More concern over Civic Centre site plans

Campaigners have been stepping up protests about proposals for redeveloping the former Civic Centre site in Ham Road. They are protesting about the height of the proposed development and the lack of parking places there.

The developers have indicated that up to 200 homes will be built - a mix of social rented homes and shared-ownership properties - plus some commercial premises. But only 85 parking places are planned.

Local campaigning group Adur Residents Environment Action have described the proposal as likely to cause a traffic and parking "meltdown" in the town. They also say the proposed height - 10 storeys indicated by drawings or up to 12 mentioned in other information from the developers - would be greatly out of proportion for the area.

Civic Centre site proposals

Campaigners had also wanted the site to remain in public ownership to give the council maximum control of its usage with an even stronger emphasis on social rentals, but the council decided this was beyond its resources and agreed to sell the 1.5 acre site, saying it would still be used substantially for affordable housing. The agreed sale, to the Hyde Housing group, was on the basis of 40 per cent of the homes being for social rental and the rest for shared ownership.

The development will also include what is described as "flexible commercial floorspace".

Meanwhile a new office block on the northern side of Ham Road, where the former Civic Centre car park was, is already suffering from parking overload. It provides 2,300 square meters of floorspace for a hi-tech business, supporting around 200 jobs.

Residents in Gordon Road said the block would deprive them of light and privacy, but Adur Council's planning committee voted by a small majority to approve the plan.

HISTORY: Civic Centre built in 1980 to provide Adur Council's HQ. As council services increasingly became joint operations with Worthing, it was recognised ADC didn't need so much office space. Departments started relocating in 2013, and last council staff moved out in 2016 to new extension of Shoreham Centre. The old building was demolished and the site cleared in 2018.

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Anger as Beach Green cafe proposals approved

Adur Council's approval of development proposals for the site which includes the old toilet block on Beach Green, Shoreham Beach, has prompted angry protests.

At a heated meeting interrupted by noisy public protests, Adur councillors approved the plans for a 3-storey cafe and leisure block proposed by a development company associated with high-profile DJ Fatboy Slim.

The company proposes a multi-function community hub on similar lines to successful ventures at Shoreditch and Croydon and incorporating a cafe such as Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Cafe at Hove Lagoon.

Beach Green proposal

Their Shoreham Beach concept includes a roof terrace, a split-level cafe, public toilets and community space for up to 90 people.

While most residents have welcomed the prospect of the old toilet block being redeveloped, many object to the scale of the new proposal, saying it is out of proportion for the area and will create noise and traffic problems.

HISTORY: Redevelopment of the old toilet block has been a long-term intention for years. ADC chose a preferred developer in Spring 2016. Proposals were suggested and consultation conducted, but the preferred developer pulled out in Autumn 2016. New proposal put forward by Big Beach partnership in 2017, but planning application delayed. Application finally submitted July 2019, and approved on October 7th.

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Adur celebrates its heritage

Adur's rich heritage was celebrated in a variety of local events and activities under the banner "Adoring Adur" as part of the 25th National Heritage Open Days Festival.

St Mary's Church held guided tours of the ringing room in the bell tower, which is not normally open to the public. There was also a children's quiz, highlighting the history of the churchyard and its plants.

A plaque was unveiled in the Middle Street car park in memory of the late Reg Leggett, a tireless campaigner for Shoreham and a key figure in many positive initiatives. He founded the Shoreham Historic Trust and Shoreham Preservation Society (later superseded by the Shoreham Society) and he strenuously campaigned for the Shoreham bypass to protect Old Shoreham.

And an exhibition by the Shoreham Society was held at St Mary's highlighting important heritage sites in the town, including Shoreham Airport and Shoreham Port.

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Society steps up trees initiative

The Shoreham Society is stepping up its campaign to make the town greener and more attractive.

"Adur Arbor" is an extension of an idea from Rosslyn Road residents who planted nine new young trees in their road. The Shoreham Society thinks this could also be done in other parts of the town and district, and is encouraging groups of residents to follow the Rosslyn Road example.

The society has produced a leaflet describing the benefits and explaining how to go about it.

Click here for the leaflet. (pdf download)

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Twenty-storey tower proposed off Brighton Road

A narrow but very tall tower of flats is being proposed for the New Wharf site off Brighton Road, Shoreham.

The block - some 20 storeys high - would be the main feature of the site, which is just west of the Monteum fishmongers and forms part of the extensive area earmarked for major development between Brighton Road and the river.

New Wharf tower
Developer's illustration of the proposed tower block

The flats tower would occupy about a fifth of the New Wharf site, with the rest being devoted to public use and some mixed development.

