Our readers have spoken and shared their views on the best, and the worst, of Worthing town centre.
We were inundated with responses to our town centre survey, as residents highlighted what they love about Worthing – and what they think could help it flourish even further.
While opinions were divided on what makes Worthing great, one feature was mentioned more than any other as its jewel in the crown – the seafront.
With its promenade, the Pier of the Year and Lido all steeped in history, Worthing’s traders profit from the summer trade and residents bask in the glory of the seaside all year round.
A slightly less glamorous, but just as vital, aspect of the town centre was also singled out for praise, as many residents commended its layout and accessibility.
People were proud of bustling roads such as Warwick Street and Montague Street, crammed with a mix of independent and national shops, and bars and restaurants, all within walking distance.
It was the independent shops and overall culture of Worthing that many people said sets the town apart.
The survey found shoppers welcome the unique character brought by independent traders offering products not found anywhere else. Retail variety is supported by plenty of cultural choice, from the Dome cinema to theatres, galleries and museums.
But for all the positives, familiar issues raised their heads. Anti-social behaviour in the town centre was the biggest bugbear, particularly street drinkers congregating during the day.
The tragically common sight of rough sleepers in many of the centre’s doorways was another major concern, but represents a wider social issue with complex solutions.
For many residents, the upsetting sight of people without a home fed into concerns over the general condition of the centre, with many complaints of dirty streets, loose paving and unkempt shop fronts.
Hot on the heels of anti-social behaviour and dirty streets in the ‘worst of’ ranking came too many empty shops, not enough seating and expensive parking.
The overriding takeaway from the survey results was that Worthing is a town on the up, with the seafront a priceless asset right on our doorstep. With further investment, a crackdown on anti-social behaviour and the nurturing of its unique character through independent, local traders, there seems to be no reason for Worthing not to be a thriving seaside town. In fact our survey showed that in many people’s opinions, it already is.