shame the Tories didn’t act when I first proposed demolishing the site earlier this year. We may then have received a serious application before Christmas.”
Mosaic purchased the Teville Gate site in June, 2015, promising a ‘world-class’ development.
But a planning application expected by the end of 2015 never materialised, with the target date continually rolled back.
In a statement released through the council in December, 2016, Mosaic director Aized Sheikh pledged to hold a consultation event in February. A planning application was then timetabled for ‘spring’.
Neither materialised and requests by the Herald for Mr Sheikh to explain the delay were never replied to.
The joint strategic committee – a meeting of cabinet members – will discuss the latest progress on Tuesday, September 12. The meeting will be held in the Gordon Room, at Worthing Town Hall, from 6.30pm.