From the business desk: Worthing’s bandstand should not be mourned

Fencing has gone up around Worthing's bandstand ahead of a �1.2million revamp of Montague Place. Picture by Eddie Mitchell
Fencing has gone up around Worthing's bandstand ahead of a �1.2million revamp of Montague Place. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

WHAT do the pyramids, Rome’s Colosseum and Worthing’s rotunda have in common?

Concrete, or early versions of it, were used to build them.

That is where the comparisons end – two of them are ancient marvels, the latter is a circular carbuncle.

But browsing social media this week, one would be forgiven for thinking the Ottomans were about to destroy Worthing’s version of the Elgin Marbles.

Of course this was not the case, rather the structure commonly known as the bandstand was set to be demolished.

The 1980s eysore is set to be knocked down, as work begins on a long-awaited £1.2million revamp of the high street.

But instead of a warm welcome for the major investment, the Facebook equivalent of a pitchfork-wielding mob had other ideas.

Many bemoaned the loss of ‘history’, disappointed at the loss of this iconic beacon of inaction. The only thing missing was a last-ditch e-petition to save it.

Few acknowledged the start of the desperately-needed improvements of the town’s dilapidated, yet premier, shopping street.

Montague Street and the central Montague Place fall well below the quality of rival towns in terms of its appearance.

Black Tarmac and cracked paving in more colours than Elmer the Patchwork Elephant is unacceptable and hardly paints a positive picture of the town centre.

West Sussex County Council’s plans will see Montague Place repaved, including new covered seating and a bandstand which, crucially, will accommodate bands.

Future phases could revitalise the entirety of Montague Street and pedestrianise Montague place, creating an attractive tree-lined link to the seafront.

All these improvements would surely be wasted if the rotunda was retained.

I am convinced the majority of traders will welcome the works with open arms and, in time, residents will adjust to the change.

The county council has long been accused of under-investing in Worthing. Its funding should be welcomed. I applaud the work of the Town Centre Initiative in lobbying for this crucial work and I look forward to seeing the finished work, due to be completed in a few months.