The Aquarena saga was always going to have a touch of Marmite to anyone with an interest in the town.
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I think the council scored a massive own goal, not only by rebuilding it in the wrong place, but also with the design and what they got for their money.
They even missed out on the opportunity to give a huge nod to the history of the town by naming it after Worthing’s teenage Olympic swimmer, Angela Barnwell, whose amazing story from the 1950s could have inspired many of our youngsters. But it was not to be. We ended up with Splashpoint, much maligned in certain quarters, but it is what it is.
Next up was what was to be built on the old site, and the chance for Worthing to put down a statement of intent.
Clearly one man’s meat is another man’s poison and the original plans put forward by Roffey ruffled one or two feathers.
Thankfully, with some flexibility on both sides, compromise was achieved and the Bayside development was rubber stamped.
Building started some time ago and is well on schedule.
Even more impressive are the sales figures with the developers reporting that Michael Jones has already sold almost 50 per cent of the properties, long before completion, and with the apartments starting at a very competitive price of £220,000 everyone’s budget is catered for, not to mention the all-important provision of social housing meaning it will be a development for the whole town, not the elitist structure that the vociferous critics said it would be.
In addition to this, I understand that the majority of purchasers are existing residents of the borough, so the detractors’ original fear, that it would be become a bolthole for retired people from outside Worthing, is also totally blown out of the water.
All said, the original plans sparked a heated debate but what Worthing will get eventually, and what it will do for the town as a whole, shows what discussion and common sense can achieve.
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