'˜Change often hard to accept', final day of Roffey inquiry hears

A government inspector must decide whether rejected plans for Worthing seafront are '˜out of character' or '˜well-designed', after a four-day inquiry closed today (Friday, April 8).

Friday, 8th April 2016, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2016, 5:12 pm
An artist's impression of Roffey's proposals

Worthing Borough Council and Roffey Homes barristers made their closing statements today relating to the developer’s plans for the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade.

It will be several weeks before John Gray, who also chaired a planning inquiry into The Shard, in London, publishes his decision.

Urging him to reject the appeal, the council’s barrister Stephen Whale said: “When judged in the round, the appeal scheme would appear unduly assertive and bulky and out of character with the surrounding development, failing to achieve the high standard of design expected of a tall building.

“This would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area, contrary to the development plan and national policies.”

Mr Whale said it was ‘telling’ that so many residents had objected and the fact Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley had become involved, despite his statement on Thursday that he was ‘seldom’ engaged in such matters.

But Roffey’s barrister, James Pereira QC, countered by stating it ‘should not be forgotten that the scheme attracted very many representations of support’.

In his closing remarks, Mr Pereira said change was ‘often hard to accept’ and existing tall buildings like Dolphin Lodge would initially have felt ‘alien’ to residents.

But now, he said, they were ‘held up as complementary landmarks to be cherished.

He added: “The appeal scheme is a well-designed building that will make a valued addition to Worthing’s townscape on this important corner site. It will sit very comfortably within the existing context of tall buildings along West Parade while addressing the corner and its tall building neighbours on Grand Avenue.

“Good standards of amenity will be maintained for neighbouring residents.”

Mr Gray will make a series of site visits on Tuesday morning with representatives of all interested parties.