PLANS to build five three-storey workshops to help reinforce a crumbling nine-metre wall in Southwick have been refused by Adur District Council.

The application, for Waterside Road, on the north bank of the River Adur, was considered by members of the planning committee on Monday before being turned down.

The site is in a dead-end road and currently contains four shop fitting workshops. It sits at the base of a huge retaining wall which supports cottages in Fishersgate Terrace, some 30 feet above.

The meeting was told that the council had already said the wall was dangerously high, and applicant Richard Howell felt that building the new workshops would help to stabilise it.

Mr Howell, who has owned the site for 23 years, said: “The foremost reason for this application is to stabilise the rapidly deteriorating retaining wall to the three cottages behind my existing workshop. There is a surveyor’s report available confirming the need for repair and this is the only feasible way of achieving it.”

He disagreed with concerns that additional traffic from any new tenants would lead to the access road being obstructed, saying the road was ‘plenty large enough’ for all traffic.

But the committee was not convinced.

Lee Cowen (Lab, Mash Barn) said: There’s lots of ways to secure a wall – there are other ways of doing it. Why is a building being used to retain the wall?”

Officers said this ‘questionable solution’ was the nub of the problem.

Members agreed with the officers’ recommendation to refuse the application.