I was at the planning meeting last week to determine the application to develop the Aquarena site.
I am still at a loss as to how the agreement to go ahead, could possibly be seen as a good thing for Worthing. I would like to make the following points from the meeting:
1) Any concern about setting a precedent was rebutted. However, comparisons to various existing buildings such as Manor Lea and Warnes were made throughout the evening, in favour of the development. I dare say, this tower block will be used in future to justify further buildings of a similar height or higher.
2) There was a 4,000-signature petition against the development. This was seen as irrelevant given that there were 140,000 residents in Worthing. I was left wondering what other developments had ever had such strong opposition.
3) We were informed that a similar-sized petition in favour,was on Facebook and the implication was made that this was a generational matter setting older people against the young which to my mind was very divisive.
4) All five speakers in opposition were members of the public while three of the five for the development were professionals including the developer and their architect. So what price the views of ordinary Worthing people?
5) There was no reference to the fact that the council needed to recoup the cost of Splashpoint and to make a profit, which surely is the driving force behind this agreement.
6) Worthing Society made a strong case against the development, however they were dismissed with one of the councillors stating that they had opposed every development in the past 20 years. This is blatantly untrue but there was no right of reply.
All in all, I felt that this whole meeting was conducted in an arrogant manner and was left very disappointed not only with the outcome but with the prospects for the future of Worthing and its jewel in the crown, the seafront.
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