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Council agree partnership with government-backed developers to transform Worthing town centre site

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The planned regeneration of a key town centre site in Worthing has taken a big step forward after the Council agreed to join forces with an experienced government-backed development company.

In what is seen as a feat for the town, the innovative proposal will see the Council and publicly-owned firm LCR work in partnership to bring forward proposals for new homes, jobs, retail and possibly a cinema at Union Place.

Councillors agreed last night (Tuesday April 10) to push ahead with the deal with the company, which has an impressive track record of delivering world-class regeneration projects such as High Speed 1, St Pancras International, King’s Cross, the International Quarter London in Stratford and Mayfield in Manchester.

The belief is that it will ensure the regeneration of the derelict site can be brought forward at greater pace while a shared vision for the economic development of the town is created.

Martin Randall, the Council’s Director for the Economy, said: “The Council moved in to buy the site this year because we felt this major town centre site had remained idle for too long.

“We promised that we would bring forward progress quickly and are therefore delighted to be able to agree this partnership.

“LCR has a fantastic record in bringing forward award-winning landmark projects and it is a real coup to be able to tap into their top-level expertise to transform this part of Worthing. We’re looking forward to working with them on this project moving forward.”

Worthing Borough Council stepped in to buy Union Place from its private owners earlier this year in an effort to bring fresh impetus for development.

A decision to enter into an agreement with LCR was agreed by senior councillors on Adur & Worthing’s Joint Strategic Committee last night.

The deal will see the current small open-air High Street car park sold to LCR at a price subject to independent valuation. This would ensure the firm has a stake in the scheme and allow the company to enter a ‘land-pooling agreement’ with the Council. The Council would retain ownership of the majority of the land and continue to operate the car park.

Councillors also agreed to the creation of a joint Strategic Board between the Council and LCR to oversee the project.

Other options, such as the Council selling on the site or bringing forward its own scheme, were considered but officials said this would create more risk of redevelopment not being delivered.

David Joy, Chief Executive of LCR, said: “We are delighted to be working with Worthing Borough Council to take forward plans for Union Place, a major town centre site for Worthing. The land pooling arrangement is the culmination of many months of hard work and will enable the Council and LCR to join forces to provide the best opportunity to achieve a success redevelopment of the site.

“LCR is working with a number of local authorities across the country as part of a wider remit to support the Government’s delivery of homes, jobs and growth.

“Our partnership with Worthing will enable the Council to harness LCR’s significant commercial and development expertise which, along with the Council’s experience and local knowledge, will allow for an innovative approach to unlocking the site after more than a decade of dereliction and inject some pace behind the redevelopment to maximise the benefits for the local economy.

“We look forward to continuing to progress this strategically important project and to potential future opportunities with the Council and others.”