A dramatic £12.5m intervention is set to be made by Worthing Borough Council to build hundreds of homes at the Teville Gate site in Worthing.
A proposal is to be discussed by council leaders recommending the authority enter a joint venture partnership with an award-winning affordable homes provider to take over the site and finally bring some momentum to development which has stalled for decades. Current owners Mosaic Global Investments Ltd has recently indicated it wants to sell the land, citing doubts caused by the pandemic as cause to end its plans for its ‘Station Square’ development on the site.
Fearing that another drawn-out sale will further delay progress a council report says the best option may be for the authority to intervene and bring forward a plan to build 230 new homes on the site, 130 of which will be designated affordable.
The report proposes entering into partnership dialogue with VIVID, a Housing Association which already has 31,000 homes in the South of England and is keen to move into Worthing. VIVID is a strategic partner of the government’s Homes England body and was named Housing Association of the Year in 2019 by What House?
Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, said, ‘For years we have worked so hard to try to bring development forward at Teville Gate but as it has been privately owned we have had little control of the outcome.
‘If this proposal succeeds it means we can take Teville’s destiny into our own hands. It means taking on managed risk but if successful it will bring much needed new homes and new life to this part of Worthing. Perhaps now is the time to intervene positively to help our local economy recover from the terrible effects the Pandemic has had on the entire UK.’
Under the proposed deal the Council and VIVID have agreed in principle to purchase the site from Mosaic. The Council will share the development risk of delivering 100 new homes for market sale. The affordable accommodation will be developed and managed by VIVID for the long term with the Council able to secure nomination rights for a proportion of new homes for people currently on the housing waiting list.
The investment from the Council would be in the region of £12.5m but, the report points out, 50 per cent of the sale proceeds of the market homes would return to the authority. If the homes were built and sold within three years at a 10 per cent profit the Council would return a surplus. Last year in another effort to bring impetus to the Teville project the Council secured a £1.6 million grant, funded from the Local Growth Fund provided by the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), to demolish the multi-storey car park which sat on the only part of the site that it controlled via a long-term lease.
The report to go before Adur & Worthing Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee next Tuesday (Nov 3) asks the Worthing’s Executive Committee councillors to release £246,000 for the initial costs of the project and to delegate to the Director for the Economy the authority to enter into a pre-purchase funding agreement with VIVID.