New Worthing employment site to be delivered by council

A Worthing site earmarked for new employment space is due to be bought by the borough council.

Approved site layout for industrial development at former EDF car park site
Approved site layout for industrial development at former EDF car park site

EDF relocated from Southdownview Road to Hove in 2016. The council was then notified last year that the office building would be converted flats.

Separate plans saw developers gain planning permssion for 22 light industrial units on the former car park land.

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Worthing Borough Council has decided to buy the land and take control of delivering and then managing the new employment space as the area bounces back from the pandemic.

The acquisition for a residual land price of up to £1.8million was signed off by executive members on Tuesday (July 7).

In total the council has earmarked £5.8million for the site’s purchase and construction.

Up to 47 jobs could be created, with the council also receiving extra business rates and a long-term revenue stream.

Kevin Jenkins, executive member for regeneration, said: “We promised we would lead from the front in the fight to recover from the economic and social effects of the pandemic and this is one example of how we are going to do just that.”

He told the meeting about the pressure local businesses had put on the council to find new space for them to grow and expand.

Officers said they hoped to see the units constructed and occupied within two years.

Council control of the site would allow them to control the tenant mix and offer units to businesses often priced out of the current property market.

Elizabeth Sparkes, executive member for resources, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to invest in a site to provide modern and fit for purpose flexible employment space which is affordable.”

A full commercial investigation into the site’s potential will be carried out before the council commits to the project but the report points out it already has around 500 assets its owns around the borough and 300 tenancies so it has experience in managing similar projects.

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