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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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  • 08 January 2019 11:51 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Multimillion pound social housing deal in Worthing

    Much-needed accommodation is to be created by Worthing Borough Council after it sealed a multimillion pound deal to convert a former pub into affordable housing.

    As part of its extensive project to purchase more properties to support those at risk of homelessness, the Council has agreed to invest £4.4 million in The Downview in Tarring Road.

    The long-term investment could see the building converted into nine flats with a ground floor commercial unit and at least four more homes on the car park.

    Once up and running, it is expected the new properties will save the Council £90,000 a year in temporary and emergency accommodation costs which is mainly spent on B&Bs outside of the area.

    Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Customer Services, said: “As a Council we are committed to doing everything we can to provide affordable and suitable accommodation for those who need it.

    “The Downview pub represented a rare opportunity to acquire a site within the town. With planning approval already granted, it represents a prudent long-term investment for the council.

    “Once the conversion is complete, we will be able to provide more than a dozen families with a safe, secure place to call home. We can also work with them to secure permanent accommodation, as well as saving the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds a year in emergency accommodation costs.

    “We will continue to look at ways we can creatively secure suitable accommodation for those most in need across the borough.”

    The Council took the decision as it looks to reduce the amount that is spend on emergency accommodation for those on short-term tenancies.

    With the deal for Downview complete, teams from the Council are now working up a proposal to make best use of the site.

    Planning permission was granted in June 2018 to convert the building into nine apartments while retaining part of the ground floor for commercial use. The approval also includes creating four new two-bedroom houses on land to south of the pub.

  • 07 January 2019 12:37 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Presidents update for 2019

    So, we have finally arrived in the year of years. By the end of the first quarter (and possible sooner) 2019 will be remembered as the year Brexit came home to roost - or perhaps not. My personal hope is that we don’t sign up to the deal (without a referendum) but neither do we crash out. Uncharted territory I know, but if there is a new referendum my hope is that with the benefit of hindsight we might make a decision based on facts, not fictions. So, Happy New Year everyone – fingers crossed that we can continue to prosper in business, be safe in our beds, and come out of this politician made mess in one piece!

  • 03 January 2019 1:54 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Investing in the future: Plans to pump millions into programme of works to benefit Worthing’s residents and economy

    Improved housing, transformed buildings, spruced up public spaces and refurbished public toilets are part of an ambitious £8.5m investment plan by Worthing Borough Council, it has been announced.

    Bringing public car parks up to scratch as well as buying more accommodation to ease a rising demand are also on the agenda of the Council’s capital investment programme over the next three years.

    In a report to the Council’s Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) councillors were warned that the financial climate remained tough for local authorities but they were still able to back a range of investments to improve quality of life in the Borough.

    A full refurbishment of Buckingham Road and High Street multi-story car parks costing £5m is planned.

    Playgrounds across Worthing will also receive an upgrade, with Palatine Park Play Area, Brooklands Pleasure Park and Durrington Recreation Ground all set to undergo works over the next three years.

    Worthing town centre will benefit from works to enhance public spaces and improve facilities. Public toilets will also be brought up to a good standard following a comprehensive review. On the hit list will be toilets in Marine Gardens, Sea Lane Cafe Car Park, the Lido and the Pier.

    The vital role of Worthing’s parks and open spaces is also recognised in the programme. Seafront locations will be revived with new sustainable planting and landscaping schemes being introduced for Steyne Gardens and Beach House Grounds. A new water supply system to the Splash Pad attraction will be funded as will the replacement of the timber decking on Worthing Pier.

    The Council is looking to purchase temporary accommodation and bring empty properties back into use to help address the rising cost of temporary and emergency accommodation in the private sector. Grants will also be offered to registered social landlords to help improve the supply of affordable housing.

    A new stage lighting and sound proofing system is to be installed at the Pavilion Theatre and a new ramp for people with disabilities built .

    Fitness equipment will be introduced at Lyons Farm and Northbrook Recreation Ground, and the tennis courts at Field Place will be reconstructed.

    Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Resources, Cllr Elizabeth Sparkes, said:

    “We are pleased to set out these plans over the next three years, which will deliver investment across Worthing and demonstrate our commitment to our communities. In the current financial climate it is never easy to find the resources to invest but we have a sensible plan here that will deliver real benefits across a range of services for the people of this Borough.”

    The capital investment programme is set on a two year basis to enable better programming of schemes and to ensure cost-effective procurement. The £8.5m is on top of existing plans for investment.

