MPs take sides as Aquarena petitions war continues

Worthing's MPs have expressed their stance on the Aquarena plans as a war of petitions to sway councillors is underway.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 12:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 12:47 pm
Worthing Aquarena plans, submitted to Worthing Borough Council. Pictured in the background is the controversial tower

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, has previously opposed the plans.

Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West, said the latest plan should be rejected ‘because its height, bulk and prominence are each inappropriate’ and called for Roffey to consult in advance with himself, Mr Loughton and local people.

He also made comparisons between the proposed tower and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, which dominates the city skyline.

MP Peter Bottomley

Mr Bottomley said: “The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth does show the harbour entrance from a distance at land and at sea. There is no similar gain from a noticeable building at the Aquarena site.”

The plans for the former swimming pool site in Brighton Road include a controversial 15-storey tower, which critics have labelled as ‘out of place, ugly and overbearing’.

Roffey Homes went back to the drawing board when it saw its previous plans, which included a higher, 21-storey tower block, rejected in September 2015.

More than 1,000 residents launched official objections.

The Spinnaker Tower, pictured centre, in Portsmouth Harbour. Picture: Shaun Roster Photography

Hundreds of residents have submitted official representations direct to the council for the latest plans. Just over 1,000 residents have objected, while 221 support Roffey’s plans.

The Worthing Society and the Save Our Seafront campaign have gathered 2,318 signatures in its physical petition against the plans, as well as a further 115 names online and 700 letters.

They were submitted to Worthing Borough Council’s headquarters at Portland House on Friday – the final day of the public consultation.

The final decision on the future of the site will be made at a council meeting on January 19. The deadline to speak at the meeting is at midday on Monday.

MP Peter Bottomley

Susan Belton said: “We hope the councillors on the planning committee will recognise the strength of feeling from the residents, who have taken time to come out in all weather to sign this petition.”

This comes as businessman Paul O’Brien started his own petition in support of the plans, which has garnered more than 200 signatures.

He said: “I think like many we are just bored of the stagnation of many of our derelict areas and with multiple planning applications coming forward in 2017 we want this to be the year that Worthing begins to reach its potential.”

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The Spinnaker Tower, pictured centre, in Portsmouth Harbour. Picture: Shaun Roster Photography

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