Plans to regenerate a former Worthing landfill site by creating employment space for the town have taken another step forward.
Discussions around the future of Decoy Farm have been ongoing for years, but the cost of bringing the site back into use has acted as a barrier to development.
But Worthing Borough Council has successfully applied for £4.84m of local growth funding, which will support the complex environmental works needed to bring the seven hectare site into use.
Light industrial units for new and existing businesses are planned.
Earlier this week the council’s leadership gave the go-ahead for the funding to be released and to start the search for a preferred developer.
Kevin Jenkins, the council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “The potential opportunity for economic growth on Decoy Farm has never been disputed. But key constraints - not least the need to remediate the land - has always made bringing this site into practical use extremely difficult.
“The government funding has changed this, giving us the opportunity to unlock the site and making it an attractive proposition for developers. I look forward to seeing what expressions of interest we receive from companies moving forward.”
According to officers there is clear evidence of existing contamination and flooding problems on the site.
This along with poor accessibility and its location above an underground aquifer has ensured the site remained undeveloped.
At Tuesday’s joint strategic committee meeting officers said initial testing of the market had shown a ‘higher than anticipated level of interest’,
As part of any agreement, any sale of the land would be dependent on successful planning approval - which would include works for remediation of the site - being obtained.
Labour’s Jim Deen said that anything to create jobs and employment should be welcomed but hoped the council could get the best deal possible for the site.
Dan Humphreys, leader of the council, said: “I’m delighted to see it and I’m champing at the bit to see work commence.”