Tenant already lined up for approved Shoreham offices

New offices planned for car park formerly used by council staff off Ham Road, Shoreham (photo from Adur&Worthing councils' planning portal).
New offices planned for car park formerly used by council staff off Ham Road, Shoreham (photo from Adur&Worthing councils' planning portal).

A Southwick communications company is set to move into new Shoreham offices approved on council-owned land this week.

The four-floor building, which will contain 2,780 square metres of commercial space, is planned on the car park north of Ham Road previously used by council staff working at the now demolished Adur Civic Centre opposite.

Planning permission was granted to Adur District Council by the authority’s own planning committee on Monday (November 13) by four votes to three.

Afterwards it was confirmed that Focus Group, a communications company which has outgrown its current Southwick premises, will use the site.

Ralph Gilbert, managing director of Focus Group, said: “Over the last ten years we have gone from two staff working from a home office to a respected company operating across the UK with hundreds of staff.

“We are really excited to be staying locally at a fantastic new office which will help us to keep on growing - that’s good news for us, the council and the community as a whole.”

Brian Boggis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “This is a prime example of a council doing everything it can to provide a platform to drive forward development.

“In these straightened times, many local authorities across the country are having to cut back on putting money into their communities. But as a council we realise that sometimes you have to invest before the wider community reaps the rewards.

“By maximising the potential of council land and using public money prudently, we are safeguarding local jobs while generating a return for the taxpayer.”

The development will bring back into use the car park site which has been largely vacant since the Civic Centre closed in 2013.

Work on the development, which has been supported by £1.8 million from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, will start in the coming months.

Jonathan Sharrock, chief executive of Coast to Capital, said: “Shoreham is a great place to live and work and protecting IT skills is vital to the success of the area.

“We are thrilled to be part of a project that will not only safeguard existing local jobs but help provide improved facilities which will benefit a large number of employees, the rewards of which will be felt across the wider community.”

A number of residents living on the southern side of Gordon Road, which is on the other side of the railway line have raised concerns about a loss of privacy and overshadowing of their gardens, especially during the winter months.

Peter Reglar a Gordon Road resident, told the committee proposals would have a ‘significant impact’ on their properties and gardens.

But Graham Stephens, agent for the scheme, suggested gardens would be adequately sunlit throughout the year, with any changes as a result of the scheme ‘unlikely to be noticeable’.

Councillors heard how part of the site could not be built on due to sewers.

Cllr Geoff Patmore said: “I think the building is too high. Four storeys is very imposing on the residents and I have every sympathy with them.”

Councillors heard how the undercroft parking helped contribute to 18 of the total 70 spaces on site, while part of the site cannot be built on due to sewers underground.

Cllr Patmore’s motion to defer the application to take out the undercroft parking was defeated.

Cllr Boggis said it would be ‘foolish’ to reduce the number of parking spaces on the site.

The development is part of a wider revamp of the Civic Centre site.

Across the road to the south, the former red-bricked council headquarters has been demolished and the site fenced off.

The council has earmarked the land for a mixed-use site with the plot set to be marketed in the New Year.