An alternative, slightly less lofty, design suggested by the developer is for the flats to be divided into two blocks, but even these would be far higher than anything surrounding - up to 13 or 16 storeys.

Among the responses following a public consultation was a fear that however well designed this tower might be, it would set a precedent for further developments of similar height in future.

People attending the consultation also queried the adequacy of the proposed parking provision for the 100 flats - 90 bays for residents and visitors.

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Plans approved for Mannings redevelopment

Proposals for redeveloping The Mannings on the corner of Ham Road and Surry Street have been approved. Designs were shown at a public exhibition in July and Adur Council has now granted planning consent.

The owners, Southern Housing Group (SHG), will demolish the existing four-storey social housing block and replace it with a new one of up to six storeys, containing 74 homes - some for social rent and some for shared ownership (artist's impression below). Proposed Mannings redevelopment

Existing residents of The Mannings are to be offered alternative accommodation and will then be invited to return if they wish after the two-year building project.

More details are on the SHG website on the Mannings (click here).

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Campaign continues over IKEA and 600 homes

A group of Adur residents is continuing its fight to minimise negative impacts from Adur Council's controversial decision to allow an IKEA store and 600 homes in the New Monks Farm area on the western edge of Shoreham Airport.

Despite a Government announcement that it will not interfere with the council's decision, the local group Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA), says it will continue to campaign for more consultation and changes to what's proposed.

The group is in discussion with Lancing Parish Council and has also written to IKEA saying the proposal contravenes the company's own stated commitments to environmental sustainability.

Development proposals

Councillors approved the application despite widespread opposition including by the local MP Tim Loughton, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the South Downs National Park Authority, Friends of the Earth, AREA, Sussex Wildlife Trust and 1,300 individual local residents.

The objections were based on multiple issues including air pollution, traffic congestion, flood risk, utility capacity and environmental damage.

As well as the extensive housing (allowed for in the Adur Local Plan despite concerns about the impact on local infrastructure), the proposals include a new primary school, business and commercial premises in addition to the IKEA store, plus a 24-hectare country park which was added in response to concerns over loss of open space.

A separate proposal for the north-east corner of Shoreham Airport was also approved by the council despite similarly strong opposition. It is for buildings 25,000 square metres in area and 14 metres high, to be used for "storage and distribution". The usage description caused alarm that it could have a major impact with high volumes of lorry and delivery van traffic.

With the A27 and A259 already suffering heavy congestion and frequent gridlock, and local air pollution levels already dangerously high, a major road distribution centre generating high volumes of commercial traffic was bound to be a major issue in addition to the deep concerns over the impact of the New Monks Farm proposals.

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Key local environmental issues progressed

Two important local environmental initiatives have been taken a stage further.

The first is Adur Council's adoption of planning guidelines on sustainable energy. The document outlines requirements for developers to show that any proposals will meet modern energy management expectations.

To gain planning consent they will need to show they have assessed energy demand and have strategies in place to reduce and meet the energy demand, with an emphasis on "delivering clean, smart, sustainable, development."

The policy can be viewed online at this council website.

The second environmental initiative being progressed is the development of a Shoreham Area Sustainable Transport Package Feasibility Study.

It proposes a range of measures including improved cycling and pedestrian facilities, improved public transport and tighter management of private motorised vehicle access through the area.

The proposals have been developed with the involvement of various interested parties and several stages of public consultation, and local county councillors have now approved the study so that it moves to its final stages before adoption. Public comments are still invited.

The details, which include a proposed new cycle route on the south side of the A259 between Adur Ferry Bridge and Brighton among many other measures to encourage sustainable transport, are outlined in this council report.

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Controversial Brighton Road flats proposal revised

Revised plans for housing on the controversial Kingston Wharf site in Brighton Road, Shoreham, have been made public, revealing an increased number of flats and an additional storey.

Residents attending earlier public exhibitions of the plans said they were alarmed at the height and visual dominance of proposed blocks of flats.

The proposal was originally for 175 homes in blocks up to nine storeys high. This was later reduced to seven - still as tall as the controversial development on the old Parcelforce site further along Brighton Road, which many people say is too high.

The latest revisions have dropped the plan for a supermarket but increased the number of flats to 255 in blocks of four to eight storeys.

Kingston Wharf

Details are available online at the Kingston Wharf website.

Another Brighton Road proposal for flats which was revised following strong opposition by local residents is the development of the Howard Kent site west of the lifeboat station. Blocks of up to 10 storeys were originally planned but developers then proposed a smaller-scale project.

Among the formal objectors to the original proposal was Shoreham Port, opposing the development on the grounds of risk for shipping.

