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Station Square development in Worthing unveiled

Every town has a regeneration site that remains dormant for years and sometime decades, despite the best efforts of all concerned.

Announcements come and go, but for a multitude of reasons, the site remains derelict and a living testament to what could-have-been.

In the coastal town of Worthing that site is called Teville Gate and as a former local newspaper reporter, it is not exaggeration to say it has had more false starts than the Grand National.

It also has the somewhat dubious honour and being the first thing visitors see when they arrive in Worthing, as it is adjacent to both the town’s railway station and the A24.

Teville Gate has a long and sometimes tortuous history, but the site’s current owners, Mosaique, believe they have come up with a plan which will not only rejuvenate the site, but also act as a catalyst for further investment in the town.

The plans for newly-rechristened Station Square include more than 300 homes and apartments, restaurants, a gym and supermarket.

Mosaique’s chief executive, Aized Sheikh, describes it as a ‘classic’ regeneration site.

‘There’s a huge interest in Worthing from the funds in London, property companies and developers, which there wasn’t a year ago,’ he says.

‘It is on the map,’ he adds. ‘People [in London] have drawn down so much money that they need to spend, but they do not have the pipeline. They are looking further afield to places like Brighton and Worthing.’

Mr Sheikh says Mosaique was keen to not rush into this and have already spent £1.5m getting the project to this point. The company has now launched a new website, which will follow the progress of the development, and residents and businesses will be able to have their say at two public consultation events later this week.

Mosaique intend to submit the full planning application to Worthing council by the end of this month, and expect to have the application heard by the local authority’s planning committee in March, next year.

‘Many have fallen by rushing into it and making grandiose statements about what they could deliver, without having done the homework,’ adds Mr Sheikh.

‘When you are looking at a £70m-plus development, you need to get your sums right. I’ve spent over £1.5m just getting to this point, so it’s something to be taken seriously.

‘We didn’t become the new guys in town saying the same old things. We wanted to be able to stand behind our statement of delivery.

‘We have delivery partners,’ he says. ‘We feel very confident that what we are going to seek planning permission for is something we can build. Once planning is achieved, we can get diggers on the ground.

‘For me, it’s a catalyst to the opening up of Worthing. It will be a keynote to say Worthing has opportunities. When you arrive at the railway station, what you will see will impress you and you will want to look further into this town.’

He adds that when planning permission is granted, local tradespeople ‘will be asked to work there’.

‘All the local tradespeople will have jobs, if they want them. Once the development is finished, we anticipate between 200 and 250 people will have jobs there, within the supermarkets and restaurants. It’s definitely a generator of employment and I think it create further advantages to local businesses, because it will attract people to live there.’

He adds that place-making has been key to his company’s plans for Station Square.

‘We want it to be a place where people meet, spend the day and then come back in the evening to do other things,’ he said.

‘Whether you live there or not, it doesn’t matter. You can do exactly the same thing. It’s all about a café culture offering. You need people to be able to meet there and form a community.’

He says he hopes Station Square will be a ‘positive message’ for Worthing.

‘It’s the most important site in Worthing and if it’s left, it really doesn’t do Worthing any good whatsoever. Having this site developed opens so many doors for investment into Worthing. Investors in London will be looking to come here and emulate this.’

Mr Sheikh adds he has been very impressed by Worthing council, who have been ‘very proactive’ in selling the town to developers and investors.

‘That’s a lesson for a lot of local authorities,’ he says. ‘We are here to try and work with you. Often you get rebuffed and I think that’s a mistake. Worthing is a good example of a council that is very keen for the town to progress and become something different.’

http://ourstationsquare.com

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