Work underway on £9.5m council office block project

Groundbreaking ceremony as work begins to build a new office block on the former site of the the former Adur Civic Centre car park in Ham Road, Shoreham. Pic Steve Robards SR1807243 SUS-180321-173635001
Groundbreaking ceremony as work begins to build a new office block on the former site of the the former Adur Civic Centre car park in Ham Road, Shoreham. Pic Steve Robards SR1807243 SUS-180321-173635001

Work is underway to create a £9.5million office block on a council car park after a groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of the project.

Adur District Council will deliver the development, on part of the former civic centre site, in Ham Road, Shoreham, and lease the building to growing communications company, Focus Group.

Plans for the rest of the site are yet to be drawn up – but council cabinet members earlier this month backed a budget to market it to developers.

As the office development groundbreaking took place on Wednesday (March 21) Adur leader Neil Parkin said: “I’m delighted to see this project move forward so quickly. It underlines our commitment of looking at innovative ways to support local businesses while providing value for money for taxpayers.

“This move not only is good news for a local business and good news for taxpayers it is also good for our communities.

“People need places to work as well as places to live and keeping a growing national company like Focus in our area is a big boost to our local economy.”

The last few weeks have seen the site secured and preparatory work undertaken before excavation and construction starts.

The project, which has been supported by £1.8 million of funding from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and is being overseen by Wilmott Dixon, will be complete by early 2019, the council said.

Focus will then move into the office block, ensuring the retention of 250 jobs in the area while allowing it to continue to grow - with hopes of a further 200 posts created in the first 18 months of occupation.

Ralph Gilbert, of Focus Group, said: “I’m really chuffed as we have been looking forward to this moment for more than three years. The new modern spacious office will make the world of difference to all of our staff and will allow us as a company to keep on growing to reach our potential.”

Planning permission was granted by the council’s planning committee at a meeting in November 2017.

The budget for marketing of the rest of the site – where the civic centre stood until it was demolished – will be debated by full council next month. Numerous options are possible, including working with a development partner.