The long overdue demolition of, perhaps, Worthing’s biggest-ever white elephant, Teville Gate, is certainly a step in the right direction, but there’s still a degree of uncertainty as to what will replace the much maligned former shopping centre.
At time of going to press, there has still been no planning application submitted, so it’s still very much up in the air.
As always, hindsight is a wonderful thing. The demolition should have taken place, with the aid of compulsory purchases, almost 40 years ago.
I do wonder how the local economy of the town centre would now look had Tesco been given the site instead of going to Durrington?
The same could be said a decade or so later when Sainsbury’s wanted to relocate to Lyons Farm.
Having one of the two major stores with a state-of-the-art shopping superstore at the gateway to the town could have changed the whole picture of Worthing dramatically.
But it was not to be, and instead of looking back we must look forward, and whatever ends up on the Teville Gate site will help define the town for many years to come.
Therefore, it has to be right, so a lack of a planning application is not necessarily a bad thing, and indicates careful thought.
The rumoured cinema complex at Union Place has yet to materialise, so maybe a multiplex, with perhaps an ice rink, restaurants and shops could be a real possibility, and something that would finally put Worthing on the map.
However, a shortage of low-cost starter housing in the town could also be a factor moving forward.
The main thing is that this represents a golden opportunity for the people of Worthing. The mistakes of the past are exactly that and the future is the key. We need something that adds to our Worthing and a development that we can all have some civic pride in, not another ill-thought-out project which would see us settling for second best.
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