Reports that the majority Tory group on the Worthing CLC have, in advance of the next quarterly meeting of the CLC, already indicated to the Worthing Centre Town Centre Initiative that they will approve the £1m scheme to repave Montague Street, at the expense of other WSCC Highways schemes supported by local residents, raises some important issues:-
Why, when local government spending is being severely constrained, spend this disproportionate sum when – apart from the area around the Montague Place square repeatedly dug up by the ‘utility companies’, which they should have been reinstated at the time – all that is required is the replacement of a few dozen badly cracked paving slabs and provision for regular maintenance of those which have sunk and create a hazard to pedestrians.
How can our councillors seriously believe this to be value for money when, by itself, it will do little to increase footfall in a street that is a ‘clone’ of all those other bland town centres that lack individuality and appeal
Why, given that many retail analysts are suggesting a bleak future for the ‘high street’, does this decision smack of ‘gesture politics’ rather than addressing the wider issues highlighted in the Worthing Masterplan.
That £1m could do much to help improve both the shopping centre whilst also enhancing the wider appeal of the town if, instead, those monies were to be directed towards schemes such as regular maintenance of all paved areas and public toilets, general street cleanliness, introducing more colour to the seafront and better provision for safer cycling, to name but a few.
Families with young children might also question why a retractable roof was not included in the design of the Splashpoint paddling pool to make it potentially a year-round facility.