‘Hundreds’ could be impacted by Roffey plans, inquiry hears

Residents gather for the opening day of Roffey Homes' appeal for land on the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade SUS-160604-081958001
Residents gather for the opening day of Roffey Homes' appeal for land on the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade SUS-160604-081958001

Roffey Homes’ proposed seafront flats would ‘negatively impact’ more than 250 residents, campaigners claimed at a planning inquiry today (Wednesday, April 6).

Protect Worthing Seafront campaign group took to the floor on the second day of the inquiry into the developer’s plans for land on the corner of Grand Avenue and West Parade.

An artist's impression of Roffey's proposals

An artist's impression of Roffey's proposals

Worthing Borough Council rejected the plans last year on design grounds, following an ‘unprecedented’ 850 objections from residents.

Roffey appealed the decision, arguing the scheme had ‘clear and substantial benefits’.

Phil Abbott, co-chairman of the campaign group, said: “It is too bulky, too tall and out of character with neighbouring buildings. The 11-storey, 40 metre building, will tower over other buildings close by.

“Numerous properties will be affected by loss of privacy, loss of sun, overlooking and an increase in shadowing.”

The group were mid-way through a passionate presentation before proceedings were adjourned.

They presented a series of ‘inconvenient facts’, suggesting the proposed building would be up to 15 metres higher than its surroundings and nine metres ahead of Regis Court, in West Parade.

They claimed more than 250 residents would be affected – with 6 Grand Avenue the worst.

The effect on the property is also a key part of the council’s case.

Owner Sue Lazzarini said: “A beautiful area like Grand Avenue doesn’t deserve this monster tower block.”

The council’s principal planning officer Peter Devonport gave evidence before the presentation, outlining the authority’s objections.

He said: “The most impacted property is 6 Grand Avenue, where the proposals appear overpowering, overbearing and inflict an aggressive sense of enclosure on the occupiers.”

Roffey’s barrister, James Pereira QC, challenged an extract from Mr Devonport’s written evidence, which claimed the design was ‘neither innovative nor outstanding’.

He suggested Roffey was not obliged to meet this standard, which was confirmed.

But Mr Devonport said a tall building should be of a high standard or excellent.

The inquiry heard that officers had suggested a fallback position discussed with the developer could be a seven-storey development.

But it was stressed that did not indicate the council would grant planning permission.

The council’s case was concluded today, with Roffey yet to begin its full arguments.

Sir Peter Bottomley will address the inquiry tomorrow, with residents to continue their presentation afterwards.

On the first day of the inquiry, Mr Pereira suggested Worthing may need to consider taller buildings to combat a significant shortage of housing. Click here for a full report from day one.

The appeal is being chaired by John Gray, who ruled on Roffey’s Vista Mare appeal, as well as an inquiry into the Shard, in London.