Worthing could face radical transport shake-up: Park and ride and ‘transport hub’ among suggestions

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Worthing could be set for some radical changes to its transport network as decision makers consider key issues in the town.

A report from West Sussex County Council shows ideas such as a park and ride service and railway station ‘transport hub’ were suggested at a workshop.

Improvements to the town’s cycle network were also mooted, including investment in the seafront cycle path and the narrowing of roads to ‘decrease suitability and desirability for cars’.

Limiting the number of buses and traffic along South Street and Marine Parade was also considered a key issue.

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke welcomed a reduction in vehicles in South Street and said a pedestrianised town centre would encourage a better flow through the town and help to spread activities around the centre.

“It’s essential that it’s easy for people wanting to spend in the town centre and that businesses have easy access and good value parking. Without this, footfall will decline and businesses will go,” she said.

A Town Centre Initiative survey last year found 52 per cent of people came to town by car, she said, with 48 per cent on foot, bus or cycling.

Coupled with an increase in residential buildings in the town centre, Sharon said it was important the local authorities catered for residents’ demand for parking, such as with car sharing schemes or similar.

The June meeting came as part of a transport audit, attended by 19 individuals and groups – 15 councillors or council officers, three transport groups and the Worthing Taxi Association – and no commercial traders.

Sharon confirmed the TCI was invited, but said more must be done to engage with businesses.

She said: “Local authorities need to consider the voice of businesses because they are a key part of the town’s community and thriving businesses will lead to a thriving town with less pressure on public resources.”

The meeting report also showed fears a ban on free town centre parking in the evening could be realised, saying free evening parking ‘sends the wrong messages and brings unnecessarily high numbers of cars’ to the centre.