    Funding from the programmes will come from prudential borrowing, capital grants, revenue and reserve funding and capital receipts.

  • 03 January 2019 1:27 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Plans announced to invest millions into programme of works to improve quality of life for Adur residents

    Enhanced public spaces, improved housing and new Council Homes are all part of an ambitious £14.2m investment plan from Adur District Council.

    The sum includes more than £11m for Adur Homes, the district’s housing arm, to invest in new properties and upgrade existing stock to meet ever increasing demand.

    Bringing leisure centres up to scratch and upgrading play areas are also part of the Council’s capital investment programme.

    A report to the Council’s Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) warned that the financial climate remained challenging for local authorities, but councillors were still able to approve a range of investments over the next three years.

    Leisure centres will see a number of enhancements. Lancing Manor Leisure Centre’s main hall will undergo a floor replacement costing £60,000 and Wadurs Swimming Pool will have a replacement boiler and plant costing £90,000. Parts of the roof of Southwick Leisure Centre will also be replaced. The centres are owned by the Council but operated by Impulse Leisure.

    Playgrounds across Adur will also receive an upgrade, with Middle Road, Sompting and Southwick Recreation Grounds all set to benefit from works over the next three years.

    Adur town centres will undergo works to enhance public spaces and improve facilities, particularly in Lancing and Southwick. Public toilets will also be brought up to a good standard following a comprehensive review, including those in Fort Haven, Widewater, Southwick Square and Beach Green Shoreham.

    The importance of Adur’s parks and open spaces is also recognised in the programme. New fencing, resurfacing of footpaths and other landscaping will improve Buckingham Park and help it achieve Green Flag status as well as improving disability access.

    Fitness equipment will be introduced at Elmgrove and Adur Recreation Grounds. Resurfacing of Fishersgate Recreation Ground car park costing £140,000 is also planned.

    The Council, through Adur Homes, is looking to purchase properties and bring empty properties back into use to help address the rising cost of temporary and emergency accommodation in the private sector.

    Grants will also be offered to registered social landlords to help improve the supply of affordable housing and a number of Adur Homes properties will receive maintenance work following a condition survey.

    The Council will also undertake surveys to assess the condition of its leased out properties, as well as its corporate buildings to determine their energy efficiency and inform a programme of planned maintenance works.

    Adur District Council's Executive Member for Resources, Cllr Angus Dunn, said:

    “We are confident that this investment will deliver long-term benefits for the communities across Adur. The current financial climate remains challenging for local government, but we have laid out an achievable programme which will improve the quality of life of our residents.”

    The capital investment programme is set on a two year basis to enable better programming of schemes and to ensure cost-effective procurement.

    Funding from the programmes will come from prudential borrowing, capital grants, revenue and reserve funding and capital receipts.

  • 13 December 2018 9:19 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Have your say on Gatwick Airport's Draft Master Plan Consultation

    As part of the airport planning process - and reflecting industry best practice - Gatwick creates and regularly publishes a ‘master plan’ to show how the airport intends to develop and grow in the longer term. The master plan also helps to inform the wider regional and local planning process.

    Draft master planOur 2018 draft master plan sets out proposals for the airport’s ongoing development and sustainable growth. In it we explain our latest thinking on how the airport can meet the increasing demand for air travel and provide Britain with enhanced global connectivity. 

    We also demonstrate how we can create new opportunities for the region and continue to bolster the local economy for future generations, while doing everything possible to develop and grow in a sustainable way - striking the right balance between economic growth and environmental impact.

    This draft master plan is also a direct response to the Government’s recent call for UK airports to look at ‘making best use of their existing runways’ and we explore how Gatwick could grow across three scenarios:

    1.  Main runway: using new technologies to increase capacity

      In the near term, the airport has explored how deploying new technology could increase the capacity of the main runway, offering incremental growth through more efficient operations.

    2. Standby runway: innovative plan to bring existing standby runway into use

      Under its current planning agreement, Gatwick’s existing standby runway is only used when the main runway is closed for maintenance or emergencies. However, the 40-year planning agreement will come to an end in 2019. The draft master plan sets out for the first time how we could potentially bring our existing standby runway into routine use for departing flights, alongside the main runway, by the mid-2020s.

      This innovative development, which would meet all international safety requirements, would be delivered without increasing the airport’s noise footprint and provide greater operational resilience.

