PAUL O'BRIEN: Once in a lifetime opportunity for town centre
In a week where we have had the terrible news of the potential closure of one of Worthing's oldest still-trading high street stores, British Home Stores (BHS), it is imperative that the local council's planning team starts to look at the changing role of the town centre within society.
With the age of internet purchases just a click away long gone are the days of the town centre being a shopping destination – it has now become a social destination.
By this I mean an area to eat, meet friends, have haircuts and manicures.
This is why we cannot miss a trick and must back the new owners of the Montague Centre with their plans to turn some of the units into restaurants.
With big names being pushed around like Nando’s, Pret a Manger, Las Iguanas and more, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity bring a new offering to the town centre.
I genuinely don’t believe this will affect the smaller cafes as this will be more of a late afternoon and evening destination – although the loss of the trees in the centre is a big no-no.
We must make sure our local planning committee shares the vision of what Worthing could become with these new restaurants. Brands also attract brands – a town with a Nando’s and Pret is likely to be looked at more favourably by the bigger retail shops that we want to see here.
So Worthing Borough Council, it’s over to you to do the right thing!
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