The developers, represented by Liam Russell Architects, presented their alternative, smaller-scale options for public comment at a public meeting.

The new proposal is for 24 houses and 24 flats (illustrated below). It's a big reduction from the earlier plan for 135 flats, although concern has been expressed about the lack of affordable housing in the new site plan.

Howard Kent site proposal

Controversy over this proposal followed hot on the heels of Adur Council's approval of plans for 540 flats in towers up to nine storeys at Free Wharf, the former Minelco site. (artist's impression below)

Free Wharf impression

The council's planning committee approved the application, subject to infrastructure arrangements, despite receiving numerous objections, and members of the public and opposition councillors were dismayed when Conservative councillor Carol Albury, who chaired the meeting, curtailed this controversial item and allowed no further discussion.

A disclosure that 10m of government 'regeneration' money was potentially earmarked for Free Wharf prompted accusations that the planning consent was unduly influenced by a desire not to jeopardise this funding.

Approval of the application is seen as a clear precedent for other high-rise proposals currently in the pipeline for Brighton Road.

The Free Wharf proposals have moved a stage further with a contract awarded (April 2019) for a nine-month programme of site preparation and flood defence work prior to actual housing construction which is earmarked to start early in 2020.

The Shoreham Society has argued that a maximum of five storeys would be far more appropriate for all of the Brighton Road sites, and certainly no more than seven within the deeper sites away from the road and the river. The society has also expressed concern about the total number of flats proposed and the likely impact on local infrastructure, and strongly opposes any reduction in the proportion of affordable housing.

The high proportion of flats for sale at market value, limited number and affordability of so-called affordable housing, and lack real social housing, are also seen as signs of the developments being driven too much by profit-motive rather than meeting genuine housing need.

However it is also recognised that tall blocks of flats on brownfield sites, while unwelcome to neighbours, allow housing targets to be met without unduly encroaching on local open spaces.

HISTORY: Brighton Road sites earmarked for redevelopment in 2012 and included in the Adur Local Plan and the Shoreham Harbour Joint Action Plan. Local residents and organisations have consistently raised big concerns about building heights and strain on local infrastructure. Free Wharf planning application approved January 2018.

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Council's social housing plan approved despite parking worries

Adur council has approved its plan for the first council housing to be proposed for the district in more than 30 years, despite concerns over lack of parking.

Under the trading name Adur Homes, the council is proposing to redevelop the run-down Cecil Norris House in Ravens Road, Shoreham, to provide 15 homes to be available at discounted rents for people on the local housing register.

It is intended to be the start of a continuing programme to address the serious shortfall in local social housing.

At a public consultation session Adur Homes said this was the first of a number of projects aimed at creating well-designed, sustainable homes on council-owned land. They have several sites earmarked across the district and Ravens Road is the first such site.

Although the general idea of council-provided affordable housing is widely supported, the detail of what is proposed has been criticised, with particular surprise that the Ravens Road proposal does not include any car parking except two bays for disabled drivers.

Local residents close to the site also objected to the design and layout of the proposal, which they say will severely limit daylight to their homes and infringe their privacy.

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New lease-holders promise airport improvements

Plans to improve Shoreham Airport's aviation facilities have been announced by new lease-holders.

Administrators for the head lessee, Albemarle Shoreham Airport Ltd, which is insolvent and went into liquidation in 2016, are splitting the whole site into four sections and marketing them as separate leases as part of their plan to raise maximum cash for Albemarle's creditors.

The flying activities and essential airport buildings and runways have been leased for 25 years to investment group Cyrrus Ltd, which has taken over Brighton City Airport Ltd.

Promised improvements include upgrades at the terminal building, including the bar and restaurant area, and better facilities for leisure flyers, flying schools and other aviation operators.

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Shoreham's new flood defences in place on schedule

Shoreham's tidal walls flood defence project is in its final stages to protect the town from high tides bursting the River Adur as sea levels rise.

The Environment Agency and its contractors say the project progressed well and has been completed on schedule. An official opening was held in March.

The 32m project reduces the risk of flooding to over 2,300 homes and 169 commercial properties in Shoreham and East Lancing.

It has been funded with a 23.8 million contribution from central government attracting partnership contributions from West Sussex County Council, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and some private developers through Adur District Council.

Controversy remains, however, over the stretch by Sussex Yacht Club. Adur Council has secured funding to buy the site and understood that the Environment Agency would pay for a flood wall there, but the Agency has halved its original budget for this. Council leader Neil Parkin says skimping on this would leave a serious weak link in the town's overall flood defences.

Information about the tidal walls project is available on this website.

Updates are posted on the project's Facebook page.

