Civic centre flats will be affordable, developer pledges

Housing association Hyde has pledged that at least 30 per cent of the flats planned for the old Adur Civic Centre site will be “affordable”.

Hyde said that it hoped that all 171 flats would be “affordable” and has agreed a “memorandum of understanding” with Adur District Council.

The deal relies on planning permission being granted for the two blocks of flats – one of them 11 storeys high – and funding from Homes England, a government housing agency.

Most of the flats would have one or two bedrooms and about three quarters of the affordable flats would be for rent.

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 scheme includes 56 parking spaces. The developer said that 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 also be given travel vouchers to reduce the incentive to keep their own car.

About 220 cycle parking spaces are also planned, with land set aside for a new cycle path along Eastern Avenue and Ham Road.

Hyde said that solar panels would provide about 10 per cent of the buildings’ energy needs and the flats could easily be connected to the planned “district heat network”.

It was acknowledged that the flats would be close to nearby Mercury House and the Duke of Wellington pub which also hosts live music.

Hyde said that the proposed flats would be “carefully positioned” and would include noise mitigation measures.

Many of the flats would face a communal open space and courtyard garden between the two blocks where play equipment was planned.

The ground floor would include commercial office space which Hyde hoped would create 77 jobs in addition to 46 constuction jobs during building work on the one-and-a-half-acre (0.62 hectare) site.

Eight people have sent formal objections to Adur District Council, raising concerns 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 lead to neighbours losing their privacy.

The proposed flats

The resident 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 too few parking spaces were planned, with one of them saying: “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.

It said that the Adur Local Plan required 1,538 new homes over the next 10 years and the new flats would help to address the current shortfall.

The council has been looking at former industrial and commercial sites because it does not believe that it has enough land for housing for the next five years.

And the Adur and Worthing Housing Matters Strategy said that local people were finding it harder to afford to live in the area because house prices had risen 49 per cent in the past five years.

More information about the plans can be found on the Adur and Worthing planning portal by searching for AWDM/1450/21.

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