Plans to build 255 flats and a business centre overlooking the River Adur have been approved by Adur District Council.

The application for three four-to-eight-storey blocks at Kingston Wharf, Shoreham-by-Sea, was deferred by the planning committee in June after members compared the design to ‘a level of Minecraft’ and something drawn by a child with a box of crayons.

At a meeting on Monday (July 6), applicant the Hyde Group came back with a number of changes, including the colour of the brickwork, the design of the balconies, and a tweaking of the roof-line.

As well as the flats, changes were made to the design of the business centre.

The Argus:

The centre will include offices, storage and a river-front cafe and will be rather less monolithic than originally planned, with more brickwork and less cladding.

The brickwork for the flats threw the committee into a lengthy debate about whether it looked better than the lighter design originally proposed.

The words ‘grim, dreary and dark’ were bandied about.

Another sticking point involved a letter from the applicant which some members felt was ‘threatening’.

It centred around the partnership between Hyde and Homes England to make money available to ensure every one of the flats would be affordable.

To do this, work would have to start by March 2021 so the site could be finished by March 2024.

The letter warned that the money would be passed to another scheme if planning permission was not in place by October.

The Argus:

Stephen Chipp (Con, Southwick Green) said: “I don’t like the letter that Hyde Housing has given us – it feels threatening to me. If you don’t do this we’re pulling the plug, we’re taking our money away, you’re not going to get it, it’s going to go to some one else.”

Following a suggestion that the application be deferred again to give Hyde more time to look at the design, officers warned this could lead to an appeal for non-determination.

Such an appeal could prove costly as the plans had been with the council since February, long enough for a decision to be made.

In the end, David Balfe (Lab, Eastbrook) asked for five conditions to be added to the plans – that a minimum of two play areas be included; that any shared ownership deals on the flats should be best practice; that pontoons be placed on the river outside the flats; that more cycle parking be found without reducing the amount of car parking; and that the brickwork be closer to the original lighter colour than the darker red.

With the vote tied at 4-4, chairman Carol Albury used her casting vote to approve the plans subject to completion of the Section 106 agreement.

Hyde Group chief investment officer Guy Slocombe said: “We are very much looking forward to work starting on this fantastic project, as part of our ongoing commitment to work closely with Adur and Worthing councils to bring more affordable homes, and deliver real economic benefits, to the area.

“And thanks to our strategic partnership with Homes England, all of the homes will be affordable, available for rent or for shared ownership, meeting a range of housing needs and enabling people to get onto the housing ladder.”