Ambitious plans for Worthing town centre revamp

THE BANDSTAND in Montague Place could be replaced with a modern staging area as part of ambitious plans for the revamp of Worthing’s busiest shopping street.

Public consultation on four distinct options have been launched by the Town Centre Initiative (TCI) this week, with residents and businesses asked to comment on the plans.

The drawings, produced by architects, show a choice between light or dark-coloured paving, with or without the current bandstand.

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke said many businesses had already lent their support to getting rid of the bandstand, which has become unfit for purpose in recent years.

She said: “It is no longer a bandstand, and has become a seating area.

“It is not in the middle, and the new modern design would not have the same impact if it is kept.

“However, we want the public and the rest of businesses to have their say.”

The long-term plan would see a moveable, or semi-moveable, performance area installed, but this is not part of the initial £1 million investment.

The TCI is confident, however, that funding would be found for it.

In addition to the potential loss of the bandstand, the plans include new street furniture and improved lighting.

Better way-finding, with street names written on the floor, with LED lighting, could also be included.

Mrs Clarke said: “These days, it is all about simplicity, and clean lines, and we need the street to reflect that.

“We hope improved lighting will encourage more use at night, for example if someone goes to a restaurant in the West End, we want them to feel safe to walk to a pub in Warwick Street afterwards.”

The project was added to West Sussex County Council’s priority list last month, following a meeting of Worthing County Local Committee.

An initial £1 million has been pledged, with the hope that more funding could be provided should it be required.

Mrs Clarke said the scheme was necessary in order to compete with other towns in Sussex.

She said: “At the moment, our primary shopping street is not meeting the brand requirements for a lot of businesses we would like to have here. We need to improve brand Worthing to attract the bigger names.

“Since the street was pedestrianised, businesses have contributed £128 million in tax to the local authority, and they deserve commitment to this project.”

The public consultation is now live on the TCI website, and will be open for feedback throughout October.

To respond, visit www.worthingtowncentre.co.uk