I LIVE in Norwich, though was born and brought up in Worthing, and we come back to the town regularly to visit family.
I have come to visit for the bank holiday and I heard the shocking news that the paddling pool, Peter Pan’s playground, and now, it seems, the Connaught and perhaps even the other theatres, are to be lost.
Each of these places holds not only happy childhood memories for me but also more recent, delightful memories of time spent with my own young children: hot summer’s days splashing at the paddling pool, pantomime every Christmas, rainy day films at the Connaught, children’s theatre productions such as The Gruffalo.
For us – holiday vistors – these places have been the ones that my children are excited about going to and we know that they will make our time in Worthing memorable. Not only that; each time I phone to speak to my grandmother, she tells me about the latest theatre production she has seen with her senior citizens’ group, and how much she is looking forward to her next outing.
Now, I learn that all of these places will be lost – sold off by a council that apparently has no concept of what it means for a town to have a heart and soul.
These days it seems we know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
Locally run and financed services which enrich the lives of residents and tourists alike have a value which goes beyond pounds and pence – they are the heart of the community.
Worthing is a town that is selling its soul.