    3. Additional runway: safeguarding for the future

      While we are not actively pursuing the option of a building a brand new runway to the south of the airport - as we did through the Airports Commission process - we believe it is in the national interest to continue to safeguard this land for the future as part of our master plan.

    You can view the full draft master plan and an aerial film highlighting the location of the three scenarios outlined in the draft master plan. We have also created high resolution versions of some of the maps included in our draft master plan at the bottom of this page

    Our draft master plan consultation document is designed to explain the consultation in more detail.

    Public consultation

    We believe the plans offer safe, agile, low-impact ways of unlocking much-needed new runway capacity from within our existing infrastructure - however, it is important that everyone has their say so we look forward to hearing the views of our local communities, partners and stakeholders.

    A 12-week public consultation is now live and includes six public exhibitions in our local area, which will help inform the publication of the final master plan early next year. Although, the public exhibitions have now all taken place, we still welcome your views and encourage you to respond before the consultation closes at 5pm on 10 January 2019.

    If you were unable to attend our exhibitions, you can read our public information below and let us know your thoughts by responding to our online consultation or by post.

    Respond to our consultation

    Your views are important to us as we consider how best to grow Gatwick Airport sustainably, including making best use of the existing runways in line with Government policy.

    Public exhibitions

    All of our public exhibitions have now taken place. The dates and times are listed below. If you missed out, then you can still read the full draft master plan online or by visiting one of several public libraries (also listed below).  


    Date: Saturday 3 November
    Time: 15:30-19:30
    Location: The Barn, Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE


    Date: Thursday 8 November
    Time: 15:30-19:30
    Location: Centrale Shopping Centre, Croydon, CR0 1TY

    Tunbridge Wells

    Date: Saturday 10 November
    Time: 11:00-17:00
    Location: Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2SS


    Date: Monday 12 November
    Time: 14:30-18:30*
    Location: Churchill Square Shopping Centre, Western Road, Brighton, BN1 2RG


    Date: Saturday 17 November
    Time: 11:00-17:00
    Location: County Mall Shopping Centre, Crawley, RH10 1FG


    Date: Saturday 24 November
    Time: 15:30-19:30
    Location: Horley Leisure Centre, Anderson Way, Horley RH6 8SP


    Date: Monday 26 November
    Time: 09:00-16:00
    Location: Gatwick Airport in the South Terminal Arrivals Hall.

    The venues have been selected across the Gatwick region to enable a reasonable travelling time, both by car and public transport.

    *The times for the Brighton event are slightly different from those originally published.

    Respond to our consultation

    Your views are important to us as we consider how best to grow Gatwick Airport sustainably, including making best use of the existing runways in line with Government policy.

    In 2019, we will publish a final master plan document which will consider the feedback received during the consultation period.

    If you would like more information, our details are:

    Tel: 0808 168 7925

  • 12 December 2018 10:16 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Alliance chews over two very different construction projects

    Property and real estate professionals have been sizing up two contrasting developments at the latest meeting of the Sussex Property Alliance, held at the Fontwell Park complex.

    On the agenda was the Harwoods Group’s Land Rover and Bentley motor dealerships and head office relocation from Pulborough town centre to a greenfield area adjacent to the Brinsbury Campus of Chichester College, and a rather different project based on the proposed new Gatwick Airport’s Master Plan.

    Ken Watson, Director of HNW Architects, spoke about the complex process of gaining planning consent for the multi-million-pound scheme for Harwoods – an intensive 20-month process that took account of the visual impact of the new development, the mitigation of any potential harm to the surrounding area, and the need to demonstrate a tangible trading link between the Harwoods Group and Brinsbury Campus.

    The process involved significant liaison with Ward Councillors, presentations to Parish Councils, public consultation and detailed planning negotiations and applications before the project plans were eventually approved.

    During the Q&A there was a general discussion framed around the difficulty in progressing planning applications in a timely fashion across the south in general. The discussion highlighted the fact that although those in working in the sector, whether they are developers, architects or allied professionals, have some sympathy with the resource constraints suffered by many planning departments, they are frustrated by a lack of a consistency of approach between planners. This problem wasn’t just between planning departments in different districts; it could manifest itself within the same planning department when a job was passed from one planner to another. Delays caused by such inconsistencies sometimes add tens of thousands of pounds to a project’s costs.   

