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Important announcements from the Chamber, our members, local Councils and other relevant business news will be posted regularly here.

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  • 09 November 2020 10:29 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Teville Gate: Council set for dramatic £12m intervention to build 230 homes

    A dramatic £12.5m intervention is set to be made by Worthing Borough Council to build hundreds of homes at the Teville Gate site.

    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.’

    Mike Shepherd, Director of New Business and Development at VIVID said, ‘We are looking forward to the prospect of working with Worthing Borough Council on the Teville Gate site and bringing forward this development for the local community.’

    The report points out that the Council’s post-Covid programme ‘And Then…’ calls for ‘appropriate and timely’ interventions from the authority to help stimulate recovery growth. It also details how council officers have worked with Mosaic to identify potential vendors for the site before concluding a joint venture might be the best way forward.

    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.


  • 09 November 2020 10:24 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Greater Brighton can bounce back from pandemic says Chairman

    Growth in digital and creative industries and support for a greener economy will help the Greater Brighton City Region bounce back from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Chairman of the Greater Brighton Economic Board, Cllr Daniel Humphreys, said he was confident the combined resources and talents of all partners would ensure the region could handle the difficult times ahead.

    Cllr Humphreys, who is also leader of Worthing Borough Council, has just been elected chairman of the City Region for a second year. The board which coordinates region activities consists of seven local authorities, two universities and business partners.

    ‘I don’t hide from the fact that Greater Brighton, in common with the rest of the UK, has suffered a terrible economic blow in 2020 and we have not seen the worst of it yet,’ he said, ‘But the plan of action we are putting together together with the existing strengths of the region make me very confident that we can recover from this.’

    A report commissioned by Greater Brighton shows that the economy is estimated to shrink by 11 per cent this year and fears remain about rising unemployment among the young, especially in retail, hospitality and tourism, when the government’s job retention scheme is wound down this month.

    Against this backdrop Cllr Humphreys will unveil a Covid-19 Recovery Plan.

    Among the programmes proposed to lead the bounce back are:

    • Supporting creative industries with small business grants and digital infrastructure to allow them to grow. 
    • Supporting digital industries, which are worth more than £1bn a year to the region’s economy, by backing a skills programme and ensuring digital infrastructure is able to support growth.
    • Supporting clean growth as a new driver of the economy with Greater Brighton’s energy and water conservation plans creating a multi-million pound ‘green’ industry.

    The report also outlines plans to provide more flexible workspaces for new businesses, support new high-powered quantum computing networks to create new businesses and employment, lobby government for support for tourism and young people employment measures.

    It wants to see the region as a hydrogen hub to support clean transport as well as retrofitting existing housing to improve energy efficiency and back a new drive to increase the level of inward investment into Greater Brighton from around the world which is currently at low levels.

    Said Cllr Humphreys, ‘We are lucky in some ways in that Greater Brighton already has leading businesses in areas such as digital, research, and tourism and our green industries are continuing to grow so that we have something to build on.

    ‘Greater Brighton’s job in the next year is to use our combined strengths and also our lobbying power to help put our region back on its feet. This will also need a much greater emphasis on attracting inward investment here using those messages that all of us here already recognise, namely that this is a fantastic place in which to invest, work and live.’

  • 09 November 2020 10:20 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Coronavirus Loans Schemes and Future Fund extended to 31st January 2021

    The Government’s three Coronavirus business interruption loan schemes – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) – and the Future Fund will be extended to 31 January 2021.

    It was also announced that eligible businesses will be able to ‘top up’ existing Bounce Back Loans should they need additional finance.

    Further information on the changes to the four schemes will be available on the British Business Bank website

  • 09 November 2020 10:15 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Plans for Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion Get The Go Ahead

    Worthing Pier's art deco Southern Pavilion is set to be brought back into use after plans for an extensive refurbishment got the go ahead.

    Worthing Borough Council agreed a deal with the team that operates The Perch in Lancing to take over the lease on the landmark 1930s building last year.

    Since then the new owners have spent time drawing up plans to revamp the interior of the building and create a new enlarged kitchen within the Grade II Listed pavilion.

    With these proposals being approved by the Planning Committee last week, applicant Alex Hole hopes to reopen the building as soon as possible.

