THE MONTAGUE Centre could be redeveloped into a ‘restaurant destination’ after plans were lodged to convert existing units into a host of new eateries.
New River Retail, which acquired the entirety of the centre last year, hopes to build a new kiosk and change nine units from retail to A3 use for restaurants and cafés.
Documents submitted to Worthing Borough Council outlines its ‘proven track record’ in delivering similar schemes, attracting the likes of Nando’s, Yo Sushi, Wagamama and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.
The firm’s design statement reads: “The intention is to create a restaurant destination that compliments and strengthens Worthing’s existing offer.
“Our intention is to channel the demand for restaurant accommodation and secure operators who share our ambition to deliver something special in this prominent and sunny location.”
The changes would affect units which currently accommodate Laura Ashley, Toy Barnhaus, Select Ladies’ Wear, Clintons, The Works, Boots Opticians and two vacant units.
New River Retail argue six of the 11 current tenants are considering leaving at the end of their tenancies, while the units are too small for retail.
It said: “The Montague Centre, over the past five years, has been in gradual decline due to retailer administrations, lack of retail space fit for purpose and the wider UK recession.
“This has been evident in the poor retail offer, temporary retailers and leasing terms being agreed at significantly reduced rents to incentivise existing retailers to stay in occupation with increasing flexibility and break clauses in their leases.”
Gaining planning permission is unlikely to be easy, however.
The planning committee threw out plans to convert Laura Ashley into A3 use in April last year.
Councillors said it would ‘result in the loss of an important retail unit which forms part of a ‘gateway’ into the town shopping area’.
Would you welcome the change of use? What restaurants would you like to see? Let us know your thoughts.
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