A preferred option to redevelop Worthing’s Union Place for new homes, a hotel, theatre extension, and car parking has been selected by councillors.
Responding to stalled regeneration schemes for the prime town centre land, the site was purchased by Worthing Borough Council earlier this year.
In partnership with the Government-owned development firm London & Continental Railways (LCR), the council worked up a range of potential options to redevelop the former police office site and surface car park.
The preferred option for nearly 200 homes, commercial space, which could include a hotel, and two modern cinema screens joined to the Connaught Theatre was agreed by leaders of Worthing Borough Council on Tuesday (November 6).
Dan Humphreys, leader of the council, said: “We have taken some big leaps forward on this recently and I think we are in a really good position and we will build something that Worthing wants and needs.”
Kevin Jenkins, executive member for regeneration, described how the council had been ‘bold’ to not only purchase the site but also enter into a landpool agreement with LCR.
Officers explained that although other options were more financially viable the preferred scheme would have the greatest contribution to improving Worthing town centre as a ‘place to be and visit’.
The option includes the potential to explore ‘creative and maker space’ for independent retailers and artists in Worthing, establishing a creative quarter next to a refurbished and extended Connaught Theatre.
More detailed work is now set to be carried out to ensure a viable scheme is created and delivered.
Officers also suggested that given the high-profile nature and prime location of the site, a flexible approach to development is adopted. Construction would happen in phases, with the first stage seeing the creation of residential units on the north-east corner of the land.
It is hoped planning consent for a redevelopment scheme could be secured within a year.