Green light given to transform Colonnade House
Worthing is set to benefit from a state-of-the-art digital hub that will bring a modern twist to the town’s historic Colonnade House and transform the partially derelict site.
The historic four-storey Colonnade House is currently occupied by a mixture of buildings in varying states and Worthing Borough Council’s Planning Committee gave the green light to rejuvenate the area at a meeting on Wednesday, February 16th.
As part of the project, Nos 2 and 3 and 5-7 High Street, as well as 52 Ann Street will be demolished and replaced with five residential flats and roof terrace, state-of-the-art Digital and Creative Hub consisting of art studios, exhibition space, cafe, office, meeting room and reception.
Cllr Nicola Waight, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Colonnade House is an iconic building in the town, but some of the site is in disrepair and in desperate need of transformation. This project will see the site revamped to the benefit of the town.
“The modern design will significantly enhance the run-down appearance of the premises and will restore the buildings’ image that are in keeping with the site’s history. This development will support economic growth, bring employment, as well as contribute to Worthing’s housing needs with the intention of being used as emergency accommodation.”
It is hoped the £4 million scheme will attract more artists to the town with the additional creative workshop space, while also helping to regenerate the area, create more jobs and boost the local economy.
The Adur and Worthing Trust, a registered charity who promote arts, culture, and heritage across the region, believes the redevelopment will be a huge benefit and will attract more artists to the town.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “Since opening in 2016 Colonnade House has maintained high occupancy of studio space - currently over 90 per cent and the two galleries are fully booked for the foreseeable future. There are waiting lists for both so we anticipate high demand for the proposed new work spaces.”
Plans for a similar scheme were rejected by the Planning Committee last October. The revised plans will see the number of homes for temporary housing reduced from six to five, plus a new entrance and additional creative workspace facilities.
In addition, there will be amendments to the design features that include stone frames around windows and subtle rendering, which is designed to enhance the current building and conservation area.
Worthing has a shortage of housing and the project will provide much-needed temporary and emergency accommodation to help the Council meet local housing needs, while also saving it money that would otherwise have to be spent on B&Bs and hotels.
Councillors said they feared that if permission to demolish the vacant or dilapidated buildings was rejected then the entire gateway site to the east of the town would end up empty as it would not be viable to convert the buildings to meet modern standards.
Colonnade House, which was built in the early 1800s as a library and post office, is located in the heart of the town centre. However, parts of the buildings have fallen into disrepair over the years and No 5 High Street has been badly fire damaged.