Protest to save the trees in Worthing centre

Artist's impressions of plans for the Montague Centre. SUS-150812-111958001
Artist's impressions of plans for the Montague Centre. SUS-150812-111958001

A protest is to be held tomorrow by campaigners hoping to save three sycamore trees in Worthing town centre.

The protest, organised by the Worthing Society, follows a planning application submitted to Worthing Borough Council in December for a large glass kiosk to be built at the Montague Centre, near Liverpool Road.

The kiosk is intended to be turned into a restaurant, but the society feels the removal of the trees would be detrimental to the environment.

Susan Belton, acting chairman, said: “The Montague Centre is an integral part of the South Street Conservation Area. The Worthing Society considers the removal of the trees will adversely affect the character of this part of the conservation area.

“We view the loss of any urban trees as detrimental to the environment. If the kiosk is built it will also reduce the feeling of openness and restrict the public access on either side.

“We feel that people don’t really know what they could lose. We don’t want to mothball the town, but we feel we must protect our conservation areas.”

The kiosk is part of a larger development being proposed by NewRiver Retail to create a number of units for the town centre.

The report submitted to the council lists the trees as grade ‘B’, meaning the trees have a ‘moderate’ life span greater than 20 years, and are also noted for their value to the landscape.

But the report also draws attention to comments from two retailers, who claim the trees collect honeydew and create natural debris outside shops.

Speaking about the development, town centre manager Sharon Clarke said: “It could be a positive for the town and help the night-time economy but it is down to the planners to decide whether it is right for the town. They should be determining it. It does need to be in front of the committee for that discussion to be had.”

The protest will be taking place next to the trees near TK Maxx at 10.30am tomorrow, Saturday, May 14.

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