Old Worthing car park sold by council to 'free up funds'
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Almost £2 million has been raised from the sale of the former EDF car park in the 2.2-acre Southdownview Road site in Broadwater Business Park.
The decision to sell was made to ‘free up funds to invest in supporting the community’, Worthing Borough Council said.
“The purchase of the land by Shoreham Vehicle Auctions has allowed the company to expand its operations on the East Worthing industrial estate,” a council spokesperson said.
The council purchased the land in 2020 for £1.8m. It later secured planning permission for the site for light industrial use. The sale was completed after a ‘number of companies’ submitted bids for the site.
John Turley, Worthing’s cabinet member for resources, said: “It’s vital that every pound that we invest is working as hard as possible for us so we can help support our community, especially in these difficult financial times.
“We are always reviewing our investments to make sure they are continuing to offer the most value to our residents rather than costing us money. The interest shown in the car park demonstrates how much the town appeals to employers as somewhere to grow.
“Selling the car park means we can do more with the money we invested in it, with the added bonus that we’re helping a local business to expand.”
The council said the funds are ‘ring-fenced’ and ‘cannot be used to pay for the council’s day-to-day activity’.
"Instead the council will now consider whether it should use the funds to reduce the cost of one or more of its ongoing projects for the community or invest them to generate income to support frontline services,” a spokesperson added.
"The council’s property team, meanwhile, is continuing to review thoroughly each of the buildings and sites the local authority owns, to check they are still providing the best possible actual or future return for the taxpayer.”
This comes amid a budget crisis in Worthing. A forecast £1.8million overspend by Worthing Borough Council has left services and assets under review.
Worthing councillors said earlier this month that it could look to build more houses – and increase parking charges – as it aims to reduce the risk of bankruptcy.