I am yet to be convinced as to whether or not a building like that proposed on the old Aquarena site would be a good or bad thing for Worthing.
What disturbs me most of all is that there does not appear to be an overall plan for Worthing.
I agree that the old Aquarena site needs to be redeveloped, but there are also other areas within the borough that need redeveloping (such as Teville Gate). Does the council have an overall plan for the future development of the town that includes these sites, as well as other issues such as the lack of shopping facilities within the town centre area?
By this, I mean there are now more service-oriented shops within the town centre (cafés, hairdressers, nail shops, and so on) but fewer and fewer stores selling manufactured goods or even clothes.
There are two main reasons why people from out of town visit towns other than their own: shopping facilities and culture. Worthing has plenty of culture to offer, with two excellent theatres, two first class cinemas, a world-class concert hall and a large variety of privately-owned venues and all of these venues now seem to be making great strides in attracting better and better acts.
What appears to be missing are the shopping facilities to attract out of towners.
Perhaps they are put off by the ‘wonderful’ sight of Teville Gate as they approach the town? One of the best suggestions I have heard is to turn this site into a transport hub, with the railway station, a bus and coach station, a car park, park and ride facilities, perhaps even a hotel. The bus depot could then be moved from the seafront and that whole area then redeveloped (perhaps to include and shopping mall and hotel complex) that is in keeping with the town’s architecture.
While I appreciate schemes like these require large sums of money, without the vision to look to the future with such schemes it is difficult to see how Worthing will ever capitalise on the great assets that it already has. To quote a line from the ‘Field of Dreams’ film, build it and they will come’. The site of the old Aquarena could be the start of such a redevelopment programme within Worthing. Let’s take this opportunity now, while we still can.
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