Sale of civic centre debated as council considers options

Neil Parkin at the site as demolition gets underway SUS-170404-121015001
Neil Parkin at the site as demolition gets underway SUS-170404-121015001

The site of the now-demolished Adur Civic Centre is set to be marketed to developers ahead of its likely sale.

Adur District Council cabinet members supported allocating a ‘valuation, appraisal and marketing budget to facilitate the disposal’ of the site, in Ham Road, Shoreham, on Tuesday.

But officers insisted it would not be sold to the ‘highest bidder’ and numerous options would be explored, including working with a development partner.

The Joint Strategic Committee heard on Tuesday a hotel operator was interested in the site – but delivering any scheme would prove more complex than the council’s office project for the civic centre car park opposite.

James Appleton, council head of planning and development, said: “Officers have considered the option of developing the main site ourselves but it is a much larger, more complex site.

“It is a site that would have to be a mixed-use development with commercial on the ground floor and certainly there are other regeneration benefits of a high-density development as a gateway into the town.

“Certainly the borrowing costs for the council to develop it would mean the council would be taking a significant development risk and it’s not something this council could sustain, therefore the idea of going back out to market was to look at a whole range of options.”

In a public question before the item was discussed, Labour member Jo Crockett said the site was ideal for much-needed affordable housing, including affordable rent homes.

Leader Neil Parkin said councillors were aware of the ‘acute housing need’ and were looking at other council-owned sites for affordable housing, including large garage sites. Mr Appleton said the site presented an opportunity for a mix of uses.

The issue will be discussed at the next full council before plans move forward.