Worthing block could be converted into supported living flats

Plans have been submitted to turn a 1970s block of flats in Worthing into a supported living development.

The four-storey block of flats known as Avila House, at 60 Gratwicke Road, is currently empty.

It was originally developed into 17 flats for elderly people and was later turned into 13 bed sits with five flats for elderly people.

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Specialised Supported Housing has applied to Worthing Borough Council to turn the building into 20 supported living flats – 15 of which will be suitable for wheelchairs.

The building in Gratwicke Road

“The proposed specialist supported living accommodation would provide high quality apartments for disabled adults, enabling them to lead as normal and as independent a life as possible,” according to a design statement from the developer.

It adds that staff would be on hand ’24 hours a day’ to support residents with everything from cooking to travel, with an office on the ground floor and a staff bedroom on the third floor.

The aim is to increase residents’ independence by helping them to ‘move on from a residential care setting’.

Leonard Cheshire, a registered charity providing support to people with disabilities, would help to run the scheme.

The charity has consulted West Sussex County Council on the plans and hopes to offer the flats to existing service users in Worthing.

A study into housing needs (The Strategic Market House Assessment 2020) estimates that 300 homes will be needed for wheelchair users by 2036.

All of the flats would be offered for affordable rent and would have technology to assist the disabled residents including warden call; CCTV; audio door entry; and individual wifi networks designed to work with assistive technology.

Leonard Cheshire would work with WSCC to commission ‘individual care packages’ for potential residents.

Planning officers say the communal garden space ‘falls well short’ of the minimum space standard of 20 square metres per flat and have recommended a reconfiguration to improve this.

Nevertheless, they have recommended the plans for approval and they will go before Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday (22 June).

More details can be found at the council’s planning portal using reference: AWDM/0282/22.