A ‘fresh approach’ to a Worthing seafront housing development has encouraged campaigners – but concerns still remain.
Roffey Homes presented its latest plan for land on the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade yesterday (Wednesday, September 22).
Hundreds of residents objected to the developer’s previous scheme, rejected by Worthing Borough Council last year.
An appeal was thrown out by a Government planning inspector in May.
Speaking at an exhibition event for the new plans, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Roffey managing director Ben Cheal said: “We have looked at what the appeal inspector wrote in his report and taken a fresh approach. It has come out as a different scheme.”
At a peak height of 11 storeys, the inspector dismissed the previous scheme as ‘inappropriate’, due to its height, massing and siting forward of building lines.
The new scheme peaks at eight storeys, one higher than Regis Court to the east and one lower than Marine Point to the west.
The scheme still steps forward of building lines – but while it was four metres forward in Grand Avenue, it is now 1.5 metres in front.
Proximity to six Grand Avenue was another major sticking point, with Roffey responding by creating a seven metre separation distance to the property.
Changes to the scheme’s massing has reduced the overall number of apartments from 36 to 29, with around 36 parking spaces.
Whether the new plans will include affordable housing has yet to be determined.
Phil Abbott, of Protect Worthing Seafront campaign group, said: “We the Protect Worthing Seafront campaign group are encouraged by the changes made to the proposed development which represent a significant improvement on the previous design.
“Clearly, Roffey and the architects have listened to many of the issues raised by both local residents and by the inspector at the public inquiry.
“However, we still have serious concerns regarding the extent of the stepping forward of the building line along West Parade and the potential impact on neighbouring buildings.
“We need time to assess these more closely, but remain hopeful that Roffey will make some further modifications to the design, these concerns can be overcome.”
Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said the latest plans were not as bad as the rejected development.
But he said he wished Roffey and architects ECE had respected existing building lines.
“Some might say coming forward half as far as Marine Point is a step – others would say it is a step too far,” he said.
ECE director Chris Barker said the inspector had acknowledged there was ‘logic in design terms’ to step out towards Marine Point but said they had overstepped the mark. He said the new scheme had addressed the concern.
Roffey hopes to submit a planning application in November, after considering views of residents at the exhibition.