Empty shop rent paid by Worthing council

The Argus: The empty property paid for by Worthing Borough Council The empty property paid for by Worthing Borough Council

A council used cash designed to breathe life into the high street to pay rent on an empty shop.

Worthing Borough Council spent £44,000 paying rent for two years on a property in Ann Street.

The shop was the home of Worthing First, a community interest company set up to help start-up businesses but which ceased trading on February 29.

It means the shop will lie vacant until January when the company can break from the lease.

Worthing resident Dan Thompson, the founder of the Empty Shops Network, said it was a waste of money and space.

He added: “It is incredibly frustrating. There is so much good work going on in Worthing and it is not that we need lots of money for these projects to work.

“It is incredibly disappointing lots of funding was handed to one group.”

Community groups

Mr Thompson said there were “dozens of groups” who would have put the vacant space to good use but they were never told about it.

But company director Peter Bennett said a flood in the building meant the company was not able to trade, leaving it bereft of funds.

He added: “There was a flood and it was pretty horrible. We could not have it open to the public.

“Then there was a delay between the insurers and the landlord and they needed to get quotes from builders.

“The idea was to generate income by giving advice to start ups but we could not.”

Enterprise hub

Mr Bennett said it would not be possible to offer the shop now as Worthing First would have to ensure the premises were empty again by January or it would be tied into another three years of the lease.

He added: “The problem is we have no money.

“But it was a good idea and we helped a lot of people.”

Bryan Turner, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Mr Thompson did not come to us for money while Worthing First did.

“We paid the rent up front to get a better deal and a two-year break which we are going to have to enact.

“I wish we still had the building but the spirit of the project is going on”.

As an example of the success of the scheme he pointed to Enterprise Hub, which has taken on Worthing First’s mantle and has offered help to 20 start-ups already.

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Comments (8)

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9:32pm Thu 29 Nov 12

sbiscorrupt says...

So the rent was paid regardless - out of taxpayers money...

I wonder who the landlord is?
So the rent was paid regardless - out of taxpayers money... I wonder who the landlord is? sbiscorrupt

10:09pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Isaac Rinkfern says...

If they got a good deal on it at £44k for 2 years, how come it's currently advertised at £10k pa?
The name of the landlord would indeed be interesting.......
If they got a good deal on it at £44k for 2 years, how come it's currently advertised at £10k pa? The name of the landlord would indeed be interesting....... Isaac Rinkfern

1:42am Fri 30 Nov 12

tonybee says...

It's probably an undercover Green Communist Party agent !!!
It's probably an undercover Green Communist Party agent !!! tonybee

7:11am Fri 30 Nov 12

polegate says...

A counseller?
A counseller? polegate

10:43am Fri 30 Nov 12

HJarrs says...

As this is a Conservative council, the usual moaners suddenly go silent. Had this been a Green council doing exactly the same thing their would be dozens of posts. No bias then?
As this is a Conservative council, the usual moaners suddenly go silent. Had this been a Green council doing exactly the same thing their would be dozens of posts. No bias then? HJarrs

11:02am Fri 30 Nov 12

Isaac Rinkfern says...

As Adur and Worthing Councils are currently refusing to publish their councillors pecuniary interests, despite being legally required to do so, we can only assume that there is the possibility of impropriety here, and elsewhere.
If the people of brighton want to swap councils, we'd be more than willing, although any council taking control of Adur will find the piggy bank empty, and homeless.
As Adur and Worthing Councils are currently refusing to publish their councillors pecuniary interests, despite being legally required to do so, we can only assume that there is the possibility of impropriety here, and elsewhere. If the people of brighton want to swap councils, we'd be more than willing, although any council taking control of Adur will find the piggy bank empty, and homeless. Isaac Rinkfern

12:12pm Sat 1 Dec 12

Isaac Rinkfern says...

Would this company's director be the same Peter Bennett that was, for a 20 odd years, a worthing councillor, and former mayor of Worthing?

They certainly like to look after their own, don't they?
Would this company's director be the same Peter Bennett that was, for a 20 odd years, a worthing councillor, and former mayor of Worthing? They certainly like to look after their own, don't they? Isaac Rinkfern

8:07pm Thu 13 Dec 12

sbiscorrupt says...

"A new Community Interest Company called Worthing First was set up to manage the project. Directors include Conservative councillor Noel Atkins, former councillor Peter Bennett and Carl Clarke, the then husband of the council-funded Worthing Town Centre Manager. A final director was Jim Cunliffe, director of 19 other companies and a man also involved in managing events for the Worthing Town Centre Manager.

The building had been in use until shortly before Worthing First took over, as a design and print studio.

They appointed a manager for the building, and opened after an extensive refurbishment and applying branding to the shop’s windows. However, the project failed to attract interest and closed its doors after only a few months.

Worthing First have, however, paid up front for two years use of the space which has sat empty (although their website says they have ceased trading). Their lease will expire in January 2013.

So Worthing Borough Council’s empty shop funding paid to keep a shop empty for two years".

Anyone know a seven letter word beginning in 'corr' and ending in 'upt'?
"A new Community Interest Company called Worthing First was set up to manage the project. Directors include Conservative councillor Noel Atkins, former councillor Peter Bennett and Carl Clarke, the then husband of the council-funded Worthing Town Centre Manager. A final director was Jim Cunliffe, director of 19 other companies and a man also involved in managing events for the Worthing Town Centre Manager. The building had been in use until shortly before Worthing First took over, as a design and print studio. They appointed a manager for the building, and opened after an extensive refurbishment and applying branding to the shop’s windows. However, the project failed to attract interest and closed its doors after only a few months. Worthing First have, however, paid up front for two years use of the space which has sat empty (although their website says they have ceased trading). Their lease will expire in January 2013. So Worthing Borough Council’s empty shop funding paid to keep a shop empty for two years". Anyone know a seven letter word beginning in 'corr' and ending in 'upt'? sbiscorrupt

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