Fears over the fate of hundreds of jobs have been put to rest – for now.

The Environment Agency yesterday announced plans to merge its Southern and Thames regional offices in a bid to save about £8 million.

This immediately raised concerns for the future of 250 people who work at the organisation's Southern headquarters in Worthing.

But The Argus has been told that the lease on Guildbourne House, in Chatsworth Road, does not run out until 2018 and it will remain open until then.

In contrast, the lease of its office in Hampshire runs out in two years time and it will be closed, with staff offered relocation or redundancy.

The good news for Worthing workers was tempered by the fact the EA could not offer assurances that no jobs would be cut before 2018.