THE site of a former police station has been bought by a council for £3.5 million.

The plot in Union Place, Worthing, will be used to create jobs and homes for the town and regenerate the area.

Worthing Borough Council intends to put forward major plans for the site within the next year.

The police station was closed and demolished in 2009 and the area sold to developers.

However the council said no progress had been made on redeveloping it.

It hopes buying the site and combining it with neighbouring land it already owns will kick-start the stalled project.

The next step is to work with other partners to bring forward proposals for the whole site.

Council leader Dan Humphreys said: “For too long residents and businesses in Worthing have waited for firm proposals to come forward for Union Place.

“But in order to provide local people with jobs and homes we need to get moving on this.

“The key thing is we are now back in control.

“I look forward to being able to move forward quickly but responsibly in finding a partner to bring this long-awaited project forward.”

In 2016 the council attempted to bring the development of the site forward by proposing a partnership with the owners of the site, Change Real Estate Ltd.

Among the ideas for the 1.4-acre area was a multiplex cinema, about 150 apartments and up to seven restaurants in a mixed use scheme.

The council says it is willing to consider all potential options for the site to ensure a project is delivered which is beneficial to everyone.

Council executive member for regeneration Kevin Jenkins said: “All options are open to us at this stage.

“The only thing that is certain is we are getting moving with the long-term regeneration schemes that have been stalled for many years.

“This will then bring yet more investment into the town, which is good news for residents, businesses and visitors.”

The money to pay for the site was secured through the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

The move follows hot on the heels of the council’s decision to demolish the Teville Gate multi-storey car park.

The aim of this was to create impetus for the private development of the rest of that site.

Owner Mosaique is drawing up proposals which would include homes, restaurants and a gym for the area, which it has renamed Station Square.

The firm is expected to submit a planning application later this year.