    He said, “We now have a way forward. Naturally, this year has been full of hurdles, but we've still been working on this project. We still want this building to come back into life; we still want to invest; we still want this location to thrive.”


    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration said, 

    “It’s great to see this project taking another step forward, and despite overall challenges this year seeing the new owners, who also run The Perch on Lancing Beach still committed to giving this iconic building a new lease of life. We welcome the Southern Pavilion being rejuvenated, enhancing our seafront offering and the team who bring their passion, enthusiasm and skills to the area.”


  • 09 November 2020 10:02 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Approval for regeneration of Worthing town centre site

    Ambitious plans to regenerate Worthing’s town centre have been given a major boost with the approval of proposals to create nearly 170 homes, commercial space, hotel and expanded cinema on a brownfield site.

    As part of its ambitious town centre regeneration programme, Worthing Borough Council has been working with with LCR, the government’s placemaking and sustainable regeneration specialist, on bringing Union Place back into use.

    The 1.1 hectare site, which includes the former police station, has sat largely unused for more than a decade after private companies failed to bring forward viable schemes.

    After stepping into purchase the site last year, the Council last night received outline permission from the town’s Planning Committee to transform the area.

    Also included in the proposal is replacement public car parking, high-quality public spaces and a new play area.

    Leaders welcomed the decision, noting the development supports the overall town centre renewal programme and, when complete, would make a significant contribution to long-term economic sustainability of Worthing post-COVID.

    Councillor Kevin Jenkins, the Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “I’m delighted that this proposal in principle has received the backing of the planning committee and want to thank the team from LCR and our own officers for bringing an ambitious and deliverable scheme forward. 

    “Union Place is an important town centre site that has been left undeveloped for a number of years, which has had a negative impact both visually and economically on the vitality of our local economy.

    “Bringing it back into use is a key part of our ambitious town centre renewal programme, which has become even more important due to COVID.

    “The proposal creates a range of much-needed housing; supports tourism, through a new hotel; will create a more vibrant cultural scene, with the proposed addition of new cinema screens; and offers flexible commercial space and connectivity to the wider town centre which will support the local economy for years to come.”

    Ray Willis, Regional Director for LCR in the South, said:“We’re pleased to be supporting the Council’s ambition in bringing this key site back into productive use. It has been made possible by leveraging the Council’s unrivalled knowledge of the needs of its community, coupled with our experience in developing complex sites. The project is set to deliver vital new homes, jobs and public value for Worthing.

    Regenerating underused and underdeveloped land in our town and city centres has always been key to maintaining thriving communities, but it’s now more important than ever as Britain looks to navigate an economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19. This is a key example of the kind of project that local authorities should champion in order to generate strong growth across our regional hubs.”

    Frustrated with the lack of progress on regenerating the prime town centre site, the Council acquired the site last year before entering into a landpool agreement with LCR.

    An outline planning application to create 169 new homes, 670 sqm of flexible commercial space and 90 bed hotel on the land between High Street and Chapel Road was approved by the Council’s Planning Committee at a virtual meeting last night (November 4, 2020).

    Also included will be a cinema extension of up to four extra screens and flexible cultural space to support the neighbouring Connaught Theatre.

    The development will be laid out in a series of even blocks of between four to six storeys with a 14 storey tower at its heart.

    Plans include 245 car parking spaces, which will include public spaces to replace the current NCP car park. A fifth of the residential spaces will be EV charging points while 184 cycle spaces will be created.

    Councillors also praised the new public realm enhancements, which will include a new play space.

    The redevelopment of Union Place is one part of the Councils’ ambitious direction of travel Platforms for Our Places: Going Further.

    This scheme also supports the Council’s ‘And Then...’ ambitions to create a vibrant mix of high-quality housing, cultural and commercial premises in the town centre post-COVID.


  • 02 November 2020 2:18 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Update from Adur & Worthing Council:
    2nd Round of Business Covid Support Grants

    Whilst Saturdays second lockdown announcement wasn't a total surprise, once again, we leap into grants mode to do the best we can to support our local economy. 

    We therefore thought we would send a courtesy email advising that there will be a second round of grant funding from central government, however we are currently waiting on the final eligibility criteria.

    Adur & Worthing Council are once again preparing a digital portal in preparation for receiving claims.  

