The time for pessimism is over – Worthing is on the investment map.
That was the message from one senior councillor as a vision to transform Worthing seafront was backed on Tuesday.
The strategy, prepared by consultants, outlines what could be achieved in the long-term, from resurfacing the promenade to revitalising Worthing Lido and creating a lagoon for water sports.
Detailed plans and funding are yet to come forward but the strategy acts as an indication of what could be achieved.
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration, passionately backed the strategy on Tuesday night.
He said: “Listening to people outside the school gate people are actually excited and enthused by what they are seeing.
“Too long the feeling in the town has been pessimism, Worthing is standing still. Scrap that. Throw that chapter out. It’s closed.
“This town is going to go forward and will go forward and we will accelerate as much of this as we reasonably can within the public budget that we’re allowed to do and working with partners.
“Worthing is on the map. People want to come and invest and we’ve got to offer them the opportunities.”
Mr Jenkins admitted the strategy was aspirational. He said there had been grand plans for the seafront presented by the private sector in the past which had not materialised.
He branded plans in 2010 which never materialised – perhaps the Project Worthing designs whose creator last month claimed had striking similarities with the new strategy – as a ‘lot of colourful pictures and no substance’.
Cabinet member for environment Diane Guest said she was ‘really encouraged’ but ‘also quite sceptical’.
She said she took heart, however, from the fact the council was already planning to rejuvenate seafront shelters, with one set to open as a Bistrot Pierre.