Comment: Time for Teville Gate owners to reveal their hand

Teville Gate. Picture by Eddie Mitchell
Teville Gate. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

Convincing readers that development of a key site could be imminent – after years of disappointment – is like attempting to persuade them that a chocolate teapot will serve its purpose.

In the case of Worthing’s Teville Gate, hopes have repeatedly been dashed, leaving behind a healthy degree of scepticism.

When the new owners acquired the troubled site last year, there was talk of consultations – and even a potential planning application by Christmas.

Sadly, neither materialised.

Only through diligent scouring through scores of pages of responses to the town’s local plan consultation, this week, did we this week discover a needle in the haystack.

According to a letter by the site’s planning agents, we could now see an application for a major mixed-use development in the autumn.

If it happens – it is great news – but what evidence is there to reassure residents this is not another false dawn?

Progress may well have been made. We could soon be close to action. I understand exploratory works have been undertaken.

Matters may well have been complicated by the council’s desire to locate a cinema away from Teville Gate, at Union Place. But residents are in the dark, due to a lack of communication by the site’s owners, Mosaique.

After the initial deadline slipped, directors should have released a public statement, explaining why the timescale had not been met. Notable updates should not be buried deep in council consultation documents.

Communication is key. Yet Mosaique appears to have no website and, apart from a brief statement upon purchase, not a word has been uttered.

It is regrettable that there is more information – albeit seemingly outdated – on director Aized Sheikh’s LinkedIn page than has ever been widely shared with the people of Worthing.

Delivering major development is difficult. Things can slip and much work goes on behind the scenes. I understand the difficulties.

But without keeping the town fully informed, trust and hope is quickly lost. And that may be completely unnecessary, if updates are expected soon.

I urge Mosaique to make a full and public statement on the matter, including the reasons for the delay and work undertaken to date.