‘Innovative’ modular low-cost flats in Worthing win council backing

An ‘innovate’ scheme to build 152 modular low-cost flats on the western edge of Worthing have been given in principle approval.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 3:54 pm
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Swedish housing company BoKlok UK, which is jointly owned by Skanska and IKEA, wants to develop land west of Fulbeck Avenue.

With 30 per cent due to be affordable hosuing, the rest will be priced so they are accessible to local working families.

Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee backed the application on Wednesday night (October 21), with final approval subject to more work between the officers and the developer on ecology as well as drainage and flooding.

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The development is arranged into five modular apartment blocks, with a total of 160 parking spaces.

The completed homes will be manufactured off-site using sustainably-sourced timber and are then transported to the construction site for assembly.

Each property will have a balcony as well as access to landscaped community space.

Although all eight committee members voted for the development, they heard objectors raise concerns about flooding and the effect of site clearance works on wildlife.

Helen Silman (Lab, Heene) said that while she was a great fan of the concept, she was ‘not entirely sure this is the right site to put this on’.

But Hazel Thorpe (LDem, Tarring) felt there were was no other land currently available that could accommodate this type of development and backed the scheme as a ‘leap of faith’ in the council’s officers and the applicant.

Earlier councillors had heard from Adur Floodwatch’s Bill Freeman, speaking on behalf of the Goring and Ilex Conservation Group, who spoke about flooding concerns, especially relating to the Ferring Rife.

He suggested some of the flooding concerns were ‘radical, real and serious’ and should be ‘ringing alarm bells’.

Several councillors asked for reassurances from officers that flooding and environmental issues would be addressed before the development can go ahead.

After the meeting, Paul High, chairman of the planning committee, said: “Colleagues are pleased to be able to back this scheme, recognising the benefits it will bring to providing housing to local people. There is still some work to do on drainage but I am confident that we will be able to continue our positive working relationship with BoKlok to resolve these in the coming months.”

Kevin Jenkins, the council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “I am delighted my colleagues have supported in principle this innovative scheme.

“We know the high-cost of home ownership is a major concern to local families. This modern high-quality development will provide hard-working key workers the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder without having to move out of the town.”

BoKlok UK managing director Graeme Culliton added: “We are delighted by this outcome and we look forward to starting construction on one of our first sites in the UK.”

He said they had paid close attention to committee members’ views and were confident they could bring the application to a successful conclusion through continued work with council offices.