    Jeremy Taylor then outlined Gatwick Airport’s new draft Master Plan for growth over the next five and 15 years. The Plan sets out three growth scenarios and includes detail on how it will address infrastructure, the economy, the environment and the passenger experience.

    A Consultation on the Draft Plan runs through to 10th January 2019 with comments welcomed via an online form.

    Event moderator Chris Coopey, from MHA Carpenter Box, commented: “Although of contrasting scale, these two schemes illustrate the pivotal role that open dialogue with stakeholders plays in the planning process. We look forward to following the progress of both projects and will also be looking to invite Planners to a 2019 meeting to try to build bridges.”

    The Sussex Property Alliance provides a forum where property professionals get together, exchange ideas, and build relationships. It is supported by Sussex-based MHA Carpenter Box chartered accountants, Bennett Griffin solicitors and Michael Jones commercial real estate agents.

    Our photos shows (l-r): Ken Watson (HNW Architects), Jeremy Taylor (Gatwick Diamond Business) and Chris Coopey (MHA Carpenter Box)

  • 12 December 2018 9:58 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Could 2019 be your year to volunteer for St Barnabas House?

    St Barnabas House hospice is opening up its doors and inviting anyone who is looking for a rewarding volunteering experience to come along to an informal volunteer recruitment open day on Friday 18 January.

    St Barnabas House depends on over 1,500 dedicated volunteers who help in the hospice, in the charity’s shops and at fundraising events in West Sussex. Volunteers make a big difference to the lives of patients and their families during difficult times. In 2017/18, hospice-based volunteers provided 35,839 hours of support, saving the hospice £514,211.

    The charity prides itself on being able to offer a wide range of volunteer roles to suit all ages, skills and interests. Roles include Community Companions who visit patients in their own homes; volunteers who serve meals in the Day Hospice or greet visitors on reception in the In-patient Unit; drivers who collect and drop off patients to the hospice; Family Services Visitors who offer bereavement support; and non-patient facing volunteer roles such as administration, fundraising event support, maintenance and gardening. 

    Joe Bryant, aged 72 from Shoreham-by-Sea, has volunteered in the Maintenance Team at St Barnabas House for 11 months where he says he has made friends for life.

    Joe said: “I had never done voluntary work before in my life, it had never even crossed my mind. I decided to volunteer as I wanted to give something back after losing my wife in the hospice.

    Caption: Joe Bryant, Maintenance Team volunteer

    “When my wife was ill, I used to sit in the cafeteria where I met volunteers who were so kind to me. They said, “If ever you need to come in here for a coffee and a little chat, then let us know”. A few months after I lost my wife, I remembered how nice they had been to me so I took them up on their offer. Now I’ve made friendships that I would never have made otherwise.”

    Mark Francis, the hospice’s Voluntary Services Lead said: “Volunteers are the backbone of the charity and I am constantly amazed by their enthusiasm and passion. We want to support volunteers in finding the right role for them and offer an induction to the organisation and full training.

    “The recruitment open day is a great chance for potential new volunteers to informally meet some of our current wonderful volunteers. It’s also an opportunity to find out more about the variety of different roles and benefits of volunteering for St Barnabas House.”

    If you want to make a difference in your local community, drop in to the St Barnabas volunteer recruitment open day at the hospice on Titnore Lane, Worthing, between 10am and 3pm on Friday 18 January. For more information about volunteering you can call 01903 706315, email or visit

  • 12 December 2018 9:46 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)


    Worthing is set to get the WOW factor with the proposed installation of a Giant Wheel on the seafront.

    The Worthing Observation Wheel (WOW) is proposed for the area between The Beacon and the Beach Office at the bottom of Montague Place.

    At a height of 46 metres, the equivalent of nine double decker buses, the WOW will give unparalleled views of the town, Downs and the Channel. There will be a total of 36 pods with a capacity of 6 people each. A temporary base will be built on the beach to support the ride.

    Worthing Borough Council is seeking to enter into a three-year lease arrangement with the WOW operating for a six to nine month period between April and October and then being dismantled for the winter.

    The new proposal builds on the fantastic success of the Big Wheel which operated in Steyne Gardens earlier this year and which attracted more than 10,000 visitors in a month, despite extremely poor weather conditions.

    Buoyed by that success the Council began to examine opportunities to bring a more longer term attraction to the seafront as part of its continuing efforts to stimulant new economic growth and visitors to the town.

