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THE man behind plans for a controversial £45 million seafront development says it symbolises a “catalyst for change”.
Roffey Homes is in the process of pulling down the former Aquarena swimming pool in Worthing to create a 15-storey tower block consisting of 141 homes, and a seafront cafe.
The plans were approved by Worthing Borough Council earlier this year despite concerns from residents the building was too tall and out of place.
In an interview Roffey’s managing director Ben Cheal said the site was in a fantastic location.
He said: “The most obvious thing about the site is that it is right on the seafront promenade with all the opportunities that brings.
“It is also a gateway site for Worthing in terms of people coming in from the east, which means the development will be very important for the town.”
The development has been called Bayside, to reflect the fact Worthing sits almost at the apex of a bay stretching round to Beachy Head.
Mr Cheal, who grew up in Worthing, said the new development would be a “very visible sign” things were happening in Worthing.
He said everyone involved in the project felt that 15 storeys worked well for the site, taking account of its gateway location and the local policy talking about a taller element being possible.
Mr Cheal said: “It’s plain the location makes it very unique, being right on the seafront. It will be a place that we see being used a lot, not just by residents.
He said although the development meant the demolition of the Aquarena, it was time for change.
He said: “Like many people in the town I learned to swim in that pool and I have fond memories of the building.
“However, it’s long past its sell-by-date and the decision to demolish it was taken long before I got involved.
“I hope what people will see in its place is a building which is really beneficial to the town and really beneficial to the whole neighbourhood and wider community.
“I’m very aware that our development should be seen to take Worthing forward, cementing its place as a seaside town, a place where people want to be.
“A lot of people need to understand that certain elements of the town need to progress and adapt to the changing demand, not only from the people living here, but also visitors too.”
Roffey took control of the site in early September and removed asbestos before beginning demolition work this month.
The intention is to finish demolition by the end of the year, starting work on the new development in January.
Source: The Argus