Recently, our mayor announced that he wanted to put Worthing on the map.
At the moment only the sea makes us any different from Warrington, Wakefield or Wigan. Every high street looks the same with chain stores dominating.
All through the month of May, WIs throughout England and Wales have been discussing a resolution which will be put to their AGM in June in Cardiff. (We call on every member to support their local shops and make the high street their destination of choice for goods and services. We call decision makers to work collectively, at all levels, to help bring to an end the decline of our high streets and to ensure that they flourish and provide a focal point for local communities).
Perhaps the mayor and our councillors can come up with some ideas of how this can be achieved?
Our WI in Durrington had a lively discussion before voting in favour of the resolution. However, doubts were raised as to whether any typical town’s high street can be revived. Their reasons were:-
1. The convenience of getting all one’s shopping in one store with a free car park.
2. No-one wants to get on a bus with several heavy bags.
3. The ease of on-line shopping.
4. The disappearance of small interesting shops due to high rents only affordable to chain stores.
5. Referring specifically to Worthing, it was felt that anyone visiting the town centre feels like a demented bee buzzing quickly from place to place, trying to find what they came for, and get back quickly before they find a parking ticket on their car.
Although we have the sea, most people wanting a beach type holiday go somewhere where the climate is warmer. Do we even have a hotel with a swimming pool? What do we provide for visitors if the weather is cold, wet and windy? I should not like to see a permanent fun fair on the sea front, but something needs to be done to attract young people here and to shake off the elderly image.
If the mayor wants to put us on the map, he should consider these points.