    The Council undertook an open procurement exercise to identify an operator. One company, deKoning Leisure Ltd, which had run the Steyne Gardens wheel, responded to the call and after careful evaluation it was decided to proceed.

    The company will bear the costs of constructing the base on the beach, and the wheel, which will be a new construction specifically for Worthing. It has also agreed to make a financial contribution to the Council depending on profit. There will be no financial contribution from the Council except for some officer time and the company will bear the costs of dismantling the wheel and removing the base at the end of the three years.

    Permission to go ahead with developing the proposal, planned for next year, has to be given by Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, later this month and then gain planning permission.

    Cllr Jenkins said: “I have had a look at this proposal and, in principal, it looks fantastic. I will of course look at all aspects of the report but from what I’ve seen so far this has the potential to be a wonderful iconic seafront attraction which will give amazing  panoramic views of our beautiful town.

    “The company would be taking all the risk but when we saw the popularity of the wheel at Steyne Gardens earlier this year I thought it is well worth exploring a more elaborate offer, that could give Worthing its own unique selling point and  attract visitors to the town as a destination of choice.

    “We are transforming this seafront town with proposals to improve our streets and walkways and restaurants wanting to open up here. There’s plenty more to come!”

    Cllr Jenkins will spend the next few days weighing up the report produced by the Council’s Place and Economy team before deciding if to give the go-ahead. It will then go forward to the planning committee.

  • 05 December 2018 9:50 AM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Brighton Main Line Improvement Project

    Last weekend, we completed the last of the work for 2018 on the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project. Preparatory work is progressing well ahead of the 9-day line closure in February 2019. Since our last update, the following work has been completed:

    • Balcombe Tunnel Junction – New signal bases were constructed and the site is now substantially prepped for the February work with all track panels delivered and dispersed trackside.
    • Balcombe Tunnel to Copyhold Junction – We removed eight rail defects which reduces the threat of Temporary Speed Restrictions or broken rails along this section.
    • Haywards Heath to Keymer Junction – 10 track circuits were converted to jointless equipment along with reinforcement of the traction return system. A further two signals on the main line and three on the branch were converted to LEDs.
    • Wivelsfield - successfully integrated 610 yards of ballast cleaning 
    • Clayton Tunnel – 650 yards of track renewal were completed on the Up line
    • Clayton to Montpellier  – signalling and cabling works took place
    We also continued with tunnel structural examinations and the cleaning and proving of the drainage systems

  • 28 November 2018 3:42 PM | Lauren Martin-Grieveson (Administrator)

    Pilbeam Construction wins Triple Crown at 2018 Adur & Worthing Business Awards

    A& F Pilbeam Construction, based in Southwick, on the West Sussex coast is celebrating not 1, not 2, but 3 award wins!

    At the annually held Adur & Worthing Business Awards, attended by almost 400 people on 16th November at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing, the company was named winner of the Building and Construction category and the Best Medium Business category. This resulted in them being crowned ‘Best Overall Business’ on the night too!

    Managing Director of the company, Simon Pilbeam, said, “We were hoping to win the Building & Construction category, but to win both categories that we entered and then be named ‘Best Overall Business’ is beyond anything we could have hoped for.”

    “The whole company has worked incredibly hard in the past few years. We live in interesting times and a challenging business climate and so these awards are testament to the dedication, commitment and professionalism of the entire team.”

    The Adur & Worthing Business Awards had received record entries this year and the judging panel said they were impressed by Pilbeam’s innovative approach and the passion and drive shown by the company in taking their business forward while still maintaining their heritage. They also liked the way Pilbeam Construction continues to win significant contracts across the area and beyond, saying the company promotes and represents their building and construction sector to an exceptional standard.

    A&F Pilbeam was established in 1955 and is still based at its original address in Southwick, West Sussex today. The company also celebrated wins at the Sussex Heritage Awards and Mid Sussex Design Awards earlier this year, and also won the contract to construct the new Lady Bee Enterprise Centre at Shoreham Port, which is now well underway with completion due early next year.

     “2018 has been a tough year, and I don’t expect 2019 to be any different,” says Simon Pilbeam. “However, this achievement proves that with the dedicated and professional team that we have, we can achieve our goal of being at the pinnacle of construction in the South East.”

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Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce is the trading name of Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd.
Company registered in England & Wales. Company number: 00345261.  
VAT No: 275 6477 60
Registered Office: Sphere Business Centre, Broadwater Road, Worthing,
West Sussex BN14 8HJ
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