A COUNCIL is splashing out £4.4 million to buy a former pub and turn it into homes.

Worthing Borough Council has bought The Downview in Tarring Road, Worthing.

It wants to build nine flats with a ground floor shop and at least four more homes on the car park.

The council claims this will save £90,000 a year in temporary and emergency accommodation costs, which is mainly spent on B&Bs outside the area.

Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council’s executive member for customer services, said: “As a council, we are committed to doing everything we can to provide affordable and suitable accommodation for those who need it.

“The Downview pub represented a rare opportunity to acquire a site within the town.

“With planning approval already granted, it represents a prudent long-term investment for the council.

“Once the conversion is complete, we will be able to provide more than a dozen families with a safe, secure place to call home.

“We can also work with them to secure permanent accommodation, as well as saving the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds a year in emergency accommodation costs.

“We will continue to look at ways we can creatively secure suitable accommodation for those most in need across the borough.”

The council wants to reduce the amount spent on emergency accommodation for those on short-term tenancies.

With the deal complete, teams from the council are now working up a proposal to make best use of the site.

Planning permission was granted last June to convert the building into nine apartments while retaining part of the ground floor for commercial use.

The approval also includes creating four new two-bedroom houses on land to south of the pub.

The investment in accommodation is highlighted with the Adur and Worthing homelessness strategy agreed in 2017.