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Pond Road prospects revived with new study

Long-awaited redevelopment of the Pond Road area in Shoreham may have moved a step closer, with a new feasibility study under way and potential funding earmarked.

The Shoreham Society has monitored discussions - or lack of them - ever since Adur Council issued a brief more than 10 years ago for the redevelopment of this key central area.

The planning brief envisaged retaining the existing community centre (since extended with council offices), building new public facilities including a health centre and community hub on the Burrscroft care home site, and replacing the existing health centre and library with housing.

Apart from the community centre, those proposals were mothballed because of the economic climate. But West Sussex County Council, which owns the Burrscroft site, has revived hopes for the area by proposing the use of capital funding which it believes may be available from a Government investment scheme.

A detailed feasibility study is under way and the council says it is on schedule for publication in January. Officers have obtained quotes for the demolition of Burrscroft, which they see as the project's first phase.

The Shoreham Society has always favoured creative redevelopment of the area but challenged the initial proposals on grounds including poor use of space and inappropriate overall concept. The society believes that any development should be in keeping with the site's position at the heart of the conservation area and adjacent to the heritage asset of St Mary's Church.

Remodelling of existing buildings is also preferred by the society rather than demolition - principally because recovering the higher costs of rebuilding could result in excessively dense or high-rise development.

Society experts are monitoring the situation and seeking involvement in any new consultations.

HISTORY: Plans outlined in 2007 for new health centre and 'town square' development. Burrscroft closed in 2008. Redevelopment plans put on hold after 2008 financial crisis. Publication of new feasibility study expected.

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Long-term harbour plans submitted

Finalised proposals for the long-term development of Shoreham Harbour have been submitted for Government approval.

The Shoreham Harbour Joint Action Plan is a joint initiative by local councils and the port authority. Large areas of the harbour are earmarked for extensive housing development and new commercial premises.

Details of the final proposals are available on this council website. They are also available for inspection at Adur Council offices and Shoreham Library.

As expected from earlier drafts, the plan allows for extensive development throughout the harbour. In the western arm alone (from Kingston beach to the Shoreham footbridge), a minimum of 1,100 dwellings are proposed. They will be mostly in blocks of flats, with a few housing terraces.

For blocks of flats fronting Brighton Road or the river, a height of up to five storeys is suggested, but with more storeys allowed within deeper sites.

Less controversially, public access and amenities along the waterfront are encouraged, together with waterside cycle and pedestrian routes from Shoreham to Kingston, plus improved cycling facilities along the A259.

HISTORY: Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) for harbour proposed in 2008 by Brighton, Adur and WSx councils and Port Auth. Development briefs published 2014, followed by various consultations, technical studies etc. Final JAAP submitted for formal adoption May 2018. Approval expected this year.

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Adur Local Plan approved despite concerns

Adur's blueprint for future planning, including provision for some 3,700 new homes by 2031, has been approved by the local council.

A move, strongly supported by the Shoreham Society, to change the wording from "minimum" when referring to housing numbers at several sites, was lost, which effectively means the numbers of housing units could soar.

The society, which submitted detailed comments during the consultation period, welcomed the news that no new sites have been added to those already in the draft plan.

The society has also welcomed an indication that nationally-recommended proportions of affordable housing will be expected in development plans.

Although the 3,700 housing target is significantly lower than previous Government targets, such rate of development is inevitably controversial.

Tension between meeting housing demand and limiting harmful overdevelopment is a key issue. There has been much debate over whether the Local Plan's housing provisions are driven more by profit opportunities for developers than by any genuine attempt to meet local housing needs.

Concerns also remain about traffic congestion and resultant air pollution, and also flood risk and strain on local services.

The adopted Adur Local Plan and associated documents are available at this council website.

HISTORY: Process began 2014. Consultations and amendments in 2015 and 2016. Submission to Government Oct 2016. Public hearings by Government Inspector held in Feb 2017. Consultation on his conclusions held during summer 2017. Inspector largely endorsed the plan with few modifications. Adur Council agreed the finalised Local Plan in December 2017.

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Alarm grows over traffic and pollution

Deepening concerns are being voiced over relentless local increases in traffic congestion and its resultant air pollution.

A local environmental group supported by the Shoreham Society is calling for urgent action and planning strategies to improve Shoreham's air quality. With pollution soaring from increased traffic as more local housing is built, Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) has said Adur Council must hold developers to account in terms of their duty to mitigate environmental harm when building new housing developments.

In the meantime a Shoreham Area Sustainable Transport Study is continuing to explore how to achieve smarter traffic and transport management as the local population increases. The study is focusing on improving cycle and pedestrian facilities, encouraging best use of roads and achieving sustainable transport infrastructure.

