ONE of the most intriguing aspects of the whole Connaught Theatre saga is the people who are getting all dewy eyed about losing the facility, until I ask them how many times they have been there in the last 18 months?
“Use or lose it” – a favourite phrase of my colleague Paul Holden – has never been so apt, and if the theatre is saved, I hope everyone has a long, hard think about how much they use it.
The whole episode is more akin to high-level cards played out on the tables of a Las Vegas casino.
At the back of it all, there is the council thinking the best option is knocking it down and lucrative redevelopment of the old police station, the NCP car park and the site of the demolished theatre.
Cynics might say with the track record of Teville Gate and the Guildbourne Centre, it would be another classic Worthing white elephant.
But the bean counters wouldn’t really care what ended up there, it would be all about how much money they get for the land.
For the record, I don’t think that will happen.
As a Worthing lad, I for one would be lying down in front of bulldozers, along with thousands of others, before a single brick was touched at the Connaught.
Talking to people in and around the council this week, I do think they will close it as a council facility, with top-ranking figures saying there is no other option left open to the council.
However, there is nothing to stop them giving the keys to someone else and letting them run the theatre as a going concern, with the proviso that if it in turn goes belly up (remember, readers, use it or lose it), the council get the building back and revert to plan B, whatever that is.
I understand there is such a person, with strong Worthing connections, “waiting in the wings” with the expertise to take the project forward.
The council, although some might say it doesn’t deserve it, has been given the ultimate “get out of jail free” card.
Let’s hope it doesn’t go with tradition and completely mishandle the situation and end up in even more of a mess.
So long Sanders
A sad sight along the Broadwater Road was the closure of what was Worthing’s original Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I cannot remember the shop not being there, so that must put it at least the early 1970s.
In my teenage years it was a popular venue with friends with the old “combination pack” being a favourite, although in hindsight I now wonder what those ribs were actually spare from?
Perhaps the writing was on the wall when the Colonel Sanders people apparently “upped” their game in the mid-1980s and the shop was one of many nationally to have its franchise withdrawn? Without the “Colonel” above the door, it became just another take-away.
If anyone remembers when it did open, please let me know.
Car park shop
My thanks to Colin Howell for providing this week’s Worthing teaser, when he asks: “What was the original shop underneath the Buckingham Road multi-storey car park?”