Worthing car park sale will part-fund pool

AGREEMENT in principle to sell part of Worthing’s civic centre car park to help pay for the town’s new swimming pool has been decided by the borough council.

A large proportion of the pool funding will come from selling the present Aquarena site, but it has been acknowledged that the sale price probably will not now reach an earlier estimate of £7.8 million.

Worthing and Arun councils’ joint strategic committee have approved selling the Aquarena land to the committee’s preferred bidder.

Although the committee has agreed the contract for the pool can now be signed in light of the revised funding strategy, the council says it is at present prevented from revealing the bidder’s identity and purchase price because of confidentiality restrictions imposed by the Local Government Act.

Council leader Paul Yallop said the same reasons prevented the council from revealing what would be built on the Aquarena land.

The car park sale site fronts Christchurch Road, next to the Law Courts, and it has also been agreed that two council-owned properties at the corner of High Street and Ann Street could also be sold as part of the pool funding.

A statement from Worthing Lib Dems condemned decision-making “behind closed doors”, and added: “The March funding report also had for sale the Grafton site and a piece of land in Fulbeck Avenue – now we have part of the Civic Centre car park and a couple of properties in the High Street.

“Worthing’s Tory cabinet really is beginning to scrap the bottom of the barrel and it looks increasingly like a fire sale.”