For years, the privately-owned multi-storey and surrounding buildings at Teville Gate have been an eyesore for residents and visitors to the town.
To save taxpayers money in the long run, the local authority is stepping in to demolish the outdated and expensive-to-maintain 1960s car park which it leases on the land.
A 47 ton 360° excavator began the demolition by tearing off the roof of the former Bed King mattress kiosk.
Once demolished, the council plan to turn the land into a temporary car park to generate a short-term income, while 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: ““The demolition of Teville Gate marks a real turning point. It’s a clear statement of intent from the council that Worthing is open for business.”
“ As a town, Worthing needs to move forward into the 21st century, making the best use of sites such as Teville Gate for future generations. This council led progress is just the beginning of what will be a number of important initiatives across the town.”
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.
As well as the multi-storey, owners Mosaic want to knock down the kiosk, Burfree House and Fleet House.
The contractors have been busy preparing the buildings for demolition and have now begun the process of slowly dismantling them.
The next stage is to soft strip the buildings, which involves removing all of the non structural elements inside and out. Once this is complete, the contractors will begin the structural demolition of the car park and Bed King.
Every effort will be made to keep noise and dust to a minimum. A vertical crane will hang a solid mat to stop foreign object debris escaping from the site and a DustBoss machine will release fine particles of water to dampen it down.
Work is expected to take place between 8am and 6pm on Monday to Friday and from 8am to 1pm on Saturday.
Monarflex sheeting will be wrapped around the scaffolding to keep dust in and will also act as a noise barrier.
Councillor Diane Guest, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “Teville Gate is one of the gateways to Worthing and its demolition after so many years marks a real catalyst for change. It’s great to see cranes back in the town centre .”
“As Member for Environment, I’m also thrilled that 96% of materials from the site will be recycled to use on other construction projects.”
If all goes according to plan, the demolition of the site should be completed in 16-20 weeks.