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Councils' cash boost to help the homeless in Worthing

Vital accommodation for those most in need in Worthing could get a much-needed cash boost of more than £1.75 million from developers.

With demand and costs high, Worthing - like many places in the southeast - has experienced an increase in the number of people presenting as homeless in recent years. This has increased further due to the COVID pandemic.

To help ease the issue and ensure those in need have suitable accommodation, Worthing councillors have approved the release of £1,765,800 to provide further help for those in need.

The funds have been provided by Roffey Homes, the developer behind Bayside Apartments on Worthing seafront, as part of the agreement to secure planning permission on the former Aquarena.

With the company unable to attract a Registered Provider to oversee the proposed affordable housing units at the site, the Council will take receipt of the funds and use them towards other suitable schemes in the town.

Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, said: “We are determined to reduce homelessness and the need for temporary accommodation, which is incredibly traumatic and stressful for those who find themselves in such a distressing situation.

“Homelessness carries a huge personal cost to those who endure it, so we committed to delivering affordable housing that, as well as offering much more stability for families and some of the most vulnerable people, actually saves the taxpayer money as temporary accommodation in hotels and bed and breakfasts is incredibly expensive.

“But because of contributions received from the Bayside development to the Capital Programme, we could benefit from extra funding towards the delivery of additional affordable housing elsewhere in the region.”

Planning permission at Bayside was granted for the redevelopment of the former Aquarena site for 140 residential apartments, commercial floorspace and a seafront cafe.

The initial plan was to provide 30 per cent affordable housing (42 apartments). Of those 20 were social rented apartments and the remaining 22 apartments for shared ownership were offered to Registered Providers. However, that was not taken up due to concerns over service charges.

As part of the agreement, Roffey Homes were obliged to pay the Council £1,765,800 on the occupation of the 90th apartment, which is now on the brink of being completed.

The proposal for the cash injection has been approved by the Councils' Joint Strategic Committee this week (9th November 2021). Teams will now look at various options to use the cash to deliver additional housing at potential sites in the town.

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