Art deco or ’60s Legoland? Roffey’s latest developments divide opinion

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THE two latest seafront developments proposed by Roffey Homes have divided opinion in the town.

Those in favour of the 21-storey tower on the old Aquarena site say it’s an iconic design that will boost the surrounding economy and help transform Worthing into a modern seaside town.

Roffey's latest proposed developed is a block of flats at the southern end of Grand Avenue

Roffey's latest proposed developed is a block of flats at the southern end of Grand Avenue

Supporters of a development ranging from three storeys in height to 11 storeys at the southern end of Grand Avenue view it as an improvement on the existing dilapidated site.

However, there are many detractors, with campaigners objecting to both sets of plans.

Some believe the Aquarena development is out of keeping with the surrounding architecture and has been designed purely to maximise profits with little thought of neighbouring residents, while others have described the Grand Avenue design as an eyesore.

Despite this, there is a general consensus that previous Roffey developments in Worthing have been tasteful and sympathetic to their surroundings – in fact, some residents have questioned why the new development can’t be more in line with previous efforts. Ben Cheal, Roffey Homes’ managing director, said: “Each of our previous developments caused debate in the town but ultimately were all viewed as a great success by all.

“We sincerely believe the same will occur with these developments.

“Roffey Homes are proud of how their developments on Worthing seafront have been at the forefront of the regeneration of the town over the last ten years. Unlike some other nearby coastal towns, Worthing is seen to have made conscious strides to move forward into the 21st century, particularly through investment by the council in the public realm and key public assets like the Splashpoint pool.”

Roffey Homes formed in 1960 and has since built more than 50 developments between Bognor Regis and Brighton.

Part of the award-winning business’ ethos is to provide ‘attention to architectural detail and professional landscaping ensuring each development enhances the local area’.

The company has invested more than £1.5 million in public realm improvements, affordable housing and other areas such as schools and the fire service.

There are six existing Roffey developments in Worthing – Vista Mare, The Eardley, Chatsworth Lodge, Downsview Manor, Warnes and Roberts Marine Mansions. Two developments are currently in the process of being built and sold – The Beach Residences in Marine Parade and Lancaster Place, on the junction of Rowlands Road and Heene Road, and two other developments in the pipeline include Langdale Mansions and Hurst Grange.

Bryan Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, has praised the company for its the developments.

He said the company had continued to build in the town through a difficult economy and had produced ‘quality developments’ and ‘been successful’. David Sumner, chairman of the Worthing Society, believes Roffey does a good job for its residents but has questioned the style of some of its designs. He said: “The problem with the Aquarena site is the density. It’s twice the recommended density for urban development.

“I think if they built something to a lower density they could do something good on that site.

“Roffey tread a safe line. They are liked by the local authority because they do build. Their flats in the town over the last few years aren’t bad. The Eardley was easy as that was just a pastiche.

“The Warnes site was difficult for them because they had the goal posts continuously moved by the planning committee. I’m disappointed in the Beach Residences, I have to say. I hoped for something better but on the other hand every flat had to have a balcony. It’s not terrible, but it’s not marvellous.”

The Worthing Society also opposed Roffey Homes’ Vista Mare development in West Parade.

“It’s not terrible, it’s a pastiche of art deco but if you look hard at it I wish it had been one storey lower. They always seem to grab that bit extra. They do a good job for their residents. I’m a little more critical than some. There are people on my committee who adore the Eardley.”

Shirley Corderoy, of Church Walk, Worthing, is part of the ‘Save Worthing Skyline’ campaign group.

She said: “The majority of people don’t want the height, they don’t want the 1960s Legoland look. They want something a bit more upmarket. The whole point is it’s money-orientated.

“When I looked at their other development (The Beach Residences) it was a nice sunny day and I thought it looked like an Eastern Block factory.

“It looked like it had gone down-market, which has spoiled their reputation.

“I think we should take more care of Worthing for the future because it’s the future generations that will suffer in the long run. If you live in those skyscrapers, my father did, it’s like living in a coffin in the sky. I think they should keep it in line with the old chimney pots on the Aquarena.”

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