VOTE: Montague Street could be pedestrianised

MONTAGUE Street’s pedestrianised area may be extended westwards towards Rowlands Road, it was suggested in a report to Worthing Borough Council.

The idea was mooted in a “Retail Health Check” on Montague Street, which was submitted to Tuesday’s (May 29) meeting of the council’s planning committee.

Overall, the report said the primary shopping area of Montague Street west of Crescent Road/West Buildings was looking “relatively healthy considering the economic downturn”. But the western, secondary shopping area was “faring less well”.

The report said there was a need to improve the street-scene on Montague Street to increase footfall and ensure the street remained healthy for the future.

Pedestrianisation of the western section could be achieved through a “shared space” use, and by creating “entrances”, particularly from the seafront, to encourage tourists to visit the area. However, it was recommended that a comprehensive review of the main shopping areas could not be undertaken until significant retail development had been carried out at either, or both, the Union Place South and Grafton sites.

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke told the Herald that Montague Street’s appearance did not compare well with facilities in places like Chichester and Horsham, and it needed more investment.

Mrs Clarke said it would help if the pedestrianised area was extended westwards, but not too far to harm the benefits of shoppers being able to park in the “West End” section.

She described the present appearance of Montague Street as “bland” and needing a facelift. “There are seats and plants right down the middle, but the seats could perhaps be moved to the side of the street, or at an angle,” she said.

“Our present vacant shop rate of 10.8 per cent compares well with the national high street figure of 15.4 per cent, but what the area really needs is cosmetic surgery!”

What do you think?

Do you think extended Montague Street’s pedestrianised area is a good idea? Cast your vote in the poll to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.