A major new housing development to include some shopping and perhaps even a hotel could be built on the site of the Grafton car park.
A report by officers of Worthing Borough Council says building new homes is important to help revitalise the town centre bringing new people in to help spark new life, cultural and leisure activities.
A fresh study has recommended new homes be key to the prime seafront site. The car park is currently undergoing essential maintenance to be able to keep it open in the short term but the recommendation is that it eventually be demolished to make way for the new development.
The Council has pledged to ensure that car parking remains sufficient for the town centre with multi million pound refurbishments of the existing car parks, such as Buckingham Road and High Street. In the advent of the demolition of Grafton, the Council wants to upgrade car parks at Civic Centre and Lyndhurst Road to ensure there are close to the 1,800 council-owned spaces currently provided.
The Council now wants to seek private sector partners who might be interested in a long term project to transform the site.
Officers will continue to work closely with LCR, the blue-chip government owned development company with which it has joined forces to develop a plan for Union Place.
It is hoped LCR will use their development experience in delivering complex sites to progress the Grafton development.
The report says positive discussions have been started with Marks and Spencer which backs onto the site and AMF Bowling which have been described as ‘productive’. The bowling centre might either be accommodated on the new site or elsewhere but, says the report, has reaffirmed its commitment to Worthing.
Councillor Dan Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: “This and other projects coming on stream such as Union Place and our demolition of Teville car park prove we are doing our utmost to create a thriving, dynamic and robust town centre filled with new residents which will do much to revitalise the place. We are thinking of the future bringing in top-level investors and partners who like us believe in this town and its people.”
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