New Worthing Mexican restaurant moves a step closer

The owners of popular Worthing eatery Finch are one step closer to realising their new venture.

Tom Lines and business partner Mark Sharp bought 29 Marine Parade in the town with the goal of turning it into a new Mexican restaurant with flats above.

The premises used to be home to Hitchcock’s restaurant but it has been empty for more than 15 years.

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Mr Lines, who has helped to establish several restaurants in Worthing, outlined the duo’s plans for the new venue at last night’s (August 25) Worthing Borough Council planning committee meeting.

Tom Lines in front of Finch in Warwick Street

He said: “We will use fish caught off Worthing seafront and we intend to hire 25 staff including two apprentices.

“This [development] will not only meet Worthing’s housing needs but will also be in keeping with the feel and ethos of Worthing.”

Councillors overturned officers’ recommendations to refuse the application and instead delegated it to the head of planning for approval.

This will be subject to conditions including more details about proposed window frames and further windows for the flats above the new ‘Crudo’ restaurant.

The former Hitchcock's could become a new Mexican restaurant with flats above. Picture: Google

Officers objected to plans for a new entrance to allow access to the flats above and proposals for replacement windows.

They said: “The building displays various decorative period features including original elegant timber sliding sash windows.

“It is identified as a Local Interest Building in the Worthing Local Plan (2003) and sits in a very prominent seafront location within the South Street conservation area.

“Any replacement windows, where absolutely necessary, should be timber and

as close to the original windows in terms of their proportions and appearance as possible, and it has been suggested that the entrance to the proposed

self-contained flats should be created to the rear so as to avoid dividing up the

existing shop frontage.”

Mr Sharp brought a window frame with him to the meeting to try to demonstrate that convincing alternatives to timber window frames were being sought.

He said: “The existing windows need to be replaced to comply with building requirements and will have the same look as the existing ones.”

Mr Sharp claimed that council officers’ remarks about a second entryway ‘upsetting the balance of the building’ were ‘poppycock’.

The agent, Dave Collins, claimed that a precedent had already been set along Marine Parade with ‘all replacement windows being UPVC’. He pointed to Mr Sharp’s window frame and said: “You can hardly see the difference.”

Mr Collins, who is also an Adur councillor and sits on Adur council’s planning committee, said: “At my last planning meeting we were informed of two recent appeals that were lost and substantial awards placed on the council.

“The planning inspector warned this could happen again if councillors acted unreasonably.”

Steve Wills (Con, Castle) applauded the business partners for taking on the premises and creating jobs.

However, councillor Kevin Jenkins (Con, Gaisford) was concerned about the quality of life for residents in the proposed flats above.

He said: “Earlier tonight it was mentioned that it is important to create healthy, sustainable houses with the right access to light.

“According to the report, there are no plans showing extra windows being put in.

“I cannot support creating a house, a home or a flat which does not think about the health and wellbeing of our residents going forward.”

Mr Collins confirmed that a window will now be installed in the bedroom of flat 1.

More information about this application can be found at the Worthing planning portal using reference: AWDM/0593/21.