Plans to unlock a major town centre site for redevelopment are moving forward at great pace thanks to Worthing Borough Council.
In a bid to speed up the process of transforming the privately-owned Teville Gate, the local authority is stepping in to demolish the 1960s car park which it leases on the land.
Council contractors moved in to start the 20-week project to dismantle the outdated and expensive-to-maintain multi-storey today (Monday March 5).
Once demolished, the council plan to turn the land into a temporary car park to generate a short-term income while the private owner Mosaic brings forward a detailed proposal for the plot it calls Station Square.
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “This is a major milestone in the transformation of a key town centre site.
“For too long the residents of Worthing have been waiting for movement on Teville Gate. By demolishing the car park, we are showing that we are fully committed to the long-term regeneration of this key site.
“We remain in contact with the owners Mosaic and I’m confident this work will act as an incentive for them to submit a long-awaited planning application to redevelop the site very soon.”
Plans have been afoot for more than a decade to redevelop the Teville Gate site, which links Worthing Station with the town centre.
To speed up the the process, the council agreed to consider demolition plans at a town hall meeting in September 2017.
At the time, councillors heard that the current multi-storey car park has significant maintenance issues, requiring an investment of £2 million over the next four years to keep it fully open.
The £1.6 million demolition cost will be funded from the Local Growth Fund provided by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Access to the site was closed in January and blue hoardings have been erected around the perimeter.
Councillors signed off on the appointment of Hughes and Salvidge to carry out the work last month.
At the same time, two separate planning applications have been lodged.
The first, submitted by site owners Mosaic Global Investments, is a planning notice which gives prior notification of the proposed demolition of all buildings on the site. This includes the multi-storey car park, kiosk, Burfree House and Fleet House.
The second, on behalf of the council, is for the construction of a 66 space temporary public car park accessed from Railway Approach.
Contractors have moved into the site today to prepare the buildings for demolition. Work is expected to take place between 8am and 6pm on Monday to Friday and from 8am to 1pm on Saturday.
Local residents and key stakeholders have been informed.
Councillor Edward Crouch, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Digital and Resources, said: “This shows that as a local authority we are doing everything we can to make the most of our assets.
“In the short-term we will retain an income stream; while in the long-term the town will benefit as a derelict site is transformed into a vibrant new development.
“Any major project like this will cause some noise, dust and vibration so we apologise in advance for any inconvenience that may be caused. Our contractors have assured us they will endeavour to keep all disruption to a minimum.”