Roffey’s latest contentious flats plans hang in balance

An artist's impression of Roffey Homes plans for the corner of Lyndhurst Road and Farncombe Road. Picture by F10 Studios
An artist's impression of Roffey Homes plans for the corner of Lyndhurst Road and Farncombe Road. Picture by F10 Studios

The fate of Worthing developer Roffey Homes’s latest contentious development hangs in the balance after councillors called for negotiations over a four-storey flats block.

Planners argued proposals to build 30 flats for the over 55s on the corner of Lyndhurst Road and Farncombe Road would be ‘unduly large and over-dominant’ and warranted refusal.

Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee looked set to reject the plans last Wednesday – but a last-minute suggestion to defer a decision for negotiations with Roffey was voted through.

Concerns had been raised over the scale of the scheme –but councillors were warned changes could threaten its financial viability.

Addressing councillors, Roffey managing director Ben Cheal said council planners had not given the plans ‘proper objective assessment’.

“Our scheme is not harmful, shall improve the entry to the conservation area and has benefits that shall deliver high-quality retirement housing and hopefully claw back affordable housing contributions,” he said.

Susan Belton, chairman of the Worthing Society, said the ‘reasonable’ design might be acceptable in another context but argued the footprint, bulk and massing conflicted with the mainly Victorian buildings in the area.

Residents, including Scott O’Connell, feared the new building would lead to loss of light and privacy.

Councillors discussed the financial figures of the scheme in private, after a viability report submitted by the developer argued it could not pay any affordable housing contributions.

The committee report said £733,379 for off-site affordable housing would normally have been due.

Agent Chris Barker said the scheme had been amended but warned: “Any further reduction in unit sizes or numbers will clearly make the scheme undeliverable unless the scheme is significantly reduced in quality.”