UPDATE: Date set for Worthing Aquarena hearing

Previous designs for the Aquarena
Previous designs for the Aquarena

THE FATE of the controversial 21-storey Aquarena tower block plans will be determined at a special meeting in September.

Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee will meet at Worthing Assembly Hall on Tuesday, September 22, from 6.30pm.

In recognition of the public interest surrounding the Roffey Homes plans, public speakers for and against the application will be allowed more time than usual to speak.

Committee chairman councillor Kevin Jenkins said: “I recognise that the future of our seafront has aroused a huge amount of passion in the community - with many people on each side of the debate over the future of the Aquarena site - and that more people than usual will want to come to this key meeting.

“The planning committee also anticipate that a large number of people will wish to speak at the meeting to share their thoughts. As always, we want to accommodate as many of those requests as possible, which is why the committee last night approved a suggestion to adopt a specific protocol for this meeting, one which will increase the number of speakers and the time available to each.”

Public speakers are usually allowed two minutes to state their case for or against. At the Aquarena meeting they will be given three minutes.

Up to 30 minutes will be set aside for public statements, with up to five speakers allowed for either side.

This is higher than the usual allocated time.

Who gets to speak will be decided through a ‘democratic process’, rather than first come, first served.

Mr Jenkins said: “Those who have registered to speak will be chosen via a ballot system - each person or organisational representative will be given a unique number and on the 14th September the names of the registered speakers and some reserves will be selected by a random number generation process.

“I recognise that for some this may not give them the opportunity to speak at the meeting that they may wish, but this method has been chosen in order to be fair to everyone, whatever their view on this application and wherever they live in Worthing.

“This seems a fair, open and transparent way of selecting the speakers and ensures that everyone starts from the same level playing field of opportunity.”

Registration for the opportunity to speak to the Planning Committee is now open, and anyone wishing to do needs to contact the Council by 12 noon on Friday, September 11.

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