It is great to see local people engaged and campaigning on so many local issues – the A27, 20mph limits, use of public spaces, etc. – and, usually, the local authority listens, engages and takes on board public opinion.
But, so far, on the issue of a tower block on the Aquarena site, the huge outcry seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
There have been statements from the council and the developer but it was very disappointing to see in last week’s Herald that a planning application for a 21-storey tower has been submitted.
No doubt the planning application will attract a raft of formal objections.
I can understand that the developer needs to make best use of this site to get a return on the investment and a tower block is the obvious solution. But what I fail to understand is the number of affordable homes – 37, according to the planning application. This seafront site, as all we who live here know, has a premium value and the local authority should be seeking to get the best return on it.
By restricting the developer in insisting on so many affordable homes, they have reduced the value of this land, and reduced the value of its sale, and left the developer with no option but to go up, all of which is to the detriment of all Worthing residents.
I fully understand the need for affordable homes and the constraints of our area, hemmed in as we are by the sea on one side and the South Downs on the other, but there are other sites that a more suitable – Teville Gate, Union Place and the bus depot site spring to mind. So, I ask my council officers to take note of public opinion and go back to the drawing board to find a solution that is in keeping with the surrounding area and obtains the best value for all Worthing residents.
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