    Please sign up to the councils' business newsletter - this is where the Council will advise businesses when the portal goes live and what the eligibility criteria is.   

    https://www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/business-sign-up/  

  • 29 October 2020 12:13 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Job Support Scheme

    The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will open on 1‌‌‌ ‌November and run for six months, until 30‌‌‌ ‌April 2021. The government has said it will review the terms of the scheme in January 2021. There are two variations to JSS – JSS Open and JSS Closed.

    The UK government announced yesterday it will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its winter support schemes to ensure livelihoods and jobs across the UK continue to be protected in the difficult months to come, supporting jobs and helping to contain the virus.

    In recognition of the challenging times ahead, the Chancellor said he would be increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes.

    JSS Open will provide support to businesses that are open where employees are working shorter hours due to reduced demand. Your employees will need to work at least 20% of their usual hours. You will continue to pay employees for the hours they work, and the UK government will pay a contribution of 61.67% of the usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month. You will pay 5% of the usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, and can top this up further if you choose. This means employees should receive at least two thirds of their usual pay for hours not worked.

    The caps are reduced according to the proportion of hours not worked. Further guidance on this will be available on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK shortly.

    You will need to cover all employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

    JSS Closed will provide support to businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions set by one of the four governments of the UK. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection-only services from their premises, and those restricted to providing food and/or drinks outdoors.

    For JSS Closed, the UK government will fund two thirds of employees' usual wages for time not worked, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month. You will not be required to contribute, but you can top up the government’s contribution if you choose to. You will still need to cover all employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

    You’ll be able to make your first JSS claim in arrears from 8‌‌‌ ‌December, for pay periods ending and paid in November. We’ll let you know more about how to make a claim by the end of this month.

    Your employees will be able to check if you have made a Job Support Scheme claim on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account. Employees can set up a Personal Tax Account on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK, by searching 'Personal Tax Account: sign in or set up'.


  • 29 October 2020 11:53 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Plans for more than 150 “key worker” homes approved

    Innovative international housing developer BoKlok has received approval in principle to create 152 high-quality low-cost properties by Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee.

    The company, which has its roots in Sweden and is jointly owned by Skanska and IKEA, has been working with the authority for more than a year to develop proposals for land west of Fulbeck Avenue.

    The majority of the new homes will be priced so they are accessible to local working families. The remaining 30% will be allocated for rent and shared ownership.

    Councillors backed the scheme at a virtual meeting of the planning committee last night (October 21, 2020), praising the innovative approach and its commitment to sustainability. 

    Pending agreement on final drainage plans and site conditions, construction could begin next year with the first homes on the market soon after.

    Cllr Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “I am delighted my colleagues have supported in principle this innovative scheme.

    “We know the high-cost of home ownership is a major concern to local families. This modern high-quality development will provide hard-working key workers the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder without having to move out of the town. It will also provide a range of affordable options for those who want or need to rent.

    “While there is still work to be done on the outstanding drainage issues, this is an extremely positive step forward on a major development for the town.”

    BoKlok UK Managing Director, Graeme Culliton said: “We are delighted by this outcome and we look forward to starting construction on one of our first sites in the UK.

    “We know that the demand for housing is at an all-time high, therefore offering this solution will support the council’s housing targets and provide a thriving community development.

     

    “We have paid close attention to committee members' views regarding ecology and drainage and we are confident that our continued work with council officers will bring this to a successful conclusion.

    Councillors approved the scheme, pending agreement on site conditions as well as designing a robust drainage scheme  to alleviate flooding concerns.

    The proposal for 152 flats will provide 51 one bedroom and 101 two bedroom homes distributed across five blocks. 

    Each property will have a balcony, as well as access to landscaped community space, which includes growing pods, shared tool shed, barbeque pit and playground.

    Secure cycle stores and 160 car parking spaces will be provided. A third will have live electric charging points while the remainder will be ‘cable-ready’.

    The completed homes will be manufactured off-site using sustainably-sourced timber. They are then transported to the construction site for assembly with high quality IKEA fittings throughout.

    Environmentally-friendly measures will be included throughout to keep the carbon footprint low, including community air source heat pumps and water saving methods to limit use to 105 litres a person per day.

