Worthing Borough Council took the decision to purchase the site after several developments did not come to fruition.
Most recent owner Mosaic gained planning permission to build the 378 home ‘Station Square’ development at Teville Gate but told the council of its intention to sell the land in 2020 due to uncertainty following the pandemic.
How much will it cost?
The sale has now been completed with the council paying £7.4 million (including fees) for the site.
This is less than the £8.1 million budget previously approved for the purchase.
WBC intends to sell the land for development in the next three years but, in the meantime, it is looking at ways to use the site.
Potential uses will be presented at a joint strategic committee meeting on Tuesday (December 7).
What will happen now? Will the site remain empty?
The graffiti which currently adorns the site hoardings is set to go.
A path connecting the town to the rai station, which was closed off in 2018, will be reinstated.
The council has acknowledged that – despite buying the site in an attempt to ‘unlock’ it – it is ‘likely to remain undeveloped for a period of time while revised plans are devised’.
As a result, the site was marketed out for potential uses in the meantime.
Ground works costing £300,000 will be carried out in preparation and will be funded with money left over from the purchase of the site.
Specialist brownfield site regeneration company QED Sustainable Urban Developments has now put in a bid to make use of the site before it is sold on.
If councillors approve, this could see workspaces; a performance venue; a skate park; padel tennis courts; food and beverage outlets and community gardens pop up at Teville Gate.
QED previously worked with Adur and Worthing Councils to deliver the Level 1 venue at Grafton multi storey car park.
Worthing businesses would be given priority for space at Teville Gate if the plans go ahead; an offer that will then be widened to include Sussex businesses.
“The units would be targeted to support the little guys with the big ideas,” QED said.
A performance venue could host between 600 and 800 people whilst a padel tennis court and skate park would appeal to younger audiences and provide sports facilities for residents.
Community gardens could also be provided which would ‘make gardening more accessible’ and ‘share food growing knowledge’, according to QED.
The company estimates that 100 full time jobs could be created if plans go ahead.
South Downs Leisure has announced its support for the QED proposals.
If planning and licensing permissions are given, the above plans could become a reality by spring or summer next year, says the council.
Preparing for sale
Preparing the site for sale is expected to cost between £530,000 and £555,000 up to 2023/24 and will be shared between the council and its partner London & Continental Railways (LCR Developments).
LCR will collaborate with the council to promote and develop Teville Gate ahead of selling the site.
It previously worked with the councils on the Union Place development.
LCR will also purchase a 14 per cent share of the site, with a payment of £1 million, and it will also contribute staff to the project.
The council’s key priorities for the site include maximising housing – especially affordable homes – and attracting government funding.
The demolition of a multi storey on the site and construction of a new car park was previously supported by £1.8 million of Local Growth Funding in 2016.
The council hopes that further funding can be secured from Homes England, the Levelling Up Fund or the Brownfield Development Fund.
Council leader Kevin Jenkins (Con, Gaisford), who has served as executive member for regeneration, said: “We are still 100 per cent committed to bringing that site back to life temporarily by using it for outdoor events and longer term for much-needed new homes.