The Aquarena site is quite special – it is right on the East Beach, which is supported by a variety of popular public amenities.
Although the longest dimension of the site runs at right angles to the sea, Roffey’s proposal places two thirds of the accommodation on the seafront, stacking flats to create a 21 storey tower: the money-making architectural solution.
This building will be impossible to ignore, casting long shadows on its surroundings and, in its new rectangular form, creating strong localised winds.
The affordable houses (approximately a quarter of the development) are to the north of the site, in the shadow of the 21 storey tower.
Unlike the luxury flats they have no private outside space, most are single aspect and north facing, with no direct access to car parking.
For about half of them, their light, aspect and ventilation will be from the busy Brighton Road.
Most would be for sale at 80 per cent of market value, the remainder at 80 per cent market rent.
Affordable? For whom?
This proposal has the equivalent density of a central London development.
In the absence of good local public transport Roffey will create 150 parking spaces, which is one car per flat, as well as provide the equivalent to the present 71 Aquarena parking spaces.
However there are likely to be two cars per two/three bedroom luxury dwelling, as well as additional service deliveries. Second cars and visitors’ cars will need roadside parking.
The increase in traffic and roadside parking will create increased traffic congestion on the local roads and at the junctions with Brighton Road.
The architects’ configuration of the site means that there needs to be a space between the affordable housing on the Brighton Road and the private housing to the south for daylight, visual privacy, ventilation and outlook.
This space is being labelled a ‘semi-public’ space, but has glass gates at entry points, clearly suggesting that physical access will really be determined by the residents.
Next to Splash Point public gym on the sea front, Roffey proposes a private gym. It seems the future residents won’t need to exercise with the rest of us.
The only contribution to the public realm is some planting and bench seating at a lower level, clearly designed to ensure there are no seaside activities blocking views or interfering with the saleability of the flats.
This site offers a fantastic opportunity to create a good quality, sustainable development that could address some of Worthing’s real housing needs, create an active entrance square to Splash Point public baths and contribute to the Active Beach Zone.
The resubmitted Roffey scheme isn’t good enough. It doesn’t rise to the challenge, respond to its context or contribute significantly to the civic realm. It’s all about maximising profit.
I suggest that this unique site is offered to a more skilful and civic minded developer and architect.
• Want to share your views? Send your letters by email or post them to Letters, Worthing Herald, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA. Remember to include your full name and address.
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