    Cllr Paul High, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “Colleagues are pleased to be able to back this scheme, recognising the benefits it will bring to providing housing to local people. There is still some work to do on drainage but I am confident that we will be able to continue our positive working relationship with BoKlok to resolve these in the coming months.”

    The creation of new housing is a key part of “And Then…”, the Councils' short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.


  • 29 October 2020 11:50 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Adur Leisure Centres poised for lifeline deal to reopen

    Leisure centres across Adur could be re-opened early next year if a proposal to allow a neighbouring provider to take over the facilities is given the go-ahead.

    Officers and senior members from Adur District Council have been working hard to rescue the sports and leisure services previously run by Adur Community Leisure (ACL) after it declared itself insolvent during the lockdown in July. 

    Lancing Manor Leisure Centre, Southwick Leisure Centre and Wadurs Swimming Pool were immediately mothballed. The buildings are owned by the district council but ACL operated the leisure services within.

    Now a deal could be struck between the Council and South Downs Leisure (SDL) which operates leisure and community services in Worthing including the Splashpoint Leisure Centre.

    A report to go before Adur & Worthing Councils Joint Strategic Committee next week recommends the Director for the Economy is given the go-ahead to negotiate with SDL and that a budget of £280,000 is awarded to the company for the preparation and running of the services to the end of March next year. 

    This money will come from a government emergency grant awarded across the UK to help sports centres.

    The report points out that SDL has an ‘established financial and operational track record’ and ‘a strong reputation for working with local communities to support health and well-being as well as exemplary work to support people in vulnerable groups’.

    SDL would need to recruit staff and, in partnership with the district council,  ensure the buildings were fit for purpose and equipment modernised.

    Adur District Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Cllr Emma Evans, said, ‘It was sad that ACL could not survive lockdown and that staff lost their jobs. However from that moment we have been working very hard to secure the future of the facilities and SDL have a proven track record in running excellent sports, health and wellbeing leisures services across the border in Worthing.

    ‘We know how important to health and wellbeing activity provided at these centres is to residents especially in these terrible times and we hope we can bring real impetus now towards opening doors again next year.’

    Chief Executive of SDL, Duncan Anderson, said, ‘It's great to be working in partnership with Adur District Council on this proposal, potentially creating new jobs and re-opening these leisure facilities to the community in the New Year with a new and improved membership package.’

    The proposed deal between Adur District Council and SDL would be for five years and the council would provide funds of more than £700,000 for that period. It has already spent £300,000 on maintaining the buildings and equipment and preparing for the future since the demise of ACL.

    The report points out that mothballing the facilities could still cost £480,000 a year. Any eventual profit SDL, a charitable trust, generates is divided between further investment and a dividend to the council.

    The report recommends the Director for the Economy is given delegated authority to award the contract in consultation with the Leader of Adur District Council and the Executive member for the Environment.


  • 29 October 2020 11:37 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Changes at Guild Care as the charity recovers from the impacts of Covid-19

    Worthing charity Guild Care has announced the appointment of Alex Brooks-Johnson as its new interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

    Alex, who has been working with Guild Care for a year in several senior positions, brings over 20 years of voluntary and charity sector experience including Chief Executive roles at both a carers and children’s charity where he helped shape and grow community-based services.

    Guild Care, which was established in 1933, has undergone significant changes over recent months due to the impact of Covid-19 and is now restructuring for the future.  Former CEO, Suzanne Millard will be concentrating on leading the care homes through the next phase of development, driven by the passion and expertise she has displayed for the past 11 years as CEO, with Alex overseeing the changes to the charity’s community-based services.

    New interim CEO, Alex Brooks-Johnson, said of his appointment: “Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported Guild Care and to all our staff and volunteers for their continued hard work and dedication during this very difficult time.  I’m very proud and excited to be leading this great local charity as we move towards a new chapter in our history.

    “Covid-19 has highlighted how strong the community is in and around Worthing, and how much of a part of that community Guild Care is.  We have a responsibility to help older people, people living with dementia and children and adults with learning difficulties in whatever ways we can, and I’m looking forward to further building the links we have with the community to make that happen.”

    Antonia Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “I’m delighted to appoint Alex as our new interim CEO. He brings a wealth of charity experience and strategic leadership to Guild Care and the Board looks forward to working very closely with him in helping to secure the future of the charity.”



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