From the business desk: is Teville Gate sale another false dawn?

Teville Gate cuttings SUS-150428-163923001
Teville Gate cuttings SUS-150428-163923001

MUCH excitement has greeted today’s announcement of the sale of Teville Gate – but is this positive news too good to be true?

As business reporter, Teville Gate has often haunted my dreams, as I desperately sought information about the latest developments.

And looking back into the Herald archives this afternoon, I was certainly not the first to experience frustration over inactivity.

In 2004, veteran reporter Brian Stephens told readers of Hanson Capital Management’s takeover of the site, with Keith Mercer, who was leader at the time, talking of hopes for a mixed use development.

With this is mind and today’s talk of a mixed use application, it is not surprising to see numerous people sceptical about the plans.

When the new developer is announced, it is crucial they get off to a good start. They cannot just talk a good game but must show signs of progressing the long run-down site swiftly.

Nearby Union Place is looking set for a mixed use makeover and its new owners have spoken of their desire not to let the project stagnate.

I am sure Worthing Borough Council and both its officers and councillors will be pushing the new owners hard for a planning application that is deliverable.

All parties need to restore the town’s confidence and finally deliver on years of promises.

The hopes for the site have barely changed, too.

Already, we have seen several readers on our social media pages put a permanent ice rink on top of their wish list. In 1976, talk of an ice rink was muted.

An independent survey at the time suggested a rink, strangely on top of the multi-storey car park, would not be a money spinner.

To my mind, the town’s current arrangement with the temporary ice rink works well. I am not convinced a long-term arrangement would be financially viable, with day time slots struggling, at times, to draw large crowds this year.

Housing will inevitably form a major part of any new development but I hope this can fund an ample commercial venture, too.

Could this finally be time for Worthing to get a Nandos? What would you like to see?

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