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Breakthrough in major Worthing regeneration scheme

11 July 2019 11:33 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

Breakthrough in major Worthing regeneration scheme

Major plans to create much-needed employment space on a key strategic site in Worthing have taken a big step forward after nearly £5 million of funding was officially unlocked.

Discussions around regenerating the former landfill at Decoy Farm in the east of the town have been ongoing for decades with the cost of bringing the complex site back into use creating a barrier to development.

That was until Worthing Borough Council successfully applied for £4.84 million from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership via the Local Growth Fund. 

The funding will support the complex environmental works needed to bring the seven hectare site into use so that light industrial units for new and existing businesses can be created.

Councillors this week approved the funding to be released and gave the green light for a widespread search for an experienced developer to get underway.

Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “The potential opportunity for economic growth on Decoy Farm has never been disputed. But key constraints - not least the need to remediate the land - has always made bringing this site into practical use extremely difficult.

“The government funding has changed this, giving us the opportunity to unlock the site and making it an attractive proposition for developers. I look forward to seeing what expressions of interest we receive from companies moving forward.”

A report presented to Adur & Worthing Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) this week noted that Decoy Farm was formerly a landfill area, with clear evidence of existing contamination and flooding problems. 

This, along with poor accessibility and its location above an underground aquifer, ensured the site has remained undeveloped with “significant investment needed to realise its full potential”.

The report noted the funding from LEP would support the unlocking of the site with the grant announcement leading to high interest from experienced developers across the region.

Senior Councillors agreed to push on with a search for a partner, underlining the ambition that the land be used for light industrial units to meet the high demand from local businesses.

As part of any agreement, any sale of the land would be dependent on successful planning approval - which would include works for remediation of the site - being obtained.

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