Sussex

Worthing Aquarena redevelopment plans approved

An impression of the planned tower Image copyright Roffey Homes
Image caption Roffey Homes said the tower would become a landmark building

Controversial plans for a tower block on the site of a former seafront swimming pool have been approved.

Just one councillor out of seven voted against revised plans for the former Aquarena site in Worthing at a heated public meeting on Thursday night.

Developer Roffey Homes said the £45m tower would become a landmark building and would help to regenerate the area.

However, more than 2,000 residents had signed a petition against it, saying it was too tall and "out of place".

The revised proposal follows the refusal of planning permission in September 2015 for a 21-storey tower on the site.

The new plans are for a shorter building - 15 stories, providing 141 homes, commercial space and a public cafe.

Dozens of residents attended the meeting to express their anxiety over the plans.

Image copyright Roffey Homes
Image caption Those opposed to the development think it will be out of place in Worthing

Liberal Democrat Hazel Thorpe cited public opposition and told the meeting it was not doing enough to solve the town's housing problems.

However, Conservative Councillor Edward Crouch supported the proposals.

"The economic, housing benefits and additional use of this land outweighs the harm," he said.

Image copyright Roffey Homes
Image caption Plans include 141 homes, commercial space and a public cafe

After the vote, Mike Anderson of Save Worthing Seafront, said he was disappointed but accepted it had been decided.

"The issue really is only about the height of the tower. It is inconsistent with the rest of Worthing, it doesn't fit in," he said.

Daniel Humphreys, leader of Worthing Borough Council, called it "a step forward for Worthing".

"There is a great housing need in Worthing. We've got some fantastic businesses that need houses for workers to live in," he said.

Ben Cheal, managing director of Roffey Homes, said: "Change is hard to accept for people but then [buildings] become regarded as cherished contributions to the townscape."

Image copyright Roffey Homes
Image caption The development should be finished by 2020, Roffey Homes said

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