Worthing car park revamp welcomed but colour scheme to be revisited

The multi-storey car park at Buckingham Road is set to receive a revamp which the council says will extend its life for 20 years.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:12 am

Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee will discuss the application on Wednesday (September 22).

The 24-hour car park building dates back to 1965 and currently provides 277 spaces.

As part of a larger refurbishment of the building, WBC is seeking permission to fit a new façade in ‘a range of colours’ to replace blue safety rails, to fit a mesh safety barrier, fix broken windows, demolish the first floor roof and ramps and construct a new, glass fronted pedestrian entrance.

New lighting, signage, flooring and stairwell improvements are also planned.

It is hoped that the works will start later this year – beginning with essential repairs – to be completed by summer 2022.

Opening hours and the number of spaces are set to remain the same with night patrols to continue. The disabled and dementia-friendly bays will also remain.

The works are part of wider investment in town centre parking.

A new multi-storey will help to replace the Grafton Road car park and the council intends to enhance facilities at Union Place and upgrade High Street parking.

According to Sharon Clarke, town centre business manager at the Worthing Town Centre Initiative, businesses are ‘delighted’ with the planned investment.

She said: “The results from the shopper survey, just before lockdown, identified that 53 per cent of town centre users arrive by car and that easy access to clean, safe parking is essential for the ongoing health of the town and its business community.

“We also found that nearly 90 per cent of visitors arrive by car, meaning that the car park is their first experience of Worthing town centre.”

The council received a petition from nine households in Chandos Road and further letters which highlight concerns with the planned redesign.

Residents say that the car park is being used for skateboarding and by drug and alcohol users which leads to noise and anti-social behaviour.

In response, the council has said that signage forbidding skateboarding will be replaced and will also include contact details in the event of problems at the car park. CCTV and day and night patrols are also set to continue.

Residents were also concerned that removing some ramps, ceilings and walls could worsen noise at the multi-storey which they say has an ‘echo-chamber effect’.

The council has now responded, saying: “The environmental health officer comments are awaited but informally, following a recent joint site visit, it is suggested that the difference in noise escape is unlikely to be significant.”

Residents also objected to the colour of the new cladding which they say is ‘highly out of character’. They added that the proposed ‘P’ sign, which spans several levels, is ‘too large’ and ‘lurid yellow’.

Worthing Borough Council has said colour choice is one of the more ‘subjective’ issues but acknowledged that the colours ‘do not figure in the existing streetscape’.

As a result, the colours will be taken back to the drawing board but WBC said signage must make clear that the building can be used for parking to assist with way finding.

More information can be found at the Worthing planning portal using reference: AWDM/1240/21.