Major developer sought for key Worthing car park site

Released: Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Efforts to redevelop a key town centre site in Worthing to create new homes and innovative retail and commercial space are set to take a step forward.

The Grafton multi-storey car park is coming to the end of its natural life and has been earmarked by Worthing Borough Council for demolition to be replaced by new homes as part of a long term policy to help revive the town centre economy. New modern commercial space to help revive the section that fronts Montague Street is also envisaged.

Yet the complexity associated with the redevelopment of the site, including title rights, access and current sitting tenants, has slowed progress.

Now in a bid to bring fresh impetus to the scheme, seen as a vital component for the reimagining of the town centre, councillors are set to back a proposal to bring in a major developer to work in conjunction with the council to deliver the plan.

Members of the Council's Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) are next week being asked to support the appointment of a development partner to work alongside the Council. A similar arrangement saw leading major project developer LCR join with the authority to develop a homes, retail and cinema plan for Union Place which is now making good progress.

Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, said:

“Of all the sites we want to develop Grafton is probably the most complex. That much can be appreciated by just looking at the site as it is.

“But that does not mean will sit still nor abandon our vision for a new vibrant space at the heart of our town centre. We will be getting rid of a seafront eyesore car park, bringing more new residents into the town to bring new life to that area and be creative in offering the sort of new commercial units entrepreneurs and businesses might want as our town centres across the country evolve.

“We have to be a bit patient with Grafton, be careful of the economic winds that might blow, but we will continue to do all we can to make this happen. Bringing in a major developer will be the first step to realising our vision.”

Officers have been in regular dialogue with businesses and residents who will be affected by the development and this will continue in the new arrangement.

The JSC report details that consultants brought in to advise council officers on ways forward recommend a procurement exercise to attract development partners.

But the consultants, CBRE, conclude that Grafton:

“continues to represent an attractive comprehensive redevelopment opportunity that will find favour with the private sector development market.”

See: Item 21, Joint Strategic Committee, Tuesday, 1st December, 2020

Photo: Grafton multi-storey car park, on the seafront in Worthing

PR20-154 - Grafton multi-storey car park, on the seafront in Worthing

(PR20-154)

 

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Page last updated: 01 March 2021