Union Place plans 'a missed opportunity', Worthing Society says: but what do you think?

The redevelopment plans for Union Place are a 'missed opportunity', according to the Worthing Society.

In a letter to the Herald on behalf of the society, David Clark said the plans put forward by Worthing Borough Council for the 2.6 hectare piece of land were a 'major disappointment'.

The plans include includes designs for four main apartment blocks with internal courtyards, commercial space, a hotel and a cinema extension to the Connaught Theatre. The redevelopment will also include car parking, cycle parking, outdoor spaces and landscaping on the site.

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To look at artist impressions of the site, click here.

An artist impression of the site

He went on to say: "These plans represent a missed opportunity for a mixed development linking the northern section of the town to the seafront in a style that will make a really positive contribution to the appearance and character of the town. A re-think is needed."

After intial plans were released last year and a public consultation was held in November, an official planning application was submitted on March 10 by Worthing Borough Council, which acquired the land in 2018, and government-owned specialists LCR, who specialise in these types of regeneration projects.

According to architects Hawkins\Brown, who put together the application on behalf of the council and LCR, the designs were led by the heritage of the area and would create a new pedestrian route between Union Place and Chatsworth Road.

A public consultation on the initial plans was held in November.

Mr Clark said: "This high density residential development includes a tall building of eleven storeys, additional six and seven storey blocks with narrow gaps and hardly any green space. The design is urban in style, overly dominant from all aspects and at odds with the prevailing character and appearance of the town centre. It would overwhelm the old houses in Union Place and High Street and dominate the view from all adjoining streets.

"The centre of Worthing reflects its heritage as a traditional seaside town with predominantly low-rise buildings in Victorian, Edwardian or Art Deco Style. This does not preclude a modern design but the proposals should 'sit well’ with their heritage neighbours. Unfortunately they do not.

"The proposals seemingly ignore the overwhelming majority of comments submitted by residents as part of the consultation response. These were characterised by a desire for low rise residential buildings influenced by local styles, enhanced green space, new leisure facilities and increased parking."

A decision on the application is expected to be made by Worthing Borough Council's planning committee in June.

A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said: "An outline application to create homes, commercial, cinema, hotel and car parking on the largely vacant Union Place site in Worthing was received by the council in March.

"As with all major applications in the area, the Council's Planning Committee will examine the proposals in detail and take on board all comments before making a decision."

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