Work has started on a multi-million-pound scheme to transform an RAF cadets site into emergency accommodation for homeless families.

Worthing Borough Council said contractors have demolished the old RAF Air Cadets temporary buildings in Victoria Road and cleared away the debris so that work can begin on the foundations of the 11 new energy efficient council flats.

The development is part of the council’s work to tackle the town’s housing crisis, with more than 1,600 people currently on the housing register.

There is a budget of £3 million for the scheme, but the council said the project is designed to save money by reducing the need to use hotel and B&B accommodation as emergency housing for families who would otherwise have nowhere to stay.

Homeless families will move into the homes temporarily while the council helps them find more permanent homes.

The Argus: The temporary buildings have been demolishedThe temporary buildings have been demolished (Image: Worthing Borough Council)

The new homes are being built to Passivhaus standards, which the council said means they will be so well constructed, insulated and ventilated that they need very little energy to heat or cool so residents have far lower fuel bills.

On submitting the planning application for the development in February, Councillor Emma Taylor, Worthing's cabinet member for citizen services, said: “Worthing has a real housing shortage and we are totally committed to easing that and delivering sustainable housing at accessible rents for those who are on the waiting list.

“It is fantastic news that this much-needed project is moving forward.

“But this isn’t the only scheme in the pipeline that will deliver housing for local people who are most in need as we are also reviewing other brownfield sites as well as existing council assets that could be suitable for repurposing.

“We have listened to residents through our consultations and providing much-needed housing on this empty brownfield site is a win-win situation for both residents and the council.

“It will save money in the long term by lessening the need to pay for costly temporary accommodation such as hotels and bed and breakfasts, but more importantly will put a proper roof over the heads of families in need.”