A WORTHING sandwich shop owner has insisted he will continue to bring colour to the town centre, despite being told he must remove his sandwich mural above his shop within the next six months.
Feast sandwich shop, located on the corner of Warwick Street, painted a three metre by six metre mural of a sandwich above the shop door in January earlier this year.
At the Worthing Borough Council planning committee meeting on April 25, councillors decided to refuse retrospective planning permission for the mural.
The councillors were split in their decision, with councillors Hazel Thorpe, Christine Brown, Mary Harding and Clive Roberts voting in support of the mural, and councillors Joan Bradley, Carol Molineaux, Bryan Turner and Paul Howard voting against it. In the event of a tied vote, the chairperson’s vote – Joan Bradley – overrules.
Owner Anthony Dickenson said he hoped the mural would “open doors” for change in Worthing town centre.
He said: “I will be meeting with the planning department to discuss how we can come to a happy medium. I am disappointed because we are in an environment where shops are closing left, right and centre, and change needs to happen. People have told me they like how it brightens up the town centre and I’m definitely going to keep something colourful up there.
“It was encouraging to see the vote was split – but it was a bit of a hollow victory.”
Speaking at the meeting, local campaigner and artist Dan Thompson supported the mural. He said: “This mural shows a local business supporting local creative interests as well, which is something that should be applauded. We should allow more public art, and show that Worthing is the future for 21st-century business.”
Some councillors were sceptical about how in-keeping the mural was with the rest of the town. Councillor Carol Molineaux said: “I would have been more open to the artwork if it hadn’t covered both of the windows – it makes it a bit of an eyesore. I do think if we allow this mural, plenty more will be around the corner, and that is not something I would like to see.”
However, some councillors strongly supported the mural, and highlighted how murals can add to the atmosphere of an area, such as the North Laine area in Brighton.
Councillor Clive Roberts said: “It makes you look up, and that is where the history of the town lies. It would have been better if we were asked first, but I really think this is the way forward. In this climate, businesses should be allowed to do what they need to do to stay open, because the worst thing for the town would be an empty shop.”