Crucial talks are expected to take place to resolve whether a much-delayed £150 million mixed use development in Sussex will be delivered.
The Worthing Gateway project at Teville Gate, which promised up to 1000 jobs for the area and includes plans for a twin tower property scheme, conference centre, hotel, cinema and retail space, gained planning permission in 2010.
However, the ambitious scheme from Hanson Capital Management has received a series of setbacks.
According to the hugely-significant project’s website, which has not been updated for three years – the plans “could be delivered in 2011,” which the developers claim will now begin in 2014. The owners of the site had formed a subsidiary group, Worthing Central Properties, but no update has been given on the scheme’s progress for more than six months.
Earlier this year, the Teville Gate site was listed as being for sale through the Sevenoaks office of Hanson Capital Management’s agents, Savills, for an undisclosed price. But according to a spokesperson for the company, this had in fact been done in error.
Bryan Turner, of Worthing Borough Council, said the authority will seek talks with the developer’s supporting bank as to whether an agreed sum of around £2million towards area landscaping and community (106 agreement) contributions can be met.
He said: “The developers have said they will start the scheme in 2014, but we will now look at talking to the bank involved as to whether Hanson can meet the agreed 106 money for the site, which will determine if it is now viable.”
Mr Turner added that although the long-awaited Teville Gate scheme had yet to be achieved, there were around £70 million pounds of investment in the area including the relocation of Worthing College at Broadwater, expansion of facilities at Northbrook College and commercial projects including the soon-to-be opened new Beach Hotel.
Councillor Keith Sunderland, the shadow regeneration member of Worthing Borough Council, expressed concern over the continued delays over the site. He believed a means of taking back the site into council’s hands should be found, in order that an appropriate scheme can finally be achieved at Teville Gate - which has been widely criticised as an eyesore offering a bleak entrance to anyone visiting the area.
Since the departure of its last high street retailer, Comet, in December, there is now only one store operating on the former precinct, Bed King.
Liberal Democrat councilor Bob Smytherman hoped a resolution could be found for the development.
He said: “Teville Gate has long been a blight on Worthing and I look forward to Hanson bringing forward a scheme that is deliverable in the near future. “Should this not be possible, the council should not rule out compulsory purchase working with our partners to deliver a regeneration scheme that the town deserves and can be truly proud of.” Hanson Capital management was approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of going to press.