Opposition to controversial seafront development restated by council

Artists' impression of what Roffey Homes' seafront scheme would look like
Artists' impression of what Roffey Homes' seafront scheme would look like

OPPOSITION to a new 11-storey building on Worthing’s seafront has been restated by the council.

Roffey Homes’ scheme for a block of 36 flats on the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade was thrown out by Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee back in April 2015 following huge opposition from residents.

But the developer has lodged an appeal with the planning inspector and councillors met on Thursday night to discuss what reasons the they should use to defend their decision.

Overshadowing of a nearby back garden in Grand Avenue was one of the reasons used to reject the scheme back in April, but officers explained that late amendments mean the harm to the property has been reduced to just above guideline levels.

Councillors agreed not to use this as a reason to fight the application at appeal, but reaffirmed their overall opposition to the scheme as it would be ‘out of character with the surrounding development and fails to achieve the high standard of design expected of a tall building’.

Councillor Vicky Vaughan, vice chair of the committee, said: “Although we are supporting this I want to go on record and say the people who set these guidelines, I would like to know where they live.”

She went on to say she ‘did not particularly agree’ with most of someone’s back garden receiving less than two hours of sunlight a day.

Officers explained that as a result of the changes to the building’s design 46 per cent of the Grand Avenue garden in question would receive at least two hours of sunlight at the spring equinox, just below the 50 per cent set out in national guidelines.

In a letter to the council, Alberto Lazzarini, who lives with his wife Sue in the Grand Parade property which would be affected by the proposals, said: “In essence we still believe that the loss of sun into our garden particularly during the spring months will be significant. Do you think it is acceptable for my wife and I to lose all sun into our back garden from 2.00pm during this period?”

The other issue discussed was negotiations with the developer over the level of affordable housing if the scheme was allowed on appeal. Officers said that although on-site provision was the starting point, the council could take a financial contribution towards affordable homes off-site instead.

According to the officers’ report the public inquiry is due to start on April 5.

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