New homes could be created in plan to preserve Worthing architecture

Released: Wednesday, 29 November 2023

A pair of decaying, historic buildings in Worthing town centre could be renovated to become much-needed homes for local residents again.

We're considering new proposals to restore the Georgian facade of 5 and 7 High Street while developing the interior into short-term accommodation for those in desperate need of somewhere to live.

5 High Street is derelict, having been gutted by a fire. Previously approved plans for the site, which we own, would have seen 5 and 7 High Street demolished as part of a wholesale remodelling of the area around Colonnade House. However rising construction costs and interest rates mean that scheme is now unviable.

The new scheme, which could include government funding, would maintain and preserve the Georgian frontage on High Street but would involve a complete redevelopment of the interior of the building to create four one-bedroom and four studio flats. The neighbouring property at 62 Ann Street would also be part of the project.

The flats would be council homes, to be used as temporary accommodation for local residents on Worthing's housing register and who we would otherwise need to put up in short-term lets or B&Bs. A shortage of local property means we are currently paying for more than 200 households to be housed outside of Adur and Worthing, at a cost of up to £200 per household, per night.

The scheme relies upon the buildings being declared structurally sound by surveyors. If they are not, they could be demolished to make way for new temporary accommodation that would be designed to fit in with the surroundings.

The extra accommodation would allow us to bring residents back to Worthing - making it easier for the locals to keep their jobs and keep in contact with friends and family, while also saving taxpayers an estimated £1.8m in housing costs over the next 40 years.

Colonnade House next door would retain its position as Worthing's hub for creative businesses, and the two units at 3 High Street would also be retained.

Cllr Emma Taylor-Beal, Worthing's cabinet member for housing and citizen services, said:

“We are critically short of temporary accommodation for our citizens who suddenly find themselves at risk of being homeless because of the rising cost of living.

“Too many local families currently have to be housed outside the borough, sometimes hundreds of miles away or in costly B&B accommodation. That causes issues with their work and their children's education, makes it more difficult for them to get support from their family and friends and affects their physical and mental health.

“We're determined to bring Worthing families back to Worthing, through schemes like this.”

The plans will be discussed by Worthing's cabinet at 6:30pm on Tuesday 5th December at Worthing Town Hall. The meeting is open to the public and can also be listened to live or afterwards by visiting:

Photos: 5 & 7 High Street, Worthing - in the 19th Century (around 1885), and now (in November 2023)

PR23-170 - 5 & 7 High Street, Worthing - in the 19th Century (around 1885), and now in November 2023

PR23-170 - 5 & 7 High Street, Worthing - in the 19th Century (around 1885)

PR23-170 - 5 & 7 High Street, Worthing - in November 2023

(PR23-170)

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Page last updated: 27 February 2024

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