Planning permission has recently been granted for external alterations to the former Woolworths store in Montague Street, Worthing, alongside development of the vacant upper floors to create 14 flats at the heart of the town centre, complete with their own amenity spaces.
Jane Jones-Warner Associates were instructed by Worthing Investments Limited to prepare a heritage statement for the proposed scheme, as part of the planning application.
The Woolworths store first opened on the site on 28 August 1920. The building was expanded in 1930 and an Art Deco frontage was introduced, similar to those on the company’s stores in other seaside resorts such as Brighton, Bournemouth and Bexhill. Woolworths continued to trade on the site until the chain closed in late 2008/early 2009. The building still has the Art Deco north elevation with Crittal windows on the first and second floors and remnants of the Woolworths signage at high level on the southern elevation.
Although the building itself is not listed or a designated heritage asset, it is located in the South Street Conservation Area and in proximity to a number of listed buildings. The proposed development also included a large public art installation on the building’s Montague Place frontage.
The impact of the development on the wider context and the nearby heritage assets needed to be considered, taking into the account the affect on the character, appearance and significance of the Conservation Area.
The heritage statement considered each of these assets and concluded that the proposals would benefit the area, addressing a long-standing design deficiency that had previously been identified in the South Street Conservation Area Appraisal published in 2001. It was also hoped that through the public art installation, the area would become a point of destination.
The heritage statement recommended that careful detailing and selection of materials would be paramount. This was also raised in comments by The Worthing Society and was resolved via a condition in the planning permission.
Image of proposed development produced by Sub Rosa Architecture Ltd