Worthing Debenhams flats approved
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The plans are for commercial space on the ground floor, and partially on the first and second floors, with 80 one and two-bed flats from the first floor upwards, with two additional floors added to the building to create more area for flats and amenity spaces, such as a sky lounge.
The application for the South Street building was deferred in June by Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee, due to fire-safety concerns over the internal design layout, sprinklers and fire escapes, but has now been approved following updated fire-safety plans.
Designs were amended to propose extending a staircase in the building to access all floors as a fire escape route and splitting one flat on the top floor in two, raising the number of flats from 79 to 80 – with the staircase extension to cost about £140,000 according to the developer.
Due to expected profits, no affordable housing will be provided on the site, with £90,000 to be paid to the council by the developer for affordable housing elsewhere
The developer also said outside of satisfying the council’s demands around fire safety, a detailed fire-safety plan was not needed until after the planning process when a building control inspector would need it to sign off on the building.
Residents of a neighbouring building disputed the ownership of the staircase, stating if an accident were to happen during an evacuation, responsibility would be on residents, not the developer, as it has always been their staircase. Agents for the developer said it was a communal staircase which had been Debenhams’ as part of the building’s construction nearly 50 years ago, and was now in the hands of the developer.
Council officers said they were satisfied with the amended fire plans and layout design, after being required to okay the plans from the previous deferment.
Vice-chair of the planning committee Ödül Bozkurt (Lab, Central) said the development was an ‘important undertaking’ for the town’s regeneration and, going forward, hopefully a better working relationship between residents and developers could be found.