I read Tony Mayes’ letter last week, regarding his sadness at the dreadful eyesore of abandoned, overgrown grass verges on the A27 approaches into Worthing, and how these first impressions must put tourists off.
I can tell Tony Mayes not to catch a train and alight at Worthing’s central station and walk into town, because he’d be more than just sad, possibly a lifelong deep spell of depression would ensue.
He would walk past the Teville Gatehouse, advertised as a block of modern offices to let. Modern, maybe, 30 years ago!
He would stroll along the filthy walkway past the closed-down Southern Counties Janatorial Supplies, protected by rusted iron mesh sheets, and find himself in a weed-infested wasteland doubling up as a car park.
He would continue on, past abandoned shops on the right with burnt-out windows, next door to boarded-up Bloomers, with the only things blooming now being a number of dandelions littering the front pavement.
Then, outside the only remaining shop, Bed King, he could sit and talk to the number of vagrants, with their cans of strong lager and cider, as I did in one morning. Welcome to Worthing!
I have lived in Worthing all my life and watched a once-vibrant town’s demise; the loss of the ‘up-market’ department stores and shops replaced by endless ‘cheap-end’ and charity shops.
Still, the excitement of two new businesses in the town, Starbucks and a Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop, should help the regeneration.
So, Tony, don’t be concerned about the first impression putting tourists off Worthing because of the overgrown verges on the A27, that is doing them a favour, because in truth, Worthing hasn’t got much to offer, just yet!
Hopefully, in ten years time when Teville Gate is redeveloped, a few decent coffee shops/restaurants are built near the beach, then the shabby bowling alley is replaced by something attractive and the council gets its hands on some cheap weedkiller to treat all the pavements for starters, then we can all, once again, be proud of our town!
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