Derelict Worthing town centre buildings set to be renovated

Derelict town centre buildings could merge with a creative hub next door to support Worthing’s creative industries.

Worthing Borough Council wants people’s views on plans to expand Colonnade House on the corner of Warwick Street and High Street before plans are submitted in the spring.

Since 2016, the council-owned building has allowed dozens of local artists and designers to create and showcase their talents.

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The building would be equipped with gigabit broadband to support those working in areas such as animation, augmented reality, games development and visual arts.

A CGI image of what the expansion of Colonnade House, on the corner of Warwick Street and High Street, Worthing, might look like. Picture: Worthing Borough Council

An online survey running until January 31st can be found here and a public exhibition is being held in Colonnade House on January 14 from 2pm to 8pm.

Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services, said: “Colonnade House has been an undoubted success since opening in 2016, with the gallery area and workspace above proving extremely popular and over-subscribed.

“We now want to build on this, ensuring we retain what is special about the creative hub while opening the offer to the digital industries and bringing some derelict empty space back into use. I look forward to hearing people’s views on the proposals ahead of a planning application being submitted later this year.”

Colonnade House is currently running a project called Space to Make to test the concept of a makerspace for Worthing. According to the Government website, a makerspace is ‘a physical location where people gather to co-create, share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build’.

This will see professionals and community groups – who perhaps would not be able to afford access to the equipment themselves – visit Colonnade to test out new ideas and technology, including 3D printing and laser cutting. Projects include 3D-printing specialist parts for a mobility charity, programming a moving light sculpture and making laser cut race medals.

Local community groups involved included Transition Town Worthing, Freedom Power Chairs and Tide of Light.

Space to Make, a Crafts Council project, will run from January 18 to 30 and will include weekend workshops for families as well as weekday visitors sessions.

The project is supported by West Sussex County Council, Adur & Worthing Councils and Adur & Worthing Trust.

Bob Lanzer, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to support this programme of technology events in Worthing. The aims of the ‘Space to Make’ programme closely align with our ambitions to grow the creative and digital sector along the coast, and we are sure that businesses will benefit from the range of activities and networking opportunities.”