Housing association plans 171 flats on civic centre site

A housing association has submitted a planning application to build 171 flats on the site of the old Adur Civic Centre.

The civic centre was demolished in 2017 and the vacant site, in Ham Road, Shoreham, is currently being used as a car park by staff at the nearby Focus Group offices.

The Hyde Group hopes to build two blocks of flats up to 11 storeys high, containing 71 one-bed flats, 83 two-bed flats and 17 three-bed flats.

Hyde hopes that at least 30 per cent of the flats will be classed as affordable and that the blocks will include a communal open space and courtyard garden with play equipment.

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The housing association also said that planned office space on the ground floor could create 77 jobs, providing “high-quality employment floorspace in the town centre”, in addition to 46 construction jobs.

A total of 56 parking spaces are planned for the site which the Hyde said was “in an excellent town centre location” with “ample public transport links”.

Residents would be able to make use of a car club and could be provided with travel vouchers to minimise the number of cars needed. About 220 cycle parking spaces are also planned, with land set aside for a new cycle path along Eastern Avenue and Ham Road.

Solar panels and electric heaters would provide energy to the buildings which could be “easily connected2 to the planned district heat network in the future.

Hyde said that the new flats would be in “close proximity” to nearby Mercury House and the Duke of Wellington pub but said that they would be “carefully positioned” and mitigation measures would be put in place to minimise any impact.

Eight formal objections have been received by Adur District Council on issues ranging from parking and loss of privacy to over-development and the design of the proposed blocks.

One Gordon Road resident said that an 11-storey building could mean that neighbours lose their privacy.

The objector said: “Myself and my neighbours have already lost a lot of privacy due to the Focus office block and that is only four storeys.

“We no longer feel comfortable sitting in the garden during the day and we have to keep curtains and blinds closed.”

Several Gordon Road residents said that the planned parking spaces would be inadequate.

One said: “Generally, there is totally inadequate parking allocated that will result in existing car owners in the neighbourhood streets vying for limited parking spaces – the traffic build up along the A259 is already unacceptable.”

Hyde said that it had consulted with council officials, delivered 120 leaflets to residents and organised a public event in March last year.

The Adur Local Plan requires 1,538 new homes within the built up area of Adur by 2032 and Hyde said that the new flats would help to address the current shortfall.

The council does not have enough land for housing for the next five years and former industrial and commercial sites are now being explored for development. This is crucial if the council wishes to achieve its housing targets.

Additionally, the Adur and Worthing Housing Matters Strategy said that local people were less able to afford to live in the area because of a 49 per cent increase in house prices in the past five years.

More information about this application can be found on the planning portal on the Adur and Worthing website, using the reference AWDM/1450/21.

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