PAUL O’BRIEN: Covered shopping areas needed for those rainy days

Paul O'Brien
Paul O'Brien

It’s always interesting to hear about how our town is performing compared to our local neighbours, like Horsham and Chichester, and what affects people’s choices when choosing to spend their hard-earned money in our town.

Talking to some of the local larger store managers, who have multiple stores in all our major Sussex towns, there’s certainly one thing they agree on – the weather!

Places like Horsham, Brighton and others all tend to have large areas of undercover shopping for when the heavens open – something Worthing does sadly lack.

So when it pours we tend to lose out to these places.

However, when the sun shines people tend to pour into the larger coastal towns, like ourselves and Eastbourne, and further afield Portsmouth and Southampton.

It may sound like I’m preaching the obvious but for the larger players this can result in hundreds of thousands of pounds difference in takings, depending on weather conditions that week.

Give people an indoor shopping sanctuary for that 20-minute downpour and it can make a huge difference to your daily takings.

So the question is, can we offer something like this in Worthing in the near future?

Old ideas involve a glass roof covering of Montague Street, which would run into many millions of pounds and remains a pipe dream.

However, we could see some better covered shopping offers coming soon.

We have the Montague Centre going through a phase of redevelopment which will bring some bright new brands.

We also have the potential possibility of the bus shelter becoming a new indoor shopping hub at some point.

We’ve certainly hit bursting point on shop emptiness rates, so some new areas of retail and, even better, covered ones, would be greatly welcomed to our blossoming town!

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