Worthing multi-storey to reopen after extensive refurbishment as second car park's demolition plan progresses
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Worthing’s cabinet has agreed to market the site of the Grafton multi-storey to developers, with the hope that the car park ‘could be demolished and transformed’.
A new town centre car park and the completed refurbishment of the Buckingham Road multi-storey will ‘mean there are enough spaces’ to allow Worthing's Grafton car park to be closed, Worthing Borough Council said.
"Officers will now begin the search to find a suitable developer that can take on the project and meet the town’s ambitions,” a spokesperson added.
Caroline Baxter, Worthing’s cabinet member for regeneration, told the council’s Worthing joint strategic sub-committee on Thursday night (November 9) that every car park across the town was ‘well below capacity for traffic’.
She added: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to find an exciting, creative solution for this part of our historic seafront.
“We’ll now look for a developer who can come up with a vision to match our ambitions for this site, to revitalise the area for our whole community.”
The Buckingham Road car park, with its 259 spaces, is due to reopen after ‘extensive refurbishment’ in February 2024, the council said.
The council told the Worthing Herald that ‘full internal and external refurbishment works’ are being carried out at Buckingham multi-storey car park – including the installation of 16 electric vehicle charging points.
"The delay has been caused due to difficulties obtaining some of the required materials,” a spokesperson added. “We expect to complete the works at the end of February 2024.”
Addressing concerns from the community, the council said no seagulls had been caught in the scaffold netting and the skip ‘has been removed’, with all the ‘fly-tipped’ rubbish taken away.
A new multi-storey car park next to the Worthing Integrated Care Centre in the Civil Quarter is also planned to open by mid 2024, ‘adding a further 190 spaces’.
A council spokesperson continued: “While demand rises and falls at different times of the week and year, on average well under half of the Grafton’s 440 places are occupied at any one time, suggesting that town centre provision by mid 2024 would be sufficient to cope with the car park closing.
“The seafront multi-storey is more than 50 years old and would require significant and increasing investment to keep it in a safe condition for visitors over the coming years.”
Councillor Baxter highlighted that Grafton’s car park contains ‘just six disabled spaces’, whereas the refurbished Buckingham Road and Civic Quarter multi-storeys ‘will include far more’ – as well as dementia-friendly and family-friendly spaces.
The Grafton site includes the car park, the bowling alley, the Level 1 food and drink area, a small number of shops in Montague Street and access roads to neighbouring buildings, ‘covering roughly the area of a football pitch’.
The council recently bought the leases to the shops from Clarks to Argos on the southern side of Montague Street to ‘make it easier to develop the whole site’.