Worthing town centre car park could be transformed into homes – but it needs a developer

The council wants to turn a Worthing town centre car park into a development which will rejuvenate the area – but it needs a developer to make its plans a reality.

Worthing Borough Council said the Grafton multi-storey car park is coming to the end of its natural life and has been earmarked by the 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 that fronts Montague Street is also envisaged.

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But the council said the complexity associated with the redevelopment of the site, including current sitting tenants, has slowed progress.

The Grafton multi-storey car park is coming to the end of its natural lifespan

Now in a bid to bring fresh impetus to the scheme, 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 are 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, the council claimed.

Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, councillor 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.

Council consultants CBRE said Grafton ‘continues to represent an attractive comprehensive redevelopment opportunity that will find favour with the private sector development market’.