The proposal to build a 15-story skyscraper on the Aquarena site with a level of density comparable to that seen in many cities of the Far East will test the assertion from James Appleton, Head of Planning, that “ the only way is up”.
Worthing is a seaside town characterised by the sea to the south and the Downs to the north.
Its architectural heritage is largely Victorian/Edwardian and is predominantly low to medium rise. It is pleasing to note that recent developments on and around the seafront have respected our history and the town is changing for the better.
However, if the planning application for this beachside tower is passed, it is likely to set a precedent for more high-rise blocks to be built along our seafront and elsewhere as Mr Appleton envisages.
After all, the Aquarena site is right on the shoreline, opposite the Farncombe Road Conservation Area and adjacent to Beach House, a Grade 2* listed building and New Parade, a row of Victorian terraced houses.
If this is deemed a suitable “high rise” location more will probably follow. Perhaps there is an alternative approach. Densities of 75 to 100 houses per hectare are achievable with three to five storeys and plenty of open space. The “only way is up” is simply wrong and out of date.
The urban task force report of 1999 shows how densities of 75 dwellings per hectare can be obtained with 2/3 storey terrace houses and 4-storey flats. London terraces give densities of 100 or more.
There is so much low-rise density housing in Worthing and land being approved for development that there is immense scope for increasing density with medium height rather than tower blocks.
If nothing else I hope my letter will trigger a wider debate, which thus far appears to be lacking.
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