The Shoreham Society and AREA attended the latest meeting of the Shoreham Area Sustainable Transport Study and pressed for greater emphasis on environmental considerations in transport planning.

An increasing view is that trying to accommodate more traffic by building new roads, improving junctions and changing traffic flows are mis-directed when a far more creative and wide-ranging approach is required, with much smarter solutions such as integrated transport systems and strategies for social change to reduce vehicle usage.

More information about the campaign group AREA is available on their website (click here).

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Affordable housing minimum urged

The Shoreham Society has called on Adur council to insist that new residential developments must have a minimum of 30 per cent affordable housing - and up to 40 per cent for large developments.

The society says council planners should adopt a robust policy on housing, not letting developers cut back on the 30/40 per cent national guidelines for affordable properties or social housing.

Society members are concerned about a growing trend by developers to offer the full recommended quota of affordable housing at first, but later say it is not viable and seek to either reduce the affordable quota or increase the overall density by packing more units into the site.

A society spokesman said: "Councillors and planning officers in many areas are proving weak in response to developers' demands, allowing genuine local housing needs to be compromised in pursuit of what they mistakenly believe to be economic regeneration.

"It can lead to a reduction in the provision of affordable homes, urgently required to meet the housing shortage for local families and workers. Instead it brings a predominance of high-cost luxury housing bringing much higher profits for developers but causing major social problems by attracting buyers from outside the area and increasing the strain on already-overstretched local infrastructure and services."

The society is urging councillors and planning officers to firmly resist any reductions in proposed affordable or social housing, to demand that developers open their books to independent inspection if they claim that the guidelines are not viable, and to decline planning consent for schemes that put profits before meeting real local housing needs.

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Tighter parking controls urged

Adur Council and the police are being urged to clamp down on illegal, obstructive and inconsiderate parking in the town.

The Shoreham Society is calling on the authorities to take a firmer line on bad parking after receiving increasing complaints from members about selfish and illegal road behaviour.

Unauthorised parking in disabled bays, on pavements and yellow lines and in dangerous positions at junctions have all noticeably increased as road congestion has risen, says the society.

With the town's population increasing dramatically with new housing developments, the society predicts the problem will continue to get worse unless parking regulations are more diligently enforced.

The society is asking its own members to report examples of anti-social parking. It can be done by phoning the council's parking services dpt on 0345 680 0189, and/or emailing the principal parking officer Jason Passfield. Residents who feel this is an important issue are also advised to inform their local councillor.

A society spokesman said: "At the moment there is a prevailing attitude by some motorists that 'it'll be OK here for just a few minutes while I pop into the shop or do this little errand'. They disregard the likelihood that their selfishly parked car will cause obstruction, inconvenience and possibly danger.

"A change of social attitude is needed, and the best way to bring that about will be for people to know there's a very high chance of finding their illegally-parked car ticketed."

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Railway subway campaign continues

Pressure is being maintained on Southern Railway and Network Rail to make the Shoreham station subway easily accessible from the street, allowing non-railway-users to cross when the gates are closed.

The Shoreham Society has been trying for over two years to explore options with the rail companies, and there has been increasing dismay at the lack of progress.

Many people have expressed frustration at long waiting times at the crossing when barriers are down and have supported the idea of making the subway freely accessible to the general public.

Direct access to the subway from the street was removed in 1987.

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Southlands housing scheme proceeds

Building work is well under way for a housing estate on the site of the unoccupied main block of Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.

After studying details of the site layout and building designs, Adur Council's planning committee gave final approval and work is now under way at the site.

Developer Taylor Wimpey bought the building and surrounding land and was given planning permission to build 106 homes there, including a mix of flats and houses.

Approval for the hospital's sell-off for housing was subject to an undertaking to provide 30% affordable housing. Other conditions included financial contributions of around 571,000 towards local infrastructure.

The NHS trust originally invited organisations to put forward proposals for using the site for health-related purposes, but the timescale for such proposals passed with no suitable projects emerging.

All in-patient facilities were transferred to Worthing Hospital, with the NHS retaining only the out-patient building fronting Hammy Lane, which the trust promises to keep and improve.

A major eye unit offering diagnosis, treatments and operations was among the developments for this remaining part of the hospital.

The decision to sell the main block for housing disappointed campaigners who wanted it kept for community health purposes.

HISTORY: Hospital Trust got planning permission in 2014 to demolish old main block and release the site for housing, following decision to stop inpatient services and concentrate on specialist day services. Wimpey group bought site in 2015 and demolition/construction proceeded in 2016. Completion expected 2018.

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