Push for historic features to be kept in town revamp

W19734H13 WH MONTAGUE STREET PAVEMENTS PIC S.G. 07.05.2013''Montague Street Being repaved
W19734H13 WH MONTAGUE STREET PAVEMENTS PIC S.G. 07.05.2013''Montague Street Being repaved

WORTHING’S rotunda and red paving stones make the town centre a distinctive and unique place.

That is the view of members of the borough council’s planning committee, who this week voted unanimously to keep the historic features of Montague Street and Montague Place.

Around £1million has been allocated to enhance Worthing’s main shopping street and the Town Centre Initiative’s public consultation closed on Thursday.

Head of planning James Appleton explained that one idea was to have a central column along the street which would replace the existing flower bed planting, and new lamp posts that would be able to take hanging baskets and also Christmas lights.

He said: “There would be a de-cluttering of Montague Street which would be welcome as we do at the moment have various structures along there.

“The consultation has also shown that 70 per cent of respondents expressed concern about the loss of the rotunda. Architecturally it is not a particularly attractive feature but it is a well-used landmark, both as a meeting place and as a way finder for people.

“Another issue is whether the red pavers that dominate the area should be removed and replaced with a new form of paving.

“I think anything would be better than what is there at the moment as there is lots of cracked paving which for the disabled, elderly and people with impaired vision makes things very difficult to navigate. But red brick pavers are historically important to the town.”

Councillor Joan Bradley said: “I am very keen that we retain the rotunda unless we can replace it with something that is better and I am very concerned that we retain the red pavers because I think they are distinctive and they need to be kept otherwise we are going to look like any other area. I came to Worthing because I thought it was unique and charming and I do not want that to change.

“I am not happy about putting contemporary furniture in because we do not have contemporary buildings and it will be a complete mismatch.”

Members voted unanimously to support repaving Montague Street with light grey paving stones but recommended reconsidering retaining red paving stones.